You’re forgiven if you can’t keep BMW’s lineup straight. With all the subgenres and number changes, it takes diligence to keep on top of it. Well, now let’s add one more notable member to list...the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe.
The BMW 2 Series history is a relatively short one, only being in the U.S. lineup since 2014. But how we arrived at this 2020 BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe is a much longer story.
Before BMW went with the even numbers for coupe’s strategy, the 2 Series was known as the 1 Series Coupe, which arrived here for 2008. It reminded us of our favorite entry-level Bimmer of all time, the 1995 318ti 3-door Coupe. Back then, for $20,000 you got the full BMW experience; flawless handling, sharp power steering, and minimal front plow. We said it was a real gem; the prestige of a BMW on a working man’s, or woman’s, budget. Yes, we tried to be P.C. back then too.
Now, BMW has done more than just change the name from 1 Series to 2 Series. They’ve added 2-more doors, making not a sedan, but a Gran Coupe. The frameless window styling still favors a hardtop coupe more than a typical sedan.
2.0-liter turbo-4s are not unusual these days by any means, though ones that put out more than 300-horsepower are certainly more of a rarity. The M235i cranks the turbo up to make 301-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. An 8-speed automatic is your only transmission option.
Now “Gran” Coupe would indicate more of an upper crust experience over the typical sport sedan. So, to make that transformation, BMW felt it’d be best to utilize the X1’s Mini-derived front-wheel-drive based chassis, not the 2-series Coupe’s rear-drive one; though xDrive is standard. What that means to you and me is, a very solid and playful foundation for a sport sedan... or Gran Coupe.
There is a base 228i xDrive as well; with a bit less content, and 73 fewer horsepower.
Same overall shape and theme as 4 and 8 Series Gran Coupes, though the 6 Series GC has been discontinued.
We all know that BMW has been monkeying around with their grille over the last few years.
This one, still relatively small, has no vertical slats, it’s all about the mesh. There are larger air intakes all over the front end, and even a front splitter to denote the potential performance. 18-inch wheels are standard, these 19-inch forged M V-spokes, an option.
You get a max amount of screen time inside, 10-inch screens for both the digital instrument cluster and the dash-top iDrive 6.0 touchscreen; and even a big 9.2-inch head-up display reflected on the windshield.
Being a mid level M Performance model, you also get nice-looking, comfy, and supportive red M Sport Seats; as well as a small, thick-rimmed M steering wheel that feels great in your hands.
Not to mention actual performance upgrades like sport suspension and M-Sport brakes. And it’s a real blast to drive; making quick and easy work of our slalom course. You can really throw the car around, as it responds quickly to inputs. There’s virtually no body roll, and balance is great as well, enabling you to find both understeer and oversteer depending on vehicle speed and intensity of your inputs.
Good power right out of the hole; it won’t throw you back in your seat, but it’s consistently delivered, and fairly seamless throughout our runs, including a quick sprint to 60 in 4.7-seconds.
There’s a nice little exhaust growl, though some of the sound is simulated as part of BMW’s Active Sound Design. But as is typical with BMW’s 8-speed automatic, it always seems to have you right in the heart of power. So 13.4-seconds for the ¼-mile, at 105 miles-per-hour.
The M-Sport brakes were solid, fade free, and right on the money consistent; with stops of just 93-feet from 60.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined.
That’s an average Energy Impact Score; consuming 17.7-barrels of oil and emitting 5.5-tons of CO2 annually.
Pricing for the M235i is $46,495; with the base 228i coming in at $38,495.
The Gran experience has worked fantastically well for BMW; offering unique style to go along with increased performance, to create a different vibe from the traditional sport sedan. Now, with the 2020 M235i xDrive Gran Coupe, BMW has spread the wealth to a more obtainable model; ain’t life grand!
Engine: 2.0L Turbo 4
Torque: 332 lb-ft.
0 - 60 mph: 4.7 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.4s @ 105mph
EPA: 23 City / 32 Highway / 26 Combined