Motoring / Motoring News
Jaco Van Der Merwe
The very first BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has been around locally since early this year, but like almost everything else in life, had to take a back seat due to lockdown. Because road test editor Mark Jones put the M235i through its paces at Gerotek a few months ago, our eyes were on the other two models in the line-up, the 218i and 220d when BMW finally officially introduced them last week.
Complementing the 2 Series’ coupes and convertibles, the design of the Gran Coupe has been the major talking point following its launch internationally last year. The front-wheel driven setup of the 218i and 220i, similar to the 118i, is a sticking point for true-blue BMW enthusiasts.
While some critics have questioned the mere existence of the car, BMW is adamant that it’s an important addition to their overall Gran Coupe offering. After all, it is their answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA that debuted last year. According to the German carmaker, over 400 000 units have been sold across the 4, 6 and 8 Series Gran Coupes since the first Gran Coupe in 6 Series guise was introduced in 2012.
One of the standout features of the 2 Series is the styling at the rear which is in line with the 8 Series in terms of wide, flat tail lights and a low, wide stance on the road. It features frameless door windows, a single surround for each kidney grille and visible technical elements at the front. According to BMW, the styling will appeal to buyers wishing to express themselves more than in what a 1 or 3 Series styling would offer them.
BMW 218i Gran Coupe
The 218i is powered by the three-pot, in-line 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine which makes 103kW/220Nm that also does duty in the 118i, while the 220d features a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel mill delivering 140kW and 400Nm. Both send power to the front wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox.
The oil-burner was the pick of the two, albeit at a R87 800 premium. The power delivery at lower revs gets the car off the mark in a decent time and makes overtaking stress free, with the powerplant taking it all in its stride.
The 218i feels underpowered, which isn’t helped by the automatic transmission – the only gearbox on off which makes it feel even more sluggish. Somehow that just doesn’t seem right for anything sporting a BMW badge. The M235i is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine which sends 225kW/450Nm to all four wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.
BMW M235i Gran Coupe
The interior is mostly in line with the 1 Series and although it features Intelligent Assistant and Connected Navigation, other niceties such as Active Cruise Control and Driving Assistant are all optional extras. Compared to its 2 Series coupe siblings, the Gran Coupe has 33 mm more knee room, 14 mm more headroom and features 40-litres additional boot space for a total of 430-litres. and although it features Intelligent Assistant and Connected Navigation, other niceties such as Active Cruise Control and Driving Assistant are all optional extras.
All and all, there is no sitting on the fence on this one. You’ll either love it or hate it.
218i – R 556 800
220d – R 644 600
M235i xDrive – R 785 100
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