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The BMW 218i Gran Coupe will be the most affordable premium four-door coupe in the brand's current product lineup when it arrives here end of February.

19 Feb 2020

At last, BMW will have a competitor to the popular Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe. The all new front-wheel driven BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe - in its 218i guise that you see here - will operate as the brand's most affordable premium four-door coupe when it arrives at the showroom on Saturday, 22 February 2020.

Expected to go on sale at approximately $160,888 (as of press time), the new BMW model will cost buyers $20,000 lesser than the second generation Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe.

And it should come as no surprise that this new and emotional BMW model should do well - more so than the introverted 3 Series Sedan.

So... What's new, Doc?

The cabin is a modern and minimalistic place to be in
But that doesn't mean the 2 Series Gran Coupe is any less of a car. It takes almost all of its interior design cues from its bigger 3 Series Sedan brethren, which means a new fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen display - both of which are capable of customisation.

The 218i will also come with the BMW Intelligent Assistant - a system first seen in the 3 Series that has the ability to 'talk' to the driver with the "Hey BMW" catch phrase.

Elsewhere, the cabin boasts a minimalist and modern layout, with all buttons and knobs substituted by controls in the infotainment screen, as with all BMWs of today. Only several key buttons such as the driving modes, Auto Start/Stop and the usual buttons surrounding the rotary knob remain visible on the centre console.

There's got to be more than that

430 litres of boot space will see to your weekly grocery shopping and the occasional trips up North
More than just the visual treat, the 2er Gran Coupe differentiates itself from the Coupe sibling with its extra rear doors. However, unlike the Gran Coupes in BMW, the 2 Series Gran Coupe allows a passenger to occupy the centre seat, thanks to the lower transmission tunnel - an advantage of a front-wheel driven car.

Still, the car remains best for two instead of three at the back to avoid shoulder contact. In this occupant configuration, rear Asian adults can be well-assured that they'll receive sufficient head and legroom - a feat the CLA is unable to pull off, no thanks to its evident sloping roofline.

Nevertheless, where the 2 Series Gran Coupe succeeds, it falls short with its boot space compared to its direct peer. The 430-litre boot space in the Bimmer falls short to the CLA's 460 litres.

In real life, that's negligible, but you and I will have to admit that 30 litres is always extra space that's good to have.

Can you drive? Yes, yes I can

The new BMW hits the 100km/h mark in just 8.7 seconds - a respectable figure in real world driving
Also good to have is the entertaining character that is the 218i variant that we tested here. It may not have the sort of overwhelming power the M235i has, but the 1.5-litre three-pot powerplant hits a very sweet spot, with 138bhp and 220Nm of twisting force sent to the front wheels.

This allows the car to finish the century sprint in 8.7 seconds. While the figure here doesn't really give it justice, we enjoyed the car thoroughly - more so than the range-topping M235i.

Rather than utilising the rear-wheel driven platform of the 2 Series Coupe/Convertible, the new four-door coupe drives on the same UKL2 platform as the 1 Series Hatchback and the BMW X1.

This means the car here gets ample grip around corners. You keep egging the car to pull through corner after corner without any use of the brakes as much as you can, and the car just slithers its way harmoniously like a rhyme with a reason in a finished song.

Late, but nevertheless class-leading

The 218i holds its on well around corners at higher revs
Developed just in time to snatch some market share from the second generation Mercedes-Benz CLA, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is the first of its kind in its lineup.

And, considering that more than 400,000 Gran Coupes have sold worldwide, it'll come as no surprise that snatch it'll do.

After all, as the brand's most affordable premium four-door coupe, this new and emotional BMW model should do well with young families - more so than the introverted 3 Series Sedan.

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