BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Review logo

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      MPV
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Putting the BMW into MPVs

Best bits

  • Feelgood driving experience
  • Well equipped
  • Practical and seats up to seven

Not so great

  • Dull to look at
  • Third-row seats are not for adults
  • 216d diesel is a bit underpowered

Read by

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Exterior Front

Overall verdict

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Interior

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Driving Front

Driving

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Exterior Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Back Seats Down

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"It might not be the first choice of MPV and BMW purists may shudder at the thought, but for those who need a seven-seat people carrier and don’t want to compromise on behind-the-wheel enjoyment, we’d certainly recommend checking out the 2 Series Gran Tourer."

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Exterior Front

In 2015, the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Gran Tourer arrived, as the seven-seat alternative to the 2 Series Active Tourer five-seat MPV. The Gran Tourer has a longer wheelbase, a taller rear end and longer overall length than its sibling.


People carriers in general are something of a niche sector these days. But of BMW’s two MPVs, the Gran Tourer makes most sense because of its three-row capability. The alternative BMW X1 only seats five, for example, and you need to spend much more for a BMW SUV that can accommodate seven.

 

Visually, it’s a bit nondescript. That’s almost inevitable with MPVs, which are designed for maximum interior space first and foremost. It still gets the classic kidney grille, though, and BMW offers some sporty-looking variants with large alloy wheels and smart trim details.

 

Inside, it’s more authentically BMW. It has a contemporary layout similar to the brand’s other models, with the trademark widescreen infotainment system and a good-to-hold steering wheel. The instruments are clear and the rest of the layout is logical. The seats in M Sport versions are among the best you will find in any seven-seater, feeling more like those from a BMW M sports car than a family-focused people carrier.

 

The 2 Series Gran Tourer ranks highly for interior practicality. The middle row of seats is adjustable, sliding back and forth and offering adjustable backrest angles. The seats are easy to get in and out of too. The third row is much more restricted and frankly doesn’t offer adult-friendly space, despite the bulkier rear roof line. But for kids, they’re fine, and fold flat into the boot floor when not needed.

 

Inside, there are loads of little cubby holes and stowage slots, and BMW even offers a fold-flat front passenger seat so really long loads can be threaded in with all the rear seats folded. The electric tailgate is convenient too, particularly as it can be opened via the key fob remote: perfect for parents with full hands and excitable children.

 

There’s no such thing as a poorly-equipped BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. Even the standard SE variant comes with a great haul of standard equipment, including BMW iDrive sat nav, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels and automatic headlights. Moving up through the range brings leather upholstery and bigger alloy wheels, but the differences are largely visual, so well-stocked is the base model.

 

All the engines are turbocharged units, with either three or four cylinders. This is the era of vehicle that majored on diesel power, with a broad range of choices ranging from entry-level 216d through to the 220d, which came with an xDrive four-wheel-drive option alongside the regular front-wheel drive. The 218i and 220i petrol versions are rarer, but worth searching for.

 

Although the lower-powered versions are not exactly rocket ships, it’s still a surprisingly authentic BMW to drive. That’s thanks largely to its excellent handling, with genuinely engaging dynamics, including roll-free handling and nicely-weighted precise steering. The ride is on the firm side for an MPV, but still on the right side of comfortable unless you choose the models with the largest alloy wheels. We can almost guarantee the 2 Series Gran Tourer will drive much better than you might expect.

 

Being a premium car, prices were on the steep side for seven-seat MPVs when new, but a few years on, the 2 Series Gran Tourer is looking much better value for money – particularly if you take one of the fancied Sport or M Sport variants. With BMW’s sophisticated engines serving up great fuel economy and low tax bills, it shouldn’t prove too costly to run either.



Is the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer right for you?

Having a growing family needn’t put a stop to your BMW ownership. The 2 Series Gran Tourer is the most practical BMW the firm offers of this size, with a superbly flexible interior that’s just as focused on passengers as on the driver.

 

You may prefer the more contemporary styling of the BMW X1 SUV, but it’s not a patch on the 2 Series Gran Tourer when it comes to accommodation. The fold-flat emergency rear seats are a real bonus, almost certainly proving invaluable at least for parents who tackle the school run and other family missions.

 

It can be your secret ‘warm hatch’ too – a car that looks thoroughly conventional and decidedly MPV-like, but handles with far more verve than you would expect. You’ll almost certainly enjoy it more from behind the wheel. And that’s no bad thing, right?


Of course if you don't need seven seats, there's the smaller BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

 


What’s the best BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer model/engine to choose?

Diesel dominates the 2 Series Gran Tourer line-up. Frankly, the 216d is not really powerful enough, particularly when this seven-seater is used as nature intended. It only has 116PS, so becomes bogged down a bit too easily – and it’s only available with a manual gearbox.

 

Start with the 218d, which has a good blend of affordability and performance. We’d ideally take it with BMW’s smooth-shifting automatic gearbox, if you can find one. The 218i is a perfectly fine petrol alternative, though: it produces 136PS and the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine has enough in reserve to make light work of hills. It’s actually the same engine used in the Mini Cooper.

 

At the top of the range, BMW offers an xDrive four-wheel-drive version. For those who want to guarantee progress in all weathers, it’s well worth looking out for. However, the 220d xDrive is a rare sight on the second-hand car market.


What other cars are similar to the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer?

A premium rival to the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is the Mercedes-Benz B-Class – although this only seats five people to the BMW’s seven. Audi doesn’t offer an MPV, encouraging buyers into SUVs instead.

 

It’s the non-premium makers who offer the closest alternatives to the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. The Volkswagen Touran comes in seven-seat guise, for example, as does the Ford Grand C-Max and Renault Grand Scenic. Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso also seats seven, it’s recently been renamed the Grand C4 Spacetourer.


Learn more

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Interior

On the inside

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Driving Front

Driving

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Exterior Side

How much does it cost to run

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Back Seats Down

Prices, versions and specification

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