Traditionally, Indians aren’t big fans of luxury (read expensive) small cars. No doubt these cars can be quick, agile and look like a million dollars but they can also be cramped, compromised and still cost a real million dollars. Nevertheless, there are things you should know about the all-new 2-Series Gran Coupe and why BMW has bothered to bring it to the Indian shores.
Most of us are familiar with BMW’s model nomenclature so it isn’t tough to figure that this car sits between the smaller 1-Series hatchback (once sold in India and beautiful to drive) and the evergreen 3-Series sedan (which doesn’t need an endorsement from anyone). The 2-Series family spawns an entire range – Coupe, Convertible, Gran Tourer, Active Tourer (latter two are hatchbacks) and of course, this Gran Coupe. This one, like the bigger 8 Series GC launched in India some time back, is a four-door version of its equivalent series, in this case, a 2 Series Coupe. Marginally bigger, roomier and more practical thanks to the extra set of doors, this car currently has no direct competition from its usual rivals although Mercedes will launch an A-Class sedan in India very soon. A CLA will be a more natural competitor to a 2 Series Gran Coupe but Merc isn’t selling that in India anymore.
Coming back to BMW, one of the major differences to the Coupe is that unlike classic BMWs this car is front-wheel driven. That’s because the platform is borrowed from Mini and someone within the company also found out that most don’t notice the difference. Power not going to the rear makes way for a lighter roomier car. Calling the 2 Gran Coupe roomier would be right if you compare it to the tighter 2 Coupe. It’s more spacious than that mostly with rear-seat legroom and boot space. Otherwise, as a five-seater, it is a snug fit.
The car stands at four and a half metres in length and looks striking. The front grille – one of the smaller ones by current BMW standards – can look disproportionate to some but they have decked it up with chrome and elongated headlamps. The silhouette looks sleek and the roof ends quite elegantly into the boot. Overall it looks quite squat and rich, which kind of goes well with the intended positioning. The ground clearance is roughly 6-inches plus. Interestingly though, during the test drive, it did not bottom out even on the nasty speed breakers so we’d say nothing much to worry about there.
While we are at the driving bits, the 2 GC in this spec gets a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine. It is rather easy to pick revs on this. Mated a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox, the car is quick off the blocks. Zero to 100kph can be dispatched in just 7.5s if done right with launch control but more importantly, it genuinely can pick speed easily. 400Nm of torque at the low end is the key here. What it also does is allows it to maintain a highish cruising speed without sounding stressed. The hefty steering wheel is confidence-inspiring and you can dart in and out of lanes – maybe not go-kart style in a Mini but pretty close despite the larger overhangs.
In the M Sport version, the 2 GC gets 18-inch wheels – one inch more than the Sportline variant. The ride isn’t something to complain about though. There are driving modes to choose from – ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport. The differences are marginal in the latter two but the ECO PRO gives a whole lot better fuel efficiency which is helpful on longer journeys. For example, the car’s onboard computer claimed an additional 7-8km if I were to drive in EcoPro mode. Nevertheless, Comfort is a good setting to keep it on. The 2GC comes with a lightweight aluminium-steel front and a multi-link lightweight steel rear suspension. The car has disc brakes all around which have enough bite to handle hairy situations. The suspension is a good balance – a bit stiff but doesn’t keep bouncing over our poorly-surfaced roads. This despite the low-profile tyres. Interestingly, there is a space-saver spare and it sits in the boot without impinging on boot space – used to be a big concern of past BMW owners.
Another concern used to be the cabin and BMW has managed to spruce that up. Maybe still a bit less flashy than a Merc or an Audi but acceptable. The 2GC has two large similar-sized screens dominating the front – instrument cluster and central dashboard. The latter has a touch interface and also comes with gesture control. The buttons and dials feel more intuitive to use. The M Sport gets a fancier 10-speaker music system. There is also a panoramic sunroof which does add a bit of airiness to the compact cabin. The rear seat is however nothing to fancy about mainly because of the lack of headroom – downside of the coupe roof. Those above five and a half feet will have to watch out for hitting the roof. The seat is comfy and well contoured. Legroom and knee room are more than adequate even with front seats pushed behind.
Unlike the usual drill of luxury car owners, a 2 Series Gran Coupe is more of a personal vehicle than a chauffeur-driven one. It is fantastic to drive, looks ugly by itself but will liven up a regular Indian street with its striking presence. It is also great to drive and the grunt and practicality of the diesel mean you can use it endlessly be it the city or the highway. You will definitely find more practical family sedans which will be bigger and more practical. This is more an individual choice or a second or third car in the garage that needs to maintain certain standards without being over the top.
Model: 2 Series GC 220d M Sport
Price: Rs 39.3-42.3 lakh (ex-showroom)
Powertrain & Performance
Engine: 1995cc, twin-turbo, diesel, FWD, in-line 4 cyl
Max power: 188bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque: 400Nm @ 1750rpm
Top speed: 235kph
Aero (cD): 0.25
FE (tested): 14kpl
Full tank range: 550-600km
LxWxH: 4526 x 1800 x 1420 mm
Ground Clearance: 152mm
Tyres: 225/40 R18
Boot space: 430 litres
Kerb weight: 1580kg
Fuel tank: 42 litres
Turning circle: 11.4m
[Image Credit: BMW]