BMW 225D – Review
by Liam Bird
“You’re getting a what?” came the reply from my neighbour when I told him BMW were lending me their 225D, before he finished with a very confident: “Surely, you mean a 325D?”
Well, actually: No I don’t.
There followed a lengthy “discussion” in which I delicately informed said neighbour that BMW now make cars with even first numbers as well as their more familiar odd-numbered ones. A basic rule of thumb is that the 2-door cars now start with a 2, 4, 6, and now even an 8 – the 8-series once spotted is pretty unforgettable in fact – and the ones that start with a 1, 3, 5, or 7 get 4-doors. There are exceptions of course, there are always exceptions… nevertheless, I won’t bother (or perhaps boggle) you with them here.
It’s probably best to consider the 2-series as the sleeker, coupe version of the 1-series; they share the same oily bits after all. The 2-series (as I’m sure you now know) has 2-doors and a sloping rear window, rather than a hatch. It’s also, thankfully, infinitely better looking than the 1-series. When viewed from either front or rear it’s unmistakably a BMW; kidney grille, chrome numbers on the boot-lid and all, whilst from side-on its pillar-less profile bares a striking resemblance to their E36 coupes of the early nineties – and to me at least, that’s no bad thing – especially when it has also been treated to a few M-Sport goodies which include blue brake callipers and altogether more sculpted and thus more aggressive looking bumpers.
Inside the 225D remains equally familiar to BMW devotees. Orange-lit and perfectly clear dials share space with the rotary controls for the I–Drive system (it takes care of everything: Bluetooth, nav, DAB, etc, etc) infinitely adjustable front seats, a beautifully soft, thick rimmed wheel, and in the case of “my” particular car some very fetching (optional) red leather trimmings.
“Soak up the miles”
It almost goes without saying that being a BMW everything’s been screwed together to near bomb-proof tolerances. Rear seat space might best be described as snug (rather than cramped), but at least the boot’s a good size – 30-litres bigger in fact than the 1-series hatch that sits on the same chassis.
Ah yes, the chassis. You’ll note from the asking price that BMW’s press demonstrator 225D wasn’t exactly wanting for options; one of which was M-Sport adaptive suspension. When set to Comfort this £515 extra belies the 225D with a ride that would shame many a car from the class above. All 225D are automatics only and by simply letting the ‘box do its own thing you could happily soak up the miles, and the bumps, in this car all day long. Flick the switch to Sport instead though and swap ratios yourself via the paddles, and there’s fun to be had.
The twin-turbo 2.0 215 bhp litre diesel develops 332lbft of torque between 1500 and 2500 rpm. That’s more than enough grunt to spin a rear tyre or two, or wag this little coupe’s tail, if you that’s your thing. That said the 225D never feels intimidating in any way; it simply feels balanced, reassuring in fact, and very nicely engineered.
And that ultimately, is how to sum this car up. Whether or not even in this the range-topping spec, the 2-series has enough instant kerb-appeal to warrant its somewhat hefty price tag is still a matter perhaps of another friendly debate – Audi’s similarly priced TT is still the default “looker” of choice for most of the more salubrious parts of suburbia.
But, despite what your neighbours might think, if you’d rather drive your Bavarian coupe rather than simply look at it, BMW’s 225D is, in my opinion at least, the wiser choice.
BMW 225D M Sport
Engine: 1995cc 4Cyl 16V twin-turbo diesel
Transmission: 8 speed automatic, rear wheel drive
Power: 215 bhp @ 4400rpm
Torque: 332 lbft @1500- 4400rpm
0-62MPH: 6.3 Sec
Max Speed: 150 mph
CO2: 124 g/km
MPG: 60.1 combined
Price: from £33,720 (car driven £41,115)