If you’ve been looking for BMW 2 Series models and noticed two vastly different styles, don’t worry. For inexplicable reasons, two-door and four-door BMW 2 Series models do not share the same platform. In fact, they don’t even share the same powertrain. The BMW 2 Series Coupé and Gran Coupé are related in name only, so be careful when choosing which one to take home.
Comparison of the performance options of the BMW 2 Series Coupé and Gran Coupé
Under the hood, the latest BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé models come with one of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The base kit gives you 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the M235i produces 301 horses. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive is standard in the M235i, but it’s the base model that’s really disappointing. Offered as front-wheel drive, the 228i Gran Coupé doesn’t even feel like a proper BMW. Instead, it feels like an econobox with some luxury cabin upgrades. Hardly an experience befitting “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.
In the BMW 2 Series Coupé you get a more involved, genuine BMW experience than in the Gran Coupé. This model is based on a rear-wheel drive architecture, according to the BMW gospel. The base 230i uses a 2.0-liter turbo to send 255 horsepower to those rear wheels. And in the new M240i you’ve got a raw 382bhp from a turbocharged 3.0-litre I6 setup. Both models are available with rear-facing all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. That said, if you’re willing to go back a generation, you can find 2 Series coupes with three pedals in the footwell.
Front-wheel drive versus rear-wheel drive in the BMW 2 Series
So why do you care? Perhaps you want the extra practicality of four doors and don’t mind the difference in style. But where we struggle with the 2 Series is the vastly different driving experience. The 2 Series Gran Coupé lacks the sense of agility or involvement offered by the smaller 2. Its front-wheel drive architecture means it lacks the fundamental sportiness that underpins BMW’s legacy. And without it, you’re spending over $40,000 for a front-wheel-drive compact with less power than a new GTI hatch.
Meanwhile, the rear-wheel-drive handling of the 2-Series two-door coupe makes the car feel lively. The front wheels only have to steer the car. Because the power goes through the rear, you unlock improved handling for your weekend joyrides. And if you buy a BMW, isn’t that what you’re looking for?
Why are these cars so different despite having the same name?
So why package both cars as 2 Series models? Frankly, we’re not sure. The four-door 2 Series sits on a similar frame to many Mini models. That’s fine for a compact hatchback or even a mid-size commuter sedan. But in a compact BMW, the whole concept feels mismatched.
Meanwhile, the 2 Series coupe is its own animal. With crisp controls and satisfying punch, you get a lot of fun for your money. Near-perfect weight distribution and 10 cubic feet of trunk space make it a great choice for both everyday driving and weekend canyons.
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