What It Is: The successor of the BMW 1-series coupe, which also forms the basis for the 1-series convertible. The next generation of 1-series coupes and cabrios will be known as the 2-series, which makes some sense: In other markets, there is the more plebeian 1-series hatchback, and the coupe always was the more upscale version. With the change in name, there will be a direct parallel to the upcoming 4-series—which replaces the 3-series coupe and convertible—and the 6-series, which always has been a 5-series–based coupe.
The 2-series moniker will allow BMW to jack up the price and to play a bit more with the styling. But, this won’t be much more than a heavily face-lifted version of the current 1-series coupe and convertible. There might be more differentiation in the future; after 2016, the 1-series hatchback likely will move to a front-wheel-drive platform shared with Mini. And, by the way, there will be an M2 as well, with a wider track and body. Oh, and 2-series is reminiscent of the legendary 2002.
Why It Matters: As BMW's 4-series will be positioned well upmarket, the 2-series could actually become the quintessential BMW—very much in the spirit of the 2002. Based on the brand’s storied compact rear-wheel-drive platform, the two-door should offer superior driving dynamics. (Now if only BMW can keep the weight down . . . ) The premium-compact segment is growing, with Mercedes-Benz adding the A-class and the upcoming CLA, and Audi introducing its A3 Sportback and A3 sedan. Considering that growth, it’s no wonder BMW is strongly considering a 2-series Gran Turismo. We wish them the best of luck in styling such a vehicle given the unattractive 5-series GT and the 3-series GTs we’ve spied.
Platform: The 2-series will use BMW's compact rear-wheel-drive platform, shared with the 1-series and similar to what underpins the 3-series. It will be an update of the current 1-series platform. No all-wheel-drive version is planned. BMW will add many connectivity and assistance systems not currently offered in the 1-series.
Powertrains: The heart of the engine lineup for the 2-series will consist of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, all of them turbocharged. For European markets, BMW’s range of three-cylinder engines is possible. There will be two levels of the high-powered, turbocharged inline-six. One of them will drive the upcoming M235i, an M Performance model producing around 320 hp. On top of that, there will be the high-performance M2, churning out around 360 hp. With most engines, BMW will offer a six-speed manual and an eight-speed torque-converter automatic; the M235i and the M2 could be offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic instead.
Competition: Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Volkswagen GTI/Golf R.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The 2-series without M badging should arrive on showroom floors in early 2014 with base sticker prices starting near the current 1-series coupe’s $32,095. The M2 should follow a year later, and start around $50,000. View Photo Gallery
2014 BMW 2-series Spy Photos – News – Car and Driver