2023 BMW 230i Coupe Review

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick


Engine: 2.0L I4 Turbo
Output: 255 hp, 295 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 24/34/28
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 9.6/6.9/8.4
Starting Price (USD): $39,195 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $49,120 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $50,430 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $60,875 (inc. dest.)

“Entry-level BMW” doesn’t need to be a dirty term, and the 2023 BMW 230i Coupe is a good example as to why.

This little two-door has become something of an anomaly not only in the BMW lineup, but the broader automotive landscape. Coupes are an endangered species, and the remaining examples have largely organized into a few distinct herds. You’ve got your muscle cars, your supercars, and the expensive luxury grand tourers. But a relatively affordable luxury model that packs driving thrills and everyday comfort into a compact footprint? Table for one, please.

The super-quick M240i xDrive got all the press at launch, and we’re all waiting for the M2 and its promise of a stripped-down, final ICE-only BMW M experience. Yet I’m happy to report that if your budget doesn’t stretch to the six-cylinder models, the 230i Coupe is a happy little coupe that doesn’t leave you feeling short-changed.

Get a Quote on a New 2023 BMW 2 Series Coupe

What’s new?

It’s been a little over a year since BMW unleashed 2 version 2.0. It’s still a surprise: with the front-drive-based 2 Gran Coupe out there, it’s a minor miracle the bean counters agreed to produce another round of such a niche vehicle. Thankfully, the non-Gran is easy to spot on the road, with its smaller headlights, flatter beltline, and more classic long-nose, short-deck proportions. Visually, there’s not much between this one and its M-badged bigger brother, either: the front-end nixes some of the brightwork, but the lines remain the same. The only obvious tell-tale beyond the badge on the rump are those smaller wheels, here shod in winter rubber.

BMW has updated the interior for the Coupe’s second year on the market, however. The curved twin-panel screen setup that’s pretty much everywhere else is now present here, running iDrive 8.0 to boot. That makes for a simplified center stack setup, with fewer physical buttons—more on that later.

SEE ALSO: 2022 BMW M240i Coupe First Drive Review: Focused on Fun

Under the hood is BMW’s useful 2.0-liter turbo-four. In this application it spits out 255 horsepower and a thick 295 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties, another familiar sight in the BMW lineup. This tester comes with the xDrive AWD system; the only option up here in Canada for any 2 Coupe. US buyers can stick to rear-drive for either engine if they so choose. Lucky.

Surprisingly swift

Such is the pace of progress that this entry-level engine is genuinely quick. BMW quotes mid-5s for the run to 62 mph (100 km/h), and the 230 easily feels good for it. With the combo of winter rubber and xDrive, it’s consistent in this seasonal weather, too. Sure, the 2.0-liter isn’t as sonorous as that iconic BMW inline-six, but it’s one of the better-sounding turbo-fours out there. There’s a strong linearity to the delivery that makes progress easy, and the ZF auto is as smooth an operator here as it is elsewhere in the family.

SEE ALSO: 2023 BMW M2 Hands-On Preview: 5 Reasons We Care About the Baby M Car

Switch over to the Sport Plus drive mode, engage those paddle shifters, and the 2 hunkers down for a good time. It’s a chunky thing at almost 3,600 pounds (1,623 kilograms), but the quote-unquote lesser 2 Series has a different steering rack, which makes for a sharp, clean helm. The rear-biased AWD doesn’t corrupt the feel, either. The brakes have that strong initial bite that is typical Bavarian, but are smooth and progressive once more pressure is applied.

Ease off and the 230i responds in kind. Comfort mode has it swishing down the road, all flow and zero slop. The chunky sidewalls on those 18-inch tires give it enough squidge to dismantle all but the worst bumps, too. On the highway, the 230i never feels anything less than secure, and there’s little wind noise.

The little coupe is a fuel-sipper, too. Officially, the xDrive model is good for 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, for a 28 mpg combined rating. (Canadian figures are 9.6, 6.9, and 8.4 L/100 km combined). Even in the middle of winter, a week of mixed driving returned a 31 mpg (7.5 L/100 km) average. Like all other ICE BMWs, the 230i drinks from the premium pump.

Cabin is comfy, but tight

I had a challenge during the week with the 230i. I’d be shuttling three other adults for a few hours, and visiting a bunch of wineries just outside of Niagara Falls. (I was DD, of course.) Would this two-door be a nightmare?

