I’m one of the few supporters of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Having driven it both on road and on track, I can honestly say it’s more fun to drive than I thought it would be. It’s not brilliant but it’s not meant to be. It’s just meant to be an affordable way to get into a fun BMW. Sure, it still looks frumpy and lacks exciting engine options but it’s not a bad car to drive at all, especially at a low price. There’s just one problem; it doesn’t have a low price.
In the US, the cheapest BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is the 228i xDrive, which wears a starting price tag of $37,500 before destination. That’s only a few thousand dollars less than the BMW 330i ($40,750), which is not only bigger, more premium and better to drive but it also comes with a better, more powerful engine. Sure, the base model 330i in America is rear-wheel drive, while the 228i xDrive comes with all-wheel drive as-standard (hence the name). But I don’t think a lot of enthusiasts are going to mind. Plus, the 2er’s all-wheel drive system is a Haldex-based setup and is front-wheel drive 90-percent of the time.
The new 2 Series Gran Coupe isn’t a bad car to drive by any means but it’s not great to drive. Ya know what is great to drive? The new BMW 3 Series. The new 3er is at the top of its game, taking down really impressive rivals like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in numerous recorded comparison tests. It has excellent chassis dynamics, great steering, a surprisingly great turbocharged four-cylinder engine (330i) and interior materials and build quality that would match a car costing almost twice as much.
Having driven the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, I can honestly admit that there’s a lot to like. It’s not particularly fast but it’s punchy enough to be fun, its gearbox works well, it steers well enough and it has surprisingly good interior materials and built quality. I must admit, I came away with more positives than negatives after my drive and I really wasn’t expecting that to be the case.
As a cheaper alternative to the 3 Series, I’m on board with the new little 2er. However, it’s barely cheaper, at least not by enough to make it a good value proposition. If it was in the low $30,000-range to start, certainly under $35,000, I’d absolutely say it was a great buy. But it’s not so I can’t. At over $38,000 after destination to start, the new 2er is just too expensive, when you can upgrade to a 3 Series for the same price as a Macbook.