2015 BMW 228i

Premium compact sporty coupe.

  • Likes
  • Acceleration
  • handling
  • braking
  • Dislikes
  • Styling
  • interior finishes
  • steering not as communicative as on older BMWs

The 2015 BMW 228i is one of GAYOT's Top 10 Fuel-Efficient Cars

BMW's replacement for the enthusiast-favorite 1 Series coupe is slightly larger and significantly more high-tech, but still remains fundamentally true to its mission of upholding BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine" tag line. Instead of the old 128i's inline-6, the 228i comes powered by BMW's across-the-range 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. This isn't bad news for fans of going faster, though, as the BMW 228i accelerates to 60 nearly a full second quicker than the 6-cylinder 128i it replaces, despite officially having only 10 more horsepower than that car.

Partial credit for its sprinting prowess goes to the 228i's 8-speed "sport automatic" transmission. Then there is the turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It spins to 7,000 rpm, feels way more powerful than its 240-horse rating would suggest, and sounds invigorating. Contrary to the old hot-rodder saying, BMW seems to have found a replacement for displacement. The same one that Japanese companies were using 20 years ago, perhaps, but BMW still deserves credit for making a small-bore, high-boost engine like this one so tractable and smooth. It's also pretty economical, as the 228i with the 8-speed auto earns a lofty EPA-rated 36 mpg on the highway. Our Estoril Blue test car only averaged 21.3 mpg overall, but this figure includes some aggressive driving and use of the car's "Sport Plus" mode --- commuters using the "Eco Pro" setting instead are likely to see significantly more economy. The 228i, like all current BMWs, comes with an idle-stop feature to save gas. Leave the car in Eco Pro or Comfort mode and the engine will turn itself off when you come to a complete stop with your foot on the brake. Lift your foot off the brake and the engine fires up again. It's a great idea for people who drive a lot in urban areas where a large portion of the gas you buy gets wasted at stop lights and in long traffic jams. However, BMW's system does not operate with the quietness or remoteness of a Prius. Though the stop/start feature has been refined since its 2012 introduction, you still feel a distinct shudder and hear the starter motor crank when the engine springs to life.

The 2015 BMW 228i aims to be a return to form for a company which made its reputation building refined, fun-to-drive, small luxury cars. Auto journalists, enthusiasts and yuppies alike remember the small BMW sedans of the '80s and '90s. Rather than trying to match the plush rides and feature content of rival premium cars, they offered the luxury of an involving drive. It's a virtue that modern cars, with their tendency to put more and more layers of technological interference between the driver and the tires, have somewhat lost.

The 228i coupe brings back that feeling of driver connectedness... in a way. Acceleration, braking, engine sound and steering quickness are all right up there with some great drivers' cars. But while we have no complaints about how the 228i performs or drives, it reminded us less of old BMW small sedans and more of certain turbocharged Japanese sports cars from the early '90s -- a Toyota Supra or Nissan 300ZX. Imagine one of those transformed into a fuel-efficient, compact luxury coupe, and you'd have a good idea of the spirit of the this BMW. The 228i is powerful and exuberant, rather than delicate and balanced. It's a Siberian Husky of a car, bounding and pulling at its leash.

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000 mile basic warranty, 4-year/50,000 mile maintenance,

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228i is featured on

Specs

Base Price: $32,100

As Tested: $32,100

  • 23 / 36 mpg
  • EPA
  • 5 sec
  • 0-60
  • 240 hp
  • Horsepower
  • 153 mph
  • Top Speed
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 240 hp
  • Torque: 255
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shift mode
  • Curb Weight: 3,345 lbs
  • Wheelbase: 105.9 in
  • Length: 174.7 in
  • Width: 69.8 in
  • Height: 55.4 in
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft
  • Brakes: F/R: vented-disc/ vented-disc, ABS
  • Suspension: F: struts, coil-springs, anti-roll bar/ R: multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
  • Traction: traction and stability control standard, can be turned off. Launch control
  • 0-60 mph: 5 sec
  • 60-0 mph: 106 ft.
  • Top Speed: 153 mph
  • EPA City: 23 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 36 mpg
  • Combined MPG: 28 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 4
  • Safety: Driver and front passenger airbags and knee airbags, front and rear head protection system, driver and front passenger side airbags

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