just keeps lopping off cylinders from its engines and sliding the ever-more-diminutive mills into its models. This spring, Europeans will get some of the automaker's smallest yet thanks to a new entry-level 2 Series
that will share a powerplant with the Mini Cooper
. The Bavarian company will also introduce a few other tweaks to the compact coupe across the pond.
The 218i is the new 2 Series base model, and it shares its 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with the latest family of Minis. The engine makes the same 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, but BMW does have some tiny changes for it. First, the orientation is swapped to fit lengthwise under the hood and drive the rear wheels. Just as importantly, buyers can order it with an eight-speed automatic, rather than the six-speed in the Minis.
BMW claims that the little engine gives the 218i a 50:50 weight distribution, and it takes around 8.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) with the standard six-speed manual – tack on another tenth for the automatic. Either way, top speed is still a perfectly respectable 212 km/h (132 mph). Those acceleration numbers, incidentally, are over a second slower
than what the latest Cooper is quoted at.
Beyond this new base model, BMW will bring a few other additions to the 2 Series for Europe. The 220d oil burner will be available with xDrive all-wheel drive, and the company will introduce several new equipment bundles called Advantage, Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport. Each will bundle various options and trims together to appeal to buyers. No word yet on whether the 218i will eventually make it to North America, but we aren't holding our breath. Scroll down
to read BMW's lengthy release about all of the changes set for the 2 Series.