Not every BMW product is necessarily excellent. True, the German automaker’s M-badged vehicles and luxury SUVs are generally well-reviewed. But several BMW models have been axed in recent years due to poor reception. The i3 and i8 hybrids may be the most notable, but BMW’s also canceled many of its ‘Gran Coupe’ models. The BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe, though, is just starting to hit dealerships. However, it’s a model you’re better off avoiding.
BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe specs and features
Despite the name, the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe is neither a true 2-Series nor a proper coupe. Instead, Car and Driver reports, the 2-Series Gran Coupe actually rides on the same front-wheel-drive platform that underpins the X1 and X2 SUVs. This is also the same platform used by Mini. However, as of this writing, all US-market BMW 2-Series Gran Coupes come exclusively with all-wheel drive.
There are 2 trims available: the $37,500 228i xDrive Gran Coupe, and $45,500 M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. Both come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 8-speed automatic. In the 228i, the engine puts out 228 hp and 258 lb-ft, and in the M235i, it develops 301 hp and 331 lb-ft.
As an entry-level luxury car, the 2-Series Gran Coupe does offer some desirable features. Apple CarPlay is standard, as is navigation. BMW also gives the car an extensive driver-assistance suite, which includes rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Optional features include a wireless charging pad, BMW’s ‘gesture control,’ Wi-Fi hotspot, and Harmon/Kardon audio system. And, Car and Driver reports, if you select the optional digital gauge cluster, it also replaces the standard 8.8” infotainment touchscreen with a 10.25” one.
Those interested in extra sportiness will likely go for the M235i. It offers a standard limited-slip differential, launch control, an M Sport steering wheel, metal pedals, and optional power-operated M Sport seats, Roadshow reports. It also has more power and torque than the Audi S3, though a roughly-similar 0-60 time.
The BMW 2-Series Coupe’s flaws
The issue, Road & Track, and Roadshow explain, isn’t that the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe is FWD-based. Car and Driver named the X1, which uses the same platform, a 10Best vehicle. And the X2 also garnered a Car and Driver Editor’s Choice award. Also, Roadshow notes the 2-Series Gran Coupe’s ride is very compliant, especially with the optional electronically-adjustable suspension.
But that being said, Motor1 notes the 2-Series Gran Coupe’s steering is rather numb, and it both understeers at the limit and torque-steers from a stop. In addition, when not in Sport Mode, reviewers noted the car feels sluggish, especially the throttle response. However, that’s not the car’s biggest, or only flaw.
For one, this BMW still doesn’t offer Android Auto, not even as an option. And R&T notes that, although not quite as sporty, even the base Toyota Camry comes with adaptive cruise control. Even when equipped to almost $50k, the 2-Series Gran Coupe didn’t come with that. In addition, because this car is meant to be an entry-level BMW, its interior has quite a few cheap-feeling materials.
And speaking of the interior, the 2-Series Gran Coupe’s is rather compromised when it comes to space. Yes, it does have 4 doors. But Motor Trend claims the rear door openings are incredibly small. It’s no easier to get back there than in the cheaper and sportier 2-Series Coupe. And like the X2 and X6, the 2-Series Gran Coupe’s sloping roofline means headroom is an issue. Children could be seated back there, but adults might feel cramped.
The problem, ultimately, is that the 2-Series Gran Coupe is a too-thin slice of the BMW pie. It’s a small sedan that’s trying to be a crossover, without offering all the benefits of either.
The 3-Series, Motor1 points out, is sportier, has a bigger and better interior, and is only about $3000 more expensive. Or go for the RWD 2-Series Coupe, which MT reports is significantly better to drive, and is roughly as spacious. The 230i starts at $35,300.
The BMW X1 has the same chassis and the same engine as the 228i Gran Coupe. But it’s actually about $300 cheaper and has more usable interior space, Car and Driver reports.
However, if you test-drive a 2-Series Gran Coupe, and like the driving experience, Roadshow reports the $40,395 Volkswagen Golf R drives much the same. It has a 288-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, AWD, and the same driver-assistance features as the BMW, Car and Driver reports. Its interior is excellent—and it has Android Auto as standard.
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