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BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe: Style and substance

S Muralidhar | Updated on October 15, 2020 Published on October 15, 2020

The dashboard sports a mix of metallic and textured plastic elements Photos by S Muralidhar   -  Photos by S Muralidhar

This new entry model is probably what the Doc would have prescribed to put the pandemic’s impact behind us

BMW India has been on overdrive, swiftly adding to its portfolio of vehicles even in the midst of the coronavirus-induced slowdown of the past few months. The German luxury brand’s stables now look much more filled out with a wide choice of cars and sports utility vehicles across multiple segments.

The latest addition is the 2 Series Gran Coupe, its smallest four-door coupe, and possibly BMW’s best bet to serve customers looking for an aspirational entry model at a time like this.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe is a front-wheel drive model that is based on the 1 Series, BMW’s smallest offering worldwide. The Gran Coupe design concept is meant largely for markets where a hatch wearing a BMW badge is not so appealing for buyers. Perfect choice for India then, where the 1 Series, despite its better driving dynamics, just didn’t find as many takers. Indian buyers are equally demanding, and continue to be so even at the entry luxury segment. Will the 2 GC live up to their expectations?

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Design

The 2 Series Gran Coupe is a unique model in the BMW portfolio; born out of a need to appeal to a new buyer profile — young, possibly single and itching to experience luxury early into his/her career. It helps to have the elongated hood and coupe-like roofline ending in a pert boot lid. Viewed from the front, there is just that hint of the Z4 in the low bonnet and the shape of the kidney grille. As I walk up to my test mule — the 220d MSport trim variant — the sculpted panels and the elongated silhouette are already sending out a sporty vibe. After the oversized kidney grilles of the last few vehicles that BMW India launched, it is good to see a proportionately compact one with the trademark vertical slats. A slight variation of the shark nose edge for the bonnet is another BMW design classic. The LED DRLs and light tubes in the tail-lamps of the 2 GC catch your attention and the coupe profile does make it special compared to an average compact sedan in the luxury class.

The boot lid design has an integrated lip, and splits the horizontal, elongated tail-lamp. The compact lid means that the loading width is a bit narrow, but the luggage is a fairly generous 430-litres. Twin chrome tail-pipes sticking out of the bottom of the rear fender are a sporty feature that also add to the 2 GC’s appeal. Lending credence to its undiluted Gran Coupe lineage even more are the frameless doors; quite dramatic to experience even as I climb into the cabin. Minor variations to the exterior trim between the Sport Line and the MSport variants, with of course the latter getting badges and puddle lamps to identify its status.

Interior

The cabin gets a creamy beige and dark grey colour theme. The dashboard sports angular features with an intermingling of metallic and textured plastic elements. The most interesting design elements look like coated inserts on the dash and door panels, but are actually LED back-lit and light up after dark to give the cabin a very special ambience. Digital instrument cluster, auto climate control and a multi-function steering wheel are all BMW design usuals; as is the mild tilt in the centre stack to keep it driver-focussed. The electrical front seats feature a memory function, there is a wireless phone charger and my test mule MSport variant also had steering paddle shifters for manual gear selection. The cabin feels fairly special for a car in the entry segment and actually had some other high-end features like a reverse parking assist, 3D navigation, a 10.25-inch infotainment display (with gesture control) and a panoramic sunroof. The space in the cabin is adequate for passengers of average build, even at the rear, for a car in this segment.

Performance

The new 2 GC has been launched only with a diesel engine for now. A petrol variant will come in later this year. The MSport trim that has been launched is not to be confused with the M235i. What we get in India is the 220d featuring the TwinPower Turbo two-litre diesel engine. The 4-cylinder, transverse-mounted 1,995cc engine delivers 190hp of peak power and 400Nm of torque to the front wheels. The construction delivers a 50:50 weight distribution, but to cut the possibility of understeer, BMW engineers have given the 2 GC what is called a ‘ARB’ system - a wheel slip limitation system that works continuously with its driving stability control system.

The engine is paired with a 8-speed steptronic sport automatic transmission. On the road, the 2 GC feels quick, though not blisteringly so. Torque is delivered quite early and there is not much in terms of turbo lag. At first, it feels a little odd to perceive the Diesel engine’s muted clatter just past the part throttle position. But, once I find the engine’s tractability inside the city roads and for the short bursts on the highway, it kind of feels right. Three driving modes are available — EcoPro, Comfort and Sport. It also gets launch control, cruise control with braking function, auto start-stop and brake energy regenaration.

Bottom line

Chinese buyers and their preferences have been a big influence on improving efficiencies and ride quality, and that is also seen in the 2 GC. This is a positive for India too, where a plusher, more pliant set-up for the suspension is what we need over the rigid set-ups that some of the earlier models had, which led to a bouncy ride on our poor-quality roads.

The new 2 GC is positioned as one of the entry models from BMW and will likely compete with the likes of Audi A3 and Q2, Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA. But, the 2 GC has two inherent advantages — one, it is locally assembled and will have an advantage over competing models that will be imported as completely built units (CBUs). The second plus point is the choice of equipment and trim, that helps deliver more value for buyers in the entry segment. Introductory prices for the two trim variants of the new 2 Series Gran Coupe are ₹39.3 lakh for the 220d Sport Line and ₹41.4 lakh for the 220d M Sport.

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Published on October 15, 2020
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