The decision: The 2020 2 Collection Gran Coupe is an sufficient subcompact sedan so in contrast to conventional BMWs you’ll marvel if the Bavarians have created a brand new sub-brand.

Versus the competitors: Dearer than the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class however cheaper than Mercedes’ CLA, the 228 Gran Coupe presents first-rate inside applied sciences however a lackluster powertrain.

The 228i xDrive Gran Coupe is new for 2020, ostensibly a sibling of the two Collection coupe regardless of sharing a platform with the X1 and X2 SUVs. It’s additionally the bottom trim stage of the two Collection Gran Coupe; a more-powerful M235i xDrive model can be accessible. Regardless of their front-wheel-drive platform, each are supplied solely with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The 228i xDrive begins at $38,495 with vacation spot cost; with choices, our check automobile totaled $48,495.

Associated: 2020 BMW 2 Collection Gran Coupe: Small However Spendy

“How’s the Kia?” was a query I heard a number of instances from my colleagues whereas driving the 2020 BMW 228 Gran Coupe, which made me assume now and again that perhaps I was driving a Kia. The 228 Gran Coupe could be a stable Kia — albeit a really costly one — however it’s a awful BMW.

Driving it for a number of days led to emotions of embarrassment — not for myself, however for BMW, which appears intent on squandering its “final driving machine” cachet on the subject of street automobiles. (That mentioned, even some apparently boring BMWs nonetheless shine when pushed, as we found final summer season within the 2019 330i sedan, however exigent circumstances prevented any related closed-course testing of the 228).

First-Fee Tech, With a Studying Curve

The place the 228 Gran Coupe shines is in its use of applied sciences pioneered in costlier BMWs. The Eight.Eight-inch display screen for BMW’s iDrive has among the highest-quality graphics of any automaker, and that’s additionally true of the optionally available 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with which our check automobile was geared up. The show high quality additionally shines when utilizing the backup digital camera, providing a transparent image of the world behind the automobile even in low-light conditions. Once I placed on sun shades inside a parking construction I used to be nonetheless in a position to see the digital camera show clearly.

Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity is included as customary gear, however there’s a catch: It solely capabilities wirelessly. Some workers members right here at Automobiles are staunchly pro-wireless CarPlay, whereas others, myself included, discover it missing. This can be as a result of I’ve an older iPhone (7 Plus), resulting in connectivity points, however these points have been particularly prevalent within the 228. My music would sometimes “skip,” like I’d been listening to a CD and gone over a harsh bump, and sometimes others complained about my half of the audio in telephone conversations. My older telephone additionally meant I couldn’t reap the benefits of the automobile’s wi-fi charging, so I nonetheless needed to plug it in utilizing a USB twine. If BMW might determine the right way to provide wired and wi-fi CarPlay, I’d be far much less aggravated. Android customers needn’t fear concerning the wi-fi connection; Android Auto isn’t supplied in any respect.

Whereas display screen high quality is top-notch, iDrive does depart one thing to be desired on the subject of person interface. It isn’t essentially the most advanced infotainment system presently in a automobile — I discover Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX much more Byzantine, and the present techniques in Jaguar and Land Rover merchandise are a multitude — however iDrive’s newest evolution has introduced again complexity the place it needn’t have, selecting deep menus as an alternative of easy info supply.

Sounds Good, Feels Meh

Driving the 228 Gran Coupe with the home windows down, you’ll hear some nice turbocharger “whoosh!” noises coming from the engine compartment, however you received’t really feel like these noises imply a lot. Powered by a turbocharged 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder engine taken from the X1 and X2, the 228 Gran Coupe has 228 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque at its disposal, directed to all 4 wheels by way of an eight-speed computerized transmission.

In idea, that’s adequate to hit 60 mph in 6.Zero seconds, BMW says. In observe, although, the Gran Coupe is a bit sluggish off the road and slower to reply to a stab of the fuel pedal than I would favor, notably in a automobile coated with BMW M symbols. I discovered myself leaving the 228 Gran Coupe in Sport mode for a lot of my time with it to attempt to wring any enjoyment out of the automobile. Sport mode didn’t appear to vary throttle response a lot, however the often increased rpm did scale back the time wanted for the turbo to spool up. Apparently, the place some automobiles have a Sport mode maintain a decrease gear even throughout freeway driving, which may trigger an annoying quantity of engine drone, the 228 Gran Coupe’s programming would finally shift as much as its eighth and highest gear. 

Fixed use of Sport mode will scale back the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe’s gasoline effectivity, which the EPA estimates at 23/33/27 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed. That’s similar to the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic and better than the 2020 Audi A3 quattro’s 22/30/25 score. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A220 4Matic has barely higher rankings, at 24/34/28 mpg. Most damning, nonetheless, is that even the 2020 BMW 330i xDrive is rated increased than the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe, at 25/34/28 mpg. All these automobiles suggest premium gasoline except for the Audi, which takes common.

