Remember the Austin Powers villain Dr. Evil? He had a dwarf clone of himself; Mini-Me. Well, if the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is Dr. Evil, meet its Mini-Me; the 2 Series Gran Coupe. If you feel shortchanged, it gets worse as the latter is also more Mini (the car) underneath than BMW.
Another new addition to the Gran Coupe family, the 2 Series take on it rides on the new UKL platform that underpins the 1 Series, X2 and the new Mini hatch. It’s a front-wheel drive platform that supports all-wheel drive as well. This 2er isn’t on the same platform as the M2 Competition that’s a proper sports car.
Take some time to absorb the design language and you’ll notice plenty of cues borrowed from existing models. The front is almost a copy of the X2 while the thin taillights are shrunk right out of the new X6. Its side silhouette screams 6 Series Gran Coupe sans the hatch. Like all new BMWs, the grille should be launched with its own postcode.
While the future might see a front-drive version of the 2 GC pop up, for now it’ll be an all-wheel drive affair in the form of the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe and spicier M235i xDrive Gran Coupe.
Both are driven by a 2.0-litre turbo-four with the eight-speed automatic in between. No manual sadly.
Power in the 228i is the same as its designation, 228hp and 350Nm of torque. That scoots it to the century mark in 6.0-seconds flat and onto 209kph. The M235i makes 301hp and 449Nm of torque with help from a larger turbo, reinforced rotating assembly, larger injectors, a freer-flowing exhaust system and improved cooling with two extra radiators. That gets it to the century mark in 4.6-seconds with a hand from launch control and up to 250kph.
Keeping it worthy of the M badge, the M235i gets a proper Torsen limited-slip diff integrated in the transmission while the 228i makes do with brake torque vectoring system. The M also gets M Sport suspension that drops the ride by 10mm. BMW also recalibrated the M Sport steering that results in a more direct ratio, better response with power assistance added based on speed and acceleration. A front strut bar stiffens up the towers of the M235i while both can be had with two-mode adaptive dampers; Comfort or Sport.
Inside, it’s typical BMW with the iDrive interface on a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a virtual assistant. You’ll have to fork out an annual fee for Apple CarPlay after a free one-year trial. Harmon Kardon provided a 16-speaker system. Ambient lighting, a digital instrument cluster and keyless entry are all optional.
Navigation is an option too but if you tick the box for it, the transmission can access navigation data to shift more decisively if the map detects an approaching corner or slow-moving traffic ahead.