Why would I buy it?
- An affordable BMW
- Luxurious, practical cabin
- Fuel-efficient, refined diesel engine
Why would I avoid it?
- Low ingress
- Limited rear seat space
Engine and Performance
With many OEMs dropping diesel from their arsenal, BMW has done well to cater to both petrol and diesel buyers; each being a 2.0-litre FWD engine with around 187bhp on tap. But torque wise, the petrol (220i) makes 280Nm while the diesel we have here (220d) spins out a healthy 400Nm using the services of an eight-speed torque converter gearbox. First off, we have to admit that it’s amazingly quiet for a diesel at idle. As for the mill, it’s a rev-happy one with a linear power delivery whose throttle response is crisp for the most part. It partly has the Steptronic gearbox to thank for. And it indeed spoils one for providing a wide range of eight gears to kick up the appropriate response.
Our performance tests revealed that the 0-100kmph took 7.43 seconds, which certainly has us conclude that outright performance is exceptional. Likewise, the drivability tests of 20-80kmph/40-100kmph (tests of overtaking ability) were clocked in a rather swift 4.42/5.4 seconds. Regardless of the driving mode selected, the gear shifts are quick and seamless. We also noticed that the powertrain is tuned to upshift quickly to keep revs low for optimum frugality and what makes this possible is the massive 400Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500rpm. Finally, there are three driving modes - EcoPro, Comfort, and Sport, meant for those who prefer preset modes to alter the engine/gearbox response. But for me, it’s the paddle shifters any day!
Ride Quality and Handling
With a steering that’s got two-and-a-half turns from lock-to-lock, it’s fairly quick and light too at slow speeds. And as speeds pick up, the steering weighs up fittingly for that feelsome drive. You also feel the overall lightness of the 220d on the move which is an outcome of the enormous aluminium used in its construction. Plus, it is thoroughly tech-laden to give sure-footed, agile, and reduced understeer etiquettes on the go. Also, the low stance may feel like it’s a handful over speed breakers but it’s surprisingly the opposite. Now, although the ride quality at any speed is quite absorbent as per sedan standards, it still feels exceedingly stable at high speeds. And when the time comes to drop the anchor, one will not only appreciate the progression from the brakes, but also the severe bite and feel at the pedal.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
Stepping inside the 2 Series will have one relish the clean styling lines of the dashboard. Everything falls to hand easily and the use of high-quality materials throughout will not have anyone believe this is an entry-level BMW sedan. Additionally, there are enough storage options all over to suit most needs. Having said that, it took us some crouching to get into/out of the car, but once inside, the cabin feels fairly roomy in most respects. The front seats particularly offer plenty of support with good leg-, shoulder-, and head-room.
However, ingress at the rear to start with requires practised head dodging to clear the door rim. And once inside, tall people may brush their heads against the sloping roof. BMW tried hard to carve the insides of the roof to make the headroom that you see in the image. Otherwise, there’s adequate knee-, foot- and shoulder-room for two adults along with a favourably angled backrest. If we really had to crib, it would be about the lack of rear thigh support and proper room to seat three comfortably. In terms of boot space, the 430-litres can gulp up quite a bit, and when in need of more, it can spill over into the cabin via the split-folding rear bench.
The 2 Series gets ambient lighting, electric front seats, all-digital instrumentation, panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, gesture control, and navigation. It also gets M-specific features such as the M Sport steering wheel, aluminium pedals, sculpted body panels, 'M' badges on the front fenders, a shiny chrome grille, and gloss black trim on the window sill. Some interesting driver assist functions include active cruise control, cross-traffic warning, lane change warning, rear collision warning, reversing assistant, and park assist.
The safety net on the 2 Series includes six airbags, ABS with brake assist, crash sensors, three-point seatbelts, ISOFIX seat mounts, run-flat tyres with tyre pressure monitoring, and a spare wheel. There are a host of BMW safety technologies too, such as Attentiveness Assistance, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), and side-impact protection.
As with most BMWs, you get the brand’s traditional design language which makes it stand out from the crowd due to the sharp and sporty appearance. From far, the 2 Series can be mistaken for a 3 Series if one can’t spot the difference dimension wise. However, from up close, it resembles a shrunken 3 Series. For me, what’s most arresting are the minimal overhangs, chrome-tinged grille, the sexy rear portion with its crisp tail lamp detailing, and shapely panels along with the Coupe roofline!
Other than some rear seat occupancy quirks, there’s very little to find fault in the 2 Series Gran Coupe. On the flipside though, it looks conspicuously smashing in its M Sport attire. Then, it is practical, adequately spacious for four occupants, has a long list of exciting features, and the overall dynamics make it reasonably exciting to drive too. Additionally, with prices ranging from Rs 45.55 to Rs 51.66 lakh (OTR Mumbai), it’s an easy BMW to recommend or consider. I like it!
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi