If you’re wondering why we’re posting a spy video of the new 2 Series Gran Coupe even after it’s already officially debuted, I wouldn’t blame you. Doesn’t seem to make much sense at first. However, this video is rather new and it shows the all-new BMW M235i Gran Coupe, the sportiest model of the bunch, lapping the Nurburgring. Because the 2GC’s design criticism is only overshadowed by its drivetrain criticism, we figured we’d take a look at how well the new 2er handles.
The controversy around its powertrain stems from its front-wheel drive layout. Yes, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is all-wheel drive but it’s still front-drive based. That all-wheel drive system it uses is Haldex-based as well, which means it can never send more than 50-percent of its power to the rear wheels and it will only even do that under extreme circumstances. So, essentially, it’s a front-wheel drive car that can send some power to the back.
Typically, this isn’t such a problem. There are several excellent cars that have Haldex all-wheel drive systems, such as the Volkswagen Golf R, Audi RS3 and Audi TT RS. But being a BMW, expectations are a bit different. BMWs have traditionally been rear-wheel drive and quite tail-happy, the latter being a trait not often seen in front-wheel drive cars. So can this new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe really drive like a proper BMW or is it just a marketing cash grab from Bavaria?
Just judging by this video, it honestly isn’t looking great. I’m sure the M235i can be a fun handling car, because the new BMW M135i is said to be surprisingly fun. However, you can see it struggle quite a bit at the ‘Ring. It looks like it understeers heavily and it doesn’t seem willing to rotate at all, as expected for a front-biased car. You can also hear the tires squealing in protest, so the driver seems to be pushing it quite hard, it’s not just a calm lap.
We’ll obviously reserve final judgement until we drive full production cars but things aren’t looking too hot.