Class: Premium Compact Car
Miles driven: 355
Fuel used: 13.8 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||228-hp 2.0-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cyl|
Real-world fuel economy: 25.7 mpg
Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/33/27 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $37,500 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Storm Bay Metallic paint ($1200), Mocha Perforated Dakota Leather ($1450), M Sport Package ($4000), Premium Package ($3050), remote engine start ($300)
Price as tested: $48,495
The great: Nimble handling; nicely composed ride; broad range of available features
The good: BMW style and attitude at a relatively affordable price point
The not so good: Cramped rear seat; small rear door openings make for tricky entry and exit; spendy options pump up bottom-line prices
Here’s how crossed over this crossover business has become: From the time the now-ubiquitous vehicle type got its start, manufacturers would identify one of their unit-body sedans as the root stock to create a sport-utility vehicle that was easier to enter and drive than the usual truck-based ute. Now BMW introduces the 2-Series Gran Coupe—an entry-level 4-door sedan with a swoopy, coupe-type roofline—built from the same platform as its existing X1 and X2 premium-subcompact SUVs.
Despite its genetic ties to the small sport-utes, the 2020 Gran Coupe is classified as a premium compact. (It shares their 105.1-inch wheelbase, but is three inches longer overall than the X1 and 6.3 inches longer than the X2.) Where the little SUVs offer the choice of front- or all-wheel drive, the Gran Coupe comes solely with xDrive AWD in both of its forms, the 228i and the higher-performance M235i.
Consumer Guide sampled the 228-horsepower 228i. It starts at $38,495 with delivery, but options inflated the sticker on the test car to $48,495—the kind of money that would fetch a bigger, faster 4-cylinder xDrive 3-Series sedan with an option or two. The 301-horse M235i is base-priced at $46,495.
Horsepower differences notwithstanding, both 2-Series Gran Coupes have the same basic engine—a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder—joined to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Off the line, the 228i requires a little bit of accelerator-pedal travel before it feels like things start happening, but the engine’s 258 lb-ft of torque enters its peak range fairly quickly to turn things brisk. Ramping up from the base “Comfort” mode to “Sport” makes performance more vivid, with sharper throttle response and shift behavior from the automatic transmission. There’s a hint of more snarl from the exhaust, too. In highway cruising, the powerplant is quiet but capable.
The 228i’s EPA fuel-economy ratings are 23 mpg in city use, 33 mpg in highway driving, and 27 combined. This driver’s test run of 179.7 miles worked out to 23.51 mpg, with 59 percent of that distance in city-type operation.
CG’s test car had the M Sport equipment group, which includes a tuned version of the fully independent suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. (An aerodynamic body kit, rear spoiler, M steering wheel, and Shadowline exterior trim are also part of the $4000 package). It contributes to a small sedan that displays well-controlled body lean in cornering. Another of its hallmarks is responsive and accurate turn-in; the 228i Gran Coupe is quick to go where you want to point it. Steering resistance and ride firmness ratchet up in Sport, but ride in the Comfort setting is a little more comfortable without a significant loss of handling prowess.
The standard-equipment list is well rounded, but not fully luxurious. It costs $1450 to get Dakota leather seat upholstery, as on the test car. A heated steering wheel and front seats, keyless entry, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, satellite radio, expanded “Connected Package Pro” telematics, and an upgrade to digital control displays and the 7.0 version of the iDrive infotainment system came via the even-more-extensive Premium Package.
Some of the items that do come standard are power-folding external mirrors, LED fog lights, park-distance sensing, 10-way power front sport seats with driver’s-seat memory function, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, real-time traffic information, BMW Remote Services access, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Electronic safety aids are bundled in the “Active Driving Assistant” suite with front-collision warning, city-collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, and active blind-spot detection.
The extra-cost digital controls, with their pentagonal speedometer and tachometer displays, give the 2-Series Gran Coupe the look of grander BMWs. These driving controls appear on a 10.25-inch screen. Another screen of the same size serves as the display area for what gets done by twisting and twiddling the iDrive console-mounted control dial. If you like selecting icons to open menus that access categories for performing functions, all amid the thrill of modern driving, then here you go. At least audio presets seem to be getting easier to make. Climate-system control relies on a strip of buttons—including repeat-pushers for temperature and fan speed—that require some familiarity for users to be able to work deftly. These, too, are like what you’ll find in senior Bimmers.
There are soft-touch surfaces on the tops of all doors, armrests, door centers, and the armrest console lid. Still, while options like ambient lighting and seat leather raise the bar somewhat, the overall sense of place in the cabin is a nice interior out of a high-volume-brand car.
As for room, it’s pretty good for a compact in front. However, back-seat legroom is tight and headroom is in short supply. (This 5-foot-10.5-inch reviewer’s head was quite close to the roof.) Six-footers may not fit. Effective rear-seat adult space is two. Also, entry and exit are not easy in back, not with cramped footwells and the coupelike roofline. Interior storage uses small glove and console boxes, a covered bin to the left of the steering column, a net pouch on the back of each front seat, door pockets with bottle holders, exposed cup holders at the front of the console, and pop-out cup holders in the retracting rear armrest.
Trunk space is pretty good for the class, and there’s basically a full second tier under the load floor—though without the handy prop-up floor found in BMWs up the line. A net-sided compartment on the right is available to hold incidental items in place. Rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 split to extend the cargo capacity.
People who prefer cars to SUVs should be heartened that BMW has mined its X1/X2 platform for a new entry-level sedan. However, people who like to get a true bargain will have to ask themselves if this car hits that mark.
2020 BMW 228i
2020 BMW 228i Gallery
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