In the 218i it produces 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque (identical to the Cooper), and BMW claims its most diminutive coupe can jump from 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox, or 8.9sec with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission.
However, it doesn't power the front wheels (as is the case in the Mini and the 2 Series Active Tourer) - instead, the engine has been mounted longitudinally with a rear-drive layout maintained. BMW claims it has "almost 50:50" weight distribution.
While its front-engine, rear-drive layout should mean it drives with a level of sportiness, it's quite frugal. Depending on tyre size, the manual version uses between 5.1 and 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres, while the auto uses between 5.1 and 5.5L/100km.
In comparison, the 220i four-cylinder uses a claimed 6.0L/100km and can hit 100km/h from standstill in 7.0sec.
Along with the new base model, BMW has added a new 220d diesel all-wheel-drive model for Europe. The company has also added its equipment lines to the 2 Series Coupe range, with styling bundles such as the Advantage, Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport mirroring the packs seen on other models in the German brand's range.
Sadly for Aussie three-pot enthusiasts, BMW Australia general manager corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher, said the 218i won't be sold locally.
"No, we’re not going to take the 218i Coupe at this time," Fletcher said. "Given the current range of our 2 Series Coupe – which includes 220i, 220d, 228i, and the M235i - and in response to customer feedback, we feel we have the requirements of our BMW customers very well covered."
The 218i could have given the German brand a player in the $40,000 range, given the current entry-level model 22oi's $50,500 (plus on-road costs) price tag.