A coupe with premium practicality: The 2 Series Gran Coupe
Breaking the company mould and entering a new niche is both challenging and exciting, something which the latest compact BMW, the 2 Series Gran Coupe, appears to take in its stride. While this is most certainly not the brand's first foray into the Gran Coupe genre, it is most certainly its most attainable to date.
The latest Gran Coupe is different from the likes of the 4 Series, 6 Series and 8 Series Gran Coupe from a product appeal perspective too, offering for the first time in a 2 Series not only a four-door coupe body style but also BMW's new front-wheel drive architecture for added practicality and usability.
Some BMW fanatics may bemoan the loss of the rear-wheel drive platform for this product, however, when one considers the practical advantages of a front-wheel drive platform which can accommodate all-wheel drive, it simply makes better sense. The new platform allows for smaller turbocharged engines and gearbox combinations to be better packaged up front while creating more space at the rear for passengers and freeing-up boot space.
The Leipzig-built 2 Series looks to appeal to style-oriented customers that require a degree of practicality. The apparent dichotomy of premium design appeal and compact dimensions alongside practicality is where the Gran Coupe comes into its own versus a traditional coupe, sedan or hatchback, managing to incorporate the very latest BMW design ethos while providing respectable space and a large boot.
From a styling perspective, the Gran Coupe is unapologetically BMW in its approach, with a large signature kidney grille, which now appears as a singular unit flanked by LED headlights, which creates an atrractive front end. The side profile is that of a traditional coupe, with a sloping roofline but with an elegantly stretched silhouette made more stylish by four frameless doors. The rear-end is where its Gran Coupe design is most prominent, with all-new rear lights which stretch across the rear of the vehicle, joined in the centre by a high-gloss black band, creating a light-bar effect and rounding off a beautifully executed aesthetic.
The flagship M235i takes the design of the Gran Coupe up a notch, with a 3D mesh design for its kidney grille, a more aggressive body kit, including larger front air intakes as well as two large exhaust exits on either side of the rear bumper. The model can also be distinguished by its various Cerium Grey exterior accents and an M Sport rear spoiler. This flagship model can also be specified with a panoramic sunroof.
All Gran Coupe models are fitted with sporty alloy wheels, these range from 16 to 19-inches in diameter with 19-inch polished lightweight wheels from the range-topping M235i xDrive available as an option too.
The Gran Coupe line-up will be offered with three equipment lines, depending on a customer's specific requirements. There's Basic, Sport Line and M Sport to choose from. The Sport Line models feature various High-gloss Black trim elements and window surrounds in the same hue, creating the brand's iconic Shadow Line appearance.
The M Sport models are more distinctive, with a design similar to the aforementioned M235i xDrive model, including larger front air High-gloss Black intakes, aluminium bars on the kidney grille and a Dark Shadow-pained rear apron. From an interior perspective, M Sport models also benefit from the M Sport steering wheel and sports seats with the Trigon/Sensatec covers.
Despite appearing sporty and compact, the Gran Coupe is rather spacious, therefore managing the tough feat of appearing smaller than it is. This comes down to well-judged proportions in the design department and its measurements of 4 526 millimetres in length, 1 800 millimetres in width and 1 420 millimetres in terms of height. This translates into a vehicle that looks low and wide but has the necessary space. The practicality comes courtesy of a generous 2 670-millimetre wheelbase, allowing for an incredible 430-litres of boot space, making this a vehicle that can be used for a variety of applications.
These attributes make the 2 Series Gran Coupe a compact car with a difference. Its unique style from an exterior aesthetics perspective has been combined brilliantly with the latest technology, usability and practicality that the brand is known for.
Pricing (including VAT, excluding CO2 tax):
218i R 515 000
220d R 595 000
M235i xDrive R 725 000