BMW is working on a Gran Coupe version of the 2-series that will be headed by a 370hp M variant, which will take on the Audi RS3 sedan and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45.
The M2 coupé sibling will retain a longitudinally mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, making it a unique offering compared to its rivals, which use transversely mounted engines and four-wheel drive.
The carmaker believes this format will provide the M car with more engaging driving traits than its Audi and Mercedes-AMG competition. BMW also feels there is sufficient scope within its future line-up to accommodate an additional model riding on its widely used rear-wheel-drive platform, and hence the introduction of the 2-series Gran Coupe.
New pictures of a development car reveal the body shape and that the Gran Coupe gets rear doors and a raised rear roof section to create a five-door liftback shape, which, in M2 Gran Coupe form, promises to be a more practical performance offering than the regular M2.
The need to accommodate two conventional front-hinged rear doors and sufficient rear-seat legroom is said to be the reason behind giving the new car a wheelbase that is between the 2,690mm span of the 2-series Coupe and the 2,810mm of the 3-series sedan.
The 2-series Gran Coupe will sport a new interior layout that will be adopted by the successors to the current 2-series coupé and cabriolet that are due in 2020.
The turbocharged three-cylinder and four-cylinder engines for the 2-series Gran Coupé will mirror those of the existing coupé and cabriolet.
On the petrol side, expect a 136hp, 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit in the 218i Gran Coupe, together with 184hp and 245hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinders in the mid-range 220i and 225i Gran Coupe models, and a 330hp, 3.0-litre six-cylinder in the 235i Gran Coupe. Among the diesels will be 150hhp, 190hp and 224hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinders in the 218d, 220d and 225d Gran Coupe models.
As with the 2-series Gran Coupe’s two-door sibling, buyers will have a choice of a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, as well as standard rear-wheel drive or optional xDrive four-wheel drive. However, four-wheel drive will be offered with only a limited range of engines. The highlight of the new line-up, though, will be the M2 Gran Coupe.
The new M car will use the same 370hp, 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine as its two-door sibling. It will be offered with either a standard six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The S55 B30-designated engine is expected to provide the M2 Gran Coupe with a performance similar to that of the M2 coupé, which has an official 0-100kph time of 4.5sec in manual and a limited top speed of around 250kph.
Also, there are talks of a 2-series Gran Coupe plug-in hybrid model. It is expected to use BMW’s turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor mounted within the forward section of a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox. And in combination with a lithium-ion battery pack positioned in the floor of the boot, this is intended to provide the new 225e Gran Coupe with an electric range of up to 50km.
The 2-series Gran Coupe models will be produced alongside the coupé and cabriolet at BMW's plant in Leipzig.