Why I would buy it?
- Most affordable, yet luxurious and practical BMW sedan
- Fuel-efficient and refined diesel motor
- Stunning looks for an entry-level BMW
Why I would avoid it?
- Low-slung stance and low ingress
- Limited rear-seat space
8.5 / 10
BMW India has indeed made a big splash with the introduction of the new 2 Series Gran Coupe. It's not just a new affordable entry-point into BMW, but this four-door coupe is indeed alluring with its aesthetic appeal, premium cabin with new connectivity tech, refined and frugal diesel mill, smooth gearbox, great driving dynamics, and more importantly - great everyday usability. This M Sport trim further adds to an individual character with a distinct sporty feel and a much-aspired M-Performance badge.
Engines and Performance
9 / 10
BMW will offer both the petrol and diesel engine options with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as a standard fit. A petrol-powered 220i Gran Coupe is expected to join the line-up soon with a 188bhp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine. Meanwhile, this 220d Gran Coupe we are testing is powered by a 187bhp, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine sending power to the front wheels. It's surprisingly quiet for a diesel and there's no noisy clatter heard inside at idle, thanks to the good insulation and low NVH levels.
This 1,996cc four-cylinder engine is from the BMW EfficientDynamics family and is also seen under the hood of the 320d. But this one is now BS6-compliant and BMW says it has implemented a raft of measures for lower exhaust emissions and higher fuel efficiency. A rev-happy motor with a linear power delivery that responds to throttle inputs well, this TwinPower Turbo mill features two-stage turbocharging with the latest slide bearing technology to enhance responsiveness.
Then, the eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission complements this engine well with quick and seamless gear changes. It tries to get into the highest gear while keeping the revs low and the engine silent for the most part. The engine note is only heard post 2,000rpm which again is mostly masked under the sound of the music system. Also, the peak torque of 400Nm is available from 1,750-2,500rpm, so you never feel bogged down and can easily get going at low speeds in a higher gear. Should you still feel the need of a whip to strike/overtake, you can manually take control even with the shift paddles on the steering wheel. It's quite a tractable engine and will be appreciated for its drivability in the city and even on the highway.
The driver can choose between three driving modes - EcoPro, Comfort, and the Sport. These alter the characteristics of the engine, gearbox, suspension, and air-conditioner settings. As the name suggests EcoPro mode takes an efficiency-optimised route along with auto start-stop function and a coasting option to reduce fuel consumption. The latter will help owners easily achieve or even better the claimed fuel economy of 18.64kmpl. One more reason why users with high mileage are going to love this trim! Then, put it in the comfort mode for a relaxed driving experience. This is further adjusted for more spirited driving in Sport mode when the engine shows spontaneous feedback with more responsive throttle inputs. It allows holding revs until the 5,000rpm redline before shifting automatically. But don't expect the thrills of being pushed back in the seat every time you stomp the gas pedal. In fact, the transitions are smooth and you will be most comfortable without any jerks.
That said, the 220d isn't slow by any standards. It has a claimed 0-100kmph sprint time of 7.5 seconds. We were able to match it and our V-Box time of 7.43 seconds deduces it's indeed quick. Its light-weight construction has played an important role in helping achieve this staggering performance with ease. Even in the 20-80kmph run in kick-down, it took just 4.42 seconds, while the 40-100kmph acceleration run was completed in 5.4 seconds pointing at excellent drivability.
Ride and Handling
8 / 10
The 220d is a light car and it’s evident on the move. BMW has managed to keep the chassis weight low, thanks to the many components that are made from aluminium along with tube-shaped anti-roll bars and output shafts. The slow-slung stance may not inspire confidence to drive it along our speed-breakers and pot-hole marred roads, but we were surprised when it took these in its stride without any trouble. Low-speed ride quality is good as the suspension and dampers are well-tuned to absorb the jolts and keep a check on the undulations. But remember, it’s a sedan and though it gets large 18-inch wheels, it’s not an SUV for you to not slow down on rough patches and broken roads. That noted, you’ll do absolutely fine and enjoy the flat ride on the highways covering long distances without many breaks.