It wasn’t ideal for the back-seat riders, sure. That’s expected, really. But once they got back there—open the long door, wait for the power seat to slowly make its way forward—it was … fine. There’s more headroom than you’d expect, but the legroom is the limiting factor. For our short-term purposes it was a minor inconvenience. If you’d regularly be shuttling folks in the back, however, I’d recommend jumping up to the 3 Series.

The cabin layout is pure old-school BMW, with exception to that dual-panel screen layout. The materials are all top-notch, with most everything in direct view of the soft-touch variety. Cognac leather provides a rich, warm pairing for the Melbourne Red exterior.

SEE ALSO: 2023 BMW X1 Review: First Drive

Useful tech suite

iDrive 8.0 and its twin-screen setup sure spread quickly. It’s now in just about every current model, the 2023 230i Coupe included. As such, it works just as it would elsewhere; largely great, especially since it maintains the rotary dial the new X1 has dropped. The voice assistant is accurate, too. Those who don’t just set-it-and-forget-it with their music/podcast streaming service of choice will find the reduced physical buttons a step back, however. Having to pull up the climate menu to access seat and wheel heating isn’t great, either.

SEE ALSO: BMW X1 vs Lexus NX 350h Comparison

Another solid addition is the head-up display, which is bright, easy to read, and nicely configurable. It is a little on the small side these days; you’ll have to wait a few years for a full windshield-spanning, Dee-aping version. The Harman/Kardon sound system earned positive comments from passengers, though its volume sweep is huge; the first third of the bar can just be summed up as “whisper.”

This tester does include BMW’s adaptive cruise control, a $550 option in the US and a pricey $1,200 CAD north of the border. It’s a very good setup, keeping arrow-straight in its lane and following the flow of traffic well. I still adore the accompanying graphics in the instrument panel, too. As most mainstream automakers include some level of ACC in cars costing half the 230i’s sticker, however, it still comes across as needlessly stingy.

2023 BMW 230i Coupe Review: Dollars and sense

The 2023 BMW 230i Coupe is just $500 shy of being the least-expensive new Bimmer you can buy. Pricing kicks off at $39,195 including destination for the rear-drive model. You can add an extra $2,000 for the xDrive you see here—the equivalent starting price in Canada is $50,430 CAD, as AWD is standard.

SEE ALSO: 2023 BMW 3 Series Review: First Drive

As is often the case with BMWs these days, there are no direct comparisons between US and Canadian models. This car rings in at $60,875 CAD, with most of that increase coming from the $5,400 CAD Premium Enhanced package, and $2,000 CAD M Sport package. The closest equivalent US-spec build would run $49,120 including destination, which is knocking on the door of the M240i.

The tough question is the M Sport package. I’d be tempted to skip it; the black exterior accents are a matter of taste, and this car’s non-M wheels contributed to its under-the-radar appeal. I’d need to know how different the suspension tuning is, however, and with no manual available, I’d miss those paddle shifters. At least Canadians who plump for the package won’t be stuck with the M-color dashboard trim—no offence, America.

Verdict: 2023 BMW 230i Coupe Review

I won’t lie: I didn’t want to hand the keys to the 2023 BMW 230i Coupe back at the end of our week together. Its asking price is only relatively affordable instead of just affordable, but for a straight-forward compact coupe, it had just about everything I could ask for. The two-door has a tempting blend of useful performance, everyday comfort, and satisfying tech. I only wish a few more of the options were standard.

Beyond that slight quibble, the 230i felt special, a rarity in an increasingly homogenous automotive landscape. It won’t be for everyone, but if you want an individualist coupe that doubles as a great all-rounder, the 230i proves you don’t have to look higher up the lineup for satisfaction.


How much does the 2023 BMW 230i Coupe cost?

The 2023 model starts from $39,195 including destination in America. xDrive is a $2,000 option in the US and standard in Canada ($50,430 CAD).

Is the BMW 230i Coupe fast?

Like most modern BMWs, it’s limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). If you’re talking quickness, BMW quotes a time of just 5.5 seconds to 62 mph (100 km/h).

Is the 2023 BMW 230i Coupe a sports car?

In the sense that it has two doors, sure. But it’s more of a pint-sized grand tourer than a mean sports car.

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  • Strong engine
  • Fun chassis balance
  • Still excellent in everyday use


  • Tight back seat
  • Stingy standard equipment
  • Options drag up price
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

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 1 comment
  • Rockybudgeboa Rockybudgeboa on Feb 17, 2023

    Since when is $60,000 CDN considered not breaking the bank? Oh yes I forgot, you cater to the Suits and Electric buyers who make over six figures yearly