2 Series Gran Coupe: BMW’s rival to the Mercedes CLA is here

The 2019 BMW M235i Gran Coupe

BMW’s smallest four-door coupe with 218i and M235i models announced, due for Singapore in Q1 2020.
PLUS: How the two rivals stack up 

Munich, Germany 

Since 2013, the Mercedes-Benz CLA has had its corner of the world – the small, four-door coupe segment – to itself, but that ends today, as BMW has announced its challenger: the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe – M235i in blue on left, normal 218i M Sport on right in grey

The 2 Series GC has been announced with two petrol engines (a 218i and M235i xDrive) and one diesel engine (220d), the latter very unlikely to come to Singapore, but the first two are estimated to arrive in the Lion City in Q1 of 2020. Scroll to the end of this story for galleries of each car.  

The 218i has a 1.5-litre inline three-cylinder turbocharged engine (mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox) with 140hp (just misses the Category A cutoff, which would’ve boosted its popularity) and 220Nm of torque, 0-100km/h is a decent 8.7 seconds with a 215km/h top speed. 

Although the local spec is far from being finalised, internationally BMW is offering the 2 GC in base Sport trim, with Luxury and M Sport being the more expensive trim levels.

Standard for all cars across the globe are ‘at least 16-inch wheels’, LED headlights and multi-link rear suspension. 

Judging from BMWs launched here in Singapore – the recent 3 Series and 1 Series are examples – we think the 218i GC will most likely debut with an M Sport version at launch, followed by a less expensive Luxury model down the line. 

M Sport includes the usual front and rear aggro body kit with the blacked-out gloss parts and satin Aluminium kidney grille and interior with M Sport steering wheel and sport seats with ‘Trigon/Sensatec’ upholstery. There’s also an optional M sport suspension that’s 10mm lower than standard. 

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe 218i / 220d M Sport interior

Again judging from BMW’s launch trends, we can expect the car to pack the new BMW OS 7.0 with the dual 10.25-inch instrument/infotainment panels, plus the full host of connectivity features, as well as the Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control system. Other means of control are the rotary dial, gestures, and touchscreen. 

The headline model will be the M235i xDrive, again sharing much of its go-faster technology with the M135i xDrive – and aims to smack the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 right in the kisser. 

Besides the usual suspension and chassis enhancements, the car also uses newer wheel slip reduction technology adapted from the BMW i3S, which detects and controls wheel slip with more precision, resulting in better overall traction and less power understeer, along with BMW Performance Control, a brake-based yaw (rotational) control system.

The M235i is powered by a 306hp 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine – BMW’s most powerful four cylinder unit – that cranks out 450Nm of torque. All-wheel drive and a eight-speed automatic gearbox help the car deliver a 0-100km/h time of just 4.9 seconds, with its top speed an electronically-limited 250km/h. Average fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km and CO2 emissions are 158g/km.

BMW M235i Gran Coupe interior

The 2 GC is BMW’s third Gran Coupe. Gran Coupes are what the Munich-based brand dubs its four-door coupes, the first was the previous the 6 Series Gran Coupe, now replaced by the 8 Series Gran Coupe. Down the rung is the 4 Series Gran Coupe, and below that is the newcomer and smallest of the GC family, the 2er Gran Coupe. 

But while the rest of the GCs have two-door equivalents, the current 2 Series Coupe/Convertible is still running on the old rear-wheel drive platform, while the new 2 Series GC shares the latest front-wheel drive architecture that will underpin all the newest, small BMWs, and can be found in the new 1 Series, which just launched in Singapore in late August. 

So it’s not surprising many of the changes seen on the new 1 Series are also found in the 2GC including the platform, engine, cockpit instrument and infotainment functions. 

But as a coupe, the 2 GC’s styling obviously departs from the 1 Series, even if they do look similar – look at the kink in the headlights, and the pointy outer-edges of the kidney grille, as well as the flat, horizontal taillights in an L-shape, similar to those on the 8 Series and X4. 

A New Challenger Appears! BMW 2 Series GC vs Mercedes-Benz CLA

It’s also longer, lower and wider than the 1 Series, although the BMW’s footprint is smaller than that of its Mercedes rival, you can see how they stack up in our handy chart and it looks as if the 2er will be a smaller, lighter and possibly more fun car to drive.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong