Most of the time, when a revolutionary car comes along, you know it.
It has a singular look or a piece of technology inside that makes you sit up and take notice.
BMW, well, they know how to make those cars.
They've made the i3 and the i8.
Those cars just shout, look at me, I'm important.
This car, the 2 Series Grand Coupe, Isn't like that, but that doesn't mean there's not a revolution under the skin hopping with me and I'll explain what I mean.
You've probably heard us raving about BMWs other two series the coop, particularly the [UNKNOWN] competition, which is a spectacularly enjoyable sports car.
Despite being known by the same numeric designation, this 2 Series is from a whole another part of the family tree.
Whereas the 2 Series Coupe is a true rear-drive sports car, this Gran Coupe in contrast is actually built On an entirely different chassis, the one that underpins BMW X1 SUV.
That's right, after decades of touting rear wheel drive performance, this two is the first BMW Sedan to be based on a front wheel drive chassis.
That revelation has a lot of longtime BMW fans moaning and clutching their pearls.
Me, I'm not one of those self described purists.
However, I have flown all the way to Portugal dying to know if this might not just be a good car, but one that lives up to its Rondel and M badges too.
Let's start with the styling.
Despite an extra set of doors, this design is a lot less stubby and upright than the two series coupe.
Usually that's a good thing, but here I'm not quite sold.
The front end has some weirdly exaggerated features including a grille that's more butterfly shaped than BMW's famed kidneys, and those oversized lower air intakes feel like they're trying a bit too hard.
It's certainly an aggressive look, but I wouldn't call it pretty.
Most BMW Gran Coupe models have long legged good looks with fast roof lines and stretched out profiles.
But this 2GC plays out on a much smaller canvas.
And its short dash to axle ratio and abbreviated trunk just don't give it the same grace of other gran coupes.
Now before go apoplectic know this.
At least for the moment BMW will only sell the 2GC in North America with all wheel drive.
That means the only time there's gonna be a front wheel drive BMW on our roads Is when the drive shaft to the rear wheels uncouples for added efficiency like it does during steady state freeway cruising.
And with it's two liter turbo Ford tune for 301 hp and 332 lb.ft of torque in a skidded dot m235i, there is plenty of muscle.
0-60 happens in 4.6 seconds, and top speed is limited to 155.
Those were M three numbers not that long ago.
Powering out of tight corners the M235i offers plenty of thrust the steering is quick and the mandatory eight speed automatic shifts crisply.
My test car sounds reasonably burly especially in sport mode but officials say US models will sound even better as my overseas tester's exhaust is fitted with an additional particulate filter.
Plus, Europe's got tougher pass-by noise regulations, too.
The M235i's interior is a nice place to be, as well.
The seats are properly adjustable and grippy, and controls are well placed.
I don't have my measuring tape handy, but it feels roomier than its Mercedes CLA and A-Class rivals.
Especially in the back.
The best all wheel drive cars do a good job of offering up rear wheel drive seat of the pants feel, and BMWs own m five is among them.
This TGC doesn't quite manage that feat, however.
It's pretty entertaining.
But even though the two does the numbers, it doesn't feel like a particularly connected driving experience.
And despite the torsion limited slip differential, the chassis doesn't feel as adjustable with your right foot as you might want.
This car feels less like a traditional BMW sports coupe and more like a sophisticated all wheel drive high hatch.
Perhaps a more premium VW Golf, our rival.
Pricing for this M235i XDrive will start at $45,500 plus delivery.
That is actually costlier than an all wheel drive 335i which isn't as athletic.
But it is roomier and arguably more well rounded.
Of course if you don't need that much go faster gear you can opt for a 228i xDrive Gran Coupe which offers 228 horsepower to around 375.
There's plenty of available gear too from the usual suite of advanced drivers assist systems to wireless charging, Apple car play and a head up display.
It should be pretty easy to option up one of these well into the 50s.
So is the two series Gran Coupe, a hero or heretic?
Honestly, it's probably gonna take a few years and a look back in the rearview mirror to know but I still got a few hours and I'm intent on finding out as much as I can right now.