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- Highs Peppy powertrains, intuitive cockpit controls, spry driving demeanor.
- Lows Bubble-like roofline, tight back seat, most desirable powertrain costs a lot.
- Verdict The 2-series Gran Coupe does a good impression of a scaled-down luxury sedan, but it fails to deliver a BMW-esque driving demeanor.
As one of the least expensive ways to join the BMW owners club, the 2021 2-series Gran Coupe seeks to deliver a luxury-car experience, and it mostly succeeds. The GC challenges other scaled-down premium four-doors such as the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-class. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is found under the hood, but it's available in two states of tune: with 228 horsepower in the 228i and with 301 horses in the M235i. The latter delivers blistering acceleration, but the former is no slouch. The 2-series Gran Coupe's ride is refined, but its handling isn't as sharp as we'd expect from a car with the BMW badge. Unlike the rear-drive-based 2-series coupe and convertible, the four-door 2-series Gran Coupe comes off a front-drive platform borrowed from BMW's sister brand, Mini, and it can't seem to hide that fact.
What's New for 2021?
Like many other 2021 BMW models, the 2-series Gran Coupe receives SiriusXM satellite radio as standard, and Android Auto compatibility is finally on the spec sheet. The once optional 10.3-inch infotainment and gauge-cluster screens are now standard, same goes for the navigation system with real-time traffic updates. Plus, the new Driver Assistance package provides adaptive cruise control and an automatic parking feature.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Driving enthusiasts will likely yearn for the hotter M235i model, but for the majority of drivers, the base 228i Gran Coupe will surely satisfy. We'd skip most options, but adding the Convenience package—keyless entry, driver's-side lumbar support, and a panoramic sunroof—seems like a no-brainer.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Both 2-series Gran Coupe models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The one in the 228i makes 228 horsepower, whereas the M235i's produces 301 horses. All-wheel drive is standard on the M235i and optional on the 228i; an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line. Around town, the 228i feels sprightly and eager, and at the test track, it delivered a brisk 5.1-second run to 60 mph. But a short test drive in the M235i will push that car from your mind. The M235i makes the entry-level model feel tame, and in our hands, it blasted to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. That's quicker than the X2 M35i SUV, which has the same powertrain; it hit 60 in 4.6 seconds during a comparison test.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA rates the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe for 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, and on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy loop, it posted an impressive 37 mpg. The more powerful M235i model earns nearly the same ratings as the 228i: 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. What's more, in our testing, it delivered 37 mpg, too.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Cabin styling matches that of modern BMWs like the 3-series sedan and the X3 SUV. It's a simple driver-focused design featuring ambient interior lighting that illuminates the dashboard and door panels. BMW claims that rear-seat legroom is nearly the same as the larger 3-series sedan's, but overall the cabin feels snug for both front- and rear-seat passengers. The 2-series Gran Coupe's small cargo area is good enough for grocery runs and weekend road trips, and the back row folds down to accommodate bulkier cargo. We fit five carry-on suitcases back there with the seats up and 14 with them down.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The driver faces a 10.3-inch reconfigurable digital gauge display and a dashboard-mounted 10.3-inch touchscreen. The latter is angled slightly toward the driver for ease of use. Navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio come standard, but a wireless smartphone-charging pad and Harman/Kardon stereo system will cost extra. And BMW provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility at no charge.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 2-series Gran Coupe hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). BMW's Active Driving Assistant, which includes a suite of driver-assistance features to help reduce the likelihood of an accident, comes standard. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW offers a warranty package that matches what its European rivals provide, and then it sweetens the deal with three full years of complimentary scheduled maintenance. Audi offers just one year of included service visits, and Mercedes-Benz, none.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
122 cu in, 1998 cc
228 hp @ 6000 rpm
258 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm
8-speed manual automatic
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/11.8-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza LS100 RFT, 225/40R-18 92H M+S ★
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 178.5 in
Width: 70.9 in
Height: 55.9 in
Passenger volume: 89 cu ft
Trunk volume: 15 cu ft
Curb weight: 3517 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 5.1 sec
100 mph: 14.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec
1/4 mile: 13.8 sec @ 99 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 176 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
75-mph highway driving: 37 mpg
Highway range: 480 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 27/23/33 mpg