2020 BMW 2 Series vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

The 2 Series has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 2 Series offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 4C doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 2 Series’ lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The 4C doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 2 Series offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 4C doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The 2 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4C doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The 2 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 2 Series and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The BMW 2 Series weighs 893 to 1457 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 2 Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4C has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The 2 Series’ corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the 4C’s (12 vs. 4 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 2 Series for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Alfa Romeo only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the 4C.

There are almost 2 times as many BMW dealers as there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 2 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 2 Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 4C’s camshafts. If the 4C’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 2 Series has a standard 170-amp alternator (210-amp - 2 Series 6 cyl.). The 4C’s 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The 4C isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

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The 230i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (248 vs. 237) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The M240i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (335 vs. 237) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the 2 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4C doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 2 Series’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4C doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 2 Series has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (13.7 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW 2 Series higher (3 to 7 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo 4C (1). This means the 2 Series produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4C every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 2 Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.

All wheel drive, available in the 2 Series, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Alfa Romeo 4C is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 2 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:

230i

M240i

4C

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.6 inches

11.5 inches

The 2 Series stops much shorter than the 4C:

2 Series

4C

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

For better traction, the 2 Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4C (F:225/40R18 & R:245/35R18 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18).

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 2 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 4C doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 2 Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 2 Series has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 2 Series’ wheelbase is 12.2 inches longer than on the 4C (105.9 inches vs. 93.7 inches).

The 2 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.2% to 49.8%) than the 4C’s (41% to 59%). This gives the 2 Series more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 2 Series’ turning circle is 4.7 feet tighter than the 4C’s (35.8 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The 2 Series xDrive’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the 4C’s (37.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Passenger Space

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The 2 Series has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 4C can only carry 2.

Cargo Capacity

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The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 4C Spider (9.9 vs. 3.7 cubic feet). The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the 4C Spider (11.8 vs. 3.7 cubic feet).

With its coupe or convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 2 Series offers cargo security. The 4C’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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The 2 Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 2 Series is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the 2 Series, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 2 Series’ front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The 2 Series’ standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the front windows are left open on the 2 Series w/Comfort Access the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Go standard on the 2 Series allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The 2 Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 2 Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 4C’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 2 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 4C doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 2 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 2 Series has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 2 Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 2 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 4C doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 2 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The 2 Series’ sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 4C’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

The 2 Series’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the 2 Series is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 2 Series’ optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The 2 Series offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.

On extremely cold winter days, the 2 Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The 2 Series’ standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The 2 Series’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the 2 Series’ passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 2 Series Auto offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the 2 Series has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the 2 Series. The 2 Series’ navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the 2 Series offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 2 Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The 4C doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 2 Series’ optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 4C doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

The BMW 2 Series comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

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The 2 Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 2 Series will retain 47.46% to 51.69% of its original price after five years, while the 4C only retains 44.51%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 2 Series will be $7582 to $50280 less than for the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 4C isn’t in the top three.

The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The 4C has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The BMW 2 Series outsold the Alfa Romeo 4C by almost 39 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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