Review: BMW's flash and carry 2 Series Gran Tourer

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The new BMW 2 series Gran Tourer is spacious and luxurious
The new BMW 2 series Gran Tourer is spacious and luxurious

BMW 218d M Sport Gran Tourer 2.0d

My colleagues would tell you that I am more of a soccer mom than a GAA Dad.

But I seem to have had my fair share of seven-seater MPVs lately, to ferry half of my son’s team to away matches.

Most of them have been affordable, spacious and flexible people carriers with hard-wearing plastics so the team can’t do too much damage before I hand the test car back.

However, I recently upped the ante, when I ferried them around in a little bit of luxury in the shape of the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer.

The German company claims that it is the ‘first premium compact model to offer up to seven seats and fully meet the requirements of young families’.

Based on BMW’s first ever front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer, the Gran Tourer comes with the additional third row.

Overall, it is 214mm longer and 53mm higher than the Active Tourer, which creates the space for the third-row seats.

Again, like the Ford C-MAX, when all three rows are in the upright position there is only enough room in the boot for a couple of trays of Christmas gargle stacked up on their side.

Fold down the third row of seats and there is plenty of space for the gargle, XBOX, bike and whatever else is on the Santa list.

Fold both rows and there’s plenty of space for the lot – including the Christmas tree.

BMW has decided to avoid the sliding rear doors found in other models like the Ford Grand C-MAX and Mazda’s CX-5, and stick with traditional doors albeit in a larger and longer form.

This design makes getting in and out of the third row easier, but the seats are small and better suited to the younger rugrats.

The second row can take three child seats which, with the two in the back row means you get five – not many seven seaters can do that. I’d just pity the poor family with the five child seats.

The second row of seats can slide forward by 130mm to create extra space in the boot. Slide it back to its furthest position if you have a couple of teenage basketballers that need more legroom.

Up front, there is an ample amount of space for driver and front-seat passenger. Head and legroom are at a premium with the Gran Tourer’s high roofline and longer body.

Around the cabin there’s a familiar, but slightly different look, to the dash found in most of the other models.

The materials used have that premium feel that you expect to find in a BMW, and the 6.5-inch iDrive screen is easy on the eye and very easy to use.

On the road, the 2-Series Gran Tourer, which is available in both two- and four-wheel drive, handles extremely well for a large MPV.

Buyers of a car like this would never expect it to drive or handle like something from BMW’s M department, but it is not a million miles away.

My 218d M Sport Gran Tourer test car was fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel engine matted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

BMW claim that this engine will consume just 4.5l/100km of fuel, but as we all know these figures are very hard to reach in everyday driving conditions, and I was averaging between 5/6l/100km.

Overall, the Gran Tourer is a great addition to the BMW range for buyers in the market of a seven-seat premium compact model.

Like we mentioned in our Ford C-MAX piece last week, the larger more spacious Gran Tourer is the option to go for in this range over the five-seat Active Tourer model.

It does cost just slightly north of €3,000 for the extra seats and space but, believe me, it is well worth the premium.

The downside for me though, is that prices are a little on the high side if you want to spec it up with all the must-have toys.

Although entry-level starts at €36,750, my test car was more than €53k when you add in all the extras.

I can certainly think of a few hidden seven-seater gems out there for around the €40k mark that would give the Gran Tourer a good run for its money.