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The global media test drive of the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé has recently concluded, and yours truly was on hand to put the new compact four-door coupé through its paces – something which you’ll read about in due time. For now, we’re bringing you a massive 206-image photo gallery, shot on location in Lisbon.
A new entry into BMW’s compact car lineup, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is Munich’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA. It’s similar to its Stuttgart rival in more ways than one, because while the two-door 2 Series Coupé is rear-wheel drive, this car is based on the same front-wheel drive architecture as the latest F40 1 Series – a fact which will no doubt have purists frothing in the mouth.
Still, putting the engine ahead of the front wheels does at least mean that BMW can give the Gran Coupé compact proportions and a low-slung roofline without compromising interior space too much. This, together with the larger body, means that the car is obviously more practical than the two-door coupé, with 33 mm of extra rear knee room, 14 mm more headroom and a 430 litre boot that is 40 litres larger.
Design highlights include angled headlights that flank a conjoined trapezoidal double kidney grille, a frameless six-window glasshouse and a short rear end with slim tail lights and a gloss black horizontal strip. Inside, the basic dashboard is lifted from the 1 Series with an angular design, silvered controls, controls clustered according to their functions and optional ambient lighting embedded in the decorative trim.
Of course, the Gran Coupé comes with a whole host of added gadgetry, including the Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control and the Digital Key that allows you to use selected Samsung smartphones to unlock and start the car. Safety-wise, the car comes as standard in Europe with autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning (watch as these get dropped for our market).
On the options list is the Driving Assistant package with lane keeping assist, rear collision warning and crossing traffic warning, as well as adaptive cruise control with stop and go and the Parking Assistant. The latter comes with the reversing assistant that allows the car to reverse exactly the way you came in.
Under the skin, the Gran Coupé is constructed from a mix of high-strength steels and aluminium body panels to reduce weight while maintaining a high level of torsional stiffness. This is aided by added bracing such as a boomerang-shaped strut at the rear of the car. Suspension options include a passive setup in standard and M Sport forms – the latter being 10 mm lower – as well as adaptive dampers.
As with the 1 Series, the Gran Coupé gets the near-actuator wheel slip limitation (ARB) system, an advanced traction control that made its debut on the electric i3s. With a slip controller positioned directly in the ECU, rather than being integrated into the stability control, the system allows for swifter, more precise wheel slip control. Together with the stability control, ARB is claimed to significantly reduce power understeer.
Also fitted is the BMW Performance Control torque vectoring by braking, as well as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) that also uses the brakes to simulate a limited-slip differential. The xDrive all-wheel drive system is also fitted as standard on certain models.
The Gran Coupé gets the usual range of BMW turbocharged engines, with four of them available at launch. The base petrol mill is the latest version of the B38 1.5 litre three-cylinder in the 218i, now five kilograms lighter and delivering four more horsepower, with outputs sitting at 140 hp at 4,600 to 6,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,480 to 4,200 rpm. An extra 10 Nm of overboost is delivered in fourth gear and higher.
As such, the 218i is able to get from zero to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 215 km/h. Fuel consumption is rated at between 5.0 and 5.7 litres per 100 km, while carbon dioxide emissions are said to be 29 grams per kilometre with the new engine, at 114 to 131 grams per kilometre. It is the only model in the range to come with a six-speed manual gearbox, with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission optional.
Exclusive to the United States is the 228i xDrive, utilising a 231 hp/350 Nm 2.0 litre four-pot. On the diesel side, the 220d gets a 190 hp/400 Nm 2.0 litre twin-turbo unit, delivering a zero-to-100 km/h time of 7.5 seconds, a top speed of 235 km/h, fuel consumption of between 4.2 to 4.5 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 110 to 119 grams per kilometre. Both engines get an eight-speed torque converter automatic.
At the top of the range is the mid-range M Performance variant, the M235i xDrive. This uses BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder engine yet – an uprated B48 2.0 litre unit that also sees service in the X2 M35i and M135i. With 306 hp between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm, it races to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds before hitting the limiter at 250 km/h. It also offers a fuel consumption figure of 6.7 to 7.1 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 153 to 162 grams per kilometre.
Unique features for the M235i are a sport version of the auto gearbox, a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential, a strut tower brace, additional strengthening around the front subframe and centre tunnel, and standard M Sport steering, brakes and suspension. Visually, the high-performance model is differentiated by the standard M Sport package, a mesh grille, larger air intakes and Cerium Grey exterior highlights.
As yet, there are no details on when the 2 Series Gran Coupé is coming to Malaysia, or the variants that will be offered over here – although the two petrol models, the 218i and M235i xDrive, are obviously prime candidates. Of course, we will bring you more news as we have them.