As the new BMW 220d Gran Coupe has proven me during the latest test drive, you really don’t need all that much horsepower under the engine hood to have fun and be completely impressed. Last week, I was given the chance to get behind the wheel of the new compact BMW Gran Coupe model. I drove it for around 650 to 700 kilometers on highways, national and country roads with the aim of finding out if the F44 generation is really worth every penny.
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My journey led me to the highest mountainous road in Romania: at 2,145 meters altitude on the Transalpina, the chic 220d Gran Coupe felt quite like a fish in the water, even though the traction was purely on the front axle.
Diesel Engines Are Still Great
To begin with, the BMW 220d Gran Coupe is powered by the highly efficient B47 diesel unit with a maximum displacement of 2.0 liters. The powerplant develops 140 kW / 190 PS (187 hp), which is just about the right stuff for everyday use in such a compact Bimmer.
At low revs, the diesel engine is pretty torquey, but also smooth and not forced, or grumpy. Besides that, it is also sufficiently quiet. The cabin is almost perfectly insulated, so even though it becomes a little louder over 110 km/h, it remains barely noticeable.
The output from the diesel burner was channeled towards the front-axle wheels thanks to the 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission.
The test car was featured in the Luxury trim line, as distinguished by the chrome accents in the kidney grille and the satin-colored inserts in the center air vent. The 220d also came with the high-end 18″ multi-spoke alloys, that further bolstered the appearance of the dynamic Gran Coupe.
The most spectacular attribute of this 220d Gran Coupe was obviously the vivid Melbourne Red metallic exterior paintwork, which really made the whole car look very elegant, powerful and refined.
This specific color emphasized the cohesive and low-slung silhouette of the 220d Gran Coupe and, at least in my opinion, works better than any other shade offered for the F44.
A Stylish Interior
The cabin specification continue the refinement level of the exterior, thanks to the perforated Dakota Black leather upholstery and the impressive Illuminated Berlin dashboard and door cover ornaments. Those look really impressive when lit up.
Furthermore, the 220d Gran Coupe was also specced with the high-end BMW Live Cockpit Professional digital operating system, which as always, provided me the best performance in terms of graphics and user friendliness.
Except for some sections of the dashboard, mostly hidden from direct eye sight, the materials used in the new 2 Series Gran Coupe look and feel upscale.
Even though we are talking about a compact class car, the interior is roomy and more than adequate even for tall people. But, on the rear seat, there might be a problem if you’re somewhere above 1.80 meters tall.
Furthermore, during my trip with the 220d Gran Coupe, the feel good atmosphere was further enriched by the optional Panorama Sky Roof. The amount of daytime light that flushed the cabin created a charming experience, as well as the possibility to get a good dose of fresh air and feel like you were driving a cabriolet.
Together with the fine materials and the good sound insulation, the panoramic glass roof really made me feel cozy and comfortable when driving the 220d Gran Coupe.
Even though the glass roof and the required mechanism for it add some extra weight over a standard, tin-top 220d Gran Coupe, it really had no negative impact on the overall consumption.
Comfortable and Frugal Driving Experience
My journey started with a full tank and the computer showing a mixed consumption of nearly 12 liters/100 km. The autonomy calculated by the car amounted to 741 kilometers.
Throughout my weekend with the car, the ECO PRO INDIVIDUAL driving mode was my best friend and enabled me to do some fuel saving wonders. I barely used COMFORT and almost forgot how thrilling SPORT can be.
Traveling through a congested city to reach my house and, afterwards, driving the car in the afternoon rush hour meant the fuel range dropped to 662 kilometers. So, starting the second-day, a 600-kilometer trip was a quest to save as much fuel as possible to be able to get back home without the need of further refueling.
On Saturday, after covering 20 kilometers on the outskirts of the city, I managed to enter the highway and properly start my fuel consumption challenge. The aim was to streamline the engine functioning as much as possible so to squeeze and save every possible drop of diesel.
From an over 20 l/100 km on a cold engine, I managed to drop the fuel consumption at just 4.7 l/100 km after covering 125 kilometers of highway. With an average speed of 86.2 km/h, this was the most that I could get out of the B47 diesel unit.
You have to take into consideration that this is very close to the official consumption for the 220d Gran Coupe: 4.2 – 4.5 l/100 km. Furthermore, the fuel range improved dramatically to 776 kilometers, after having started at just 662 kilometers.
