der Bayerische January/February 2021 - 31

2 0 2 0

B M W

2 2 8

G R A N

C O U P E

(Above clockwise) The 228 Gran Coupe Cockpit is designed to lure you to get behind the wheel and
drive. The door panel design is one of the best we've seen in a BMW. The low roofline impacts the
rear-seat headroom. The trunk lid opens high and wide.
prototype Shelby Lancer. I snapped back to reality when I tried to depress the clutch pedal.
Unfortunately, a manual shifter is not available
with the 2 Gran Coupe. The paddle shifter with the
8-speed automatic transmission is nice, but I
suspect that a manual six-speed shifter would have
significantly enhanced the driving experience.
That feeling of delightful nostalgia returned
as I drove a 228 Gran Coupe evaluation vehicle
through the back roads from San Francisco to
Sacramento, then from San Francisco to
Monterey. Only after I returned that 228 Gran
Coupe did I remember that 33 years ago, I drove
those exact same roads in my 1987 Shelby Lancer.
Because my Shelby Lancer had leather seating, an
automatic transmission was the only gearbox
option. That feeling of delightful nostalgia made
sense because the driving characteristics and
quirkiness of both these vehicles are stunning
similar.
The interior design is quite nice. The driver's
cockpit is standard BMW Ultimate Driving
Machine design. The door panel design is one of
the best we've seen in a BMW. The ambient interior lighting provided a feeling of comfort and
class. I will say that the leather in my Shelby
Lancer felt more supple and upscale than the
" processed to within an inch of vinyl " leather in

January I February

our evaluation vehicle. From experience, we have
no doubt that the BMW leather is much more
durable.
Today's BMW driver will think that the 2 Gran
Coupe's interior is small. However, it's larger than
that of the E36 3 Series and the E46 3 Series.
As expected, the low roof line impacted the rear-seat
headroom. However, I heard no complaints on that
score from the two teenage rear passengers. Their
complaints focused on my taste in music.
The exterior design will make my friend Tom
Gale quite happy. As the famous Chrysler design
chief who introduced the " cab-forward " look in the
early 1990s, Gale's " cab-forward " theme is still the
pervasive design for most sedans. And for the 2
Coupe, that's a bit of an issue. While there are
some subtle, aggressive styling cues, the 2 Gran
Coupe does not have the classic BMW Hofmeister
kink. This makes the side profile of the 2 Gran
Coupe virtually indistinguishable from the
Chevrolet Malibu or the Kia Optima. The new
" merged " double kidney grill design, which looks
much better in " chrome " than blacked out, will
cause even more confusion when parked next to a
Kia Optima or Kia Stinger.
The high rear-end makes one think of the illfated BMW " GT " sedans (5 GT, 3 GT). And while
the trunk lid does open high and wide and the rear

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der Bayerische January/February 2021

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