Experience high quality was surprisingly sufficient for a small automobile, even with optionally available 18-inch wheels and an optionally available M Sport suspension. It was considerably higher, in actual fact, than the equally optioned however bigger 2019 330i xDrive we had in our workplace late final summer season. The Gran Coupe was nonetheless thwacked by bumps on the street, however it remained composed. Nonetheless, it appeared to have larger issue staying on monitor at freeway speeds, exhibiting some stunning tramlining behaviors for a automobile with out huge, high-performance tires.

The 228 Gran Coupe’s best shortcoming, although, is its numb steering. We’ve been complaining about this phenomenon in up to date BMWs for a while, however this is without doubt one of the worst instances. The steering isn’t communicative in any respect, making it onerous to really feel like you may level the Gran Coupe precisely the place you need it to go. Throw in some understeer and also you’re left with what must be a small, nimble automobile that as an alternative feels way more “Gran” than it really is.

Not Gran on the Inside

Inside area is at a premium within the 228 Gran Coupe — even for the driving force. The footwell is slender, and there’s not a lot legroom or area to unfold your legs. Ahead visibility is considerably diminished by the raked windshield, however thinner A-pillars assist counteract this. To the rear, visibility is affected extra by the rear head restraints  than anything, and the 228 Gran Coupe’s design doesn’t create any vital blind spots.

Sitting within the backseat behind my most well-liked driving place proved almost not possible. Legroom is tight to start with, however my driving place pushed the seat to date backward that rear legroom was lowered to virtually nothing. Add to that a sloping roofline that leaves backseat passengers with much less headroom than they’d have in a 2 Collection coupe, and it’s a really uncomfortable place to be. 

House was higher behind the entrance passenger seat, however sitting forward of myself left my knees resting on the dashboard. The inside of the 228 Gran Coupe is a spot of compromises that received’t fulfill anybody, which makes me assume it was designed by Henry Kissinger (or that a BMW sedan with a front-wheel-drive platform is likely to be a battle crime).

Inside supplies high quality is hit and miss. The optionally available leather-based upholstery — rather than SensaTec imitation leather-based — felt luxurious sufficient to justify its $1,450 price, however there’s a number of onerous plastic across the cabin that pissed off me, notably on the decrease halves of the doorways and the decrease sides of the middle console. BMW did discover an upscale approach to make use of some onerous plastic, nonetheless, with trim items that includes a digital matrix sample that additionally home the ambient gentle parts. It may not be as good as wooden or metallic accents, however the youthful purchaser BMW appears to be focusing on with this automobile may discover it extra attention-grabbing.

Said cargo specs for the 228 Gran Coupe are 12.Zero cubic ft, which isn’t a lot. Each the two Collection coupe and three Collection provide extra trunk area, based on BMW’s personal measurements. The trunk is sufficient to maintain an honest week’s price of groceries for one or two individuals and perhaps a bag of pet food, however baggage for an extended journey for 2 may find yourself within the backseat.

Security Tech Type of Normal

BMW’s Energetic Driving Assistant suite of security applied sciences comes customary, together with ahead collision warning, computerized emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot detection. BMW used to make patrons pay additional for these options, so this can be a good change. Lest you assume BMW has fully turned over a brand new leaf, nonetheless, adaptive cruise management continues to be a separate, $1,200 choice — and one which was not a part of our check automobile.

As of this writing, the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe has not but been evaluated by both the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration or the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security.

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What Value a Badge?

2020 BMW 228 Gran Coupe picture by Brian Normile

At an as-tested value of $48,495 (together with a $995 vacation spot payment), it’s exceedingly troublesome to make the case for a BMW that isn’t all that fulfilling to drive and doesn’t provide a backseat adults can use. Even the automobile’s $38,495 beginning value appears steep. 

Our as-tested value of almost $50Okay might additionally get you a brand new 330i xDrive with some choices (or a rear-wheel-drive 330i with much more choices). The three Collection is larger, quicker and by some means extra fuel-efficient, based on the EPA, and whereas it might not provide the visceral driving expertise of its predecessors, it’s actually extra fulfilling to drive than the two Collection Gran Coupe. And nobody will mistake it for a Kia.’s Editorial division is your supply for automotive information and opinions. In keeping with’s long-standing ethics coverage, editors and reviewers don’t settle for presents or free journeys from automakers. The Editorial division is unbiased of’s promoting, gross sales and sponsored content material departments.

Brian Normile handles the scheduling and logistics for press autos in Chicago and through our multivehicle challenges. He nonetheless drives his first automobile, a 1997 Toyota 4Runner. E mail Brian


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