As one of the least expensive ways to join the BMW owners club, the 2021 2-series Gran Coupe seeks to deliver a luxury-car experience, and it mostly succeeds. The GC challenges other scaled-down premium four-doors such as the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-class. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is found under the hood, but it’s available in two states of tune: with 228 horsepower in the 228i and with 301 horses in the M235i. The latter delivers blistering acceleration, but the former is no slouch. The 2-series Gran Coupe’s ride is refined, but its handling isn’t as sharp as we’d expect from a car with the BMW badge. Unlike the rear-drive-based 2-series coupe and convertible, the four-door 2-series Gran Coupe comes off a front-drive platform borrowed from BMW’s sister brand, Mini, and it can’t seem to hide that fact.
What’s New for 2021?
Like many other 2021 BMW models, the 2-series Gran Coupe receives SiriusXM satellite radio as standard, and Android Auto compatibility is finally on the spec sheet. The once optional 10.3-inch infotainment and gauge-cluster screens are now standard, the same goes for the navigation system with real-time traffic updates. Plus, the new Driver Assistance package provides adaptive cruise control and an automatic parking feature.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Both 2-series Gran Coupe models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The one in the 228i makes 228 horsepower, whereas the M235i’s produces 301 horses. All-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission are standard across the line. Around town, the 228i feels sprightly and eager, and at the test track, it delivered a brisk 5.1-second run to 60 mph. But a short test drive in the M235i will push that car from your mind. The M235i makes the entry-level model feel tame, and in our hands, it blasted to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. That’s quicker than the X2 M35i SUV, which has the same powertrain; it hit 60 in 4.6 seconds during a comparison test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Cabin styling matches that of modern BMWs like the 3-series sedan and the X3 SUV. It’s a simple driver-focused design featuring ambient interior lighting that illuminates the dashboard and door panels. BMW claims that rear-seat legroom is nearly the same as the larger 3-series sedan’s, but overall the cabin feels snug for both front- and rear-seat passengers. The 2-series Gran Coupe’s small cargo area is good enough for grocery runs and weekend road trips, and the back row folds down to accommodate bulkier cargo. We fit five carry-on suitcases back there with the seats up and 14 with them down.