BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (2015 – 2021) Review

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (2015 – 2021) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
People carriers aren’t thrill-a-minute machines, but the 2 Series Gran Tourer done a better job than any rival in appealing to those for whom driving is more than merely getting from A to B.

+Seven-seat practicality, navigation as standard, fuel-efficient engines, the best people carrier to drive.

-Back seats are too small for teenagers or adults, 216d diesel is a bit weak, hardly the prettiest of cars.

New prices start from £26,285
Insurance Groups are between 10–22
On average it achieves 72% of the official MPG figure

Part of BMW’s strategy to offer a car in every conceivable segment, the 2 Series Gran Tourer is a seven-seat people carrier, the firm’s first. Although this class of car isn’t as popular as it once was, the BMW still has a notable edge over its most obvious direct rival, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class – because that car only seats five. 

Based on the company’s latest front-wheel-drive platform, the 2 Series Gran Tourer doesn’t look very exciting, but it’s roomy inside and surprisingly enjoyable to drive. Handling is sharp and the range of engines is comprehensive. Other stock BMW draws, such as class-leading infotainment, add to the appeal. However, like most buyers, we can’t help but be drawn to the better-looking (but less practical) X1 SUV.

The 2 Series Gran Tourer is the seven-seat, three-row alternative to the five-seat BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. That was the company’s first MPV: this stretched, elongated version was its second. And we actually think it makes the most sense – because of that seven-person capacity.  

It’s no classic to look at. People carriers tend not to be, as they’re designed to maximise space inside, not the number of heads turned outside. At least the BMW kidney grille is present and correct, and it can be finished off with some surprisingly sporty-looking trim grades, as we’ll see.

It feels good to sit in, with a comfortable driving position and firm seats giving a surprisingly sporty sense (we particularly like the more bolstered seats you get in Sport and M Sport versions). The steering wheel is chunky and all the controls are well-placed.

In the middle row, passengers again have ample legroom and headroom, helped by the sliding rear bench seat. The backrests can be independently angled too, for a comfier and more laid-back ride for passengers – or maximum boot space if they’re less fussy.

Typical of the breed, it’s a bit tricky to get into the third row of seats. If you have children, you might prefer to lift them in and out yourself. The seats aren’t particularly adult-friendly in terms of space either, but they’re fine for kids and fold flat into the floor when not needed.

BMW offers a familiar array of petrol and diesel engines; diesels are most popular, thanks to their combination of economy and fully-laden pulling power. The 218d is a good all-rounder, the 216d is very economical and the 220d xDrive offers all-wheel-drive grip. The 218i and 220i petrols are fine, but much rarer.

We’re pleased to say the 2 Series Gran Tourer still drives like a proper BMW, too. Despite its family pretensions, it’s still clearly set up to please eager drivers, with good steering feel and stable, roll-free handling. It’s a great choice for enthusiasts who have become reluctant MPV buyers – and the ride quality isn’t bad, either.

Add further draws such as good build quality, excellent fuel economy and some of the best infotainment systems around, and you can see why the 2 Series Gran Tourer might win a few fans – even if its styling ultimately dooms it to playing second fiddle to the BMW X1.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a non-diesel seven-seater?
"I'm after a seven-seater - with only one of the rear rows of seats in use - which also provides good boot space. I have a budget of £16k and would prefer not to have a diesel. What would you recommend?"
We'd recommend a BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. It's a very desirable and versatile people carrier available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine (badged the 218i). Also consider a Volkswagen Touran with the 1.4 TSI petrol engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best automatic MPV for transporting dogs/bikes?
"What's the best current or nearly-new small, automatic, petrol MPV with a flat load bed that would be easy to load bikes or a dog?"
We'd recommend a Volkswagen Touran or a BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (or the smaller Active Tourer if you don't need quite so much space). Both are very versatile people carriers offered with strong petrol engines and automatic gearboxes.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend an efficient seven seater?
"Can you recommend a reasonably efficient, petrol, seven seater? I have about £12,000 - £13,000 to spend. Thanks."
Have you considered a hybrid? The Toyota Prius+ will be very efficient (officially returning a combined 68.9mpg in the old NEDC fuel economy tests) and ought to be very reliable, too. Alternatively, if you'd prefer a conventional petrol, we'd recommend a BMW 218i Gran Tourer. It uses a very characterful (and efficient) 1.5-litre petrol engine. This officially returns 51.4mpg. Check out Real MPG for an idea of real-world economy:
Answered by Andrew Brady
I have four children. Can you suggest a large, good value family car?
"I have four children, three of which are teenagers. We currently have a BMW 2 Series Grand Tourer - which has been excellent. However, we are now at the stage of needing a bigger car/van. Having looked around there is so much choice: Ford Tourneo Custom, Peugeot Traveller and its variants, and of course the Volkswagen Transporter. I'm looking for the best value for money and economy. Which vehicle is best for such things, plus road tax, monthly payments and resale value? Should I buy new or secondhand? Thanks."
Cars registered after 1 April 2017 are taxed against a flat VED rate of £150 per year. This means you can get a decent sized seven-seater with low running costs, as long as you avoid models that were priced above £40,000 when new (which attracts an additional £325): My recommendations would be the Kia Sorento or the Skoda Kodiaq. Both get three rows of seats that will accommodate your four children. They are also good to drive and finished to a high standard inside.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (2015 – 2021) cost?