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Car Review

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe review

£28,460 - £34,480
Published: 18 Feb 2020
As good as front-driven BMWs get, but arguably not as stylish as its sub-niche requires

Good stuff

Balance of comfort versus cornering. Cabin ergonomics. Air of quality

Bad stuff

Not a hatchback. Is it just us, or does it fail in its main aim: style?


What is it?

The word (or rather non-word) Gran matters. The 2 Gran Coupe has remarkably little to do with the 2 Series Coupe. It actually shares most genetic material with the 1 Series hatchback. It's transverse-engined and front-wheel drive – or AWD in the case of the M235i xDrive. It has the same suspension and dash as the 1 Series.

Although BMW has built another Gran Coupe, the 4GC, with a hatchback, this one is a saloon. BMW's view is that 2GC buyers are unlikely be family people and so they don't need the versatility of a hatch. And a fifth door would add cost and weight.

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Also, the 2GC will go to China and the US, countries where the 1 Series isn't sold, and which sneer at hatches.

Oh and because it goes to those places, the suspension has been tuned to be noticeably more plush than the 1 Series. Not what you'd expect in a car called Coupe, but as we'll see, it takes rather well to lumpy British-style tarmac. 

In short, the 2 Gran Coupe is a rival to the Mercedes CLA. Because you have to see every BMW in context of Mercedes and indeed every Mercedes in context of BMW. It's the great German car-biz bake-off.

Though the inside furniture is as per the 1 Series, the outside is all-new. The big-grille face, with angled-back headlight pairs, has a bit of Z4 about it. Frameless doors allow a lower roof and clean-looking apertures.

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Meanwhile the side profile adopts almost all the same feature lines as the 8 Gran Coupe. But strangely, while those lines make the 8 look bony, the 2 has flabbier surfaces so the lines fade into the background. Sorry, but it just looks chubby, especially over the rear wheels.

What's the verdict?

As good as front-driven BMWs get, but arguably not as stylish as its sub-niche requires

This might be the littlest BMW four-door, but the air of plush refinement makes it feel bigger than you'd expect. Even so, it's not averse to some cheeky fun if you give it a nudge.

Trouble is the slight air of conflict. It's wanting to be a lizard-suited rake, but it's promised itself it'll be a respectable saloon. In the end of course it's neither, and ends up emanating a prissy pretentiousness.

The Rivals

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