Continuing their expansion into more areas of the auto market, BMW has ventured into the seven seat minivan segment with the 2 Series Tourer models which offer the size and functionality of a seven-seat hatch and all-wheel drive – a first for BMW.
The 2 Series Gran Tourer looks familiar because it is a stretched and taller version of the very successful 2 Series Active Tourer.
BMWBLOG recently tested a 2016 BMW 220d xDrive Gran Tourer in Germany for a week. We picked it up in Munich, crammed a weeks worth of luggage, cameras, video equipment and our laptops to help us cover the Frankfurt Auto Show. We then headed out of Munich on the A9 to the A3 towards Frankfurt.
Once out of the city traffic in Munich, we were able to stretch its legs on the Autobahn. The top speed of the 220d xDrive Gran Tourer is 135 mph – but because of traffic, construction and rain – we were only able to hit about 120mph.
The Gran Tourer has the most headroom of any BMW, I’ve ever tested. It almost felt like I was sitting in a greenhouse with its panoramic glass sunroof.
The seating position is upright and the car has a large front dash. The steering wheel was thick and had some nice paddle shifters as well as controls for radio, and phone. Familiar and welcome, were many cues from the BMW styling department and car controls.
The iDrive and Navigation integrates nicely with the head up display and was equipped with real time traffic. The estimated time of arrival takes into account traffic jams you haven’t even gotten in and gives a realistic arrival time. On our return trip from Frankfurt, it informed us the trip would take an extra hour because of traffic jam we later run into.
READ THIS: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Test Drive
If you park a 2 Series Active Tourer next to a Gran Tourer they look nearly identical. I had to do a double take to make sure we were picking up the correct vehicle at the BMW press fleet. The key to telling them apart is that the Gran Tourer is 214 mm longer and 53 mm higher. The rear doors as they are elongated and the rear quarter panel is stretched as well.
Looking inside the Gran Tourer has a third row of seats that fold back down when not in use to increase cargo capacity. In fact, all five rear seats are can be laid flat to achieve a staggering maximum cargo capacity of 1905 liters.
At the end of the week of our test, we had put about 800 km on the Gran Tourer in varying conditions. Roughly 500 km of this was on the Autobahn and the rest in city traffic in, and around Frankfurt and Munich. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.0 liters per 100 km in the EU and 57.6 mpg in the UK. Given the 51 liter fuel tank, the 2 Series Gran Tourer 220d xDrive has a range of around 1,000 km.
THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE
You are never going to mistake the handling of the Gran Tourer for an ///M car but it’s actually not bad. It’s a great around town vehicle with a ton of torque, direct steering which makes for quick merging and dealing with traffic. Over a 100mph, I could sense its higher center of gravity but it never was unsettling. Overtaking on the Autobahn was also a lot easier than I imagined for such a large vehicle and four cylinder diesel.
Given how much tighter parking and riving on Europe’s small roads, I can see why vehicles like the 2 Series Gran Tourer are popular. Our hotel in Frankfurt had a crazy tight basement garage and the Gran Tourer did fine, even with me being overly cautious not to ding it. In Frankfurt’s rush our traffic, the Head-Up Display was a God send as it would tell me early if I needed to be over a lane or two before turning. I never had to take my eyes off traffic and the iDrive with Navigation Plus got us right there.
BMW mounted the 2 Gran Tourer’s engine transversely in order to maximize the cabin volume. The 220d xDrive version we tested pumps out 190 hp and 400 Nm of torque. This is good for a 0-100 km/hr (0-62 mph) in a respectable 7.8 seconds. Top speed is 135 mph. Diesel clatter was only noticeable if I had the hood up or in a parking garage.
We don’t expect to see this vehicle in the U.S. market. However, this type of vehicle is very popular in Europe and the 2 Series Gran Tourer looks to build on the success of the 2 Series Active Tourer, and similar MVPs in the segment. These types of vehicles fit well on narrow European roads and their crazy tight parking garages. Somehow, BMW still managed to infuse enough “BMWness” into the 2 Series Gran Tourer that the driver of über practical car can enjoy driving.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
With the new 2 Series Gran Tourer, BMW has entered yet another market niche and it’s the first luxury car maker in the compact seven seater all-wheel drive segment.
The compact, yet spacious layout of the 2 Series Gran Tourer is aimed squarely at families who need the flexible seating for up to seven and storage capacity, yet still value BMW dynamics and interior amenities that one expects in a BMW. In addition, BMW brings many safety features and upscale tech missing in this segment. Add all-wheel drive with its safety and convenience of all weather capabilities, and BMW has what should be a success on their hands.
Check our video review below: