The new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (F44) celebrates its launch on the United Kingdom market, with first deliveries to customers set to commence on March 14, 2020.

At first, the first-ever 2 Series Gran Coupe was seen as a complete oddity in the BMW model portfolio. The FAAR-underpinned model managed to split opinions among fans, journalists and long-standing BMW clients. The F44 model series is indeed a controversial appearance in the BMW lineup, mostly triggered by the success of rival Mercedes-Benz CLA.

The niche of compact four-door coupes was left unfilled by BMW until last year, when the Bavarians unveiled the 2 Series Gran Coupe at Los Angeles Motor Show in November 2019. The model is a logic addition, alongside the 4 Series Gran Coupe and 8 Series Gran Coupe siblings.

Since our first encounter, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has managed to grow in my eyes. I became accustomed to its rather droopy appearance, which is mainly triggered by the front-driven platform. In the correctly chosen exterior colors, it even ends up looking nice and elegant, with a good dose of design dynamism true to BMW.

The front-end is largely a revised version of the F40 1 Series styling, yet it looks sharper and more appealing than in the case of the premium compact model. The side silhouette is defined by the upwards sloping shoulder line and the rakish roofline. At the rear end, the slim L-shaped rear lamps are inspired by the 8 Series and create an impression of width, also thanks to the high-gloss black design element that connects them.

The doors feature a frameless architecture, just like on the bigger Gran Coupe, which adds extra exclusivity and charm to the car. The cabin offers a decisively digital experience and feature an identical design to the F40 1 Series and high-quality premium materials.

On the UK market, three versions of the 2 Series Gran Coupe will be offered at launch: the 3-cylinder petrol-burner 218i with 140 PS starting at £25,815; the 4-cylinder diesel-powered 220d with 190PS at £31,355 and the range-topping M235i xDrive with 306 PS at £37,255.

Three equipment lines will be available for the new 2 Series Gran Coupe in the UK: Sport, M Sport and M Performance. The entry-level Sport features cloth upholstery seats as standard, whereas the M Sport comes with standard Dakota leather upholstery. The Sport steering wheel is available for the base, whereas the M Sport gets the three-spoke M steering wheel.

The list of standard and optional equipment is quite lengthy and comprises many systems and solutions once-seen and reserved solely for the high-end models.

The standard equipment for the Sport trim line includes 17-inch allow wheels, PDC sensors at the front and rear, the Connected Package Plus, the Live Cockpit Plus and Active Guard Plus package with Lane Departure Warning system.

The mid-range M Sport version gets standard 18-inch M design alloy wheels, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional fully digital instrument cluster and control display, M Sport suspension, M Aerodynamic design details, M Sport steering, heated seats, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, folding exterior mirrors and Connected Package Professional.

Last, but not least, UK clients looking to acquire the M235i xDrive will get an exclusive styling treatment with exterior Cerium Grey ornaments, M Sport suspension, limited slip differential on the front axle, an 8-speed sports automatic transmission and M Performance exhaust system.

All versions of the new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe come with the standard ARB system (contiguous actuator wheel slip limitation) known from the BMW i3, which improves the grip on the front axle, reduces the FWD-biased understeer and improves handling.

The ARB works in cooperation with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. When also mated with the xDrive on the M235i variant, it manages to ensure an impressive level of dynamism for a front-driven model.

Among the optional equipment for the new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, it’s worth mentioning the BMW Digital Key (when the Comfort Access option is ticked), the Head-Up Display, the Intelligent Personal Assistant, the Harman/Kardon surround sound system and the Connected Navigation/Parking/Music packages.

As part of the press release regarding the market launch of the F44 series, BMW UK also prepared a set of nice photos with two engine variants of the 2 Series Gran Coupe. The 218i model is featured in M Sport line, full BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line adornments and Snapper Rocks Blue exterior paint finish, with a Dakota Oyster leather upholstery interior.

On the other hand, the BMW M235i xDrive is specced in BMW Individual Storm Bay metallic exterior color, the Cerium Grey 19-inch M alloy wheels and a Dakota Black leather upholstery cabin with shell-shaped M sport seats with integrated headrests.