Report: Both Critics and Buyers Hate the Cheapest BMW Sedan Because It Is Boring
The cheapest BMW sedan is the 2 Series Gran Coupe, but cheap doesn’t mean it’s desirable. At just under $38,000, it’s no bargain, and what comes for that money isn’t worth the price of admission. And while critics have panned the front-drive BMW for years, early sales reports for 2023 indicate that buyers agree – the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe isn’t worth it.
Front-wheel drive is a losing proposition for BMW
Looking through the brand’s history, there isn’t an iconic BMW model anywhere with front-wheel drive. And that isn’t to say that front-drive cars can’t carry a torch – Volkswagen’s Golf GTI has proven that it can be done.
But when you’re dealing in the premium environment in which BMW exists, ditching heritage for accessibility isn’t typically a winning recipe. Sure, the BMW 228i may be the cheapest BMW sedan, but it doesn’t have what BMW drivers are looking for.
According to Hagerty’s Jason Cammisa, the front-drive BMW 2 Series isn’t a terrible car, but it is a terrible BMW. The front-wheel drive layout is unlike anything from the Bavarian brand, and runs counter to the company’s DNA.
Perhaps more importantly, even outside the BMW fanboy vacuum, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is no match for better cars that cost significantly less. Cammisa continues, “it’s not as good as cars costing half as much. Loaded Corolla & Mazda3 are better cars. Kia Forte drives WAY better. Jetta GLI humiliates this car.”
That was 2020, but in 2023, things don’t seem to be much better.
Early 2023 sales figures show the cheapest BMW sedan takes a hit
While coupe versions of the BMW 2 Series are seen as sports cars, the four-door Gran Coupe is looked at as a compact commuter car. Something competitive with the Mercedes-Benz CLA or even the aforementioned Mazda3. However, the 228i Gran Coupe falls flat on value, and customers have noticed.
So far in 2023, BMW has sold just 1,383 2 Series models across the entire lineup, according to the most recent sales numbers. That’s down 65.6% compared to 2022, when the brand moved over 4,000 units of 2 Series metal. That would be fine, if it were just the rear-drive 230i and M240i sports coupes. But considering the Gran Coupe is included in that metric, the cheapest BMW sedan is flopping harder than ever.
In fact, the only other model in BMW’s lineup to post a bigger loss is the X2 Crossover. Critically, it’s another of the front-drive models in BMW’s lineup.
Price doesn’t match experience
When brands like Hyundai and Mazda are churning out near-luxury products for $15,000 less, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has to be more than just the cheapest BMW sedan. It’s a mismatch of both target audience and price point.
BMW fans looking for a cheap way in will grab the 2 Series Coupe or make the modest jump to the rear-drive 3 Series if they want four doors. For that crowd, rear-drive dynamics matter, even in the xDrive cars.
Meanwhile, anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable ride to work has plenty of cheaper options than the 2 Series sedan. Overall, the 2 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t really fit anywhere. Even a good engine and transmission combination can’t make up for the lack of identity. And the level of luxury isn’t commensurate with the price tag of buyers in that market. So far in 2023, the sales figures bear that out.