Quick, what do you think of when someone says BMW? Forget all of that. In the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, which was leaked today, the only traditional BMW feature left is a social climber behind the wheel.
Especially so with this one. Positioned below the 3 Series, it’s based on the European 1 Series, and is based on a long-wheelbase version of the UKL platform that is also used in Mini’s. It will compete with the Mercedes A-Class to be the car of choice of people who post pictures of their steering wheel on Instagram, but never the car itself.
In the US, two versions will be available- the 228i, with 228 hp, and the M235i, with 302 hp. Both have turbo 4-cylinder engines (no inline-six here), and are mated to an Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission as standard. A front-biased AWD system will be standard in the M235i, and optional in the 228i. FWD is standard. If reviews of the mechanically-identical 1 Series are any indication, it should drive fine. Not bad. Fine.
Styling wise, it drops the traditional kidney grille in favor of the Cocaine Addict nostrils that are becoming increasingly common in BMW’s model range. It also drops the Hofmeister Kink and adopts rear end styling that resembles the much-reviled 5 Series GT. Overall, the 2 Series GC doesn’t look horrible, but it looks like a classier version of the current Honda Civic, which isn’t what you want in a supposed-luxury car.
As it has yet to be fully released, nobody outside of BMW knows what it’s like inside. Expect it to be much like the interior of the Europe-only 1 Series. That means build quality that’s roughly on par with the Mazda 3, and the option of BMW’s digital gauges.
No longer the Ultimate Driving Machine, yet still no nicer than a Mazda 3? What’s the point then? The badge. It’s for people who only care about appearing successful. This is a car that will be bought primarily by wannabe influencers and by rich parents as birthday presents for their spoilt 16-year-old children. But there is hope for enthusiasts. BMW is saying the next 2 Series Coupe will remain RWD, in response to enthusiast demand for the current generation. Why BMW didn’t just launch the next-gen 2 Series Coupe with a 4-door variant, we will never know. Not only would the car be better, but it would have been cheaper to develop. Not much can be done now though. Let’s just hope the next 2 Series coupe comes a manual.
Update: Front-biased AWD is standard on the 228i. And the interior is indeed the same as the European 1 Series.