2020 BMW 2 Series vs. 2019 Subaru BRZ

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 BRZ 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 BRZ 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 BRZ doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 BRZ 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 BRZ 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 BRZ 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, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The BMW 2 Series weighs 540 to 1155 pounds more than the Subaru BRZ. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the BMW 2 Series Coupe is safer than the BRZ:

2 Series

BRZ

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

17 cm

22 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

2%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.67/.76

.97/.72

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 BRZ was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

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The 2 Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The BRZ’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 2 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the BRZ’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the BRZ.

Reliability

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The battery on the 2 Series is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 2 Series’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The BRZ’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The 230i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (248 vs. 200) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 151) than the BRZ’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The 230i’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 43 more horsepower (248 vs. 205) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 156) than the BRZ’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The M240i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 130 more horsepower (335 vs. 205) and 213 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 156) than the BRZ’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 230i Manual Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the BRZ Manual (21 city/32 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the 2 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The BRZ 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 BRZ doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The BMW 2 Series comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the BRZ.

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 BRZ.

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 Subaru BRZ is not available with all wheel drive.

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 BRZ 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 BRZ doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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

230i

M240i

BRZ

BRZ Performance Package

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.6 inches

11.4 inches

12.4 inches

The 2 Series stops much shorter than the BRZ:

2 Series

BRZ

80 to 0 MPH

208 feet

233 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

120 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 BRZ (F:225/40R18 & R:245/35R18 vs. 215/45R17).

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 BRZ’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 2 Series offers optional 18-inch wheels. The BRZ’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

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 BRZ doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 2 Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The BRZ’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 BRZ’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 2 Series’ wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the BRZ (105.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The 2 Series Coupe handles at .97 G’s, while the BRZ Limited pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 2 Series Coupe executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the BRZ Limited (24.9 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 2 Series Coupe a Compact car, while the BRZ is rated a Minicompact.

The 2 Series Coupe has 13.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the BRZ (90 vs. 76.5).

The 2 Series Coupe has 3 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the BRZ.

Cargo Capacity

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The 2 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the BRZ (13.8 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

The 2 Series Coupe’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The BRZ’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 2 Series. The BRZ doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The 2 Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The BRZ 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 2 Series has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The BRZ doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 2 Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement and brake pad replacement, vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the BRZ.

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 BRZ doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 BRZ can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 BRZ’s 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 BRZ 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 BRZ doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 BRZ 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 BRZ 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.

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 BRZ’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 2 Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the BRZ Limited.

The 2 Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The BRZ offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 BRZ doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The 2 Series has a standard center folding armrest for the driver and front passenger. A center armrest helps combat driver fatigue. The BRZ doesn’t offer a front seat center armrest.

The 2 Series has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The BRZ doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The 2 Series has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the BRZ Limited/Performance Package.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the 2 Series has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The BRZ doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 BRZ 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 BRZ doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The BMW 2 Series comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Subaru BRZ isn’t available as a convertible.

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 both the BMW 2 Series and the Subaru BRZ, 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 BRZ 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 BRZ hasn’t been picked since 2013.

The 2 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The BRZ hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The BMW 2 Series outsold the Subaru BRZ by over two to one during 2018.

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

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