As we discovered with the M340i, BMW must be using a different measurement method than other manufacturers, because its cargo volume specs are not consistent with the amount of space actually available. Or, to be most accurate, other cars with the same reported cubic-foot volume number can hold more stuff.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is another example. The spec sheet says it has 15.1 cubic-feet, which is wildly impressive for a compact sedan. In fact, it's the same number as the Toyota Camry. Except that the actual trunk cannot hold as many pieces of luggage as a Toyota Camry.
Here is the trunk itself, which is reasonably deep but not especially wide. Height is typical for a sedan.
As in every luggage test I do, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
Of that collection, this is all it could manage: the two largest bags and one of the medium bags. Compare that to the Camry below.
That would be all the luggage AND my Thule Spring stroller. So yeah, not all 15.1-cubic-foot trunks are apparently equal. There's a reason I do these tests!
Ah! But the 2 Series Gran Coupe has a trick up its sleeve. Should you not get the optional spare tire, there is a substantial underfloor storage area much as there is in the X1 and X2 compact crossovers that share the 2 GC's front-drive platform.
The lid lifts out of the way and stays there by itself. Clever. Doing so frees up an appreciable amount of extra luggage-stuffing capacity.
By using the underfloor area I could add the remaining roller bags. However, still no fancy bag, and definitely no stroller. As such, the 15.1 number doesn't even match up when using the entire space available.
Let's put aside the wonky specs for a moment and just focus on what it can actually accomplish relative other cars.
The 2 Series Gran Coupe could actually hold the same number of bags as the 3 Series could, but there's less room left over AND I had to use the underfloor storage. Basically, the 3 Series lives up to its higher model number, as you'd expect.
I haven't luggage tested an A- or CLA-Class, nor an Audi A3, but the Mazda3 Sedan is roughly the same size, is fantastic to drive, has a lovely interior, and to these functioning eyes, looks a whole helluva lot better than the 2 GC. What about its trunk?
It can actually fit all the bags. No need for a bonus underfloor space, either. According to Mazda specs, it has 13.2 cubic-feet of space, which means by their methodology, the 2 Series Gran Coupe should come in south of that.
In the end, I'm not sure what to make of the 2 Series Gran Coupe's cargo capacity. Either way, it certainly doesn't add to our already underwhelmed impressions of the entire car.
At least the trunk lid itself is interesting.
The opening is crazy narrow. It's almost like a VW Beetle convertible's. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just quirky and indicative of the "coupe" body style that extends the roof so far rearward. Yay?
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