The 2-Series is larger than the 1-Series it replaces, with almost 3 ins. (76 mm) of added length and a nearly 1-in. (25-mm) longer wheelbase.

Compared to the new 4-Series coupe, the 2-Series is 8.1 ins. (206 mm) shorter and 1.6 ins. (41 mm) taller, but 2.1 ins. (53 mm) narrower in width. It’s also roughly 100-200 lbs. (45-91 kg) lighter, with the lightest 2-Series, the 228i with 6-speed manual transmission, weighing in at 3,260 lbs. (1,479 kg).

And the new 2-Series, as many Bimmer fans are wont to tell you, is close dimensionally (less than an inch shorter in total length) to the third and fourth generations of the 3-Series, which were beloved for their near-perfect power-to-weight ratio.

A disappointing bit of the M235i is its interior.

While the fit-and-finish is impeccable, the design is standard-issue BMW. The center stack with the protruding screen up top, two side-by-side air vents below it, then tiny knobs and vague buttons for the audio and climate systems near the bottom, looks dated relative to other luxury interiors.

The monotone nearly all-black interior in our M235i test car doesn’t help matters, but fortunately there are snazzier colors available, including red, brown or pale-gray leather.

The base interior in both the M235i and 228i is faux black leather with red trim.

Passenger comfort is high, however, even in the backseat. In the second row, the 2-Series has more head and shoulder room than the larger 4-Series coupe. And while legroom is basically the same in the two cars, the smaller coupe has deeper, more enveloping seats.

The car’s outward appearance, thanks to the added length, is less stubby than the outgoing 1-Series, and with a less-bulbous greenhouse.

The sinewy, 18-in. double-spoke wheels on the M235i are quite possibly the best-looking yet on a modern automobile.

Americans can get into a 228i for $32,100, roughly the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S.

The 228i, not tested by WardsAuto, comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission (a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option); stop/start; 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes; automatic climate control; Bluetooth; and iDrive. That’s not too shabby a list, although a power driver’s seat would be nice.

The M235i adds 10-way power seats for both driver and front passenger; aluminum-hexagon interior trim; a dark-gray headliner; sport instrument cluster, 1.1-in. (28-mm) larger ventilated front disc brakes and 18-in. wheels instead of the standard 17-inchers on the 228i.

Considering all that content, plus the excellent N55 engine, the M235i’s $43,100 price is a relative steal and should please diehard U.S. BMW fans who’ve been wanting and waiting for a car like this.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com