Refreshing or Revolting: BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe vs. Mercedes-Benz CLA

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The 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe answers a question no one asked: What would a BMW competitor to the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class look like? Slotting below the 4 Series Gran Coupe, the 2020 2 Series Gran Coupe rides on a front-drive-based platform shared with the X1 and X2. For the U.S., the 2 Series Gran Coupe will only come with all-wheel drive.

Upon first glance, the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe borrows its front end design from the X2. The twin-kidney grille and headlight clusters are the same shape as in the crossover, giving it a familiar appearance. Compared to the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has a chunkier look thanks to its rounded appearance. More differences become apparent when you see the 2 Series Gran Coupe’s side profile. Its roofline doesn’t descend as quickly as the CLA’s, giving it more glass area and a shorter, liftback-like rear end. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, on the other hand, has a longer rear deck, making it more obvious that it’s a sedan.

Out back, the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe takes cues from recently revealed BMW vehicles including the thin taillight strips and faux air vents in the lower rear fascia. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class also has a similar taillight design but the air vents on the lower part are shorter. Its rear end is also rounded versus the 2 Series Gran Coupe’s squared off rear.

Step inside and you’ll immediately notice that the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe’s interior looks similar to the recently revealed 3 Series sedan. It features a large 10.25-inch touchscreen and the same horizontal dash as nearly every BMW model. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has a less conventional design with two displays instead of a traditional layout. On the center console, the Mercedes has a touchpad and the electronic gear selector has been mounted on the steering column instead for a cleaner look. BMW’s center console retains the iDrive knob surrounded by buttons, an electronic shifter, and a row of buttons including the stop/start button to the left of it.

When it goes on sale, the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe will be available in 228i and M235i flavors. Both will come standard with all-wheel drive. A 2.0-liter turbo-four paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission will be the only powertrain available. In the 228i, it makes 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the M235i produces 301 hp and 332 lb-ft.

Pricing for the 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe should start just below $40,000 for the base 228i, with the M235i coming in higher than that. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class starts at $37,645 for a base front-drive CLA 250 while all-wheel drive adds $2,000 more. Unlike the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has two performance-oriented models a 302-hp AMG CLA 35 and a more potent 382-hp AMG CLA 45.

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