There’s an air of inevitability that seems to surround the new 2 Series Gran Coupé’s arrival into the BMW family. And curiously, if not totally unsurprisingly, this stems from the existence of a car of vastly greater proportions than this week’s road test subject, too.
The launch of the original X6 in 2008 was an interesting moment in BMW history. To say it was a curiously styled beast would be to put things very kindly indeed, but for those brand traditionalists still struggling with the idea of BMW making any SUVs at all, Munich’s third X model proved a particularly difficult pill to swallow. Nevertheless, as provocative as its existence might have been at the time, the truth of the matter was that it drove well and went on to sell very strongly indeed.
In fact, its success helped BMW to forge something of a reputation for itself as a firm with a sharp eye for identifying new, left-field niches within the car market.
Niches that were, to put it somewhat simplistically, largely defined by a dramatically sloping coupé-style roofline. Admittedly, Mercedes had helped to popularise the idea of the four-door coupé with the launch of the CLS in 2004, but BMW’s success with the more outlandish SUV coupé surely solidified its confidence in the logic of applying the design formula across its entire model portfolio – regardless of bodystyle or whether it might be considered tasteful.
So we eventually wound up with the likes of the X4 and X2, but we got the strikingly handsome 6 Series and 4 Series Gran Coupé models, too. It’s also how we wound up here, with the 2 Series Gran Coupé, a car those of a more unscrupulous disposition might be inclined to label a 1 Series in a party frock.
Whether or not this new compact four-door coupé will be a hit with the fashion-conscious audience it’s intended for remains to be seen. Right now, we’re going to find out if this new rival to the Mercedes-Benz CLA has what it takes to stand on its own two feet.
The 2 Series Gran Coupé line-up at a glance
Three flavours of 2 Series Gran Coupé are currently available here in the UK. The three-cylinder 218i tested here represents the entry-level engine offering; the 220d is the sole diesel option; and the considerably more powerful M235i xDrive M Performance model crowns the range as the driver’s choice.
M Performance cars aside, just two trim levels are currently on offer: Sport and M Sport. The latter introduces more aggressive styling, extra equipment and uprated, firmer suspension, which may or may not be to everyone’s tastes.