by Chuck Giametta
What changes will make the 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe different?
A hot-rod variant may be in the works, but model-year 2022 changes probably will be limited to a new color choice or two and perhaps another round of feature shuffling. What’s certain is that BMW’s least expensive car will return as a four-door sedan with standard all-wheel drive and a choice of turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
This premium subcompact debuted for model-year 2020. BMW exploits it’s two-door-coupe-like roofline and labels it a “Gran Coupe,” despite its four-door body style. The German automaker does offer 2 Series models in conventional two-door coupe and two-door convertible body types, but those have different under-skin designs and rear-wheel-drive engineering.
By contrast, the 2 Series Gran Coupe has a front-wheel-drive-based platform. BMW uses this same understructure for its X1 and X2 subcompact crossover SUVs, as well as for the Countryman crossover from its British Mini brand. The Gran Coupe’s principal competition – the Acura ILX, Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA – are also four-door sedans based on front-drive platforms. The BMW, however, is the only one to come exclusively with all-wheel drive (AWD).
Should I wait for the 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe or buy a 2021?
If you’re inclined to roll the dice that BMW’s got a performance flagship ready, wait for the ’22. If not, buy a 2021 Gran Coupe. Its lineup will carry over two models, the 228i xDrive and the more-powerful M235i xDrive. Neither should be changed enough to wait for. Both, however, are likely to cost more than their 2021 counterparts, although that’s not guaranteed.
Surprisingly, BMW bolstered standard equipment significantly for model-year 2021 – adding a previously optional $1,100 infotainment upgrade, for example – but increased the 228i’s base price just $200 and kept the M235i’s unchanged.
The ’22 Gran Coupe 228i and M235i will return with that upgrade standard. And BMW could continue to fine-tune option-package content. But styling and mechanical specifications are unlikely to change before model-year 2025.
Before that, though, BMW could introduce a third model, a competitor for the 392-horsepower Audi RS 3 and 382-horse Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4Matic. Among its smallest cars, BMW thus far has reserved that sort of muscle for the rear-drive 2 Series, headlined by the 444-horsepower M2 CS Coupe. A possibility for the Gran Coupe would be an M35i edition, perhaps with a meaningful bump over the M235i’s 301 horsepower and tweaks to suspension and styling. Whether something like that will arrive for model-year 2022, only BMW knows.
Will 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe styling be different?
An M35i or similar would almost certainly boast unique wheels, exclusive aero body addenda, and special interior trim. The returning 2 Series Gran Coupes, however, should be visual duplicates of their 2021 counterparts.
They’ll remain a size class below BMW’s 3 Series cars and visually distinguished from the 2 Series Coupe and Convertible by a longer, four-door body on a fractionally shorter wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles).
How their sloping roofline flows into what’s from certain angles a bulky tail doesn’t suggest a coupe so much as a four-door hatchback. But the Gran Coupe has a traditional trunk, just like its main rivals. Frameless side-door glass, though, is a design touch in common with a few actual coupes.
Expect the ’22 Gran Coupe M235i to again be set apart from the 228i by more aggressive-looking front fascia, aluminum grille struts, black instead of aluminum trim, and additional lower-body flairs and vents. Much of that look should remain available for the 228i via the M Sport Package, which cost $3,950 for model-year ’21. It should also include the M235i’s 18-inch alloy wheels in place of standard 17s. Both models should again be available with M-style 19-inch alloys.
Inside, both returning ’22 Gran Coupes will again share a well laid out dashboard with a 10.3-inch tablet-style central infotainment screen and a configurable 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Those displays replaced 8.8- and 5.1-inch panels, respectively, when BMW made its Live Cockpit Professional standard instead of a $1,100 option package for model-year 2021. Both models will also return with a head-up display that projects key instrument readouts onto the windshield before the driver.
Standard support for Apple Car Play and Android Auto will continue as standard, too, along with an imbedded navigation system. Principal infotainment control is via BMW’s well-sorted iDrive ensemble of console buttons and an inviting-to-use twist/turn/tip rotary dial. It’s supplemented by the automaker’s voice-recognizing Intelligent Personal Assistant, a virtual concierge that answers to “Hey, BMW.”
