Competes with: Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan, Audi A3
Looks like: A stylish premium small sedan with a few more hints of the 2020 Kia Forte than of the 2020 CLA’s drama
Drivetrains: 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (228i xDrive) or 301-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four (M235i xDrive); eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: March 2020
BMW has rolled out a new entry-level sedan that will compete head-to-head with the redone 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan. The 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe, also a sedan with the Euro-trendy “four-door coupe” silhouette, slides into the BMW lineup below the 3 Series sedans and joins the 2 Series rear-wheel-drive coupe and convertible in name, though it is based on a BMW front-wheel drive platform like the X1 and X2 crossovers. The new model will be displayed in November at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show and will go on sale here in March.
There will be two versions at launch in the U.S., both with turbocharged four-cylinder power and standard all-wheel drive: the entry 228i xDrive and higher-performance M235i xDrive. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Some recent BMW designs have generated controversy, and this one might, too. While clearly aimed to rival the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is less dramatic and more mainstream in design. It gets the latest big BMW kidney grille, frameless windows, standard full LED headlights and daytime running lights. A panoramic moonroof is optional.
The M235i gets its own version of the grille and more aggressive bumpers. It also has a dark gray finish for the grille, front air inlet surrounds, lower side molding, mirror caps and trapezoidal (rather than the 228i’s round) exhaust tips.
Interior Design and Tech
Both models include sport front seats. The M235i gets standard leather upholstery, an M Sport steering wheel and other upgrades. Ambient lighting also is standard on the M235i.
BMW says the rear seat has legroom “almost equaling” the 3 Series, which means it’s not huge. Trunk space is 12 cubic feet and a 40/20/40-split, folding rear seatback is standard.
The center display is 8.8 inches and has BMW’s iDrive controller. The optional BMW Live Cockpit Professional includes a 10.25-inch center display and a 10.25-inch configurable instrument display; a 9.2-inch head-up display also is available. Navigation is standard. There are two USB ports in front (one of them USB-C) and two in the rear (both USB-C), and wireless charging is available — but Android Auto is not and Apple CarPlay is by subscription after a one-year free trial.
Two Flavors Under the Hood
The powertrains are familiar from the X2 models. The 228i xDrive features a 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 258 pounds-feet of torque. The M235i xDrive gets a 301-hp, turbocharged four putting out 332 pounds-feet of torque. Both use an eight-speed automatic and come with standard all-wheel drive. BMW says the torque-splitting AWD system includes a traction system that uses selective braking to limit wheel slip.
BMW says the 228i will run zero-to-60 mph in 6.0 seconds and is limited to top speeds of 130 mph with all-season tires and 151 mph with performance tires. The M235i cuts the zero-to-60 sprint to 4.7 seconds (4.6 with an optional performance package) and tops out at 155 mph with performance tires.
The M235i additions also include extra bracing, a limited-slip front differential, 18-inch wheels (up from the standard 17-inch rims) and M Sport brakes, different steering tuning and a sportier suspension. An adaptive suspension is optional for both models, as are 19-inch wheels.
Safety and Driver Assistance Tech
Blind spot detection and a low-speed front collision system with automatic braking are standard, as are blind spot and lane departure warning systems, lane keep assist and a rear cross-traffic alert system. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go is optional; the system uses navigation and other sensor data to limit gear changes and anticipate upcoming road conditions. Also optional is a parking assist system.
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