Then, the steering is quick with two-and-a-half turns from lock-to-lock. Though it’s light at slow speeds, it keeps adding weight nicely with an increase in speed. And even though this 220d gets the BMW front-wheel-drive architecture, the carmaker has managed to offer quite exciting driving dynamics. In fact, for sure-footedness and agility, BMW i3s' ARB technology is used. It's an actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation system that keeps a tab on the traction on various surfaces and allows well-controlled slip. Along with the DSC system, it keeps a check on understeer and reduces it. And though you can still feel the car understeer when you go hell for leather, the systems work well to stabilise the car. It's not a very engaging experience like that in a rear-wheel-drive car, but not discouraging nonetheless. What's more, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) distributes adequate brake pressure to improve stability. And when you drop the anchor, the brakes with a progressive feel and good bite, bring the car to a confident stop.
Interior Space and Quality
8.5 / 10
On the inside, the cabin sports a clean design with a driver-focused ergonomic dashboard and high-quality materials, none hinting at this being an entry-level sedan. There's a good storage space in the centre-console and the doors even house one-litre bottles with more space to spare. Both the Sportline and M Sport trims on offer feature digital dials and give the buyer an option to choose between an all-black or a dual-tone beige-and-black interior scheme.
Yes, getting in will make you crouch a bit due to low ingress, but despite it being low-slung, occupants are well-catered to room-wise thanks to the 2,670mm wheelbase. Space in the front is plenty with good legroom, shoulder-room and headroom. Even the body-hugging front seats get enough electrical adjustments to offer great support and comfort.
Getting into the second row is again a bit tedious and you'll instantly realise this due to the low roofline. But BMW has nicely carved out the roof inside so unless you are more than a six-footer, headroom isn't going to be a problem for you. Apart from the slightly less under-thigh support, you will find sufficient leg space and good shoulder-room for two adults with a good recline for the backrest. This place is particularly good for two kids or getting their child seats in place with Isofix anchoring points. Besides, this backrest split folds providing various ways for the adequately large 430litre load compartment to be expanded.
Features and Safety
8.5 / 10
The 220d comes loaded with many bells and whistles you could expect from a luxury carmaker. It gets powered front seats, digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, gesture control, Apple CarPlay connected navigation, a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, etc. Yes, you do miss a heads-up display and ventilated seats. Nonetheless, the M-Sport allures you with its M-specific tweaks with M Sport steering wheel and sporty aluminium pedals. It also boasts of an M Sport body kit with sculpted bumpers and side aprons, 'M' badges on the front fenders, a shiny chrome grille, and glossy black trim around the windows. Then, there are driver assists like active cruise control, lane change warning, rear collision warning, cross-traffic warning, et al. Additionally, the innovative reversing assistant and park assist are also offered here.
There's no compromise on safety with six airbags, three-point seatbelts, Isofix seat mounts, run-flat tyres with TPMS, a spare wheel, ABS with brake-assist, crash sensors, etc., amongst a host of BMW Safety technologies. These also include Attentiveness Assistance, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), afore-mentioned ARB, Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), CBC, and side-impact protection, all of which ensures passengers are cocooned in safety. In fact, the passenger cell structure is robustly designed for maximum safety in case of a front, rear, or side impact to absorb and reduce the impact forces sent into the cabin.
8.5 / 10
This 2 Series Gran Coupe characterised by BMW's trademark kidney grilles, LED headlamp setup, dual-tone alloy wheels, sloping roofline, sleek LED tail lamps, and dual exhaust is eye-catching. In fact, it looks smashing in this M Sport trim with its distinguishing sporty elements. Its cabin is inviting too with a stunning design, practical interior adequately spacious for four, and is loaded with features that one might not have expected in an entry-level sedan.
Sure, it might not offer a very connected driving experience like that of the 3 Series, but it indeed is a fun drive for the most part, while providing utmost comfort with good ride and handling. Now with expected prices to start at Rs 35 lakh, it’s not only easy to recommend, but also easy for buyers to consider. Now, as the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe will be positioned beneath the 3 Series in BMW’s line-up, it doesn't really have a direct rival yet. It will compete with the upcoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan and the Audi A3 sedan when launched in India.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi