BMW is pushing the boat out with the launch of its first compact MPV, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer that’s a high performer in meeting family and lifestyle needs to set the pace in the premium compact sector.
Capable of seating up to seven and with all-wheel drive a unique option in the class, its concept is a lot of space on a small footprint, so that it is taller than the 2 Series Active Tourer but actually 68mm shorter than a BMW 3 Series.
Five seats are standard, with the third row pair one of countless options that make the Grand Tourer as versatile as you want. Just how accommodating it is was demonstrated at launch by a troupe of seven acrobats who skipped out, performed and effortlessly returned to their seats.
No tricks there, but plenty of smart gadgets and design features are available, such as a sensor so that when your arms are full of shopping you can open or close the powered huge rear hatch with a kick of your foot below the rear bumper.
Surprisingly elegant, this BMW’s trademark twin kidney grilles between double circular headlamps with corona rings lead into a high bonnet and sleek lines for a neat stance with easy access and the occupants riding high for a good view of their surroundings.
We checked it out in Croatia, around the historic city of Zadar where BMW had set up several static displays to highlight the car’s versatility, including a floating media centre on a pontoon, while a selection of driving routes from the Falkensteiner hotel gave a full spectrum of motoring conditions, from autoroute to twisting mountain roads and seaside village drives.
It was the dramatic mountain route that brought out the best in the all-wheel drive diesel flagship that stayed glued to the road through tight climbs and descents, but don’t expect a sporty exhaust note from this sophisticated compact people-mover.
Looking to attract 70 per of customers new to the BMW brand, as well as catering for existing owners needing more space for family or leisure activities, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer has traditional BMW pace if not quite the racey touch.
Priced in the UK from £24,175 to £33,885, there are five new petrol and diesel turbo engines of three or four cylinders ranging from 116 hp to 192 hp with economy ranging from 44.1 to 72.4 mpg (6.4 to 3.9 l/100km).
The top petrol engine in the front-wheel drive BMW 220i Gran Tourer produces 192 hp for 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and 223 km/h (138 mph) maximum, but the top performing powertrain is the 190 hp 2.0 litre diesel in the BMW 220d xDrive Gran Tourer with all-wheel drive on demand, 0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and 218 km/h (135 mph) top speed.
Then for a choice of specification there are four model variants – Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury and of course M Sport, with aerodynamics package, light alloy wheels and sports seats.
For those with a young family, the standard five-seater arrangement can take up to three Isofix child seats plus another, while the optional third row can also take two child seats for a nursery run!
And the Gran Tourer is dedicated to the young family, with foldable tables on the rear of the front seats with cup holders and mounts that can also take an Apple iPad which ties in with BMW’s new “myKIDIO” app being launched first in Germany. With this, appropriate entertainment such as films and audio books can be downloaded to keep little ones entertained on long journeys.
Children in the back can also use the BMW Kids Cockpit to check out details like speed, outside temperature and time of arrival.
There are more serious facilities for adults with extensive standard equipment including AM/FM radio with Bluetooth and audio streaming, iDrive operating system, 6.5 inch colour display, driving experience control switch and intelligent emergency call activated automatically in the event of a collision – summoning aid knowing how many seats were occupied, which airbags activated and sensor-measured impact severity – as well as collision warning with city braking to avert shunts.
Every model also has an electronic parking brake, rain sensor and automatic headlights.
And then there is the renowned BMW ConnectedDrive for driver assistance packages like the concierge service, digital services and apps, including collision and pedestrian warning with city braking, camera-based cruise control with Stop & Go, traffic jam assistant and parking assistance.
Finally there are the simpler accessories, such as a tow hitch, warning triangle and the folded neat optional cycle rack that can all stow under the boot floor. Or the GoPro camera mounts that can be attached inside or outside the car, either for sporting action or keeping an eye on the kids!
Overall the BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer was pretty much what we expect it to be, a practical and spacious family MPV with a few BMW touches. The engineers did their best to make it as engaging as possible, especially with the AWD version. But it will never become our favorite car in the BMW range.