When I first heard that BMW was making a 2 Series Gran Coupe I just assumed it was going to be a 4-door version of the current model, much like the 4 Series Gran Coupe. But it isn’t. Unlike the standard Coupe and Convertible, this one is based upon a front-wheel drive car made in the UK.
The 2.0-liter turbo sits sideways, all-wheel drive is standard and sorry – you can’t get a manual transmission.
But what you do get is a 2 Series with more accessible rear seats, slightly more passenger volume and a bigger trunk.
And though it’s not as quick as the standard coupe it does return better mileage and delivers a longer driving range.
This is an inarguable truth: BMW’s naming protocols are ridiculous; a bunch of mumbo-jumbo fully understood by only the most ardent Bimmer brain. But as a general rule of thumb, the higher the number the bigger the body, engine and price. Vehicles with odd numbers have 4 doors and vehicles with even numbers may have 2 or 4 doors but either way are referred to as coupes due to their sloping rooflines. Which leads me to this 228i xDrive Gran Coupe…an all-wheel drive compact sedan with frameless doors whose profile looks very similar to that of the new 3 Series. The platform from which it is built also underpins the MINI Clubman.
This M Sport Design painted in the upcharge but gotta-have-it Storm Bay Metallic with real leather and the Premium Package retails for a somewhat scary $48,195.
And if you think that includes adaptive cruise control, remote start, or a wireless charge pad you’d be wrong…those will jack up the price even more. And this is a sorry excuse for a stereo system so you’ve got to upgrade to the 16-speaker Harman Kardon for another $875.
Base price starts at under $40k but you’d lose most of the goodies you see here. I’ve been running around in this one for a week now and I’ve formulated some prevailing thoughts. With its edgy grille and assertive styling it’s obviously designed to appeal to a new BMW customer – a younger one who isn’t as caught up in the traditional BMW ethos. It’s fun from behind the wheel and all of the electronic tricks engineered into the drivetrain do an excellent job of masking the fact that this isn’t rear-wheel drive. It sticks to the road like there’s syrup on the all-seasons and can be pushed hard without expertise or fear. The 228 horse turbo-4 is quick but personally if I was to purchase this car I’d want to go all the way with the 301 horsepower version found in the 235i because if you’re not buying this for enjoyment than you’re looking at the wrong car.
Why? Because the rear seats are cramped and though the trunk is deep the X2 or Clubman is going to make life a lot easier when you’ve got people or stuff to carry. So though I like the look, brilliant LED lighting, the sport seats, the soft, thick-rimmed steering wheel, the heads-up display, wireless CarPlay and the vivacious drive I just can’t grasp how someone shopping for a BMW would land here?
Dynamically it’s satisfying. With a launch control feature that really kicks with each gear shift from the 8 speed auto, 0-to-60mph takes 6 seconds and the 258 pound-feet of torque combined with Sport mode gives it an even racier feel for an initial burst of acceleration. Gas mileage is rated at 27mpg. It has excellent grip, dialed in steering and reassuring brakes. It also features Comfort and ECO modes that affect driving attributes but sadly, not the suspension firmness. In general, it’s fairly compliant like a good BMW should be but things get jarring rather quickly when the tires hit something unexpected.
I just finished up a 2-week test of the new MINI Clubman and these 2 cars certainly have one major characteristic in common; a high level of impact harshness. Hit even a modest pothole and you’ll think you broke the car, like there’s no cartilage between the bones so better bump stops are needed. But as for fun? Yeah there’s lots of that – just switch into Sport mode and the GC feels super planted dutifully fighting the propensity to plow through the turns, really agile and sounding good.
The sound can be controlled through the infotainment screen. And much like the Mercedes system, there are 2 pre-programmed moods that can either revitalize or relax you. I like little touches like that. The gauge display looks cool – not to Audi level – but it is customizable and I like how when you approach this car it welcomes you by unfolding the mirrors, unlocking the doors and shining the light carpet.
So that’s my take but what’d you think? Is this bodystyle going to be a hit for BMW or a one and done? Leave your comments blow and please subscribe.