From £25,2208

Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

BMW’s ownership sums would appear to add up here just as neatly as they do for its more established rear-drive saloons. The car is priced at a premium just small enough to be almost totally offset by its residual strength relative to its non-premium-brand rivals.

So compared with an equivalent Citroën C4 Picasso, which is a couple of grand cheaper at list price, the BMW would be broadly comparable on price as a monthly finance prospect or as a company car.

Both the Mercedes B-class and VW Golf SV are beaten by the 2 Series on the residuals front

Equipment isn’t as generous as you’ll find with the upper-level volume brand rivals, but it’s certainly far from mean.

On CO2 emissions and economy, meanwhile, the 2 Series is close to the head of its field – the manual 218d, for example, is only fractionally behind the Mercedes B200 and easily capable of 50mpg on a day-to-day basis.

It's worth considering the petrol versions too, especially if you're a business user. The 218i, for example, emits 115g/km of CO2 and attracts a lower company car tax rate than the 218d. Even if it didn't, it'd still be worth paying the premium for the petrol version's balance of performance, flexibility, refinement and economy.

We'd recommend opting for a 2 Series in SE specification, as it is well equipped, but add metallic paint, 17-inch wheels, a folding front passenger seat and electronic damper control.

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