It’s going to be a three-model donnybrook now that the 2 Series Gran Coupe has arrived

The 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is now a real thing. Seen previously in numerous spy shots sporting enough camouflage to make the military envious, the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe brings a premium element to the nameplate. Two versions of the 2 Series Gran Coupe — the 228i xDrive and the M235i xDrive — will be available in the U.S. market beginning next year.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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Each version is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with two different states of tune. The 228i xDrive’s turbo-four produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque while the M235i xDrive’s turbo-four unit produces 301 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Both versions of the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe will go on sale in the U.S. in the early part of 2020. Pricing for both models has yet to be announced.

On that note, 2020 is going to be a very interesting year in the subcompact luxury car market.

New versions of the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 will hit the market, and both models will continue to be well-received by whatever’s left of the sedan market. All joking aside, the CLA-Class and the A3 will continue on as the bar setters of the segment, but the new year will also bring with it new competition in the form of the long-awaited 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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Truth be told, it has been a long wait for the 2 Series Gran Coupe. The model was first rumored to arrive in 2015, which already seems like it passed by ages. BMW’s not going to go into detail on why the 2 Series Gran Coupe, or 2 Series GC if you don’t want to spell the whole name out, took this long to arrive. But it will say that it’s finally here, so who really cares about all that waiting. Unfortunately for Bimmer, customers do care, or at least they did care about the 2 Series GC until they ran out of patience waiting for it. Pay no mind to that, though, because the 2 Series GC is here, and, if you think about it., that’s all that really matters.

The 2020 2 Series GC does arrive in a time where the landscape of the subcompact luxury sedan market is nowhere near where it was four years ago.

If BMW released the model as it intended in 2015, it probably would own a significant chunk of the market. It is, after all, in character for BMW to barge into a new segment with the kind of reckless abandon that’s only matched by an unrelenting desire to plant its flag in a burgeoning segment. It did it once by basically inventing the coupe-SUV segment with the X6. You can even say that it tried reinventing the car saloon segment with the 5 and 6 Series GT models. But times are different now. The 2 Series GC is the latecomer to the party, and it’s the one that’s going to have a lot of making up to do in order to compete against its two early bird rivals.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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The question now is: does the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe have what it takes to compete against the Mercedes CLA-Class and the Audi A3?

Short answer: Yes. Yes, it does.

Visual comparisons are almost always subjective so we’re not going to dive too deep into this. That said, it is interesting to see that each of these three sedans offers something different to the table. The Audi A3 is the most German-looking of the three models. It has a sporty aesthetic but the overall profile is by far the most upright of the three.

The Mercedes CLA-Class, on the other hand, is the sleekest-looking of the three. Mercedes did a good job of creating proper curves throughout the CLA-Class’ body, almost to the point that it looks like a four-door coupe. Then there’s the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. It fits the profile of a proper gran coupe, right down to the fastback-looking rear section of the sedan. It’s the most aggressive looking of the three models and its body looks like it’s the most filled up of the three. There are no winners or losers here, just preferences to the design of these three models.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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Taking the design element out of the equation and focusing solely on power and performance reveals a lot about where the 2 Series Gran Coupe stands relative to the CLA-Class and the A3.

Here in the U.S. market, the new Bimmer comes with two engine options that feature the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing two different states of tune. The entry-level 228i xDrive’s turbo-four engine produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the M235i xDrive’ and you’ll benefit from a turbo-four unit that produces 301 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.

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The Audi A3 also has a diverse engine lineup, beginning with A3 1.8, which is powered by a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the bigger A3 2.0 and you’ll receive a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, there’s no way for either of these two A3 versions to compete against the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe M235i xDrive. For that, Audi is offering the S3 performance sedan, which is powered by the same four-banger engine, but tuned to produce a tidy 300 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to line and compete favorably to the BMW 2 Series GC M235i xDrive variant.

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Mercedes’ blueprint for the CLA-Class in the U.S. market is a lot like BMWs. There are only two versions available. One is the CLA 250, which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The numbers are almost identical to the power figures the 2 Series GC 228i xDrive is carrying. That should set up for a very interesting race between the two. The other CLA-Class version that’s available in the U.S. market is the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. This is an AMG model more than it is a proper Mercedes, and the numbers bear fruit. It’s also powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot engine, but the output is increased to an impressive 382 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. As competitive as a race between the 2 Series GC 228i xDrive and the CLA 250, any duel between the M235i xDrive and the AMG CLA 45 would turn into a wipeout in favor of the Merc.

Pricing comparisons among the three models would go better if BMW announced details on that end for the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. But that’s probably not happening until the Los Angeles Auto Show where the 2 Series GC is expected to debut or maybe even the early part of next year when it’s expected to hit the market.

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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Without specific price points to base these comparisons, we’re going to assume that the 2 Series GC 228i will start somewhere in the low-$30,000 range and the mid-$40,000 range for the M235i. If those price estimates are accurate, the 228i would come in at around the same price as the Mercedes CLA 250 and the entry-level Audi A3. The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 would be a lot more expensive at $53,100, though the S3 would be priced in the same ballpark with its $44,500 price tag.

Further reading

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Debuts in 228i xDrive and M235i xDrive Flavors

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Arrives With Its Sights Set on the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan
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Read our full review on the 2020 Audi A3.

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