We’re curious if BMW continues to offer optional gesture control, which adjusts audio volume with a twirl of your finger in the air. It’s less precise than the physical audio knob and even at a reasonable $190 it’s a novelty that gets old quickly. A quirk you may never make peace with is engaging Park by twisting your thumb awkwardly to hit a button on the rear-facing surface of the console-mounted gearshift.
Look for the 228i to again come with BMW’s nicely grained Sensatec faux leather upholstery. Genuine leather should remain standard for the M235i and optional for the 228i, at around $1,450. Optional for the 228i and standard for the M235i should again be ambient cabin lighting in selectable white, bronze, orange, lilac, green, or blue. Both should again supply two front USB ports (one a data-and-power USB-C type) and two rear USB-C ports.
Despite its entry-level — for BMW — positioning, no interior surface feels cheap to the touch, no panel rings hollow to a knuckle rap. With an M Sport steering wheel, M-logo door sills, and stainless steel-look pedals, the M Sport option package should again elevate the 228i’s décor to near the M235i’s standard kit.
Classy as it is, the cabin can feel confining. Two hefty front seaters don’t enjoy a surplus of elbow room. And sliding the standard power front buckets more than halfway back severely reduces already stingy rear legroom. Rear headroom is tight for anyone over 5-foot-8, or so, and miserly back-door openings challenge graceful entry and exit. Still, that’s beats any conventional coupe of similar size for rear accommodations and access.
Audi is redesigning its A3 for model-year 2022, but the Gran Coupe’s 15.1-cubic-foot trunk may well remain the most voluminous in the segment. It’ll again be augmented by a 40/20/40 split/folding rear seatback and feature lid hinges thoughtfully shielded from crushing luggage. A hands-free power-opening trunk lid should remain optional, but we’d like to see BMW add the convenience of power-closing capability, too.
Any 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe mechanical changes?
An M35i or the like would feature powertrain and suspension fortifications drawn up by BMW’s elite M engineering group, even while falling short of a true high-performance M machine, such as the M2 CS Coupe.
An M35i-type Gran Coupe would likely use a pumped-up version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’ll again power the returning ’22 Gran Coupes. In the 228i it should again have 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. (Think of torque as the force that gets a vehicle moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it moving).
That output’s similar to rival base engines and, once it overcomes slight lag off the line while the turbo spools, the 228i Gran Coupe delivers 0-60 mph in a competitive 6.0 seconds and no-drama passing and merging.
Look for the 2022 Gran Coupe M235i to return with 301 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, again in line with the competition’s step-above-base engines. Although there’s still some turbo lag away from a stop if you’re too quick on the gas, the M235i is a clear performance tier above the 228i. Throttle response is more immediate, acceleration from midrange and highway speeds far more pronounced.
BMW lists the Gran Coupe M235i at 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, or 4.6 with the brief turbo-overboost feature included in the Shadowline Package. An M235i exclusive priced at $500 for model-year 2021, this package should again include fancier 18-inch wheels, extended Shadowline trim, and black mirror caps. The ’22 M235i should also return with a limited-slip front axle and driver-selectable launch control that makes available peak torque in first and second gears.
As would a potential M35i, both carryover ’22 BMW Gran Coupes will have an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-paddle shifters that rather successfully mimic manual-type gear control. Sliding the console shift lever left activates the transmission’s higher-revving Sport mode and toggling it fore and aft also accesses manual modes. Adjacent are standard Driving Experience Control Sport, Comfort, and Eco (fuel-economy) Pro buttons, which calibrate suspension, steering, and throttle accordingly.
As their xDrive suffix indicates, all ’22 Gran Coupes – and any M35i — will come with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. It automatically distributes power between the front and rear wheels (up to a 50:50 split) in response to gas-pedal position, vehicle and engine speed, and steering angle. It’s a welcome traction-enhancer on snowy surfaces. On dry pavement, helps mitigate most traces of this platform’s front-wheel-drive DNA.
