The new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is, in all honesty, the same as the compact BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with the capability to comfortably accommodate up to seven people; but that's just the start of the good news.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SPACE (No Trouble)
The Gran Tourer is longer and higher than the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, and with a longer wheelbase - meaning that there is more space inside for all that luggage, all those people OR BOTH! With a higher roofline, both passengers and driver can sit tall and enjoy both the ride and the excellent all-round vision; the rear passengers in particular not suffering from the usual 'premium' problem of cramped legroom as the Gran Tourer's space is comparable with that of many luxury cars.
And with the car likely to be a hit with families of all sizes, there is room to fit three universal child seats in the second row, and a further two in the third, and there is also plenty of capability to fit the kitchen sink in and so much more with the 40:20:40-split seat split and large, broad and wide-opening tailgate.
The designers at BMW involved in the 2 Series Gran Tourer are obviously family people as they seem to have thought of everything. There are lashing points in the load bay and “monorails” on the backrests of the front seats to allow a folding table to be attached; there are a whole load of storage options in the interior with room for 1.5-litre bottles in each door panel; and hinged panels under the front and second row seats to stre those oh-so-important children's toys (or anything else to help with a quiet life!)
YOU'VE GOT THE LOOK
When it comes to design, you'll be left with no doubt that the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is a BMW with a trio of BMW icons – the twin kidney grille, twin round headlights and brand logo - all in view on the sporty and flat car front along with a low windscreen and a high sculptured bonnet pointing towards the large air intakes sited on the far edges of the nose.
At the rear, the low loading sill and wide-opening automatic tailgate make sure that any loading is easy, and any access to the rear seats is the same; with two large tail lamps extending far into the side of the car, forming an L-shape with their two LED-fed light banks inclining towards the centre.
Driving is a real honour (and pleasure) thanks to the high seating position that enhances all-round visibility; in fact, "the visual demarcation between the centre console and the instrument panel actually gives the appearance of floating in midair".
THE POWER OF LOVE
When the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer launches there will be 5 lightweight, powerful and fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines available, all with the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with either three or four cylinders, all complying with the EU6 exhaust standard, and all fitted with the Auto Start Stop function to improve fuel efficiency.
Power is supplied via a six-speed manual gearbox, with a six-speed Steptronic transmission available as an option for the three-cylinder engines, and an eight-speed Steptronic transmission for the four-cylinders - although the BMW 220d xDrive Gran Tourer has this as standard.
And you can rest assured that the whole engine family are chock-full of rigid structure, quality materials and top-notch technology, all petrol and diesel units coming complete with the latest version of BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. This means that the petrol engines feature turbocharging, direct petrol injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control; and the diesel options package contains turbocharging, variable turbine geometry and common rail direct injection with a maximum pressure of 2,000-bar - both of which BMW have created to ensure optimal performance and high levels of efficiency.
The new BMW 216d Gran Tourer is the most efficient model in the range, featuring a new, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel engine with a balancer shaft, dual-mass flywheel and centrifugal pendulum absorber that develops 116hp at 4,000 rpm and 270Nm of torque from as low as 1,750 rpm, right up to a top speed of 119mph via a 0-62mph acceleration in just 11.4 seconds. The combined fuel consumption of 68.9mpg and commensurately low CO2 emissions of 108g/km make the BMW 216d Gran Tourer the most economical, environmentally friendly and efficient vehicle in its class.
The BMW 218d Gran Tourer is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that develops a maximum output of 150hp at 4,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 330Nm between 1,750 and 2,750rpm. When it comes to speed we are talking a 0-62mph acceleration of a meagre 9.5 seconds on to a maximum speed of 127 mph, with fuel consumption an excellent 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions just 115g/km.
The new BMW 220d xDrive Gran Tourer is possibly the most potent engine offering in the range at launch. Boasting a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with a peak output of 190hp at 4,000rpm and a maximum torque of 400Nm at 1,750rpm, it completes the 0-62mph dash in just 7.8 seconds and accelerates with very little effort at all to a maximum speed of 135mph. Fuel consumption is an admirable 57.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are 129g/km.
The BMW 218i Gran Tourer features an extremely compact and lightweight 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that has the capability to develop 136hp at 4,400 rpm, with peak torque of 220 Nm already available from 1,250rpm, that can rise to 230Nm for short periods by using the overboost function. When fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, the BMW 218i Gran Tourer can accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds with a top speed of 127mph, while fuel consumption is 53.3 mpg and CO2 emissions are 123g/km.
The BMW 220i Gran Tourer features a high-performance, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 192hp with peak torque of 280Nm available between 1,250 and 4,600 rpm, and can move rather swiftly from 0-62mph in as little as 7.9 seconds to a top speed of 138mph while boasting an mpg of just 44.8 and CO2 emissions of 145g/km.
(I HAD) THE RIDE OF MY LIFE
Using a perfectly configured chassis with a wide track, a reduced-friction steering system, a torsionally very stiff and lightweight body, a low centre of gravity and honed aerodynamics. BMW engineers have made pretty damn sure that a ride in the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer will be nothing if but sensational and in great comfort.
The electromechanical power steering system provides precise steering and excellent feedback - and then there is the technology that is now taken for granted in new cars by the UK public, (although it should not be taken for granted when driving!)
The DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system includes ABS, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) and Performance Control - all designed to keep the car in full control of the driver and attached to the road at all times. Standard specification also includes the Start-Off Assistant, Dry Braking function, Brake Standby and Fading Compensation, as well as Launch Control that allows the ultimate acceleration from rest (This comes as standard in conjunction with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission.)
A CAR KEY IN THE UK (sorry!)
The new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is available in four model variants - SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport - each with their own particular emphasis and each with a host of options available to enhance the specification yet further, both inside and out. There is also a wide selection of exterior colours (13 in all), with a multitude of interior trim strips and light-alloy wheels includes nine different designs ranging in size from 16 to 18 inches as an alternative to the 16-inch light-alloy wheels fitted as standard.
The extensive standard SE equipment list includes a high-quality AM/FM radio, with Bluetooth hands-free system and audio streaming in conjunction with compatible smartphones; the iDrive operating system with Controller on the centre console; Intelligent Emergency Call; a 6.5" colour display, the Driving Experience Control switch with ECO PRO mode, an electronic parking brake, a front armrest, a rain sensor with automatic headlight activation as well as Collision Warning with City Braking function. Two-zone automatic air conditioning, rear Park Distance Control, front fog lamps and a multi-function steering wheel complete the package.
The Sport model adds in 17" light-alloy wheels, sports seats and bodywork detailing in high-gloss black.
The Luxury model has what it says on the tin with understated chrome trim, interior trim strips in fine wood, exclusive leather upholstery, as well as 17" light-alloy wheels.
And then there is the M Sport model with its very own M Aerodynamics package, BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim, sports seats in exclusive leather upholstery, M leather multifunction steering wheel and exclusive 18" M light-alloy wheels.
With an attractive range of options that includes a panoramic sunroof, Dynamic Damper Control and variable sport steering also available along with BMW ConnectedDrive, there is no doubt that the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer will be a car to follow when it finally arrives here in the UK.