What is it? Who’s going to buy this thing? Why does it exist? Those are just some of the questions people asked (from a safe distance) about the 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe. With the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class as its only competitor, the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is a niche model. For that reason alone, we don’t blame consumers for asking so many questions about this oddball luxury sedan or for not knowing BMW even offers such a model.
Slotting below the legendary 3 Series, the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is the smallest sedan in the German automaker’s lineup. As BMW’s newest entry-level car, the 2 Series Gran Coupe has been tasked with luring new consumers—particularly younger ones—into the brand. That means the 2 Series Gran Coupe must compete with other luxury-badged subcompact cars and fully loaded mainstream models priced around $30,000 to $40,000, making its job that much tougher.
You won’t mistake the 2 Series Gran Coupe for anything else—even in a crowded parking lot. The exterior design was a point of contention during its 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show debut and remains the baby Bimmer’s most controversial aspect well into 2020. Like other BMW Gran Coupe models, the 2 Series Gran Coupe has a swoopy roofline. The compact dimensions and low-slung profile result in an oddly short decklid that suggests there may be a liftgate out back. (There isn’t.) You also get an X2-like mug complete with oversized kidney grilles that look like they could shred you to pieces.
In a surprise move, BMW gave the 2 Series Gran Coupe a generous list of standard equipment. That includes LED headlights, Apple CarPlay integration (Android Auto is promised in late 2020), 10-way power adjustable front seats, and the Active Driving Assistant suite, which bundles together lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and front automatic emergency braking. Our long-termer also came with extras such as embedded navigation, tasty chocolate brown two-tone leather upholstery, two 10.3-inch displays, 18-inch wheels, and adaptive LED headlights. You can also get adaptive cruise control, an automatic self-parking system, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system, but our example didn’t come with those features.
The 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is the first FWD-based BMW sedan in the U.S., sharing the same UKL2 platform as the X1, X2, and Mini’s larger models. Although all 2 Series Gran Coupe models in the U.S. have all-wheel drive, the car operates mainly in front-drive mode, sending up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels only when you need extra traction. Our long-term 228i Gran Coupe also has the M Sport package, adding an M Sport suspension and special steering calibration. The 2.0-liter turbo I-4 makes 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, as it does in its SUV siblings. The EPA rates fuel economy at 23/33 mpg city/highway with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. We’ll be putting the car through MotorTrend‘s rigorous performance testing and EQUA Real MPG evaluation to verify its fuel economy once we’re past BMW’s 1,200-mile recommended break-in period.
We’re looking forward to spending more time with BMW’s new small sedan. The car’s niche yet entry-level positioning piques our interest, and we want to see how this formula fares in today’s ever-changing automotive environment. Will the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe live up to the BMW badge adorning its hood, or will it divide opinions like the X1 and X2? Is the 2 Series Gran Coupe a better option than a base 3 Series? Will we find answers to the questions that people asked us about the car? We have a year to do all that. Along the way, we hope to find some surprises, too, so stay tuned.
|2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$48,495|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/228-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,550 (mfr)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||178.5 x 70.9 x 55.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.0 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||23/33/27 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||147/102 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.73 lb/mile|