It’s a fairly cloudy day in Bombay today. We’ve been seeing some unusual, off season rainfall. But I’ve got something bright and shiny. This is the new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. And first impressions are, it’s a looker. I mean, just look at it!

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Rear

Those swept back lines, so much detail in the headlights, slim LED tail lights and this bright blue M Sport Blue paint! This car grabs eye balls! I had the car for about 2 days, and I saw many a heads turn, and a few peeps even enquire about the car. I wonder how much of that was down to the M Sport blue paint. This car, in a white or a grey, would garner the same attention?

Of course, this is the M Sport edition, and that does make a difference. No, it’s not a faster car than the standard 2 Series Gran Coupe. But it is better kitted. And I have to hand it to BMW here. This may be the baby of the BMW range, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it, inside and out. On the outside, the first thing you notice are the swept back headlamps. There is tremendous detail in these lights. I could keep looking at them, and not get bored. This car gets a big grill up front. Not nearly as big as the new 3 and 4 Series. But big enough none the less. On the side, the design is simple, but there are strong, stately lines that flow into one another. The other eye catching detail are the slim tail lights at the back. They look amazing come night time. I do actually love the wheels on this car too. None of those low profile tyres here. So ride is good, but the alloys look great as well. It’s a great looking car overall!

BMW 2 Series Steering Wheel M Sport

On the inside, things are as interesting, if not more. As I said before, this car doesn’t feel like a baby BMW. There’s lots of bells and whistles. Let’s start with the steering wheel.

This car gets a M Sport steering wheel. It’s beefier, clad in leather and has an amazing feel to it. There is an M badge at the bottom of the wheel, and there are paddle shifters behind it. To be honest, I really love the M sport steering wheels. They have tremendous feel, and feedback too. I think feedback is something we should speak about, cuz I love the tactility of every switch in this interior. Every button for the AC and Media controls is a physical, press-able button. None of that touch sensitive gibberish. This is a lifesaver when you’re driving around. You can change temperatures and media settings without having to take your eyes off the road. Same goes for the buttons on the steering wheel. I like that they’ve retained physical feedback buttons. As a result, you don’t end up pressing them by mistake. And there’s enough space to rest your hands while driving the car.

BMW 2 Series Interior

Then there’s the wireless charging pad. It’s clad in soft touch, rubbery textured plastic, and there’s a re-assuring feeling when you place the phone in the socket – it’s almost like you need to push it just that little bit more so that it then stays in place, and the charging begins. The gear lever is new too. It’s kind of a mix between the glass gear lever that’s present in some of the more expensive BMWs and the old opaque plastic lever present on previous gen BMWs. The feedback from the gear lever is spot on. It’s all in the little details, and BMW has got a lot of them just right. There’s no hand brake lever, but pressing on the electronic handbrake button creates a subtle, whistle like sound, so you know that the brakes have been engaged. It’s all very satisfying.

Of course, there’s also the drive screen. There’s wireless Apple CarPlay, which is amazing. I don’t know what took them so long. But it finally works, and works well.

I’d frankly give up iDrive and use CarPlay alone. But the way things currently work is CarPlay resides as an app within iDrive. So you need to select it the first time you connect a new phone. The iDrive screen is fantastic. The colours are crisp, and the screen is bright. What I don’t particularly like is the instrument binnacle behind the steering wheel. It’s a screen too. And while it’s crisp, and the colours are great, it’s a screen. I’m a big fan of analogue dials. Some of the well designed analog ones had amazing detailing. Electro luminescent ones used in BMWs in the past were pretty cool. I think the problem is also that BMW isn’t using the screen real estate particularly well. It’s not as configurable as, let’s say, Audi’s instrument screens with the driver cockpit feature. What’s particularly annoying is that you can only beam maps from iDrive navigation to the instrument binnacle. CarPlay, Apple Maps, Google Maps etc. aren’t integrated. And while iDrive navigation isn’t bad, it’s no match for Google or Apple’s offering in terms of ease of use and geographical coverage. Give it a couple of years, and this should be sorted. For now though, it’s just a minor annoyance. The seats are great. Nothing to complain about. There’s enough room on the inside. Rear passengers have enough head room, and legroom. But under thigh support is at a premium. More on this later though.

BMW 2 Series Interior Gear Lever

What’s it like to drive? Well… it’s fun! In a very different sort of way as compared to a 3 Series. For starters, it’s front wheel drive. And I know lots of BMW fanboys are going wild at the thought of a FWD BMW. And I agree and disagree. You see, BMW own Mini, and Mini has been making great handling FWD cars for years now! So the 2 Series Gran Coupe borrows some of those characteristics, and that’s great. The steering response is on point – consistent and confidence inspiring. But you can feel that this is a FWD car when you stomp on the accelerator peddle. You can make out that the car is having to work hard putting some of that power on the road, before the traction control system kicks in. I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous, or even a handful. It’s just.. different from a 3 Series. It’s less re-assuring and more fun. There are minor adjustments you need to make on the steering wheel when you’re driving this car on the limit. And its limit is closer than a similarly equipped 3 Series. And it’s this lower limit that keeps things interesting and fun, in my opinion. It’s always fun to drive a car at the limit. It’s more involving, more engaging. The 2 Series’ limit is easier to achieve as compared to the dynamically superior 3 Series. And that’s what makes it more fun on a day to day basis.

BMW 2 Series Front

Is this a 3 Series competitor? No, it’s not. It’s a completely different kind of car. Most 3 Series would be chauffeur driven in India. The 2 Series though, is a car that begs to be driven by you. It’s a car for younger families. It’s smaller inside and out, as compared to the 3 Series, and that makes it more manoeuvrable in they city and on the highway. But you also feel closer to the other occupants on the inside. And that means more fun family vacations?! Or more people being involved in conversation? Physical space works in weird ways in that sense.

I thoroughly enjoyed having the 2 Series Gran Coupe over for a few days. I’d love to do a longer stint with it in the near future. Drive it out onto the highway, and maybe even head to the hills with it. Drive it around a lot more! And that should tell you all you need to know about this car! It’s pulling a bit, at my heart strings.