Cars

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé is for Those Ready to Move Up

The German brand’s first Gran Coupé in a 2 Series is a seriously fun drive.
IMAGE PJ Caña
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The BMW 2 Series has the honor of being the first car that its distributor, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp., unveiled in the country virtually. The four-door Gran Coupe was one of two new units the company introduced in a Zoom call with local motoring media, which was attended no less than by the company’s chairman, Ramon Ang. The other is the F 900 R roadster motorcycle. 

Photo by PJ Caña.
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On paper (or on virtual screen), the specs of the 218i Gran Coupe Sport—the only variant available in the country—sound great: front-wheel drive, 1.5- liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder gas engine, seven-speed dual clutch Steptronic automatic transmission, 140 hp and 220 Nm of torque. It’s certainly a step above your regular subcompact sedan, but there’s more than meets the eye in the German brand’s first 2 Series Gran Coupe.

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It’s the elegant and sophisticated exterior that first gets you. The test unit was in Black Sapphire, gleaming brilliantly in the mid-afternoon sun. The familiar kidney grille is still there, but this time it’s framed by four angled LED headlights. It cuts a striking figure amidst a sea of generic-looking sedans in Manila’s streets.

Photo by PJ Caña.
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The sensation of being enveloped by a luxurious, solid interior is the initial feeling upon climbing inside. The Start/Stop button has been relocated to the instrument panel beside the gear shift lever. Just beneath are the buttons for driving modes: Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro. And on the opposite side of the lever, the spherical multimedia control button. It might take some time getting used to, especially for first-time drivers, but once you get the hang of where everything is, you understand the thinking behind the design. 

Mobile phone addicts will find accessible USB ports for charging, so running out of juice is never an issue. The touchscreen infotainment system is ridiculously simple to use—connect via Bluetooth and it’ll always remember where you were or what you were listening to when you’re ready to go.

BMW says there is more-than-generous space for occupants—33 millimeters of extra knee room over the previousiteration of the 2 Series Coupé, seating position is 12 millimeters higher, with the boot holding 430 liters of gear, which is 40 liters more than the two-door coupé. The rear seat backrest folds down for even more extra room. 

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Photo by PJ Caña.

Whether I was driving it in tight city streets or flooring the accelerator on the open highways of SLEX, the 2 Series never felt anything less than what it is: a Bimmer of the highest quality. Bumpy roads are tamed and outside noise is all but cancelled, leaving you with a smooth, enviable ride. If there is one complaint, it’s the relatively “heavy” feeling in the steering wheel especially druing tight corners, but I’ll chalk that up to the FWD architecture and is a relatively minor grievance for such an overall stupendous drive. 

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Personally, I didn’t feel any problems with space (but that’s likely because I was driving it alone for the most part). But it’s probably a different story for a small family of three or four. Also, CEOs and other top-level executives might think of the 2 Series as too small time. For this reason, I reckon the 2 Series might fit in quite nicely for single high-performers or young career hotshots only starting to build a family—both ready to trade in their trusty Asian models for a piece of German tech.

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There have been some major advances by other automative manufacturers worldwide over the years, but it’s true what many people say: when you’re ready to move on up in the world, you can’t go wrong with a German automobile. 

The BMW 218i Gran Coupé Sport is priced at P2.9 million and is available in Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Melbourne Red, and Mineral Grey. It comes with a 5-year or 200,000-kilometer manufacturer’s warranty, as with all new BMWs sold by SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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