Climb quickly inside – one way of artfully dodging any awkward conversations about the latest 2’s exterior styling – and the M235i’s off to a fairly good start. We’ve remarked previously that the latest 1-series has perhaps the best sense of quality of any other car in this sector, and with a nigh-on identical cabin, that carries across to the 2.
In typical BMW fashion it’s also possible to get the driving position spot-on, and the infotainment is again among the best in class, if not as sparkly or showy as that in a Mercedes CLA. Our one real misgiving is the instrument cluster, which is about as far from the clarity of traditional BMW analogue dials as it’s possible to get, but we’ll note BMW’s effort to enliven the cabin design with clever cross-hatched mood lighting emanating from the dashboard and door trims.
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The unfortunate exterior shape does grant 50 litres of extra luggage space, at 430 litres with the seats in place, but what you gain in suitcases you lose in heads – rear seat passengers will struggle if they’re tall in the torso. Space up front is much better – and it’s fair to assume that those choosing the Gran Coupe will have lower practicality requirements than those opting for the standard 1-series hatchback.