2016 BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer: First Look

First Impressions

Last year, BMW surprised the automotive world by introducing its first front-wheel-drive car, the 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. The introduction of this car completely changed the perception of BMW among its traditional buyers around the world. As a follow up to the 5 passenger 2 Series Active Tourer, BMW launched a three row, 7 passenger 2 Series Gran Tourer at 2015 Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland.

At 179.4 inches long, 70.9 inches wide, and 63.3 inches tall, the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is almost as long, wide and tall as the Mazda 5 Multi-Purpose Vehicle. With the increase in size, length and width over the smaller 2 Series Active Tourer, the Gran Tourer was designed to maximize both the cargo and passenger volume inside.

The basic layout in the 2 Series Gran Tourer is designed to carry five people and their cargo. But, if you have more than five members in your  family, don’t worry!  BMW does provide an option of third row seats, which are comfortable enough to sit two children over short journeys. However, when you fold the second and third row seats flat into the floor board, the cargo capacity behind the front seats grows to 67.3 cubic feet.

The interior of the 2 Series Gran Tourer is well laid out, but as in any MPV or minivan, the driver sits high above the road and stares through a faraway windshield. The standard seats in the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer are really wide and not supportive at all but there is good news. You can check the options box for sport seats, which makes the driving experience more tolerable.

In reality, the 2016 BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is designed for hauling your family and its luggage over long journeys.

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Performance

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer can be optioned with seven engines and three transmissions. The engines are either a three or a four cylinder from BMW’s new modular engine family. The three cylinder engines are available in three different strengths. At launch, the base three cylinder engine is a 134 horsepower unit found in the 218i. The optional three cylinder engine at launch is a 114 horsepower, turbo diesel motor in the 216d.

Later, a less powerful three cylinder gasoline engine will be offered in the 216i.

So, if the power output from the three cylinder engines sound a bit lethargic, then the four cylinder engines might be a better option for you?

They come in two different strengths instead of three. The base four cylinder engine is a gasoline unit found in the 220i which generates a respectable 189 horsepower. If you want a little more “oomph” in your BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, then tick the box for the diesel four cylinder engine in the 220d.

That makes 148 horsepower and more than 200 lb.ft. of torque.

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Lower Center Console

There is good news for BMW purists who are now forced to drive a minivan instead of the 2 or 3 Series coupe. All BMW 2 Series Gran Tourers come standard with six-speed manual transmission (yeah!) but if you do not like or want to shift your own gears, BMW offers either a six or eight-speed automatic transmission, depending on what engine you opted for in your people mover.

Regardless of your engine and transmission choice, all of the power from the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is routed to the front wheels.  The only exception is the 220d variant, which can be optioned with all-wheel-drive, or xDrive in BMW speak.

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer xDrive Badge

When compared to other models in BMW’s lineup, the 2 Series Gran Tourer feels really different. The engine note is really mellow and does not sound like a race car. The suspension set up is on the softer side, but the car is stable and well planted to the road. The same goes for the steering mechanism.  The wheel lacks the feel that traditional BMW owners are used to, but the electric steering system is very precise and reacts instantaneously to all of your steering inputs.

Overall, the performance of the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is really pleasing, if not exciting.  The vehicle does an excellent job of what it is designed for: carrying your family and their cargo comfortably over long journeys.

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What’s New

Well, the answer is everything. Prior to its introduction at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, nothing like this ever existed in BMW’s model lineup. When you think of it, the philosophy this car is based on is exact opposite to the rest of the BMW models.

Yes, this car is front wheel drive and not rear wheel drive. Yes, it s a minivan and not a sports car, but so what? If you look at this car from a BMW purist perspective, this car might be considered a disgrace to BMW’s legacy. But, if you look at from an average family man’s perspective, then this car is a God’s send, especially if that family man wants the specific benefits of BMW engineering.

Basically, this car is the BMW of minivans.  No other minivan will handle, corner, or feel as secure as the 2 Series Gran Tourer.

As with every BMW model currently available, the 2 Series Gran Tourer comes with four optional packages on top of the base model. The packages are Luxury Line, Advantage, Sport Line and M Sport Package. The last package option is intended for those who want a little bit more from their people mover, performance wise.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer will feature a new entertainment system known as myKIDIO that offers tailor-made programs for young passengers too.  Kids can also monitor essential information like speed, outside temperature and estimated arrival time.

The last feature, in particular, should make the question “are we there yet?” obsolete, or at least that is what the parents up front are hoping for.

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Availability

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer will launch in Germany later this year as a 2016 model. Then, the car will be made available throughout the European Union and select international markets. However, at the Geneva International Auto Show, BMW North America officials stated that the 2 Series Gran Tourer was not designed for the American market.

Bummer.

When asked about its little brother, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the answer was the same.

If you are interested in owning a BMW minivan, the only option you have is to move to Europe and purchase one there.

Images: BMW of Europe

Photo Credit: BMW

About The Author

I have been in love with cars since I was three years old. My obsession for cars began when my father took me out at night to name cars by just either their headlights or taillights. Since then, my love for cars has blossomed into a career as a motoring journalist and I am excited to take you guys with me on this high-speed adventure!

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