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2020 BMW 2-Series

#21 in Coupes
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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
June 15, 2020

Buying tip

Stick to the entry-level trim for the entry-level model with the 228i.

features & specs

228i xDrive Gran Coupe
230i Convertible
230i Coupe
MPG
23 city / 33 hwy
MPG
23 city / 34 hwy
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
MSRP
$37,500
MSRP
$41,100
MSRP
$35,300

The 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe fills the smallest void in the BMW lineup.

In another sign of the times, the smoking package is no longer offered on the 2020 BMW 2-Series. But the smallest BMW gets a much more modern addition than an ashtray in the new 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe.

That’s right, the two-door rear-wheel-drive coupe or convertible can now be had as a four-door all-wheel-drive sedan built on a crossover platform. Confused? Don’t be. 

The 2020 2-Series coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe sedan serve as the entry-level model for the brand and cost $2,300 more than the X1 crossover SUV. Since the 2-Series coupe and convertible are largely carryover models and are on their way out, we’ll refer you to our 2019 BMW 2-Series review and focus this review on the new 2020 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe. 

Review continues below

The entry-level Gran Coupe has two engine options, a smooth transmission, standard all-wheel drive, and an extensive standard feature list. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Gran Coupes have proliferated in the BMW lineup of late, with the 2-Series and 8-Series joining the 4-Series as attractive if not confusing coupe-like bodies with four-door functionality. With a proper trunk instead of a hatch like in the 4-Series, the 2-Series Gran Coupe competes with the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3. It fits in BMW’s strategy of offering a body and engine type in every conceivable size. Luxury is all about choice. Let them have cake. And pay for it. The X1 crossover and 2-Series coupe start less than the $38,495 (including $995 destination) 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe. 

It looks like an entry-level small luxury sedan with classic BMW elements like frameless windows with a rear Hofmeister Kink and the kidney grille. That beany grille fronts one of two 2.0-liter turbo-4 options that make either 228 horsepower in the 228i xDrive or 301 hp in the M235i xDrive. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. 

It starts just under $40,000 and the M235i just under $50,000, which is where the entry-level proposition begins to break down. Standard equipment includes an 8.8-inch touchscreen with a controller dial, Apple CarPlay compatibility, an 8.8-inch instrument cluster, four USB ports, keyless start, rain-sensing wipers, and 10-way power-adjustable front seats. The available Live Cockpit Pro updates the screens to two 10.3-inch digital displays. 

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The 2-Series also comes with BMW’s 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and complimentary scheduled maintenance for 3-years/36,000-miles. With the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe, the cost of stepping into luxury is not too steep.

6

2020 BMW 2-Series

Styling

BMW proves a sedan born of a coupe based on a crossover can work.

The 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe is a four-door sedan styled like a coupe built off of a crossover platform. Yet, it doesn’t look like a Frankencar. 

For that seamlessness, we give it a 6 out of 10. 

Mostly, it looks like a small German sedan, confident with its pedigree and not needing any daring flourishes. The roofline flows down into the rising body line to give the rear end more visual weight. The profile features frameless windows with the Hofmeister Kink in back, all lined with silver. The M235i comes with black accents.  

The sportier M235i has a more pronounced mesh grille, more severe underbite, and larger side air intakes. It comes with 18-inch wheels that flash blue brake calipers up front, and, in the back, rectangular dual exhaust finishers beneath a more chiseled rear bumper. In total, it looks more muscular than the 228i. 

No surprises inside, either, as the driver-oriented cabin will be familiar to anyone who’s been in a recent BMW. There are plenty of upgrades available, but the leather-wrapped steering wheel and black synthetic leather trim show off enough luxury class to belong to the next automotive tier.

Review continues below

6

2020 BMW 2-Series

Performance

The turbo-4 is tuned two ways in the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe.

2-Series Gran Coupe

Blistering power is not the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe’s forte, but BMW offers many other vehicles to fit that need, including the excellent M2. For most drivers, the GC offers plenty of pluck, delivered in two different dosages. 

