BMW launches its smallest four-door in Singapore with two main variants on offer, from the entry-level 218i to the storming 235i xDrive
It sits on the opposite end of the price/size spectrum to the 8 Series Gran Coupe, and while technically not the first four-door ‘Baby Bimmer’ – that honour belongs to the last-generation 1 Series sedan – the 2 Series Gran Coupe is the first one to be available globally. Its immediate predecessor was only sold (and made) in China, and was never exported.
Its name might suggest it’s a four-door version of the 2 Series Coupe, but functionally, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is identical to the 1 Series hatchback. Both cars share a front-drive platform, versus the rear-drive architecture found on the two-door car.
However, there is one significant difference between the 2 Series Gran Coupe and 1 Series: a boot… and um, frameless doors. Luggage space in the former is 430 litres pipping the capacity of the latter by 50 litres, though the presence of a larger loading aperture in the 1 Series will make it more practical when loading more awkwardly shaped items.
Standard equipment on the 2 Series Gran Coupe includes a full bank of LED lights for the headlight and taillight clusters, a touchscreen infotainment system, all-digital instrument cluster and vehicle / pedestrian collision mitigation. Oddly enough, an engine note enhancer is also included as standard, which sees a synthesised engine note piped in through the sound system’s speakers along with the music.
Three variants with two engine choices are on offer in Singapore through dealers Performance Motors. The 218i, in Luxury and M Sport trim, features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder motor with 140hp driving the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and the 235i xDrive has a two-litre engine with 306hp powering all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
17-inch wheels come on the car as standard, with 18- and 19-inch alloys optionally available.
However, the most significant thing about the 2 Series Gran Coupe is that it represents the most affordable route to four-door BMW ownership, with prices starting at S$160,888 for the 218i variant, with a modest S$3,000 upcharge for the 218i M Sport, going up to S$249,888 for the M235i xDrive.
As part of the car’s launch, a special-edition M235i xDrive loaded to the gills with M Performance accessories (carbon fibre door mirror caps, glossy black bodystyling bits and M tricolour seatbelts) can also be had, though a price for that model is only available on application.
At any rate, while the 2 Series Gran Coupe is nearly S$25,000 pricier against the Audi A3 Sedan, it should also be noted the Audi is getting a little long in the tooth, and an all-new model is set to be unveiled next month at the Geneva Motor Show.
A more direct comparison would be to that Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon, and the 2 Series Gran Coupe matches that for price, and the BMW is a whopping S$21,000 less expensive than the entry-level CLA-Class.