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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.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
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.

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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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