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BMW’s entry-level 2 Series Gran Coupe packs big tech in a small package

BMW expanded its range of models toward the bottom with the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe. Scheduled to make its public debut during the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the model is a sedan-shaped companion to the third-generation 1 Series hatchback sold in global markets, including Europe.

We’ll let you decide whether a four-door model should wear the coupe nameplate. Semantics aside, what’s certain is the 2 Series Gran Coupe is based on a front-wheel-drive platform, which is highly unusual for a BMW-badged model, but it will exclusively be available with all-wheel drive when it arrives in the United States. The range will include two models named 228i and M235i, respectively, and Digital Trends has already driven them both. The 228i is the entry point into the lineup; it offers 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The more expensive M235i uses a tuned version of the turbo four whose output swells to 301 hp and 332 lb-ft. of torque.

An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard regardless of which badge lives on the trunk lid. The 2s are quick, fun, and sharp, though they’re not as lively to drive as the rear-wheel-drive 2 Series coupe.

The technology jam-packed into the 2 Series Gran Coupe seeped down from the bigger 3 Series, Digital Trends learned from BMW engineer Johannes Kühberger. Cherry-picking features like the infotainment system, the available 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and the electronic driving aids from the 3 ensure the Gran Coupe is suitably tech-savvy in spite of its entry-level positioning. The underlying message is that buying a smaller, cheaper car shouldn’t be a compromise.

Speaking of infotainment, the system looks almost exactly like the 3’s, and it features a neat split-screen functionality that shows up to three tiles side by side. The driver doesn’t have to get rid of navigation directions to change the radio station, for example. The screen itself displays sharp graphics, and it’s fully touch-capable. It’s also possible to jump between the various menus using the iDrive controller on the center console. BMW offers a 9.2-inch head-up display at an extra cost.

After greeting the show-going public in Los Angeles, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe will arrive in showrooms nationwide in early 2020. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet, but expect it to start in the vicinity of $32,000. When it lands, it will face competition from the Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz’s A-Class and CLA models.

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