With still more than 150 kilometers left, the 220d further managed to exceed my expectations. On national and country roads with speed limits at up to 90 or 100 km/h, the overall achieved consumption was of about 4.8 to 4.9 l/100 km.
Of course, the steep climb towards to the top point of my adventure has taken its toll on the final consumption figures: at 2,145 meters, the diesel-powered F44 was already highly thirsty: no less than 5.8 l/100 km on average.
The fuel range indicated by the trip computer was exhausted to just 341 kilometers. But, after a so remarkable performance up to my mountain destination, I was certain that the engine-transmission duo will reveal more strong attributes on the return journey.
And I was not wrong at all. I was also particularly helped by the coasting performed during the steep, 20-kilometer descent. Thus, the consumption decreased to just 5.0 l/100 km.
While covering the rest of the trip, the figures alternated between 5.2 and 4.9 l/100 km, depending on the traffic situation, the road profile and overtaking possibilities. After re-entering the highway, with an average speed on 85 km/h, I was able to regain much of the lost fuel autonomy.
The highest value achieved on my way home was 416 kilometers and just about 4.8 l/100 km, which is rather impressive knowing that I started much lower on autonomy. On top of it, I had already covered more than 450 kilometers in highly different circumstances.
At the end of my fuel consumption challenge with the impressive 220d Gran Coupe, the trip computer displayed a total autonomy of 321 kilometers and a mixed fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100 km. Furthermore, the scores obtained in the Driving Style Analysis (available in ECO PRO mode only) were equally impressive: 5/5 for Acceleration and 5/5 for Anticipation.
All this performance was possible with roughly 50 liters of diesel. I have to admit that, if I had driven the car at the superior limit, I wouldn’t have been able to post such remarkable consumption figures. But as well, the 220d Gran Coupe is a car that must be driven consciously, with a clear focus in mind.
I wasn’t aiming for high-end driving dynamics, nor thrilling sensations, even though the car had plenty of resources in this respect. For me, it has been more pleasurable and serene to drive the 220d Gran Coupe in complete peace while admiring the surrounding, breath-taking landscape.
Enjoying every curve at lower speeds and taking care of the consumption helped me gain further knowledge and cherish the brilliant teamwork done by the B47 diesel unit and the Steptronic Sport gearbox.
There are very little negative points that I can highlight about the 220d Gran Coupe. The handling and dynamic handling is more than sufficient, the steering is fairly nimble and precise in most cases. The ARB technology, which prevents the front axle wheels to go crazy and reduces the FWD sub-steer effect, works exceptionally and is a great addition for the F44.
I was able to perform some spectacular overtakings, as the engine provided me at all times with the needed amount of torque and power. And I had so much fun on some hill roads, where the 220d Gran Coupe really ate corner after corner with no difficulty at all.
The ride comfort and suspension setting were just perfect in all driving modes, especially in COMFORT and ECO PRO. In SPORT, the car becomes sharp and precise, gaining a sporty engine setting, more nimble steering feedback as well as stiffer suspension and damping to achieve greater stability when approaching curves and bends.
It is hard to guess that you are driving a front-driven car, also given the low kerb weight of 1,505 kilograms that further boosts the vehicle’s agility. For the majority of the users, the 220d Gran Coupe is clearly just the right alternative in all aspects.
There are certain shortcomings, given the compact size of the 2 Series Gran Coupe. If you are accustomed to driving larger vehicles, this is certainly not your pick. Also, in some specifications and with lots of extra equipment chosen, the final price jumps abruptly past the EUR 45,000 limit (not including other taxes).
It can be said that the new 2 Series Gran Coupe offers “more for less”, but strictly from a price point, it might actually be the case of “less for more”. The F44 generation is a relevant model for BMW and future sales driver in the battle with Mercedes and Audi. So, comparing it to RWD models really makes no sense, even though the pricing might be a little restrictive.
Would I buy one?
Given the polyvalent character, the new BMW 220d Gran Coupe is equally suitable for everyday use and escaping the crowded city. The car is a perfect balance between a dynamic drive in sheer BMW style and a smooth, effortless and frugal performance.
Factor in the exquisite coupe looks and there you have it: an attractive premium model worthy of its badge. Furthermore, if you are upset that the front drive might jeopardize the overall BMW look, just wait to see the car in person.
And in a color that does it a big favor, like this Melbourne Red.
Additionally, with the right powertrain and equipment package, the supremacy of Merc’s CLA in this segment is highly threatened by this combative Munich contender.
Regarding the above question, my answer is definitely yes.