Sedans might be a far cry from the dominant force they once were having fallen victims to the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, but BMW still thinks they’re worth their time. In fact, they believe in them so much so that they’ve expanded their range with not one but two premium small sedans, as after the four-door 1-Series, they’re now presenting the sportier 2 Series Gran Coupe.
And unlike the 1-Series sedan that’s not available on our shores (though, it did arrive in Mexico), this one will be sold in America and Canada, among other global markets, in 228i xDrive and M235i xDrive forms.
The first two things you’ll need to know about the 2 Series Gran Coupe (GC) is that it’s a direct competitor to the Mercedes-Benz CLA and that it’s not related to the rear-wheel drive 2-Series Coupe and Convertible, but to the front-wheel drive 1-Series hatchback launched earlier this year, as well as the latest X1 and X2 crossovers. However, while other markets will get both FWD and AWD models, Americans will only get the xDrive all-wheel drive versions of the 2 GC.
About those looks
Even though BMW’s designers tried their best to draw (and apply) inspiration from the larger, more premium and sexier 8 Series Gran Coupe, there’s so much you can do with a car that has its roots on a front wheel drive hatchback as we’ve seen so many times in the past. The end result is a taller than usual body for a supposedly low-slung four door coupe model, not to mention awkward proportions from most angles that both affect its stance.
The Gran Coupe’s elongated profile measures 178.5 in. (4,526 mm) in length, 70.9 in. (1,800mm) in width and 55.9 in. (1,420mm) in height, with a 105.1 in. (2,670mm) wheelbase. You also get 15.1 cu.ft (430 litres) of boot capacity that can be further expanded thanks to the 40/20/40 split rear seat backrest.
A familiar place inside
Well, familiar if you live in a country that gets the new 1-Series hatch, that is, as the dashboard is common on the two models, as are other details in the cabin. Some notable highlights include a digital instrument display and the option of a 10.25in touchscreen that’s slightly tilted towards the driver and a 9.2in head-up display that supplies the driver with information without requiring them to take their eyes off the road.
As with the bigger 3-Series Sedan, the smaller Gran Coupe will be available with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant that allows the driver to access various vehicle functions and obtain information simply by speaking. For example, you can say “Hey BMW, take me home” to operate the navigation system or “Hey BMW, I’m cold” which will prompt it to adjust the temperature inside the car accordingly and switch the seat heating on.
Even the base 228i gets plenty of standard kit ranging from sports leather steering wheel, park distance control, rear view camera, LED headlights and fog lamps to power front seats, Dynamic Cruise Control and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
Numerous safety features will be standard too, including Frontal Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation Function, Active Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning system with active lane return that operates from 43 – 150mph (70 to 240km/h).
As for those delicious looking alcantara sport seats in the pictured M235i, those are for the European market, as the North American models will come with standard Oyster/Black Sensatec or Black Sensatec (BMW lingo for faux leather) on the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe or optional Dakota leather in either Magma Red, Mocha, Black with Blue highlights, Oyster or Back, and standard Dakota leather on the M235i xDrive Gran Coupe.
What are the power options in America?
At launch, Americans will get the same powertrains as the X1 and X2. The entry-level 228i xDrive comes with a 2.0-liter turbo four making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 0-60mph is dispatched in 6.0 seconds while the 228i xDrive reaches an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) when the vehicle is equipped with all-season tires and 151 mph (243 km/h) when fitted with performance tires.
Moving up to the sportier M235i xDrive gets you a tuned version of the 2.0L four delivering 301 hp between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm, again paired to an eight-speed auto and standard AWD. BMW claims a swift 4.7 seconds for the 0-60mph (96km/h) or 4.6 seconds with the optional M Performance Package’s overboost function, and a top speed of 155 mph (250km/h) when equipped with performance tires.
The M235i gets an assortment of other goodies like M Sport body kit and interior, 18-inch wheels, upgraded suspension, steering and brakes, and a Torsen front axle limited slip differential.
And in Europe?
Europeans will eventually get a much greater selection of models and powertrains, but at launch, aside from the M235i xDrive, the range will comprise of the gasoline-fueled 218i with a 140hp 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo and the diesel 220d with a 190hp 2.0L four turbo.
How much will it cost?
The 2-Series Gran Coupe is BMW’s economy sedan and even though we don’t have official pricing yet, we expect it to start from the low-$30,000s and top around the mid-$40,000s in America for the two available variants, the 228i xDrive and M235i xDrive – before, of course, ticking any of the many available extras.
It will make its public debut at AutoMobility LA in November 2019 with production starting in January 2020. It will arrive in dealerships across America in March 2020.