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First Drive

First Drive: BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe

The story: Another niche filled by BMW with a fifth string to the 2-Series bow. As well as Coupe and Convertible, and Active Tourer and Gran Tourer, there’s a new Gran Coupe model, offering the principle of coupe roofline and dimensions but four-door practicality.
Category:Lower medium
Key rival:Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe
Efficiency:48.7 mpg
On sale:Now

BMW has added another line into its range with the arrival of the 2-Series Gran Coupe.

Slotting into the range below the 4-Series and 8-Series Gran Coupe models, the new arrival is a four-door sibling to the 2-Series Coupe and Convertible models, combining compact footprint and sporty styling with the four-door practicality not found in the other 2-Series models.

The Gran Coupe is a touch longer, wider and taller than the 2-Series Coupe and is longer than the five-door 1-Series while also offering a decent 430-litre boot that’s larger than either of its in-house rivals.

First Drive-September 2020-BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe-Image 6The compact dimensions work well with the aggressive styling that features plenty of curves and detailing, although the big front grille that BMW is introducing to more and more of its range won’t be to all tastes, especially in not-so-subtle black.

On the inside, while it’s more practical than the three-door Coupe or the tiny rear seats of the drop-top 2-Series, adults still won’t relish long periods on the rear seats. It’s not as bad as might be expected when looking at the area inside the neat frameless windows, but rear space, and headroom in particular, isn’t a forte. But for shorter trips, housing four grown-ups is certainly within its capabilities. As mentioned above, the boot is a decent size, mainly because of the distance it goes back rather than its depth, though it does have a handy under-floor stowage area.

First Drive-September 2020-BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe-Image 5The 190hp 220d diesel driven here is the middle of the range, sitting between the entry 218i 140hp petrol model and the M235i xDrive 306hp petrol at the top of the line-up. It’s an engine familiar from much of the BMW line-up, but familiarity breeds only love here because it’s a unit that delivers on a performance basis, and is matched by the nimble driving experience, while also delivering on real-world fuel economy, with over 50mph far from a challenge on longer runs. Emissions of 131g/km are reasonable, even if the admittedly more expensive Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe – the Gran Coupe’s only natural rival – is one BiK band lower at 129g/km. Both though meet RDE2 emissions standards so gain a four-band BiK reduction. The only major issue around running costs is the surprisingly high insurance group for the Gran Coupe, putting it 14 bands above the 120d and adding a hefty amount to the running costs.

Cost-wise, the Gran Coupe is cheaper than the two-door Coupe model, and the extra style comes at a cost of just over £1000 more than the five-door 1-Series hatchback.


paul barker

The verdict

Good-looking with strong styling and fine handling, the 2GC is in some ways the pick of BMW’s small car range.