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New car review

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé test drive

The 2 Series Gran Coupe is one of the latest additions to BMW’s range of saloons, but what’s it like to drive?

In a motoring world seemingly obsessed with niche-busting models, here’s another one – the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé. Essentially a four-door version of the two-door 2 Series (which in itself is a coupé version of the five-door 1 Series), it takes its place as the smallest Gran Coupé model in BMW’s line-up.

Somewhat sleeker and more dynamic in appearance than the BMW 1 Series hatchback upon which it is based, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is yet another proposition in the smaller end of the new car spectrum.

But what’s it like to drive and are those sweeping looks worth it? We’ve been behind the wheel to find out.

What’s new?

As we’ve already mentioned, the 2 Series Gran Coupé shares its underpinnings with the standard 1 Series and, as a result, retains that car’s list of engines as well as its front-wheel-drive layout. However, it’s ever so slightly longer than the 1 Series, which helps to add to its sleek, stretched-out design. All of this does come at the expense of interior headroom, mind you, but that’s a common trade-off with coupé-style models.

Inside, it benefits from BMW’s latest infotainment system as well as a whole host of connectivity and assistance features – but we’ll dive into those in more detail shortly.

How does it look?

Well it’s different, isn’t it? Certainly against the 1 Series or standard 2 Series, this Gran Coupé looks like a distinctly new proposition. Of course, looks are down to the individual, but the GC’s quirky design took some getting used to. The back of the car is a particular talking point, and whether or not it’s a successfully designed area is down to you.

But there are plenty of nice touches. The bright blue brake calipers on our car helped to brighten up an otherwise quite dark exterior, while the large alloy wheels give it a distinctly premium air.

What’s the spec like?

Our car was finished in tip-top M Sport specification, which brings a full sport styling package, larger alloy wheels and a full sport suspension setup too. Though priced from £33,340 as standard, our test car’s price was bumped up to £37,825 thanks to a few choice options. M Sport Plus (£2,200) adds an upgraded M braking system, an upgraded sound system and various high-gloss exterior trim pieces, among other touches.

The Technology Pack (£1,500) brought features such as adaptive LED headlights and a head-up display, alongside wireless charging. It’s this second pack that we see as the most worthwhile, adding genuinely useful kit for not a whole lot more money.

What’s it like inside?

The interior of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé represents an excellent blend of the old and the new. We like the traditional orange backlights for the buttons, for instance, while all of the leather used throughout the cabin has a robust, old-school feel to it. In contrast, the main screen – which now uses BMW’s latest operating software – is simple and easy to use, with the rotary controller to the left of you being tactile and precise.

We’re still not huge fans of BMW’s digital dashboard design – it still seems too cluttered now just as it did when it was first revealed on the new Z4 – but it’s sharp and gives the forward area of the cabin a cutting-edge feel.

As we’ve mentioned, headroom in the back of the car isn’t the best as a result of the sloping roofline. Though there’s plenty of legroom, taller passengers will find their heads competing for space with the roof if they’re sitting in the back. The boot is actually larger than the one you’ll find in the 1 Series too, though because of the narrower opening it’s a good degree harder to access.

What’s under the bonnet?

Though there’s quite the range of engines to choose from with the BMW 2 Series Gean Coupé, today we’ve got the 220d model, which sees a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine under the bonnet sending 190hp and 400Nm of torque to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s a reasonably conventional setup, but it’s likely to be one which will find favour with many.

Not least because of its efficiency, in fact. BMW claims up to 53.4mpg combined and, during our time with the car, we were going above and beyond this on longer journeys. Emissions figures are also reasonable for a car of this size and type at 134g/km of CO2.

There’s no option to have BMW’s all-wheel-drive xDrive system fitted on this engine type, either. For that, you’ll need to bump up to the higher-powered M235i model.

What’s it like to drive?

You expect a car like the 2 Series Gran Coupé to be comfortable, refined and easy to live with over long journeys and, for the most part, it achieves each of these traits well. The ride is a touch too firm for this tester, but it does result in excellent body control when cornering and isn’t too much of a concern when at a cruise on the motorway. Both road and wind noise are contained well too, and though there’s some noise intrusion into the cabin made by the engine when accelerating hard, during regular drives it remains hushed.

The steering is excellent too, and the engine itself is punchy and muscular in the way it puts the power down. It feels brisker than the initial figures suggest, too. The eight-speed gearbox tying it all together is one of the best in the business, responding well to acceleration inputs and leaving little delay when pulling away from a dead stop.

Verdict

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe might be another exercise in niche-filling, but you can’t say that it hasn’t been a well-executed one. Those drivers who find the 1 Series too, well, ordinary and the standard 2 Series Coupé too cramped could well find themselves swayed by the in-the-middle Gran Coupé.

With its decent on-road manners, excellent economy and good build quality, we couldn’t fault them for doing so either. It might be there to fill a gap no one might have seen in the first place, but the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé is well-rounded enough to appeal as a genuine prospect in the company’s current crop of cars.

Similar cars

Audi A3 saloon | Kia Stinger | Mazda 3 saloon | Mercedes-Benz A-Class saloon | Mercedes-Benz CLA | Peugeot 508 | Volvo S60

Key specifications

Model tested: BMW 220d Gran Coupé M Sport
Price as tested: £37,825
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 190 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
Top speed: 146 mph
0-60 mph: 7.3 seconds

Fuel economy (combined): 53.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 134 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: Five stars (2019)
TCE Expert Rating: Not yet rated (November 2020)

Jack Evans
Articles by Jack Evans are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.
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