BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe 220d

in Motoring Insight

When the Gran Coupe was delivered, it was parked outside my house, and all I could see was the side profile. I said to the delivery driver, that I was expecting a BMW, she said, it is a BMW. Walking to the front of the car it became blindingly obvious it truly was a BMW, but from the side, it really didn’t look like it.

The Gran Coupe is basically a four-door saloon with a sloping roof, it has a boot as opposed to it being a hatch. A hatch generally costs more to produce and adds weight to the car, two things I suppose BMW wanted to avoid. Also the Gran Coupe will be sold in China and the US, and these countries are not keen on hatchbacks, they prefer the traditional saloon with a boot lid.

The sloping roof does make it look more coupe-like, more sporty, and adds appeal. But it does mean that interior headroom for rear passengers is reduced. It loses around 4cm, or nearly 2-inches compared to the 1-Series, which doesn’t sound much, but the average sized adult, it makes the difference of your head touching the roof or not.

The test car I had was powered by the sweet 220d, and coupled to a silky smooth, typical BMW automatic gearbox. The engine produces 190bhp, and goes from 0-62mph/100kph in an impressive 7.5 seconds.

After many years of BMW telling us, they manufacture “the ultimate driving machine”, and emparting the wisdom that rear wheel drive gives the perfect balance between front and rear, this particular car is front-wheel drive.

There is nothing wrong with front-driven powertrains, and why it has taken BMW this long to realise, is a mystery. How many times have I seen a BMW stuck in half an inch of snow, when everything else is moving along nicely?

Being front wheel drive means there is no transmission tunnel that runs from front to rear and taking up valuable interior space, a great benefit on a compact car. I would have loved to have been in the meeting room when someone actually dared to suggest making a front wheel drive BMW …!

The interior definitely has the upmarket look and feel, and quality you would expect from a high end car. The dash and centre console do look a bit cluttered, filled with knobs, buttons, and it does look a bit busy, there is something going on everywhere.

The 2-Series Gran Coupe shares a lot of the underpinnings with the 1-Series, and the interior is virtually the same, and there is nothing wrong with that.

All Gran Coupes are fitted with Near Actuator Wheel slip limitation (ARB) system. This gently brakes the inside front wheel during cornering to help prevent understeer.

Three engines are available in the range: 318 which has a 3-cylinder petrol, M235i xDrive 4WD petrol and the 220d, so BMW have not over complicated the line up.

Trims are also simple; Sport and M Sport, and for only £2,500 more, the M Sport is the one to have, for all the nice goodies you get, for not a lot of money.

The design is very subjective, by my own experience of driving it for a week, there were a lot of difference of opinions, some absolutely loved it, others weren’t so convinced. One of my neighbours saw it from the side, and said, “I like the look of the Honda”, then he saw the large grille and said, “ah … it’s not a Honda is it?”

The boot has a double floor, so does increase the size quite considerably, since when you open the boot lid initially it looks tiny with the false floor in the upper position – but lower it, and it becomes acceptable.

The list prices for the 220d M Sport in the UK start from £34,560.

The 2-Series Gran Coupe is not to everyone’s taste, its design adds style, but removes practicality. The huge front grille adds to its appeal, and will sell to a limited audience, but will be dismissed by so many others as it just does not offer any flexibility. It is a good looking car nonetheless. 

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