BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Review
Stylish looks, great onboard tech and a more relaxing ride will appeal to a younger BMW audience, but the price tag remains premium
Strengths & weaknesses
- Ride: Slightly comfier than other BMWs
- Boot: Almost as large as the 3 Series
- Interior: Feels luxurious
- Looks: Will be divisive
- Engines: Not a huge choice
- Not that exciting to drive
With the current, insatiable appetite for SUVs among modern drivers, it comes as a surprise that manufacturers are bothering to produce any other type of car. However, sift through the sales figures and it appears that young, affluent and largely family-free car shoppers are looking for something a little different. And a sporty look and feel is often central to that.
Mercedes has noted that its recent sales success has been down to its compact cars, with particular praise heaped on the sleek CLA Coupe and Shooting Brake models, both of which have struck a chord with younger buyers looking to dip a toe into the world of upmarket German cars.
It comes as no surprise, then, that BMW is building on the success of its compact 1 and 2 Series model ranges with numerous sub-genres to entice a wider fanbase. Its shapely 2 Series Gran Coupe is the first of its kind from the German marque and is based upon the same front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive tech also found in the latest 1 Series and 2 Series models (bar the 2 Series Coupe, which retains the BMW trademark of powering its rear wheels).
There are the familiar BMW styling cues, too: an oversized kidney grille at the front, a striking LED headlight design and a sharp rear end with boot-lip spoiler. The key difference here is it sits lower, looks more purposeful on the road and boasts a more severely sloped roof line.
With prices starting at just over £25,000 at launch - with similarly affordable finance monthly payments - the 2 Series Gran Coupe will be seen by many as a relatively inexpensive way of stepping into the world of 3 and 4 Series, without the hefty overall footprint.
Just three engine choices will be offered to begin with, including a 218i ‘entry-level’ petrol and the sportier, more performance orientated M235i, complete with its M Sport racy touches. For diesel customers, the choice is limited to just one 220d model initially.
Although the 218i might seem a tad underpowered, with its 140hp and 220Nm of torque, it’s perfectly adequate for most. The 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in a respectable 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 134mph is achievable. Above all else, it’s exceptionally quiet and rather frugal, returning up to 47.1mpg on the latest - and more realistic - fuel economy test.
That said, the impressive acceleration delivered by the M235i all-wheel-drive xDrive model suits the sporty styling and the suspension setup that prioritises roadholding over ultimate comfort. The rorty exhaust note burbles away upon start-up and sings when you work the engine hard to access its 306hp maximum power. It’s fun to drive, too.
Interior space is surprisingly ample, with enough room for four adults to sit comfortably and a fifth able to squeeze into the middle of the rear bench, so long as they don’t have overly long legs. BMW’s media system, meanwhile, has a sharp screen and is responsive, while the interior oozes a premium feel.
The trim strips on the instrument panel and door panels, for example, retain their normal appearance in daylight, but function as decorative lighting elements in the dark. It creates a welcoming ambient hue that draws attention to the numerous screens, buttons and dials that are neatly located around the cabin.
Despite the large alloy wheels on offer and optional sporty suspension, the 2 Series Gran Coupe feels slightly more comfy than some of its compact BMW rivals, capable of skimming over rough surfaces comfortably, with only the deeper potholes and bumps transmitting through the thin rubber that surrounds the stylish rims.
As for costs, it’s easy to get carried away with options lists and the sportier trim levels. Some of the most lavishly appointed 2 Series Gran Coupes nudge the £45,000 mark at launch, putting them on a par with the more basic but larger 4 Series Gran Coupe. As always, buying used gets you these well kitted out cars for a far more affordable price, so it's worth hunting out a nearly-new model that has had someone else's money lavished upon it, if you're after the ultimate value.
If you are looking for a brand new model, though, stay sensible with the option list and you'll get a very well appointed car that looks and feels every bit like a more grown-up BMW, albeit in a tighter, more athletic, shrink-wrapped package.
|Warranty||3 years / Unlimited miles|
|Boot space||430 litres|
|Tax||From £150 to £530 in the first year, £145 thereafter|
Best BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe for...
Best for Economy – BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe 220d
It’s not the most fun to drive, nor is it the best sounding engine on sale, but it returns up to 57.6mpg, making it the most efficient of the bunch.
