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First drive: BMW 220d Gran Coupe. Image by BMW AG.

First drive: BMW 220d Gran Coupe
After driving the fastest 2 Series Gran Coupe, what does the BMW feel like as a FWD diesel?

 



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BMW 220d M Sport Gran Coupe

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Here we're trying out the second example of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe range, in the form of the eco-champ 220d M Sport. But this version has even more counting against it, beyond the gruesome design.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport
Pricing: 2 Series Gran Coupe range from 25,815, 220d M Sport from 33,855
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic
Body style: four-door coupe-saloon
CO2 emissions: 119g/km (VED Band 111-130: 170 first 12 months, then 145 annually thereafter; NEDC-correlated)
Combined economy: 62.8mpg (NEDC-correlated)
Top speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Power: 190hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-2,500rpm
Boot space: 430 litres

What's this?

It's another BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and we're not going to hit this thing again while it's on the floor. We've already said we think it's an unremittingly ugly car, without an ounce of aesthetic desirability, and that's all there is to say on the matter. You might disagree with us; that's fine. Anyway, otherwise this M Sport version of the mid-level 220d GC is broadly similar on the inside to the M235i xDrive - it has the same mainly digital fascia and the same appealing cabin throughout, so it feels almost every bit as good from the driver's seat as the 306hp model.

Beyond this, though, there's a bit more of a pressing problem with the 220d M Sport Gran Coupe and it's the 320d M Sport saloon. It retails for 36,635, which is a mere 2,780 more than the 33,855 220d GC. And, for that, you get a prestige saloon that's not pretending to be a coupe, even more space in the back seats, drive going to the 'correct' axle (for a BMW, at least), and, of course, almost infinitely preferable exterior looks. So what can the 220d Gran Coupe do to justify its existence?

How does it drive?

Well, the answer to the last poser in the previous section is 'not a lot'. Like the M235i, it's a supremely comfortable and cultured vehicle in which to amble about town or cruise along a motorway. Indeed, because it's a less focused car than the M Performance flagship, it's even better at these disciplines and truly does feel like a much larger, grander car when it's merely burring along at 70mph at constant revs.

But there are so many cars, not just BMWs, which can do this sort of thing well. The whole idea of having a coupe-imitating vehicle is that it's either sharper to drive, or nicer to look at, or both, than what's already available on the market. And the 220d is none of these things, because it certainly isn't as well-sorted as a good 320d and we've already gone over the bodywork elsewhere.

While the surge in xDrive BMW sales over recent years suggests buyers really don't care which axle of a car is driven, there's still got to be a reason to pick a car from Munich, over and above a car from Ingolstadt or Stuttgart. And, with this front-driven chassis, the 220d doesn't feel much like a BMW at all. It has a lot of grip at the front axle but we drove it in mildly slippery conditions, following a recent rain shower, and it took surprisingly little provocation to get the Gran Coupe to break its hold on the tarmac. When it did, understeer; lots and lots of understeer. It does it if you're even marginally too firm with turn-in. It does it if you try and get on the power just a gnat's too soon when exiting tight corners in the lower gears. It does it if you even dare to attempt to change your line on the throttle with the outside suspension loaded up.

And even if you're not in the middle of a corner, when the 220d breaks traction then there's axle-tramp and wasted power spinning away - again, it doesn't take much to trigger this behaviour, and it'll do it on damp surfaces despite its DSC being fully engaged. Frankly, it's all just a bit unruly and uninvolving. Which is a real shame.

Verdict

On top of its challenging visuals, the BMW 220d Gran Coupe throws in a dynamic experience that feels like much what it is: a hatchback, masquerading (without much success) as something sportier. This four-door, front-drive machine is not special enough and nowhere near handsome enough to make a strong case for itself, so it just feels like a slightly unnecessary box-ticking exercise on the part of BMW. It is, however, suitably refined, so if you really, really, really want one of these things and you don't want to break the bank in running it, the 220d might just be the Gran Coupe for you.

1 1 1 1 1 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 19 Feb 2019









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2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.

2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 220d Gran Coupe M Sport first drive. Image by BMW AG.








 

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