BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé review

Category: Executive car

The 2 Series Gran Coupé has great driver appeal and comfort but limited rear head room

Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front cornering
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front cornering
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear cornering
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior dashboard
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé boot open
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior driver display
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé right driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front left driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear left driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front left static
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé left static
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé grille detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé headlights detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé alloy wheel detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear lights detail
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé kickplate
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior front seats
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior back seats
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior infotainment
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front cornering
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear cornering
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior dashboard
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé boot open
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior driver display
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé right driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front left driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear left driving
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé front left static
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé left static
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé grille detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé headlights detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé alloy wheel detail
  • Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear lights detail
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé kickplate
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior front seats
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior back seats
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior infotainment
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé has more than a little in common with the 1 Series family car.

In fact, you can think of it as that model’s more glamorous sibling; in essence, it’s the same car, but very slightly stretched, with a lower roofline and a swoopy, eye-catching makeover.

The 2 Series Grand Coupé is the smallest of BMW's four-door coupés (there's also the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé) and its main rival is the similarly style-focused Mercedes CLA. It also counts cars such as the VW Arteon and the Audi A5 Sportback among its competition.

The Gran Coupé’s kinship to the 1 Series extends to its mechanical underpinnings, with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive versions available.

Can the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé prove itself to be just as good to drive, while also stacking up well against the best executive cars in other important areas? Read on to find out...

By the way, there's also a non-Grand Coupé and a more sensible Active Tourer. To find out more, see our BMW 2 Series Coupé review or our BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review.

Overview

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé delivers a similarly fantastic blend of driver appeal and ride comfort to that offered by the 1 Series, along with a great interior. It doesn’t cost much more than its sibling, and many will love its swoopy coupé looks, but bear in mind that rear head room is pretty limited.

  • Entertaining handling
  • Brilliant build quality inside
  • Class-leading infotainment system
  • Limited rear head room
  • Mediocre boot
  • Automatic gearbox can be a bit hesitant
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé is available with three different engines, each of which can also be found under the bonnet of the BMW 1 Series. The line-up opens with a 138bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that brings a 218i badge and can get you from 0-62mph in a respectable 8.7 seconds.

Although that’s quicker than the equivalent Mercedes CLA 180’s time, the BMW suffers from a shortage of low-down pull, so it feels a bit sluggish unless you work the engine hard. Once up to speed, it cruises along happily enough, and at least acceleration is smooth and linear when the gearbox wakes up.

The other petrol option is the hot 302bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine of the M235i. Performance is brisk: it pulls really strongly all the way through to the rev-counter’s red line and, while its exhaust note may sound slightly contrived, it’s still a powerful and exciting engine.

For reference, it can match the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 for pace, but the hotter CLA 45 S is quicker.

The 188bhp four-cylinder diesel 220d completes the lineup. This is a strong, gutsy engine that offers good performance and will happily chew through motorway miles. The 218i gets a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the other two engines get slick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearboxes.

No matter which version you go for, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is good to drive, and its responses are sharper than the CLA's. The steering is excellent, feeling very lively and alert with every interaction you have with the wheel. The M235i has its own bespoke steering and suspension to help it keep flatter in corners, and, with its limited-slip differential (LSD) and four-wheel drive, has superb traction on greasy, winding roads.

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Three types of suspension are available: standard, M Sport (which is 10mm lower and stiffer), and adaptive (this is available optionally only on the M235i). All setups are very slightly softer than their 1 Series equivalents, but not by enough to make the 2 Series Gran Coupé much less fun to drive.

What’s more, the Gran Coupé manages to maintain tight control of its body movements while remaining impressively cosseting. The stiffer springs of M Sport versions exaggerate any initial jolts, but even this setup is never crashy and manages to stay comfortable on ragged surfaces.

The interior is pretty quiet. You’ll hear some road noise and a bit of wind noise, but it’s easier to hold a conversation while travelling at speed than it is in the Mercedes CLA, which has a lot more suspension noise.

Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Slip inside the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and you'll find the same excellent dashboard as graces the BMW 1 Series. As standard, you get analogue instrument dials with a digital fuel-economy display between them. M Sport cars get fully digital instruments (as do Sport versions if you tick this feature on the options list).

The driving position is top drawer; there's lots of height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and plenty of movement in the comfortable, supportive driver’s seat.

It seems a bit stingy that adjustable lumbar support is only offered optionally, although this is a criticism you can also apply to the Mercedes CLA. Also optional is fully electric seat adjustment.

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is outstanding. It gives you a touchscreen display, along with a rotary dial controller on the centre console, and it’s the easiest of its kind to use, whether you’re parked up or on the move.

It also comes with voice command, and gesture control is an optional extra. Apple CarPlay smartphone integration comes as standard.

If there’s one area in which the Mercedes undeniably trumps BMW it’s the visual pizzaz of its dashboard, thanks largely to the eye-catching widescreen layout of its infotainment system. However, there’s no doubting the rock-solid build quality on display in the 2 Series Gran Coupé. Indeed, build quality is one of the strongest areas of the car.

The view out of the front is as good as that of the CLA’s, but just like that car, the view out of the back is compromised by its sloping roofline and sharply angled rear window. However, with front and rear parking sensors as standard, along with a rear-view camera and an optional system that enables the car to park itself, manoeuvring isn’t a problem.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

You’ll have no complaints about space in the front – there’s plenty of head and leg room, and lots of elbow room too. The door bins are a decent size, and you also get a big glovebox and a generous cubby hole under the central armrest. Add the tray at the front of the centre console and there are plenty of places to stow your bits and pieces.

In the back, leg room is identical to that offered by the BMW 1 Series and slightly more generous than that of the Mercedes CLA. It also gives passengers more foot space under the front seats than the CLA. Unfortunately, though, that shapely sloping roofline really cuts into rear-seat head room. So much so that a six-footer won’t be able to sit up straight without their head being wedged uncomfortably against the ceiling.

The boot is actually bigger than that of the 1 Series, and gives you some handy underfloor storage spaces, but it’s slightly smaller than the CLA’s overall, and its 60/40-split rear seats don’t match the flexibility of the CLA’s three-piece 40/20/40 arrangement unless you pay extra for that option. The practicality of both cars is also hampered slightly their small boot openings.

Blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé only carries a very slight price premium over the closely-related BMW 1 Series.

So, if you're not worried about the compromises in practicality that we’ve outlined above, and you really like its looks, it has value on its side, too. That’s especially true when you consider that it undercuts the Mercedes CLA, the VW Arteon and the Audi A5 Sportback.

Two trim levels are available – Sport and M Sport – while the M235i stands alone as a trim in its own right. Sport trim highlights include 17in alloy wheels, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.

M Sport brings different suspension and steering, 18in alloys and some slightly sportier styling. Along with the performance upgrades highlighted earlier, the M235i brings more styling tweaks and adds sports seats to its equipment list.

Official CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures aren’t exactly outstanding, but the 2 Series Gran Coupé is certainly competitive with rivals in this respect. Euro NCAP has yet to put the car through its rigorous crash tests, but the 1 Series scored the full five stars when it was tested in 2019.

Every model has automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition and speed limit assistance, as well as a system that will warn you if you get too close to the car in front. However, it should be pointed out that the Mercedes A-Class out-scored the 1 Series for safety in each individual test areas, and the CLA has achieved similarly outstanding results.

On top of all the standard safety features, you can also add the optional Driving Assistant package (available on all trim levels) for blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert. The latter provides a warning of approaching traffic when you're reversing out from a driveway, for example.

BMW finished in 12th place in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. That's better than Audi (in 26th) and Mercedes (24th).

The 2 Series Gran Coupé is covered by a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, matching the cover offered by Mercedes for the A-Class and bettering Audi’s three-year warranty, which is limited to 60,000 miles.

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BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé interior driver display
At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £2,950
Target Price from £31,086
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or from £307pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £31,490
RRP price range £33,165 - £46,975
Number of trims (see all)2
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 39.2 - 48.7
Available doors options 4
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,970 / £3,329
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £3,941 / £6,659
Available colours