Quick question. How many luxury carmakers can you think of today, not just in India but globally who offer an entry-level car that’s one of the best looking cars in their entire product portfolio? Not many names would come to your mind and that’s because luxury carmakers aren’t very good at getting everything right when working on a tight budget. That, however, is now no longer the case in the Indian market as BMW has now launched the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, which is now BMW India’s entry-level model. That said, there is hardly anything entry-level about this car and it definitely has one of the most desirable looks of any BMW models in India. That said, it will soon take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine and the Audi A3 so has it got what it takes to write a success story? Join us to find out.
Now I’ll stick out my head and say that this is the best-looking BMW car launched in India in 2020 in my books keeping the M-badged models aside. The simplest way to put it across is that the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is one of the most proportionate cars in the company’s lineup right now and this blue shade just makes it more of a visual treat.
The massive kidney grilles on many of the new BMW models have been met with mixed reactions across the globe except China and that’s because for some weird reasons the Chinese like this kind of design. Thankfully, for us and for everyone who’s considering the 2 Series Gran Coupe, this model wasn’t made for China and hence it gets a smart grille and not the big one. Big thanks to the Chinese for not being a big market for such cars! Of course, it’s slightly larger than the older models but it looks much better in flesh than in pictures. The sleek LED headlamps with the double-barrel cluster lend a powerful and dynamic effect on the face.
We had the M Sport variant for testing but the car will be offered in a less expensive Luxury Line variant as well. This meant our car had the M Aero package, thereby translating into more sporty bumpers and skirting on the side along with a blackened-out diffuser at the rear. There’s also 19-inch alloy wheels and the ‘M’ badging on the front fenders.
As the name consists the word Coupe, there is a proper coupe roofline that tapers off steeply to the rear and in the process gives the side a sporty and energetic stance. The LED tail Lamps too are sleek and look the part, especially in low-light conditions.
In a nutshell, every line and every panel bears a design flow that merges seamlessly with the other ones and in the end creates a low-slung, kinetic and desirable design. This is the reason why I consider the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe to be one of the best-looking cars in the company’s Indian portfolio. The M Sport variant especially is the one that will get you more eyeballs and admiration on the streets.
Getting into the car can be a slight issue for tall occupants as ingress and egress isn’t particularly a breeze with the low-slung design and doors that do not open really wide. Inside the cabin of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, once again like the exterior, there is nothing entry-level about it. The dual-tone dashboard has a clutter-free and elegant design and the soft-touch materials add a sense of high quality to it.
The car also features BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which includes two 10.25-inch screens – one in the centre console angled towards the driver and the other that serves as the instrument cluster. Both screens are fully-digital with crisp and clear displays. The centre-console screen can be operated through gesture controls, i-drive controller or touch inputs and comes with Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto. There’s also a smart wireless charging pad, which has clips to hold your device in place.
The digital instrument cluster offers a ton of information but like most new BMWs I’m not a fan of this cluttered design as deciphering information from a quick glance is not as easy as it used to be in the earlier BMWs. That said, things might get better once people get used to it.
The front seats are impressive in terms of cushioning and all-round support and there’s enough storage space around to keep most of the usual belongings one carries. There’s also an ambient lighting system to uplift the feel of the cabin.
At the rear, the seats offer good legroom for people even as tall as 5 feet 10 inches and the impressive side support and backrest incline angle make for a comfortable experience even on longer drives. However, the seat is realistically good for two adults only unless you’re trying to settle some score with the third person in the middle as the high transmission tunnel along with the curving design of the seat will hardly give the occupant a comfortable position.
Adding to the airiness of the cabin is a panoramic sunroof that is bound to be liked by many Indian buyers. The seat too offers good flexibility and one can access the boot by pulling down the armrest console or go for a 60:40 split when in need of more space. Hence, there’s hardly anything to complain about the cabin of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe as long as you keep in mind it’s a car for seating four.
Onto the most interesting part about any BMW – driving performance and one of the reasons for this is the rear-wheel-drive architecture used by most BMWs. However, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is a front-wheel-drive car and those with a keen eye would have noticed by now that there’s no Hoffmeister kink in this car and the reason is the different drive layout.
Now before you shoot down the 2 Series for not being a proper BMW or a driver’s car let’s look at the engine first. There’s a 2.0 Litre TwinPower Turbo diesel engine developing 190 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Yes, it’s pretty much the same engine that powers the 3 Series but the 2 is a much lighter car! Hence, the car shoots off the line with almost no turbo lag and sprints to 100 kmph from a standstill in a claimed 7.5 seconds. Our test run resulted in 7.8 seconds so pretty close to the claimed figure. Nothing entry-level about it, right?
The engine being BS6 certified features and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and the maximum injection pressure too has been raised to 2,500 BAR for improved combustion, resulting in fewer pollutants.
Power is sent to the front wheels through the tried & tested and superb ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox offers quick shifts, especially in Sports mode and there are paddle shifters too for better control on winding roads. Ride quality in this car is quite comfortable and has a midway setting so isn’t too soft or firm. Surface undulations and potholes are filtered out well and the suspension isn’t too noisy as well.
As for the handling and if this is a proper BMW or not in terms of driving dynamics……well let’s just say this is one of the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars you can buy in the market today. Now understeer is a common issue with front-wheel cars but the 2 Series Gran Coupe uses a clever solution to lower the impact, if not eliminate it. Using something termed as Actuator Contiguous Wheel Slip Limitation System (ARB) the system applies brakes at the inner wheels on a curve before the slip threshold has been reached. By doing so, ARB manages to avoid the initial understeer and thereby lower the overall understeer, resulting in a more balanced drive. Of course, there’s traction control to keep you safe in case you start overcooking things.
Straight-line stability is impressive even at 160 kmph and the brakes do a good job of bringing the car to a quick stop in a reassuring manner. Feedback from the steering is decent and lets you have a fair idea of what’s happening with the front wheels.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, like any other BMW, offers a wide variety of active and passive safety technologies. Some of the notable ones include six airbags, Attentiveness Assistance, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation system), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), electric parking brake with auto hold, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobilizer & crash sensors and ISOFIX child seat mounting. In addition, BMW also claims the shell to be made out of lightweight materials with higher torsional rigidity. thereby resulting in enhanced safety during a crash.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has been priced at a starting point of Rs 39.3 lakh, ex-showroom for the Sport Line. The M Sport variant, on the other hand, has been priced at Rs 41.4 lakh, ex-showroom. At these prices, the 2 Series Gran Coupe offers an impressive all-round package. The car is loaded with features and is comfortable. Despite being a front-wheel-drive car it’s engaging and fun to drive and on top of all this, it looks absolutely fantastic! Pretty much everything that makes it the best buy in its body-style and price segment for us!
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