BMW 2-series Gran Coupe ready to take on Mercedes-Benz CLA

All-new front-wheel-drive 1-series spawns its first derivative: the 2-series Gran Coupe

BMW has revealed a new model it’s calling the 2-series Gran Coupe. Like the new 1-series, the Gran Coupe utilises a front-wheel-drive chassis, which is also loosely based on that of the 2-series Active and Grand Tourers. Confused? You’re not alone, but all you really need to know is that this front- or all-wheel-drive hatchback is in actuality a Mercedes CLA rival.

So what is the Gran Coupe? Essentially it’s a slightly elongated new BMW 1-series, something you can tell almost immediately thanks to its similar front-end proportions and styling. Mercifully, the 2-series has toned down the 1-series’ somewhat challenging styling, employing smaller grilles with downturned edges and slimmer headlights. It’s still not what you might call classically pretty, but it’s less offensive, so that’s a start. 

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!

> 2019 BMW M135i review - BMW goes mainstream with its new Golf R rival

From the headlights back, the 2-series differs more dramatically, with a fast rake to the rear screen and slim LED lights that sit under a defined ducktail-like bootlid. Intended to be a smaller sibling to the 4-series and 8-series Gran Coupes, the tall body-sides and shallow windows instead give it a hint of 6-series GT, but we’ll gloss over that similarity for fear of increasing confusion levels. 

Powering the new 2-series Gran Coupe will be a selection of three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines connected to seven-speed dual-clutch or eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmissions. A six-speed manual is also available on lower-spec models, while xDrive all-wheel drive is optional on higher trims. Initially, the range will be limited to a 218i, featuring a 138bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder, and a 220d xDrive with 187bhp. 

A flagship M235i has also been revealed alongside the lesser models, with it receiving the B48 turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 302bhp, the eight-speed auto and standard all-wheel drive. Alongside its upgraded powertrain, the M235i will also pick up some bespoke styling elements on the bumpers and wheels, while incorporating BMW’s questionable use of satin grey on elements such as the grille, lower trim and mirror caps. If you were hoping this 2-series might gain a fifth and six cylinder, though, you might be disappointed, as the transverse engine layout means there is just not enough space under the bonnet. 

Sit Inside the 2-series Gran Coupe you’ll be greeted with familiar elements from throughout the BMW range, which is no bad thing. The basic dash layout and architecture have been lifted directly from the 1-series, alongside its crisp and user-friendly infotainment system, high quality materials and general premium-ness. It’s not quite as dramatic or glamorous as a Mercedes CLA, perhaps, but it does beat the Merc when it comes to material quality and ergonomics. 

It’s a world away from the rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins the current BMW M2 Competition – itself a current evo favourite and a car we’re not ready to say goodbye to. What does this mean for a new M2? Rumours of a new two-door coupe to directly replace the outgoing model have swirled, but for now any notion of a wide-hipped, tail-happy M model to sit underneath the incoming M3 remains vague at best. 

BMW 2-series Gran Coupe M Performance Parts

As with all new models from the marque, an array of M Performance parts are on offer to allow owners to enhance both the appearance and performance of the 2-series Gran Coupe. New exhaust tips, a rear spoiler, carbon fibre mirror caps, 18" or 19" M Performance wheels, an uprated braking system and a handful of aero-enhancing accessories can be equipped on the outside. Inside, owners can also option an Alcantara-clad steering wheel, carbon fibre shift paddles and more. 

Recommended

BMW 2-series Gran Coupe review
BMW 2 Series

BMW 2-series Gran Coupe review

16 Apr 2020
Ford Fiesta review – still the best supermini?
Ford Fiesta hatchback

Ford Fiesta review – still the best supermini?

20 Aug 2020
SEAT Leon FR 1.5 TSI 2020 review – a spicy chorizo to a Golf’s currywurst
SEAT Leon

SEAT Leon FR 1.5 TSI 2020 review – a spicy chorizo to a Golf’s currywurst

6 Aug 2020

Most Popular

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020
Car pictures of the week
Lotus Elise

Car pictures of the week

In this week’s car pictures, from issue 279, we look at the highlights from our lightweight sports car triple test
23 Oct 2020