BMW is known for a lot of things since its inception. All-rounder saloons, which are RWD and they are high of driving pleasure be it the chassis or engine tuning. They have been doing it really well for decades now. They did a similar thing with SUV’s as well and succeed well yet again. However, times changed, BMW continues to do launch a new product but they are now FWD as well. It started with the X1 and the 2-Series Active Cruiser and now its the 2-Series Gran Coupe. A proper saloon that has a very distinct layout be it design or drive train. So it must be blasphemy right? Or is it? We spend some time in the car, did 400 km to tell you all about it.
When BMW calls this 2-series variant as the Gran Coupe, it quite literally is one. A glance at the car it looks like a coupe with four doors thanks to a sloping roofline, four doors that sits low and isn’t quite large. The 2 GC ends up looking a lot like the 8-series GC which is a great thing. The pillarless door, the fantastic Misano blue colour is always a treat to the eyes. This has to be the biggest head-turner while our testing of any other BMW after the i8 of course. The 18-inch wheels look and fit well and add to the stance sporty stance. The sloping front end with element just about big and loud to grab attention but not something that makes you go Woah! (in a bad way). LED DRL on both head and tail-lamps are very unique and are very bright and offer unique character not seen before anywhere.
The Interior of a small car from a big brand has to be most scrutinized for any budget or ordinary pieces. We are happy to report there are no deal-breakers as the quality is top-notch and so are materials. However, the materials used in bigger BMW’s cannot be seen here for obvious reasons. The new and different panels and pieces give it a unique look. Fit-finish is top-notch and there were only two ordinary pieces in the lower half that we could find. Features list you may know from our launch report it is very expansive.
We used the iDrive along with Android Auto and Apple Car Play and it worked spot on. Connectivity is top-notch and so is the sound quality from speakers from a car of this size and price. Space at the back is at a premium in all areas such as knee, leg, shoulder and headroom. Boot space is good enough and has a space-saver tyre for our conditions which is great. The panoramic sunroof is a welcome feature most will love in this segment. LCD cockpit display is also a welcome addition but it continues to be cluttered with much information, which can be minimized using the iDrive but it still ends up looking busy.
When it comes to driving the new 2-Series with the diesel motor, the benchmark continues. The motor churns out 190 BHp and 400 Nm of torque. The level of NVH levels has gone down compared to the BS4 version. Earlier, the engine was felt and heard in the cabin, now it’s muted and almost negligible. BS6 is responsible for that as every diesel motor in the world is now quieter and smoother throughout the rev range. As always, the 8-speed gearbox is quick, smooth and putting all that power down to the front wheels. So there is a bit of torque steer which BMW has tried to contain really well and it shows. Wheelspin still continues to be higher than any other BMW saloon and reminds us of the X1 a bit. Paddle shifters are on offer as well for the full BMW experience that you expect.
All modes do their job as named when it comes to driving modes and so does the gearbox. There is also launch control with a 220d! The highlight of the motor is that it revs cleanly and freely and till its 5000 RPM redline. Torque and horsepower are found almost everywhere till 4000 RPM which is very impressive. Driveability and performance in return are fantastic and you always get what you want from the accelerator pedal. The reason why we call this motor a benchmark in its class throughout the world. Getting 15 km/l plus on the highway is very easy and claimed numbers are even higher. Only if you can control your urge to not pass 140 km/hr on a de-restricted zone of the highway.
It may be an FWD but it is also a BMW. Body roll is well in check and the short wheelbase gives it great agility as the nose turns in quite quickly. The rest of the car follows in the corner quite well, stay planted despite uneven surfaces thanks to a compliant enough suspension for our roads. We expected it to be MINI harsh, but it was in fact much better as an overall package, surprising us in a nice way. Brakes were good with great pedal bite and enough power to stop from any given speed quickly and confidently thanks to bigger tyres and wheels. The steering also was lighter than we expected and it was precise with enough feedback and weigh-up on the highway. Although we expected a bit more there. however, with an overall balance of ease of driving in the city and good enthusiastic tuning of the steering overall, it gains top marks for being a great all-rounder.
2021 BMW 220d India Review, Verdict
The 2-Series may not be a true-blue BMW saloon the purist expect. There is always the BMW M2 for them and they can continue to opt for the 3-Series. The 2-Series is for people who are going to be new customers in the brand. The younger crowds will be drawn from other luxury car manufacturers. The 2-Series has that appeal. The car has the look, the comfort and yet all the sportiness a BMW can offer despite being front-wheel drive. It drives better than all its FWD competitors and ended up being better when it comes to pricing and variant strategy too. The 2-Series GC has BMW India’s strengths of great sales and after-sales support which is class-leading. Clearly, there is no stopping this BMW, like any other bavarian that has come to India.
2021 BMW 220d India Review,