With this new 2 Series Gran Coupe, BMW has belatedly joined the market for compact four-door coupes that Mercedes-Benz had pretty much to itself with their CLA. Unsurprisingly, it shares almost all of its engineering with the BMW 1 Series, but it's pitched as a much more aspirational model. Overall, it's a polished, fun and genuinely practical 'premium' option for Motability drivers.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is back on the Motability Scheme, priced from £3999 Advance Payment for the 'M Sport' trim (section updated October 2023).
You might well be a little unfamiliar with BMW's 'Gran Coupe' formula, even though it's been around since 2012. That was when the Munich maker launched its 6 Series Gran Coupe, basically a four-door coupe based on a 3-box saloon shape for executives wanting something a little more fashionable.
Since then, we've also had 4 Series and 8 Series Gran Coupe models. But strangely, never a smaller take on the four-door coupe concept that would take on the car that most tend to think of when it comes to a more compact interpretation of this kind of design, the very profitable Mercedes CLA. This 2 Series Gran Coupe model though, is that car.
2 Series in BMW-speak can mean two very different things. Either something practical and resolutely unsporting in the form of the front-driven 2 Series Active Tourer compact MPV. Or rewarding and quite dynamic in the form of the rear wheel drive 2 Series Coupe or, to a lesser extent, the 2 Series Convertible. This 2 Series Gran Coupe is front-driven like the Active Tourer but uses the more advanced FAAR platform we've recently seen introduced with the third generation 1 Series hatch for at least some of the BMW 'Ultimate Driving Machine' vibe that you'd ideally want this car to be able to deliver.
You'll choose this car because of the way it looks - no question. Like most four-door coupes, this one is distinguished by frameless side windows and a swept-back silhouette which makes the car look a fraction more compact than it actually is. This 2 Series Gran Coupe is 4,526mm long and 1,800mm wide, but stands just 1,420mm tall. And it offers plenty of overtaking presence. The slightly angled full-LED headlights draw attention to the familiar BMW kidney grille, which features bars contoured with an eye-catching vertical indentation.
Take a seat up-front and the dash layout is pretty much lifted straight from the 1 Series hatch, which means you get an 8.8-inch 'Live Cockpit Plus' infotainment screen with base 'Sport' trim or a larger 10.25-inch monitor with the 'Digital Cockpit Professional' package that comes with other models. Where this car aims to steal a bit of ground over its Mercedes CLA rival is when it comes to back seat space. A 2,670mm wheelbase means that there's reasonable space of knees and legs in the rear. Passengers in this part of the car get 33mm more knee room than they would in a two-door 2 Series Coupe, while the seating position is 12mm higher with 14mm more headroom when the optional panoramic roof is specified. Out back, there's a decently sized 430-litre boot, which can be extended by folding down the 40:20:40-split backrest.
Non-Motability customers buying this car outright would find that prices start at around £26,000 for the base 218i petrol 'Sport' variant. It's an extra £2,500 for the ritzier 'M Sport' trim. All variants get an extremely high standard of spec, including full-LED headlights, sports seats and BMW's 'Live Cockpit Plus' package, which gives you a large display with touch function.
'Sport'-spec models get 17-inch wheels, LED front fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, and auto-dipping rear view mirror and two-zone climate control, plus BMW's 'Drive Performance Control' driving modes system. 'M Sport' variants meanwhile, get upgrades including 18-inch M light alloy Double-spoke rims.
As you'd expect, the engineering here is prioritised towards improving efficiency. As a result, the base three cylinder 218i manages up to 47.1mpg (WLTP) and up to 114g/km (NEDC) in manual form. On models with auto transmission, this car can be particularly efficient thanks to intelligent connectivity that enables the two auto gearboxes to adapt their shift strategy according to the planned route and driving situation.
If this model is equipped with Active Cruise Control, both transmissions will factor in the data from this system and the standard Navigation, to avoid unnecessary gear changes in a quick succession of bends. Across the range, efficiency is also aided by coasting and Auto Start Stop functions that take their cue from the data supplied by the navigation system, the front-mounted camera and the sensors for the optional driving assistance systems. The coasting function de-couples the powertrain from the transmission at cruising speeds when the car is running in either its 'Comfort' or 'ECO PRO' driving modes.
It's surprising that it took BMW so long to bring us this car. It's arch-rival, the Mercedes CLA, has after all been around since 2013 demonstrating the very real global demand for a compact saloon with a trendy coupe-like vibe. Whether you prefer BMW's take on this concept will be purely down to personal preference. It doesn't bring anything particularly new to this profitable sub-segment, but it has the required technology, style and sheer swagger to make the necessary impact.
If you were already thinking of ordering the BMW 1 Series hatch through Motability we'd encourage you to also consider this Gran Coupe because it's essentially the same car without much of a practicality downside and a considerably more stylish feel. That in a nutshell sums up what this kind of car is all about. Late to this party BMW may be, but the brand has come ready to make an impact.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local BMW dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: