BMW has yet to release the final production version of the all-new 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe. All images from the official BMW 2 Series GC website are still rendered in digital camouflage. Why so? The car is ready for production, but BMW is taking their sweet time in fine-tuning the dynamics of the vehicle.
However, the German carmaker was only too kind to divulge all the juicy details on what is conceived to be a direct competitor to the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3. Here are the top five things we know about the upcoming BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.
The 2 Series Gran Coupe is based on the European-spec 1 Series hatchback
This means a front-wheel-drive platform and a host of electronic wizardry to kill understeer. As we know, FWD cars have a sure tendency to exhibit understeer during fast cornering. BMW knows this all too well and is working hard to give the new 2 Series Gran Coupe the handling dynamics of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.
But working with a front-wheel-drive platform pays dividends in terms of interior space. The new 2 Series Gran Coupe is visibly longer, larger, and wider than the 2 Series coupe. In fact, the length has grown to 177-inches (4.5 meters), which slots between the larger 3 Series and smaller 1 Series. You get more legroom, knee room, and headroom than in the 2 Series coupe while still having 450-liters of cargo space in the boot.
Interestingly enough, the increase in size also means the 2 Series GC is smacking head-on into Mercedes-Benz CLA territory.
But the 2 Series GC coming in North America is fitted with xDrive AWD
BMW is planning to release two models of the 2 Series GC in North America. The first is the 228i powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 231-horsepower. The hot version is the M235i with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger with 306-horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque – which makes it the most powerful four-cylinder motor in BMW’s history. Both models come with an 8-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
No word yet if BMW will offer the basic FWD versions of the 2 Series GC in the U.S. market. But what we know is the xDrive AWD system in the 2 Series GC is able to send up to 50-percent of torque to the front wheels in demanding situations. The variable xDrive all-wheel drivetrain normally sends power to the rear wheels to deliver an authentic BMW driving experience.
Both the 228i and M235i are a hoot to drive
Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen was among the lucky few to test drive the new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe in Munich. “Truth be told, the 228i is potent enough to hog lanes in the German Autobahn,” explains Nguyen. “But the M235i Gran Coupe is a different kind of animal. Both vehicles have an exhilarating sound emanating from the engine and exhaust, but the way the engine sings in the M235i is marvelously epic, most particularly in Sport mode.”
The reason behind this is the utilization of specific mechanical suspension parts depending on the power output of the motor. For example, the M235i comes with a unique spring and damper setting. It also has stiffer anti-roll bars, a different sub-frame assembly, and a modified rear suspension compared to the 228i.
Sporty handling is ensured by the revised ARB traction control system from the BMW i3S
Without sounding too technical in the details, the revised ARB traction control system in the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is engineered to react ten times faster than the previous system. It does this by allowing the engine ECU to compare data of the stability control and crankshaft rotational speed. With reduced latency, the new traction control system offers more precise control of wheel spin to offer sharper and more responsive handling.
Meanwhile, the traction control intervenes in two stages. You can turn it ON when driving over slippery pavement. But if want the rear wheels to kick out a bit during hard cornering, pressing a button remaps the stability control to allow more rear-wheel slip. The clincher is you can turn it completely OFF for some proper hooliganism and tire-burning action.
The 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe debuts at the 2019 LA Auto Show
Mark your calendar! The world premiere of the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe takes place at the Los Angeles International Auto Show from November 23 to December 2. First deliveries of the 2 Series GC will commence in spring of 2020. Pricing is yet to be announced.