Best for Families – BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe 218i
Young, stylish families will appreciate the boot size and the interior roominess, while this engine blends good performance with economy.
Best for Performance – BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe M235i xDrive
The BMW Group’s most powerful four-cylinder engine delivers a hefty 306hp in this guise, while the all-wheel-drive set-up offers plenty of grip.
- 2020: BMW unleashes the 2 Series Gran Coupé, the first of its kind in the marque’s small car segment
Understanding BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe names
There are three engines on offer at launch, the 218i is the entry-level petrol and 220d covers off diesel. The M235i is the performance petrol. There is currently no news on plug-in hybrid variants.
Trim M Sport
There are three trim levels on offer: Sport, M Sport and M235i. Basic specification is very good from the lowest level, with M Sport mainly adding sportier styling elements.
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Engines
1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel
BMW offers something for every buyer with its current range, although as we pointed out before, there’s no talk of a plug-in hybrid or electrified version just yet, which could put off those inner-city dwellers looking for tax breaks or zero-emissions journeys.
The entry-level petrol is plenty powerful enough for most folk and it beautifully quiet out on the open road, rarely emitting much noise, even under hard acceleration. The same can’t be said for the diesel, but then it’s difficult to name another turbo diesel that is. Thankfully, it’s smoothy in its power delivery and very good on fuel.
Above all of these is the most powerful M235i model, which features the marque’s most powerful four-cylinder engine to date. It is punchy, to say the least, but actually returns a respectable 37mpg when driven carefully, which is very easy to do.
Admittedly, this will never rival the firecracker theatrics of a proper M3 or M4, but then it isn’t really billed as a full-on racing machine. Simply something you can have a lot of fun in without getting scarily close to the car’s limited or burning fuel like it’s going out of fashion. Also, the xDrive all-wheel-drive set-up adds grip and therefore confidence to the drive.
This isn’t the slippery, tail-happy drive of a proper M product, but a fast and precise way to get from A to B. Alas, all of these engines are mated to a very slick eight-speed automatic transmission, but only the the M235i comes with proper paddle shifts. For those wanting full control over their gear changes, it’s a case of slotting the small, spherical gear level into manual and shifting up and down.
0-62mph: 8.7 secs
|Petrol||36.2mpg||306hp||0-62mph: 4.9 secs||155mph|
0-62mph: 7.5 secs
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Trims
Sport, M Sport, M235i
Seeing as this is very much perceived as a gateway into BMW’s more luxurious models for the young and upwardly mobile, the German marque has lavished even the more basic 2 Series Gran Coupes with a high level of kit.
Sport models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic two zone air-conditioning, LED headlights and the BMW Connected Package Plus and BMW Live Cockpit Plus - a fancy name for digital dials instead of a traditional speedometer and rev counter - and a large touchscreen media system which is simpler to use on the move through a rotary dial mounted down by the gearstick.
Illuminated interior trim finishers and gloss black items in the cabin raises the general level of luxury to those often found in the 3 Series and above. Also, customers benefit from cruise control, lane departure warnings and an entire suite of safety and convenience features.
The M Sport model adds larger, 18-inch wheels, a sporty body styling kit, firmer suspension and sleek, heated front leather sports seats. Furthermore, analogue instruments are replaced with a digital version that can be set up to your taste with a variety of display formats to choose from.
Finally, the performance-oriented M235i model is further enhanced by additional sporty styling details, including bespoke alloy wheels and a more high-performance setup. This means steering, suspension and braking is more geared towards more enthusiastic drivers than those who simlpy want to cruise around in the greatest comfort.
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Reliability and warranty
The BMW 2 Gran Coupe is far too new to comment on its overall reliability, while the BMW three-year/unlimited-miles warranty only goes slightly beyond the standard three-year, 60,000-mile warranty offered by most other manufacturers.
Regardless, BMW often falls behind rival manufacturers in the Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, purely because running costs and lofty servicing fees tend to be a sticking point for customers.
That said, this new 2 Series is based on tried-and-tested underpinnings, which have proved very popular among buyers to date.
Used BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
If you can live without the stylish silhouette of the Gran Coupe version, there are bargains aplenty on older 2 Series models when you browse the BuyaCar pages. Low mileage models of the 2015 standard Coupe version can be picked up for as little as £11,000, for example, with only the feisty M240i performance model really holding its value.
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