With standard all-wheel drive and a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, the Gran Coupe’s turbo-4 hits a sweet spot of safety and capability in a small sedan, and earns it one point to get to a 6 out of 10. 

The base 228i xDrive Gran Coupe comes with a 228-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 258 pound-feet of torque starting at just 1,450 rpm. BMW says it hits 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and has a limited top speed of 130 mph on standard all-season run flat tires, or 151 mph with optional performance tires.

We did get brief driving impressions of the M235i xDrive Gran Coupe, which gets the heart pumping both for its 4.6-second 0-60 mph time and its $8,000 upcharge (more than 20%) over the 228i. 

It has a retuned version of that 2.0-liter turbo-4 modified with a reinforced crankshaft, new pistons, and a larger turbocharger with a built-in exhaust manifold. The upgrades help the engine make 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque available from 1,750-4,500 rpm. With performance tires, it is limited to a top speed of 155 mph. 

An electronic limited-slip differential on the front axle uses brake-based torque vectoring to limit wheel spin on the inside wheel and reduce the likelihood of plowing forward without being able to turn when on a slippery surface. In performance driving, the system adds more grip. There are several settings in the 2GC to optimize how you want the car to handle, whether that’s for better safety or for greater ability to let loose in dynamic driving. 

The all-wheel-drive system can deliver torque evenly to either axle, but the front-bias comes through on Comfort or Eco modes to preserve fuel. The M235i has a Torsen limited-slip differential integrated into the transmission for more aggressive locking than the electronically controlled one on the base model. It lets you push it harder, and the Launch Control system associated with it enables all 332 lb-ft of torque to come on in first and second gear. 

We’ll report back on the magic of such affects, as well as the M Sport suspension that lowers the ride height by 10 mm, once we get more seat time.

2-Series Coupe and Convertible

For more on the 2-Series coupe and convertible on sale, including the M2 Competition, see our review from last year.

Review continues below
5

2020 BMW 2-Series

Comfort & Quality

Longer, wider, and taller than the 2-Series, the 2020 Gran Coupe is also roomier.

Context: The 2020 BMW 2-Series is about the same size as the 3-Series was 10 years ago. And the 3-Series is like the 5-Series of that time period. So the 2-Series Gran Coupe is the smallest BMW, but in a big way. The 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe takes that concept a bit further. 

The 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe isn’t related to the 2-Series coupe and convertible, it’s closer to cousins with the X1 crossover. Yet, the X1 is wider and much taller, and overall roomier for front and rear passengers. It also has hatchback versatility. 

As such the front seats in the 2-Series Gran Coupe get a point for comfort but the cramped rear seats lose that point, even though BMW says it has nearly as much rear leg room as the 3-Series. It gets a 5 for comfort. 

We wish the Gran Coupe were a hatchback, but we also wish bacon were health food. 

Cargo volume in the trunk is an above-average 15.1 cubic feet, which surpasses what’s offered in the 2-Series coupe. The rear seat has a 40/20/40 split for clever cargo configurations and a lot of usable cargo space for items that aren’t bulky. 

Front seats have 10-way power adjustability, including thigh support. The synthetic leather trim is one of the more leather-like in the business, and fits our hides just fine, although the temptation to step up to a richer $1,450 leather would be deal-making if BMW didn’t make you pay for an additional package. 

Overall, the driver-focused controls and cabin design uphold BMW’s pedigree for making cars for drivers and their front-seat passenger. Having the rear seat is a good hedge for future family growth, or for carpooling with friends before the family season begins. A four-person road trip might cramp the quarters of the Gran Coupe.

Review continues below

2020 BMW 2-Series

Safety

Official safety data for the 2020 BMW 2-Series and Gran Coupe isn’t complete, but the suite of standard active safety features help.

The 2-Series historically has performed well on official crash testing but the aging model doesn’t give us an accurate insight into what to expect for the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe. 

The Gran Coupe is based on the X1 and X2 crossover SUVs, which earned top “Good” ratings across the board from the IIHS, but did not earn a Top Safety Pick award. When testing by NHTSA or IIHS is complete, we’ll update this space. For now, the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and rear cross-traffic alert. BMW calls the suite Active Driving Assistant. 

