German premium brand BMW is an expert at filling sales niches that often no-one knew existed… or were asking for! All car makers want to retain customers and who can blame them. Often existing customers are lost when they look to break out from their existing car but don’t feel they’re ready or can afford the next model up. The jump from a 1 Series to a 3 Series for example is a big step – physically and financially! By building cars that slot in-between mainstream models brand retention can remain high. We’ve been testing BMW’s niche 2 Series Gran Coupe in Ireland having first reviewed it on the European launch early last year. You can read that review here:http://motorhub.ie/bmw-2-series-gran-coupe-review/
The BMW 2 Series range features an eclectic mix of cars from the rear wheel drive 2-door Coupe and 2-door Convertible to the 5-door MINI platform based 2 Series ‘Active Tourer’ & ‘Gran Tourer’ (MPVs) and 4-door Gran Coupe (GC). The GC sits on a long wheelbase (2,670mm) and looks imposing and is squat and has a quite wide stance. Our M Sport model on test sits on 18 inch double-spoke alloys. The GC is 4,526mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,420mm tall. The usual BMW design elements feature like a very prominent grille with slim headlights (LED headlights are standard). The rear lights get a unique design that helps the GC stand out from its siblings. The Gran Coupe has four doors and unlike the saloon feature frameless windows that are a pleasing and key coupe design element. Since the launch the GC’s looks have grown on me – although how much of that is due to the dramatic styling of the new 3 Series I’m not sure.
The cabin is the polar opposite of a cramped coupe. The front seat occupants get very good separation and the rear can take three but two adults will have few complaints. The boot is relatively big too at 430 litres. The optional technology pack fitted to our test car enhanced connectivity and driving comfort with a HUD (Head-Up Display), Harman/Kardon Surround Sound Audio System, Enhanced Bluetooth with Wireless Charging, Gesture Control (Marmite) and a WiFi Hotspot.
The Ireland market gets three engines initially – two petrol (218i and 225i)and a 2 litre diesel that we’re testing – the 218d. A 1.5 litre three cylinder engine powers the petrol entry model and it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds. The 2 litre 225i xDrive (AWD) is impressive with 306hp/450nm and this power can deliver a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds. On the road the GC works really well on Irish roads. Our front wheel drive diesel gripped with confidence. During one spell of greasy wet weather it delivered a very assured drive that inspired cornering confidence – something that average drivers will appreciate. This confidence can be lacking in rear-wheel drive cars in similar conditions.
Our test 218d M Sport Gran Coupe starts from €41,365 and with options like the ‘Technology Pack’ and ‘Sport Automatic Transmission’ weighed in at €46,000. With acres of cabin space and a price tag that is lot cheaper than the equivalent 3 Series – the 2 Series Gran Coupe cannot be ignored. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe pricing starts from €36,075 – and here’s the key point its roughly eight grand less than a BMW 3 Series!