The story of the BMW Gran Coupé began some eight years ago when the 6 Series Gran Coupé was introduced to the 6 Series range.
The same setup was then expanded to the 4 Series and 8 Series models to cater for those who put space on top of the list of things that they are looking for when it comes to buying a car.
Sadly, buyers of the 2 Series were left with no option simply because BMW never seemed keen on the idea of introducing a spacious 2 Series with two extra doors.
As an answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA, BMW introduced its first-ever 2 Series Gran Coupé that is built on the same platform that underpins the new 1 Series and I put it through its paces in the twisty roads of Magaliesburg.
Only three derivatives are on offer: a sole diesel variant that carries the 220d moniker, and a 218i and M235i xDrive which are the only petrol units, with the latter closing the range at the top. There are two trim levels – Sports Line and M Sport, while the range-topping M235i xDrive gets its own distinct line.
So, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is all about space and, as we joked at the launch with my driving partner, it is a gentleman’s choice. It comes in at 4 526 mm in length, 1 800 mm in width and it is 1 420 mm tall.
The boot space is measured at a good 430-litres and that should be enough to swallow groceries and other kinds of luggage.
With the increased dimensions inside, you will understand why I say the 2 Series Gran Coupé is all about space.
Like the new 1 Series, the 2 Series Gran Coupé spawns the FWD setup and this has resulted in useful cabin space, with BMW claiming that the new model weighs less and is more efficient.
On the outside, the 2 Series is appealing to the eyes with almost the same frontend as the 1 Series.
It also features frameless doors that add an element of beauty to the car and, like all coupes, the new 2 Series Gran Coupé has a flowing roofline that does interfere with rear headroom at all.
The rear comes with standard LED taillights, complemented by a high-gloss black element that connects the two-section lights at the centrally positioned BMW badge. For some sporty element, the 218i is fitted with a single exhaust tip while the 220d is fitted with dual exhaust tips on each side.
The M235i gets different styled exhaust tips.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé comes fitted with light-alloy wheels with a diameter of at least 16-inches.
The Luxury Line and Sport Line models boast 17-inch light-alloy wheels while the M Sport model, as well as the M235i xDrive, are fitted with polished 18-inch light alloys. Buyers can go for the 19-inch alloys as an option.
The interior is simply the same as that of the new 1 Series, with adequate space that won’t leave you complaining at all. There is enough space to fit five adults and, another good thing, the slopped roofline does not mess up the rear headroom.
There are storage spaces for items such as water bottles and wallets, all for your convenience.
All 2 Series can be had with up to 10.25-inch Info Display instrument cluster with the brand’s BMW Live Cockpit Professional. The system allows Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity.
Like all recent BMWs I have tested, the system is easy to fiddle with. A full-colour 9.2-inch BMW Head-Up Display can be had as an option.
On the road, I sampled all three models on offer. The base 218i comes fitted with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that churns out 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque. There is an over-boost function that generates an extra 10 Nm in fourth gear or higher. BMW says it can hurdle from a standstill to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds en route, to a top speed of 215 km/h.
On the road, the 218i will disappoint performance fanatics although the small engine has its positives such as sipping only 5.9l/100km.
The engine feels underpowered under intense acceleration – it is suitable for the average buyer who would religiously stick speed limits. However, the handling and the smooth-shifting Steptronic dual-clutch gearbox are on point. It is not a bad car at all.
The 220d has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 140kW and 400Nm of torque and remains my absolute favourite. It offers a sublime balance between sporty and comfort and its 4.8l/100km fuel consumption is a charm. It has strong pulling power in all gears and shows the need to just get up and go.
Sitting on top of the 2 Series range is the M235i xDrive with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 225kW of power and 450Nm of torque. It bundles from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds (4.8 seconds with the M Performance package) before hitting the top speed at 250 km/h.
The engine offers a very responsive acceleration as soon as you push your right foot down and there is tons of grip, thanks to the xDrive system that sends half of the power to the rear axle.
It got me grinning from ear to ear throughout the drive.
It’s sweet and delivers a thrilling and engaging drive. Those of you who appreciate cruising will find this one even more pleasant to pilot.
In conclusion, the 220d gets my thumbs up and, as earlier stated, it offers an outstanding great balance between spirited driving and comfort.
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