Gran finale for BMW

2 Series

BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, front, action
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, side
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, rear, action
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, rear, static
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, interior
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, rear seats
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, instrument panel
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, display screen
BMW M235i Gran Coupe, 2020, boot

BMW is expanding its range of compact models with the introduction of a four-door coupe in the 2 Series line up.

The Gran Coupe is some four inches longer than the two-door model which has been around since 2014 and comes with the latest in looks and technology from the Bavarian car maker.

Prices run from £25,815 for the entry level 218i and top out from £37,255 for a feisty M235i complete with all-wheel-drive and BMW's most powerful four cylinder engine with 306hp on tap.

In between is a diesel offering - the 220d - and that costs from £31,355 and comes with an official fuel return of 57.6mpg at best.

We have just got to grips with the two petrol versions of the model which not only completes the 2 Series range but also BMW's line up of four-door sleek looking coupes alongside the Gran Coupe offerings in the 4, 6 and 8 Series ranges.

The ‘baby' of the Gran Coupe models certainly looks the part - a classic silhouette yet distinguished front and rear by some aggressive styling that adds to its poise.

A one-piece grille, huge air scoops and LED headlights set the base models apart while on the range topping M235i M Performance the grille gets a distinctive mesh finish and a more pronounced central divider.

It has presence all round and at the rear there's a good chunky spoiler effect to the boot lip with twin exhaust nacelles adding to the effect on the M model.

At some 4.52 metres long the Gran Coupe is noticeably bigger than the standard 2 Series and not only does that make for more leg room in the back it also gives it a good-sized boot of 430 litres - a full sized case more than on the two-door model.

The rear seats fold for more room if necessary but the sloping roof line can impact on taller rear seat passengers with headroom restricted in the back.

Frameless doors - a classic coupe trait - are another feature and all in all the Gran Coupe looks very different to the regular 2 Series.

The 218i has a revised version of BMW's 1.5-litre three pot engine which is now boosted to deliver 140hp and said to be cleaner by 29g/km on the CO2 front. That gives it an emissions figure of 114g/km at best and an official fuel return of up to 47.1mpg.

Top speed is a claimed 134mph and 0 to 60 acceleration is 8.7 seconds and all versions of the Gran Coupe come with the same wheel slip limitation system that BMW uses in its electric i3 range to enhance handling.

It works and there's a great degree of grip - even more when it comes to the M235i with its four-wheel-drive system.

In this guise the 2 Series Gran Coupe comes into its own and the M model delivers a scintillating drive - powerful, precise and with everything even the most demanding driver could want.

It makes the 218i feel decidedly normal and that's reflected in the M235i's statistics of 0 to 60 acceleration in 4.9 seconds and a maximum restricted to 155mph - not far off that from the 3.0-litre performance from the current hotty in the 2 Series range, the M240i.

Official fuel return is rated at 37.2mpg at best with a CO2 figure of 153g/km - not far off the 36.4 to the gallon we managed.

In the 218i we saw an average fuel return of 44mpg and that was over similar routes.

Both cars came with automatic transmissions with rapid-fire paddle shifters for added fun - especially on the M235i - and on the 218i that took the basic cost up to £27,025.

The auto box is standard on the diesel and the M235i.

Interior trim, layout and equipment is almost identical to that of the latest BMW 1 Series range and that sees all versions coming with the likes of sat nav and a full set of driver aids, connectivity and the option of a head-up display.

A lot has happened in the BMW world since the 2 Series first appeared and the company has not shied away from keeping developments ‘live' on its latest models.

The Gran Coupe is a very different kettle of fish to the two-door model and a car that performs to the latest standards in every way - a worthy flagship to the range if ever there was.

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