BMW’s ‘Coupe d’etat’ continues with 2 Series
New compact Gran Coupe to feature front-wheel drive and a storytelling AI assistant
BMW’s latest in an onslaught of new car reveals is a four-door 2 Series sedan called the Gran Coupe. It’s a mishmash of design cues borrowed from other products in the Bavarian stable.
See that low-sung and curved roof? It’s the mark of a Gran Coupe, the company’s fusion of practicality, sporting intent and emotionally charged styling. If you think you’ve seen the guppy-eyed front styling before, it’s because it mirrors the new Z4 and the new 1 Series hatch, with which it shares the same front-wheel drive platform. Principal models, the 218i and 220d are front pushers but the top-of-the-pile M235i is underpinned by BMW xDrive all-wheel drive.
At 4,526mm nose to tail, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is slap-bang aimed at the Mercedes-Benz CLA and to a lesser extent Audi’s A3 sedan.
BMW says passengers are well catered for space-wise inside the cabin that’s accessed through four doors with frameless windows. Boot size is a decent 430l with the chairs up.
Luxury sport interior furnishings will be completed with newly enhanced standard and optional safety and convenience items like Lane Departure Warning system with an active lane return; collision, pedestrian and crossing traffic warnings; a city braking function; active cruise control; plus a reversing assistant.
The car also has the capability to be locked and unlocked from a smartphone if the optional BMW Digital Key is specified while the engine can be started as soon as said smartphone is placed in its tray.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which is part of the control/operating concept is a digital character that learns routines and habits and makes suggestions on the move. Its artificial intelligence is now improved to engage in casual conversation with the driver, and is said to now have the ability to throw in a joke or two, or can relate interesting stories to you while driving.
Drive is provided by a line up of three and four-cylinder engines. The 218i is a triple and produces 103kW/220Nm available in either six-speed manual or seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch automatic; the 220d uses a diesel four-cylinder with 140kW/400Nm and exclusively fitted with an eight-speed Steptronic; while and the M235i wields a more serious 225kW/450Nm from a turbocharged four-cylinder.
The latter model gets an eight-speed Steptronic Sport as standard fitment, meaning it gets gearchange flaps behind the steering wheel. Apart from xDrive all-wheel drive, it also benefits from a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential, M Sport steering and M Sport brakes and Launch Control mode.
MPerformance Parts aimed at heightening the sporty looks of the new debutant have also been released.
These include lightweight materials and functional detail, like the M rear spoiler in high-gloss black; stainless steel, titanium and carbon tail pipe finishers; a high-gloss black mesh-style M front ornamental grille; Carbon M Performance exterior mirror caps; and an M Performance slide set for the LED door projectors.
The interior can be upgraded with M Performance steering wheel with high-grip Alcantara and large thumbrests, silver-grey, hand-sewn cross-stitch on the steering wheel rim, special shift paddles, and floor mats with M Performance inscription.
The braking performance can also be enhanced with a stronger M Performance brake system with distinctive red brake saddles and perforated lightweight construction brake discs. Specific and jet black matt 18 and 19 inch alloy wheels finish off the look.
The 2 Series Gran Coupe will arrive in SA in the first quarter of next year.