Optional safety equipment includes automated parking and a back-up assistant that takes over the reins when backing out of a narrow spot or with obstructed rear visibility.

Review continues below

8

2020 BMW 2-Series

Features

There are many options to elevate the entry-level model into finer luxury touches.

In addition to the standout standard safety features, the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe comes with enough fine finishes to get a taste of the luxury life. Gorging on options can load up on the luxury price, too, taking the Gran Coupe into the $50,000 range. 

At that point, there might be better “entry-level” luxury sedans. But the base 228i and its excellent warranty has enough standard content to earn it a 8 out of 10, provided you avoid the temptation to load it with M Sport bits and colorful leather that can take the price to more than $50,000. If that’s the case, may we entice you to some shoreland in Florida? Or more sincerely, the M340i. 

The 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe comes as either a 228i or M235i, depending on your engine choice. Since it comes with standard all-wheel drive, the $38,495 228i is only $200 more than the 2-Series coupe with AWD.  

In addition to the distinguishing blue and white roundel and kidney grille outside, the 2-Series Gran Coupe comes with 17-inch wheels with all-season run-flat tires and power-folding side mirrors. For any color other than black or white, cough up $550 or $1,200. 

Inside, synthetic leather upholstery belies some of the entry-level status, but the three-spoke steering wheel comes leather-wrapped. The base model still uses BMW’s older 8.8-inch touchscreen with a controller dial and Apple CarPlay compatibility. An 8.8-inch instrument cluster with 5.1-inch vehicle info display, four USB ports, keyless start, rain-sensing wipers, and 10-way power front-adjustable seats are also standard. A 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.3-inch touchscreen with the latest iDrive system is available as part of the $1,100 Live Cockpit Pro option. We recommend it. 

Add the $4,000 M Sport package for 18-inch wheels, rear spoiler, sport suspension and other sharpening bits, upgrade to $1,450 Mocha perforated leather seat trim, tick off the $3,050 Premium Package with heated seats and steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, and BMW’s latest and, admittedly, greatest infotainment system, and your entry level Gran Coupe has now reached the strata of questionable life choices. 

We like the Premium Package, but don’t need M Sport here; if you don’t bundle it together, the Premium Package jumps to $4,750. BMW really wants you to opt for the M Sport package. It would lead us to the 3-Series. 

As would the M325i performance-oriented 2-Series Gran Coupe. Starting at $46,495, it adds the M Sport package plus a front axle limited-slip differential. The price bump is mainly for performance. Creature comforts include leather seats, keyless entry, ambient lighting, and lumbar support.

We’d stick as close to the base model as possible, and dream of better BMWs for the next pay bump. 

Fortunately, a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty carries 2-Series Gran Coupe owners into their next stage of BMW brand growth.

Review continues below
5

2020 BMW 2-Series

Fuel Economy

The 2020 BMW 2-Series is a gas, even though it doesn’t burn much of it.

Despite different engines and different body styles, the most efficient 2020 BMW 2-Series can be had as a coupe, convertible, or Gran Coupe, and they all earn a 27 mpg combined EPA rating. The 230i coupe is best around town and it rates 24 mpg city, 32 highway, 27 combined. The 230i convertible, which is 300 pounds heavier, gets 23/34/27 mpg, and the longer, wider all-wheel-drive 228i xDrive Gran Coupe that slots as the middleweight on the card gets 23/33/27 mpg. 

That’s not great for a small sedan but not bad either, earning a 5 of 10 on our scale. 

The Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Civic Coupe, and Hyundai Veloster beat the 2-Series for efficiency with 30 mpg combined.

The M235i Gran Couple with all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission is rated at 23/32/26 mpg.

A 6-speed manual offered on the rear-wheel-drive coupe lowers fuel economy to 21/32/25 mpg with a turbo-4, or 19/27/22 mpg with a turbo-6 with or without a roof. The M240i coupe and convertible rates 22/30/25 mpg regardless of roof or driven wheels. 

The 2-Series is rated for premium fuel across the board.

Review continues below

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$35,300
MSRP based on 230i Coupe
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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