Indeed, handling should remain a 2022 2 Series Gran Coupe selling point. Expect meaty, accurate steering and great grip and balance in changes of direction. Agility is further boosted with the tauter M Sport suspension, which also reduces ride height about a half inch. It’ll should again be standard on the M235i and part of the M Sport Package for the 228i.
M Sport brakes will be standard for the M235i and included in the 228i’s Dynamic Handling Package, which replaces the M Sport suspension with Dynamic Damper Control and also includes the styling elements of the M Sport package. The package cost $3,950 for 2021.
The tradeoff for any of these handling-enhancers is degradation of ride comfort that’s quite good in the base-spec 228i but suffers escalating impact harshness as you increase tire size and suspension sportiness. Even in Comfort mode, an M235i or 228i Gran Coupe with the M Sport or Dynamic Handling package allows sharp bumps to shiver the car’s structure and rabbit punch the seats.
The suspension and tire upgrades also elevate road noise to intrusive levels on any but smooth pavement. In this regard, the Gran Coupe falls short of the refinement baked into BMW’s classic – and costlier — rear-wheel-drive platforms.
Will 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe fuel economy improve?
Not for the carryover models, which should again be among the more fuel-efficient cars in their competitive set.
Expect EPA ratings to remain 23/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined for the 2022 BMW 228i Gran Coupe and 23/32/26 for the M235i Gran Coupe. A higher-powered M35i-type Gran Coupe would presumably rate lower than the M235i. Expect BMW to require premium-grade 91-octane gasoline for all ’22 2 Series Gran Coupes.
Will there be new 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe features?
Other than hardware associated with any new higher-performance model, don’t look for BMW to expand the already extensive roster of standard and optional features. It could of course shuffle some package content, as it did for model-year 2021. An example: the $200 Parking Assistance Package was discontinued and its main feature – autonomous parallel parking – rolled into a new, $950 Driving Assistance Package that also includes adaptive cruise control that maintains a set distance from traffic ahead.
Adaptive cruise control had been a $1,200 stand-alone option on both 2021 Gran Coupe models. But making it standard for ’22 would erase a gap in this car’s safety features. The convenience of adaptive cruise control is standard on a host of less expensive vehicles, and we’d urge BMW to make it standard on every 2022 2 Series Gran Coupe.
That would bolster driver assists expected to return as standard. These include autonomous emergency braking that can automatically stop the car to mitigate a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian. Also standard will be blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection and lane-departure warning.
BMW would do well to also consider adding safety tech available on its rear-drive-based vehicles. These could include the Driving Assistant Professional package, which includes all the aforementioned assists and adds automatic steering designed to keep the car centered in its lane. The system also vibrates the steering wheel and applies steering inputs to help avoid collisions when changing lanes and in certain other traffic conditions.
Another possibility: Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, which allows semi-autonomous driving up to 37 mph. It uses an attention-monitoring camera that negates the need to touch the steering wheel every 30-50 seconds if the driver’s attention is clearly on the road.
In addition to features and packages already covered, expect the 2022 2 Series Gran Coupe options to again include the Premium Package with a heated steering wheel, heated front seats with power lumbar, steering-linked movement to the standard LED headlights, ambient cabin lighting, proximity keyless entry, the head-up display, panoramic moonroof, and universal garage-door opener. For model-year 2021, this package cost $4,550 on the 228i and $2,750 on the M235i.
The 2022 228i Gran Coupe should again be available with the Convenience Package ($1,650 for ’21) that included the panoramic moonroof and proximity keyless entry.
Will 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe prices be different?
We’d be pleasantly surprised if BMW repeats its model-year-2021 price-increase restraint. A good bet is a modest hike to 2022 2 Series Gran Coupe base prices, keeping it in line with its European-brand rivals while Acura’s ILX – with a base-price range of roughly $27,000- $34,000 – remains the entry-level car in the competitive set.
All base prices cited include the manufacturer’s destination fee, which was $995 on the 2021 2 Series Gran Coupe. For reference, the ’21 228i Gran Coupe started at $38,695. The ’21 M235i Gran Coupe was priced from $46,495.
When does the 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe come out?
Expect a 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe release date in the third quarter of 2021.
Best 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe competitors
Acura ILX, Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA and A-Class