BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer practically part of family

09:12 05 February 2016

BMW's 2 Series Gran Tourer seats seven but drives like a well-sorted hatchback.

BMW's 2 Series Gran Tourer seats seven but drives like a well-sorted hatchback.


Matt Kimberley puts BMW’s first seven-seat people-carrier to the test and finds it measures up.

BMW’s first seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle is built on the same architecture as the 2 Series Active Tourer but with 11cm slotted into the wheelbase and a useful bit of extra boot length.

Looks and image

The 2 Series Gran Tourer’s high roof line drags the visual weight upwards from the waistline but it’s all for a purpose, or purposes – the many-faceted principle of practicality. It’s a BMW that is unashamedly aimed at people who just want a family car to work for them, every day.

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer

Price: BMW 218i Gran Tourer, £25,010 to £29,260

Engine: 1.5-litre, 134bhp, three-cylinder turbo petrol

Transmission: Six-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 9.8 seconds; top speed 127mph

MPG: 53.3 combined

CO2 emissions: 123g/km

Space and practicality

There is so much to talk about here – there’s a sliding middle row of seats to allow three rows of adults to get comfy enough if needed, door pockets are sculpted in various ways to hold large bottles and the huge boot is very flexible, with near-flat folding seats including the front passenger chair for potential load length of well over two metres.

Around the boot you’ll find a dedicated slot for the luggage cover, hooks for shopping bags and a handy button to close the automatic tailgate. Keep looking around and you’ll find the cupboard space underneath the two front seats, but the removable tray tables for row two passengers are more obvious.

With the third seat row folded you can even fit a washing machine – in its box – in the boot behind the middle bench. Handy.

Behind the wheel

The Gran Tourer is very stable and handles neatly via uncommonly direct steering but, drive it hard through corners, and it behaves like a hatchback – and a good one at that!

True, no one will drive it like that but the relevant fact is that in a desperate swerve to avoid a collision, the Gran Tourer is more capable than you’d expect. Watch out at roundabouts because the thick A-pillar blocks the natural view, and all engines will record disappointing fuel economy if abused but, with effort, I squeezed 63mpg out of the petrol 218i.

Value for money

It’s built specifically to retain business among BMW owners whose needs outgrow the likes of the 1 Series, 3 Series or even the five-seater 2 Series Active Tourer. For the amount of usefulness it crams so cleverly into its compact shell, along with the sheer spectrum of kit on high-spec models, it’s not too bad value at all.

Who would buy one?

The fact that you can get as many as four child seats into the car is impressive enough for parents, and there are options for cleverly-integrated folding tow bars and bike racks that tilt to allow the boot to open without removing the bikes. It’s clearly a family car, either for parents at the head of growing families or for grandparents keen to carry all their grandkids at once.


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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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