Introducing the 228i sDrive.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe was new for 2020 and will enter 2021 largely unchanged. BMW has actively promoted the AWD sport sedan as its so-called entry-level model into the larger sedan family, hoping younger buyers will later move up the product ladder. With a starting price of $38,495, the German automaker has apparently come to the conclusion this figure is, in fact, slightly too high. The answer? Lower the price, but at the expense of one major feature.
According to a BMW order guide obtained by CarsDirect, BMW has quietly added a new 2 Series Gran Coupe variant to the lineup, the 228i sDrive. Priced $2,000 less than MSRP, the 'sDrive' moniker, if you didn't already know, means it is front-wheel-drive. BMW models with the 'xDrive' badge are AWD.
The $36,695 228i sDrive Gran Coupe is now the brand's least expensive sedan in the US (the X1 crossover is $300 cheaper), but that lower price tag doesn't mean buyers are missing out on BMW goodness. Under the hood lies the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine rated at 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The lack of AWD may be a deterrent for some buyers, but those who care about fuel economy will be happy to know the EPA has rated the FWD model with a 1 mpg advantage over its AWD counterpart, 28 mpg combined versus 27. It's not a major difference, but it's still worth noting.
BMW customers who are concerned with pricing and leaning towards the slightly cheaper X1 should know the FWD 2 Series GC comes standard with many attractive features, among them navigation, LED headlights, and power-folding mirrors. These are all optional on the X1. Cross-shopping entry-level luxury sedan buyers will also find the new 2 Series GC FWD undercuts one of its main rivals, the Mercedes-Benz CLA, by a little over $2,200.
BMW was smart to add the FWD variant because not all buyers need or want to pay the AWD premium. A FWD M235i, however, doesn't appear to be in the cards; the high-performance variant will remain AWD only.