BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe review - Engines, performance and drive

The 2 Series Gran Coupe offers plenty of refinement, although the hot M235i version doesn’t quite deserve its M Performance moniker.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • On-board tech
  • Decent levels of standard equipment
  • Good to drive
  • Polarising looks
  • Tight rear space
  • Smaller boot than rivals

BMW has softened the Gran Coupe’s set-up a little to help deliver a more comfortable ride compared to its smaller 1 Series sibling. The changes haven’t resulted in the Gran Coupe becoming too wallowy when pressing on and they offer noticeable improvements in the car’s ability to glide over road imperfections.

There’s a good level of steering feel and you’d be hard pushed to tell that the Gran Coupe sends its power to the front wheels. It shows good composure and retains a decent sense of balance through the twisty stuff.

The 218i petrol version uses the same 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine from the MINI lineup and it offers adequate performance. Opting for the turbo diesel variants sees stronger acceleration and virtually zero lag when you press the pedal.

At the top of the price list sits the M235i xDrive which just about passes muster as a junior M-car, although the softer set-up of the Gran Coupe doesn’t really suit the remit of a model associated with BMW’s famous performance arm. The four-wheel-drive system works well and offers lots of traction, but the eight-speed auto gearbox is afflicted by slightly jarring upshifts when accelerating hard. 

Another disappointment is the rather lacklustre engine sound, offering very little in the way of character and prompting BMW into channelling a fake engine note into the cabin through the speakers when you select the sportier driving modes.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The entry-level 218i version delivers 134bhp from its 1.5-litre engine and is, unsurprisingly, the slowest car in the 2 Series Gran Coupe range. The six-speed manual version manages the sprint from 0-62mph in 9.2s, with the auto variant a tenth of a second quicker.

Choosing one of the diesel models brings respectable performance - the 148bhp 218d is capable of reaching 62mph in 8.6s, while the 187bhp 220d is able to top this time by just over a second.

The 302bhp M235i xDrive is super quick in a straight line, managing the dash in 4.9s and able to reach a 155mph maximum.

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