Car News

BMW Launches Trio of Sports Coupes in LA

BMW chose the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show for three world debuts – the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe, the 444-hp M2 CS, and the M8 Gran Coupe (including the even hotter M8 Competition Gran Coupe).

BMW’s New Least Expensive Offering

The 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe is a tidy fastback coupe version of the BMW 2 Series that, up until now, has only been available in North America as a two-door coupe and convertible. However, this new entry-level BMW sedan does not use the rear-drive chassis of those sporty 2’s, instead riding on the front-drive-based architecture of the X1, X2, and Mini Countryman.

By offering a 2 Series with four doors, BMW hopes to give the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mercedes-Benz CLA, and Audi A3/S3 sedans something to worry about. The car looks best from the front – the aggressive snout with mesh twin-kidney grill is pure BMW and it’s fair to expect the driving experience to be equally engaging if its crossover stablemates, the X1 and X2, are anything to go by. Being that the 2 Series Gran Coupe is lower and lighter can only help with its dynamics.

The interior quality is good, but lacks the wow factor of the exquisitely tailored Mercedes A-Class and CLA. However, BMW does offer a lot of high-end kit here like twin 10.2-inch screens, head-up display, plus the usual barrage of driver’s aid and safety systems. Exclusive to the 2 Gran Coupe is a cool illuminated semi-transparent trim along the door panels and dash that has the light, in six selectable colours, showing through an intricate weave pattern.

Back seat room is cozy, but certainly fine for two normal-sized adults, helped by recesses molded into the headliner to accommodate your coif.

The trunk has a large opening and features a clever bi-level retractable floor. Total capacity is a useful 430 litres.

The 2 Series Gran Coupe arrives in Canada mid-March wearing two badges – the 228i xDrive and M235i xDrive. Both get all-wheel drive and an eight-speed auto; and both run with a transversely mounted 2.0L turbocharged four, although in different states of tune. The 228i makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (handily outgunning the base 180-hp Mercedes A-Class sedan and 170-hp Audi A3) while the M235i kicks out a healthy 301 hp and 332 lb-ft. Based on what a hoot the X2 M235i crossover is, we can’t wait to drive this hotter Gran Coupe.

Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date. We do know this: The 228i Gran Coupe will be the new entry point into the BMW family, undercutting the X1 which now holds that position.

2020 BMW M2 CS

It’s no great surprise that the BMW M2 Competition, which was launched last year with a detuned 405-hp version of the M3/M4’s S55 straight-six turbo engine, would get the full 444 horse count of the M3/M4 Competition. And thus we have the limited edition 2020 BMW M2 CS that will be limited to a production of 2200.

It comes with a six-speed manual as standard equipment, with available seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The head of M division notes that the reason they decided to build this car with a stick-shift is mainly due to the enthusiasm found within the American market where about 50 percent of buyers will opt to shift their own. Canada is 40 percent on side with the stick while Europeans are quicker to embrace the… er, quicker dual-clutch transmission.

The M2 CS gets carbon fibre for its roof, mirror caps, front splitter, and rear diffuser. A first for the M2 here is the M Adaptive Suspension that offers three settings – Comfort, Sport, and Sport +. Tire sizing is unchanged from the M2 Competition, but super-sticky 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber is on the menu. Carbon-ceramic brakes are offered for the first time on the M2.

The M2 CS will be the basis for the M2 CS Racing, a pure track version for the privateer racer.

We’ll see the 2020 BMW M2 CS in Canada in spring of 2020, with pricing being available closer to launch.

2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Competition Gran Coupe

Another reveal for BMW at the LA Auto was the M8 Gran Coupe – a niche offering within this niche for those who find the 553 horsepower of the M850i Gran Coupe just a tad lacking. Here, BMW’s 4.4L twin-turbo V8 gets juiced to 600 horsepower, or 617 in the Competition model. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic are standard issue, as is the ability to completely disconnect the front tires from the proceedings for those who are keen on burnouts, doughnuts, and making friends with their local tire purveyor.

Shown at the LA show was a limited launch edition in an elegant Diamant Green metallic mossy hue with matte gold-tinted trim and gold-tinted driving lights. Very striking and very exclusive. Only 400 of these are being made, and yes, a few will make it to Canada. Another eye-grabbing colour seen here on the M8 Gran Coupe was Ametrin Metallic purple.

We’ve driven the M8 Coupe and Convertible, and we can attest to the car’s explosive acceleration and finely honed chassis that blends an exhilarating drive with the expected levels of compliance. A sumptuous cabin and fine steering feel too. So we can expect the same level of performance and engagement in this slightly longer and heavier (by 185 lb) four-door coupe. BMW claims the M8 Competition Gran Coupe will whisk us to 100 km/h in 3.0 seconds which is crazy quick by any measure.

Coming in January 2020, the BMW M8 Gran Coupe will start at $148,000, while the Competition variant starts at $161,000.