Photographs by Kaizad Adil Darukhanawala
We could sit and talk about what a ‘real’ BMW is, and whether the new 2 Series Gran Coupé qualifies, but it doesn’t matter. The 220d Gran Coupé is a front-wheel-drive sedan with a sloping roof line, and most egregiously, it sports multiple M badges both outside and in the cabin. After spending a few days behind the wheel, I have to tell you, it’s actually quite good. Not quite in the same way as an M3, or a 3 Series, even, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
In this colour BMW calls Misano blue, it looks downright stunning. Up front, the kidney grille is large but still proportional to the rest of the front end, thankfully. The M Sport kit that comes with the paint scheme also adds a more aggressive front bumper, side skirts and rear valence as well, turning this into a small sedan with an attitude problem. The best bits, of course, are its roofline and frameless doors. Say what you want about its front-end styling, there’s not a thing to complain about the 2 Series Gran Coupé’s side profile as it arcs gracefully from the base of the A-pillar to the decklid. At the back, the 2 Series does take some inspiration from the 8 Series, but the high decklid and narrow tail-lights give it more of an SUV-coupé look than I’d have liked.
Inside the car, the front seats are some of the most comfortable buckets I’ve used in recent times; they’re infinitely adjustable, and you can even set the amount of side bolstering you need. I did feel that the under-thigh support was lacking, but that was only until I figured out how to manually extend the seat cushion forward. From the driver’s seat, the view is a very familiar one; the infotainment setup, gauge cluster and meaty M-branded wheel are all typical BMW fare. The key differentiator in this interior is the addition of illuminated trim pieces on the dash and doors that adds some pizzazz.
I often get annoyed by manufacturers adding the ‘coupé’ moniker to everything that isn’t one, but in this case, I think it’s justified; the rear-seat space on the 2 Series is cramped, to put it nicely. Head-room is understandably compromised because of the roofline and the cutouts in the headliner don’t really help, either. Leg-room isn’t great, either, with barely an inch or two of space when I was sitting behind myself. If you think you can get this and hire a driver, you’re really missing the point.
The best seat in the house, of course, is right behind the steering wheel. Because even for a BMW sedan that sends its power to the ‘wrong’ wheels, the 2 Series is quite playful. With Sport mode engaged and traction control off, the 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo-diesel sends an unrestrained 40.8 kgm through the front wheels; it’s a good thing the steering wheel is nice to hold, because you’ll be wrestling it to keep the car going straight. First comes the wheel spin and then the torque steer as you try to point this car in the right direction. Keep your foot planted and the 100-kph mark comes by at a claimed 7.5 seconds.
Interestingly, the larger 3 Series with the same engine does this in 6.8 seconds. You won’t have time to ponder where the half-second went because as you come up to a corner, you’ll realise that the 2 Series is just a little bit tail-happy. The front-end grips well and offers great initial turn-in, and then if you’re not careful, the back threatens to come around for a visit. It’s not dangerous by any means, but it does like to remind you that you’re driving a car with M badges on it. You can mitigate all of it by leaving the electronic nannies on, but where’s the fun in that, right?
With the 2 Series, I thought you’d just be paying for a BMW badge tacked onto a vanilla sedan, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It looks the part and goes pretty well, too; just don’t expect it to be a car to be driven around in. Now, the only problem I see with it is the price; when the price of a 220d M Sport is one rounding error away from that of the 320d with the same engine, I think I know which one I’d choose.
BMW 220d M Sport Gran Coupé
Displacement: 1995cc, I-4, turbo-diesel
Max power: 187 bhp@4000 rpm
Max torque: 40.8 kgm@1750-2500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed, automatic
F/R: 225/40 R18
L/W/H (mm): 4526/1800/1420
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Kerb weight: 1591 kg
Fuel capacity: 50 litres
PRICE: Rs 39.3 to 41.4 lakh (ex-showroom, India)