Ok, so when the American surfer band the Beach Boys sang about a Deuce Coupe they were referring to a different car brand that was in actual fact a hot rod, but when BMW New Zealand threw me the keys to their first-ever 2-Series Gran Coupe all dressed in bright Misano blue, the Beach, the song about the 2-Coupe and the melodious Californian band instantly sprang to mind.
Just like the Beach Boys themselves, the M235i is a mixture of several parts that form an amazing result and the tune from the Gran Coupe’s exhaust is oh so ‘song-worthy’.
When I say parts, don’t think ‘Frankenstein’ think ‘cherry-picked’, for although the M235i is in the 2 series family it has a 1 series feel about it plus is more the size of an older 3, it sits on the X2 platform and possibly most-importantly, sports an M badge – are you still with me?
BMW are great at Coupe styling and this model is no different, with its sloping roofline and frameless doors, it looks ready to rock n roll. The kidney grille is meshed and the headlights are LED and matrix, it’s got gaping wide front air vents, 19-Inch feet and sleek LED taillights that all add to the new 2’s style, ah and let’s not forget the panoramic sunroof to allow the warmth of the Californian (ok Kiwi) sun flood the cabin.
The cabin itself is leather-clad and modern. M-Sport bucket seats and branded seat belts keep you in place while ‘Hey BMW’ controls the infotainment system – which includes a Bowers sound system to blast out the ‘boys greatest hits. The ‘illuminated Boston’ dash trim is a nice touch and enlivens the cabin at night.
Once inside (the rear doors are quite compact) there’s plenty of space for four, or five at a pinch, with ample headroom for all. But it’s when you’re on the move that this M daily driver really grabs your attention.
The exhaust note grumbles on switch on giving a hint at what’s under bonnet, which for those that are interested (yep me too) is a 2L twin-power turbo that gives you 225kW and 450Nm which means that you can get from zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. It’s xDrive too, which means that not only can it race along in a straight line, it’s pretty adroit at handling corners.
With the sun shining brightly on the crisp Spring day I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ to head to Stillwater. The road out to the small village that sits on Karepiro bay is full of twists and turns and gives ample opportunity to test any nimble-boasting vehicle, driving it in the M235i was ‘fun, fun, fun’. It felt tight in the bends with a hint of understeer when pushed too much, but not noted when driven just enthusiastically.
Under high revs, the exhaust note resonated well off the high-sided hills that lined the road and offered ‘good vibrations’ throughout the Coupe. It sounds sporty and rest assured it is.
I’m a big fan of gesture control, to me, twiddling my finger to turn up the music seems natural but the voice control has been improved too, I spent less time yelling at the system that’s for sure.
The first-ever BMW 235i Gran Coupe is fun for the driver and spacious enough for a small family. It’s an everyday sports car that is easy to ‘get around’ in. BMW New Zealand had spec’d the car well with visibility and comfort packages as extras but the list of ‘standard’ equipment on this vehicle is immense both comfort and ease of driving-wise (parking assist, reversing assist…and M-ness brakes, suspension, steering wheel….). Whether staying local or on a long drive out of town, it’s a little Deuce Coupe that ‘knows what it’s got’.