The 2014-2021 F22 BMW 2 Series is fairly light, dimensionally small, uses rear-wheel drive, and can be found with a manual gearbox. Surely, this is a recipe for small car fun that’d make its base model predecessors proud.

  • Car : F22-Generation BMW 2 Series
  • Location : Unknown
  • Photog : Unknown (used with permission from BMW )
  • Camera : Unknown

I don’t want to jinx it, but they’re not too expensive, either, at least comparatively in our current market . Sure, they suffer some weird reliability issues like catastrophic chain guide failures , but that was apparently remedied for the 2015 model year and they’ve been better since.

I’m drawn to this car because I really like the idea of turbocharged, rear-wheel-drive, stick-shift motoring with a blue and white Bavarian roundel on the hood. I recall Car Bibles and The Drive Editorial Director Patrick George once saying that he really dug the base 230i with a stick for its fun-to-drive nature. I’d opt for a base 2015+ 228i or 230i myself and wouldn’t even bother with any M Sport package amenities.

I’d simply find as clean of an example as I could for a decent price and worry about aftermarket springs, dampers, sway bars, and tires later. Oh, and a limited-slip rear differential. Every BMW I’ve ever driven with a good diff bolted up is an utter joy to slide around, and I bet it’d translate to control and poise on track. As far as stock power goes, 241-248 horsepower sounds like plenty, but I know there are numerous aftermarket methods for bumping those figures up a to an even healthier number.

I recently drove the new G42-generation 2022 230i and it was playful, well-equipped, and plenty fast. My main gripe is that it can’t be optioned with a manual transmission, which it so desperately needs. The automatic is good, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something special about a base Bimmer with rear-wheel drive and a stick-shift. It’s the final piece of the puzzle to create a car that does its joyous and beloved E21, E30, and 2002 ancestors proud.