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BMW 218i Auto M Sport Gran Coupe

Click to view picture gallery“This is the first ever BMW 2 Series
  Gran Coupe model and the smallest
  member of BMW’s four-door coupe
  ‘club
which includes the 4 Series
  Gran Coupe, 6 Series Gran Turismo
  and the range flagship 8 Series
  Gran Coupe...”


THIS NEWCOMER has much in common with the brand's new 1 Series family five-door Hatchback, using the same front-wheel drive platform although there is also an xDrive (four-wheel drive) version. Its main competitor will be the Mercedes CLA which adopts a coupe design from the three-pointed star A-Class range.

On the road prices for the 2 Series Gran Coupe start from 25K for the 218i 138bhp petrol manual or 27K for the 8-speed automatic version followed by the 220d 187bhp turbodiesel automatic at 31K and the hotshot M235i xDrive 301bhp petrol version priced at 37K.

The engine and trim come in Sport and M Sport specification along with the go-faster M235i xDrive. The Sport model comes with standard features that include 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear Park Distance Control, two-zone automatic AirCon, BMW Connected Package Plus, BMW Live Cockpit Plus and Active Guard Plus with Lane Departure Warning.

The standout
characteristic of the
2 Series Gran Coupe
is its side silhouette,
enhanced by frameless
side windows on all
the doors. It is an inch
over 4.5-metres long
but its roof is just 1.4
metres from the blacktop.
There is a decent
2,670mm wheelbase and,
usefully, various ways
to configure the 430-litre
load compartment
courtesy of the
40:20:40-split folding
rear seatbacks...”
The M Sport version adds 18-inch alloys, M Sport Suspension, M Aerodynamic body styling, M Sport steering, powerfolding mirrors, Digital Cockpit Professional, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and BMW Connected Package Professional. Customers who opt for the M235i xDrive get exclusive Cerium grey 18-inch alloys, M235i M Sport suspension, rear spoiler, M Performance exhaust system, Limited Slip Differential on the front axle and an eight-speed sport automatic transmission featuring launch control.

The standout characteristic of the 2 Series Gran Coupe is its side silhouette, enhanced by frameless side windows on all the doors. It is an inch over 4.5-metres long but its roof is just 1.4 metres from the blacktop. There is a decent 2,670mm wheelbase and, usefully, various ways to configure the 430-litre load compartment courtesy of the 40:20:40-split folding rear seatbacks.

At the nose, slightly angled headlights draw attention to the updated trademark 'kidney' grille. As on BMW coupes from further up the range, the one-piece kidney grille extends to almost the full width between the headlights. The line-up's sporting flagship — the M235i xDrive M Performance goes one further, adding a pronounced three-dimensional mesh with a wheel-matching Cerium grey finish in place of the classical bars.

Due to the Gran Coupe's front-wheel drive architecture with transverse-mounted engines and a lower centre tunnel there is acceptable cabin space. Rear passengers gain extra knee room over the 2 Series Coupe, while the seating position is higher with more headroom when the optional panoramic roof is specified.

The newcomer benefits from an array of driver assistance systems already fitted to BMWs higher up the range. Standard equipment includes the essential collision and pedestrian warning with city braking function, Lane Departure Warning with active lane return, and Cruise Control with braking function.

The new 2 Series Gran
Coupe allows drivers to
use a variety of operating
methods, depending on
the situation and personal preferences
via the usual buttons on
the centre console and
steering wheel.
The Live Cockpit Plus is
standard even on Sport
models and includes
features such as a Touch
Controller, navigation
system, two USB ports
for data transfer and a
WiFi interface.
The 8.8-inch control
display features a
touchscreen, whilst the
instrument cluster in
front of the driver
has a 5.1-inch colour
display...”
The optional Driving Assistant additionally comprises the Lane Change Warning system which, at speeds from 12-155mph, prompts the driver to steer back into the correct lane by means of a visual warning and, if necessary, a steering input. The Driving Assistant's other functions include the Route-Ahead assistant, rear collision and cross traffic warning (reduces the risk of a collision when reversing into roads obstructed from the driver's view), and an Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function.

