You don’t have to settle for a regular family hatchback. How about a compact coupe instead?
BMW offers the 1 Series hatchback for young families, but on the same platform it also has the stylish 2 Series coupe. Sharing underpinnings means its more practical and less flawed than some coupes of this size and stature.
Could this make it an interesting two-door alternative to small hatchbacks? Well, it certainly has a lot going for it, and not just because it handles so sweetly and drives more nicely than its Mercedes-Benz CLA arch-rival.
It of course benefits from some of BMW’s wonderful engines, with a choice of six in the 2 Series. Of the three petrols and three diesels, our favourite is the 220d, whose 188bhp delivers near-hot-hatch pace. Saying that, if you can afford it, the M240i’s 3.0-litre straight-six petrol is delicious.
You have a choice of four different trims with the 2 Series, and all are well equipped. Even the base SE has sat nav, rear parking sensors and sensibly-sized 17-inch alloy wheels. You don’t need any more.
All 2 Series also come with BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system. Again, it’s hard to beat: the navigation menus are logical, graphics are lush and it’s probably one of the most intuitive systems on the market, even for compete novices.
Would you believe, we even reckon practicality is a good reason to look at a 2 Series? Of course, it’s only a two-door, so rear seat access isn’t great. They’re fine for short journeys though, and the front seats are extremely good even for taller drivers. The boot’s not bad either.
Above all, though, it could still be handling that seals the deal for buying a 2 Series. It’s pointy and engaging, delivering the sort of drive that you can’t help but smile at. Despite this, the ride is surprisingly comfortable and, for all its directness, the steering is also light and easy.
Have we convinced you, but you can’t quite afford a new 2 Series? Help is at hand on the used market, where 2014 models are now available from around £15,500. Our pick would again be the 220d: you’ll pay around £500 more than for a comparable petrol, but the extra spend is well worth it.