What the flaming heck is a BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe, we hear you ask? Well, BMW has been curiously slow to break into the hatchback-based coupe-ish-sedan niche. It ran away with the coupe-SUV idea by perpetrating the X6 and the X4, and tried to reinvent the sedan with the 5 and 6 GT. But it’s let the Mercedes-Benz CLA rule the four-door mini-coupe-thingy patch for too long. And this is the riposte.
In simple terms, this is the new front-wheel-drive 1-Series hatchback with a longer tail and pillarless doors. You can have a quick one in the form of the M235i Gran Coupe—powered by the same 302hp turbo 2.0-liter motor from the M135i hot hatch. That has four-wheel drive and will go from 0-100kph in 4.9sec.
Or, you can have one with the engine out of a Mini. Yep, the 218i Gran Coupe packs most of the show with very little of the go, but Mini’s 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine is a gem, and making do with 136hp means BMW can claim this slippery-looking niche-buster will return over 20km/L.
Alternatively, there’s a diesel 220d Gran Coupe, with the lowest CO2 emissions of the bunch. Prices kick off at just under £26,000 (around P1.71 million), rising to £37,255 (roughly P2.46 million) for the M235i variant. Which seems like a lot for a car that’ll have no space in the back.
Ah, but not so fast, protests BMW, armed with numbers, maths, and tape measures. The carmaker says that the 2GC will not only out-steer and out-drive the likes of the Mercedes CLA (it doesn’t namecheck it specifically, but we all know what it’s aiming at), it promises plenty of room for actual humans, too.
Compared to the old 2-Series coupe (which was, in fairness a proper actual coupe with only two doors, instead of pretending to be one like this ‘Gran Coupe’), the new 2GC offers 33mm more kneeroom. Mercifully, the M235i offers more interesting features than space for knees, like launch control, adaptive Comfort/Sport suspension, and a limited-slip differential.
Because it’s based on the dumpy new 1-Series, the new 2 Series Gran Coupe isn’t as naturally elegant as the sensational new M8 Gran Coupe. But is it another step in the right direction for BMW’s increasingly wayward design department?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.