MUNICH, GERMANY - Having survived some intensive ‘teasing’, the first-ever BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is now out in the open and ready to do battle with the Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Just like the latter, as well as its larger 8 Series Gran Coupe cousin for that matter, the 2 Series GC is a coupe-inspired four-door, and even has frameless windows to drive the message home, along with its low-slung stance and sloping rear window.

Unlike the actual 2 Series Coupe, the Gran Coupe is based on BMW’s ULK front-wheel-drive platform, as per the new 1 Series with which it shares a 2670mm wheelbase. However, it is much longer and slightly lower than the hatch, the GC’s length of 4526mm slotting it neatly between that and the 3 Series sedan. In spite of its sporty persona, the GC still boasts a relatively decent luggage capacity of 430 litres.

Topping the line-up is an M235i xDrive model, featuring BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder engine, which produces 225kW between 5000 and 6250rpm and 450Nm from 1750 to 4500rpm. Featuring launch control, the M235i will run from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and the top speed is limited to 250km/h. 

Power goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic gearbox and BMW’s xDrive AWD system, and its corner carving ability is bolstered by a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential.

But even the standard 2 Series GC models get some agility-enhancing equipment, given that BMW wants this to be the “dynamic yardstick” in its class. To that end, the cars come with a near-actuator wheel slip limitation (ARB) system pinched from the i3, which manages wheel slip more effectively, and this is assisted by a yaw moment distribution system that applies brakes on the inside wheel to curb understeer.

The other alternatives: 218i and 220d

Those who aren’t stretching their budget to an M235i can choose between 218i petrol and 220d diesel models. The 218i is powered by BMW’s three-cylinder turbopetrol unit, which produces 103kW and 220Nm, getting the car from 0-100km/h in a claimed 8.7 seconds. The 220d gets BMW’s 2-litre turbodiesel motor, rated at 140kW and 400Nm for a 7.5s 0-100 run. Both cars are front-wheel-driven, and the 218i is available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while the 220d is paired exclusively with an eight-speed torque converter autobox.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe shares its cabin design with the 1 Series, and is available with the same electronics, including a new-generation digital instrument cluster, Head-Up Display, BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant and the Display Key, which allows various functions to be controlled remotely.

Driver assistance gadgets on the menu include Lane Departure Warning with active lane return as well as the BMW Driving Assistant package with Lane Change Warning, rear collision warning and crossing traffic warning.

IOL Motoring