BMW 2-series Gran Coupe review - ride and handling

Agile and competent, but struggles to really entertain, without any defining character to hook you in

Evo rating
Price
from £25,860
  • Quick and capable M135i, good ride, well built
  • M135i isn’t special enough to drive, awkward styling

BMW has certainly hit its maturity targets. Both 2-series Gran Coupes we’ve tried ride well, rounding off the worst bumps yet maintaining control of their faculties over cambers and undulations. The sharp steering has decent weight and both engines are smooth and responsive, and their gearboxes shift cleanly.

Thing is, the 2-series just isn’t that fun. There’s plenty of everything you’d expect from a car like this, with strong pace, ample traction and lateral grip, a precise front end, good mid-corner balance, and strong brakes that are easy to modulate.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

But their engines are also largely characterless, even with the M235i’s in its rowdier Sport mode. The three-cylinder strains while the four-cylinder drones, neither having any verve to their delivery, and there’s not quite enough feedback through the otherwise well-judged controls to involve you in the act of driving.

If you’re wondering why both petrols are being lumped into those descriptions, it’s because whether driving a basic 218i or the sporty M235i, they actually share plenty of characteristics. The M235i is faster and firmer than the 218i certainly, but not notably more involving to drive.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

There’s a sense that the M235i has probably hit a bunch of objective internal measures within BMW and given the go-ahead as a result. Without the six-cylinder engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and available manual gearbox of its predecessor though, it has to work much harder for our affections, and instead it feels like BMW has done the bare minimum. The outgoing, five-year-old Golf R is more fun, and the current Mercedes-AMG CLA35 and A35 saloon more engaging.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/news/20376/scuderia-cameron-glickenhaus-004s-order-books-open-for-674bhp-three-seater
News

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S: order books open for 674bhp three-seater

Announced in 2017, the road-legal Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S is now set to enter production later this year
6 Aug 2020
Visit/bmw/2-series-coupe/202900/new-bmw-2-series-coupe-spied-ahead-of-reveal
BMW 2 Series coupe

New rear-wheel drive BMW 2-series coupe spied – the M2’s not dead yet

BMW’s 2-series Coupe is coming back, with right-wheel drive.
6 Aug 2020
Visit/best-cars/15315/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps20000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £20,000 – evo garage

The evo team pick their favourite used performance cars
4 Aug 2020
Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020