As with the previous 1-series and 2-series (the latter of which remains on sale, for the time being), the current entry-level 2-series Gran Coupe is the 218i, using a Mini-derived 1499cc three-cylinder engine, boosted by a turbocharger. It’s good for 138bhp and 162lb ft of torque, sent through either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Next up is the 220d Gran Coupe, moving up to a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel with 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Again it’s front-wheel drive, though the sole transmission option this time is an eight-speed automatic.
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Mechanically the range-topping M235i packs the same 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and all-wheel-drive set-up as the M135i. Power comes in at 302bhp from 5000 to 6200rpm, with 332lb ft of torque developed over a 1750-4500rpm spread.
xDrive all-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip differential at the front axle. With the latest 2-series Gran Coupe based on a Mini platform the car is predominantly front-wheel drive, though the car’s electronic brain can send power to the rear wheels within a few milliseconds – though only to a maximum 50:50 torque split.
Structurally, think 1-series, but with some extra metal poking out beyond the rear axle. That gives the front-wheel-drive 218i a kerb weight of 1375kg, rising to a hefty 1570kg for the M235i xDrive, 45kg more than the M135i hatchback.
BMW has given the M235i in particular a slightly softer set-up than the hatchback, for a slightly more ‘grown-up’ dynamic personality. It’s as sophisticated under the skin – the latest 1 and 2’s bodies are stiffer than their predecessors, there’s a multi-link rear axle, and the M models ride 10mm lower than standard 2-series models – but given the M135i is far from our favourite all-wheel-drive hatch, a softer set-up doesn’t bode well for the M235i.