There’s a graph BMW uses. It has body styles along one axis and car size along the other, thus allowing you to see what kinds of cars it makes and how big or expensive they are.

Twenty years ago it would have been a pretty straightforward noughts and crosses-size affair. But these days it looks like a giant Connect 4 board. Coupé SUV a bit bigger than a mid-size executive SUV? But of course.

And now this 2-series coupé. Not to be confused with the new front-wheel-drive 2-series Active Tourer, the 2-series coupé is to the 1-series what the 4-series coupé is to the 3-series. Geddit? It’s a rear-drive, two-door, three-box variant of the 1-series that, while effectively a replacement for the old 1-series coupé, is said to offer more space and style than the old car did.

And thus far, it’s a car we’ve been mightily impressed by, especially in the quick M235i that sits atop the range. You could argue that the 2-series coupé’s history is quite short, extending as the direct lineage does only as far back as its 1-series coupé predecessor.

But BMW has a long history of three-box coupés with the presence of a number 2 in the name, starting with the 1600-2 of 1966 and followed up by the splendid 2002 in 1968, whose turbocharged version BMW would doubtless cite as an inspiration for the new M235i.

Trim levels for the new 2-series comprise SE, Modern Sport and M Sport, and engine options consist of a range of petrol and diesel units. BMW offers a 220i 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, the hot straight-six M235i petrol, and 218d, 220d and 225d 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels.

So is the new BMW 2-series set to repeat the success of its predecessors? Our comprehensive road test will reveal all.

Top 5 Compact saloons

  • The Jaguar XE - the big cat's new compact exec
    Jaguar's new four cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine comes with either 161bhp or 178bhp outputs

    Jaguar XE

    1
  • BMW 3 Series saloon
    BMW 3 Series is priced from £24,975

    BMW 3 Series

    2
  • Ford Mondeo Titanium 180PS

    Ford Mondeo

    3
  • The 2015 Audi A4

    Audi A4

    4
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    The C-Class shares a lot of its looks with the new S-Class, furthering its desirability

    Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
    First Drive
    27 April 2016
    Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?
  • Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d
    First Drive
    26 April 2016
    Jaguar's debut SUV wowed us abroad, but does it still impress as much here on the UK's roads?
  • Car review
    26 April 2016
    Electric saloon is ramped up beyond ‘insane’ for yet more effect
  • Car review
    26 April 2016
    Is this a genuine supercar slayer for top-rank sports car money?
  • Mahindra e2o TechX
    First Drive
    26 April 2016
    When supplies of India’s G-Wiz electric city car dried up, some wondered what would replace it. Mahindra’s new and improved e2o is the answer