The Gran Coupe offers standard-fit Park Distance Control with sensors at both the nose and tail while a rearview camera is fitted with the Park Assistant option. The optional Parking Assistant goes further still by offering automatic assisted parking in bays that are either parallel or perpendicular to the road, also taking care of steering the car, accelerating and braking. Being a Coupe, rear visibility support may be needed and the Reversing Assistant helps the driver to exit parking spots or manoeuvre when space is limited.

The new 2 Series Gran Coupe allows drivers to use a variety of operating methods, depending on the situation and personal preferences via the usual buttons on the centre console and steering wheel. The Live Cockpit Plus is standard even on Sport models and includes features such as a Touch Controller, navigation system, two USB ports for data transfer and a WiFi interface. The 8.8-inch control display features a touchscreen, whilst the instrument cluster in front of the driver has a 5.1-inch colour display.

Apple CarPlay is standard for one year from build but is then renewable via the BMW ConnectedDrive portal (one year, three year or lifetime subscriptions are available). Android Auto connectivity becomes available from July 2020. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional is standard on M Sport and M235i models. This includes a customisable fully digital instrument display with a 10.25-inch screen coupled with a 10.25-inch Central Information Display.

But for many BMW aficionados it is what's under the bonnet that counts. The entry-level 218i's 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit has reduced CO2 emissions by 29g/km over the previous engine plus a token 4bhp power hike to 138bhp. Maximum torque is 162lb ft (an overboost function briefly throws in an extra 7lb ft in fourth gear or higher). Zero to 62mph takes a crisp 8.7 seconds and top speed is 134mph. With a manual 'box it will return 45.6-47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 114 to 123g/km.

The next most
noticeable feature once
on the move is a more
compliant ride than
I experienced recently
with the same-specced
118i Hatchback.
The 218i’s ride is
comfortable, seemingly
without giving up any of
its taut handling and
precise body control,
and it feels ideal as a
long-legged cruiser...”
At the top of the range the M235i xDrive's new 2.0-litre petrol unit is BMW's most powerful four-cylinder engine, delivering a maximum output of 301bhp. Peak torque is 331lb ft which helps it to achieve the benchmark zero to 62mph sprint in a very keen 4.9 seconds. It tops out at a limited 155mph. Despite the poke, it's no gas-guzzler, returning 36.2-37.2mpg.

There's also a diesel offering — a 2.0 four-cylinder 220d with 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque. En route to a top speed of 146mph it gets you from zero to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. And returns 53.3-57.6mpg with a lowish 110g/km of CO2.

Externally 218i looks an elegant cruiser with huge kerb appeal but get behind the wheel and first impressions are of a driver-focussed cockpit. All the controls fall readily to hand and the displays are within the driver's field of vision. Glance behind the Sports-style front seats and you'll see about the same legroom as you'd find in a 1 Series Hatchback; so it's not plentiful but potentially suitable for a young family. Only adult six-footers will find the coupe roofline restrictive for headroom.

The next most noticeable feature once on the move is a more compliant ride than I experienced recently with the same-specced 118i Hatchback. The 218i's ride is comfortable, seemingly without giving up any of its taut handling and precise body control, and it feels ideal as a long-legged cruiser.

Matched with the autobox, the turboed 1.5-litre three-pot proved lively although the real-life test drive fuel economy proved disappointing at 32.2mpg given the official figures are 42.2 to 44.8mpg. The new CO2 emission levels are also worrying: currently they are rated at 114g/km but from April 2020, under the new and more accurate WLTP system, they go up to 146g/km which increases the road tax costs.

Overall the new 2 Series Gran Coupe might be a niche model range within the very extensive BMW model line-up, but for some customers niche will be nice! ~ David Miles
.
BMW 218i Auto M Sport Gran Coupe | 29,665
Maximum speed: 134mph | 0-62mph: 8.7 seconds | Test Average: 32.2mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 162lb ft | CO2: 146g/km

.