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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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Compared to metal, the 2 Series’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Fiat 124 Spider has a metal gas tank.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the 2 Series and the 124 Spider have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 864 to 1508 pounds more than the Fiat 124 Spider. 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 124 Spider has not been tested, yet.
The 2 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 124 Spider’s (12 vs. 5 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. Fiat doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 124 Spider.
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 124 Spider’s camshaft. If the 124 Spider’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 124 Spider’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 2 Series’ reliability 51 points higher than the 124 Spider.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The 124 Spider isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 127 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.
The 230i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 88 more horsepower (248 vs. 160) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The 230i’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 84 more horsepower (248 vs. 164) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The M240i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 171 more horsepower (335 vs. 164) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the 2 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The 2 Series has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 124 Spider (13.7 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The BMW 2 Series comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 124 Spider.
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 124 Spider.
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 Fiat 124 Spider is not available with all wheel drive.
A standard “hill holder” feature keeps the BMW 2 Series with manual transmission from rolling backwards on a steep slope. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a hill holder feature.
The 2 Series Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer launch control.
The BMW 2 Series manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.
For better stopping power the 2 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 124 Spider:
The 2 Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the 124 Spider are solid, not vented.
The 2 Series stops much shorter than the 124 Spider:
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Car and Driver
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For better traction, the 2 Series has larger standard tires than the 124 Spider (205/50R17 vs. 195/50R16). The 2 Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 124 Spider (F:225/40R18 & R:245/35R18 vs. 205/45R17).
The 2 Series’ optional 225/40R18 front and 245/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 230i has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 124 Spider Classica. The 2 Series’ optional 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.
The BMW 2 Series’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 124 Spider only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The 2 Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The 124 Spider’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
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 124 Spider’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The 2 Series has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 2 Series’ wheelbase is 15 inches longer than on the 124 Spider (105.9 inches vs. 90.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 2 Series is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the 124 Spider.
For excellent aerodynamics, the 2 Series has standard flush composite headlights. The 124 Spider has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The 2 Series has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 124 Spider can only carry 2.
The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 124 Spider (9.9 vs. 4.9 cubic feet). The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the 124 Spider (11.8 vs. 4.9 cubic feet).
The 2 Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 124 Spider 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.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the 2 Series has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
In case of a sudden change of weather, the 2 Series offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in and manually raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.
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 124 Spider Classica’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
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 124 Spider has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Lusso/Abarth.
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 124 Spider doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The 2 Series’ sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 124 Spider’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.
The 2 Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Fiat offers heated mirrors for extra charge, but only on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.
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 124 Spider’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer dual zone 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 124 Spider 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 124 Spider doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The 2 Series’ optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The BMW 2 Series comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Fiat 124 Spider isn’t available as a coupe.
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 124 Spider only retains 38.93% to 40.43%.
Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 124 Spider isn't recommended.
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 124 Spider isn’t in the top three in its category.
The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The 124 Spider has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
The 2 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The 124 Spider has never been an “All Star.”
The BMW 2 Series outsold the Fiat 124 Spider by almost three to one during 2018.
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