Although we’ll have to wait until the LA Auto Show in the fall to see it in the flesh, a 2 Series Gran Coupe has been announced by BMW, and the model is expected to slot against competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA. If you’ve been following any of the rumors, you won’t be surprised to learn that that the upcoming stylish four-door will be front-wheel drive, and use BMW’s UKL platform which is the basis of the current X1. The same developments will be shared with a 1 Series compact that’s said to be upcoming as well, although that model is not intended for the U.S. market.
Production of the F48 X1 kicked off during the middle of 2015, and prior to its launch, the new front-drive SAV was the subject of strong criticism by the enthusiast base. The idea of a BMW with a transverse-mounted engine driving the front wheels represented the beginning of the end to many, but in the years since, the X1 has done well prove itself with strong sales. Lest we forget, BMW first honed its skills as they relate to FWD platforms with MINI, a marque that has been part of the BMW portfolio since 2000. The aforementioned UKL platform also serves as the underpinnings for the MINI Countryman and the X2, the latter of which can be had in potent performance spec.
It only makes sense, then, for BMW to use the proven modular platform for a front—or xDrive—competitor to what Mercedes-Benz and Audi sell in the form of the CLA and A3. The F30 320i was an excellent alternative to either of those counterparts, offering RWD and a more refined level of quality throughout for a comparable price, but coupe-based four-doors have since risen to the forefront. While it’s clear that SAVs, SACs and other kinds of crossover creations are the hot thing right now, consumers who still desire a road-hugging car with somewhat conventional proportions have been voting with their wallets as well, and models like the 4 Series Gran Coupe are among the benefactors.
It is not yet known if the forthcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe will have the same hatchback design as the 4 GC, but speculation by trusted automotive news media outlets, like Car and Driver, suggests that power will likely come from a two-liter four cylinder not unlike the B48 used in the X1 and X2. The shrouded image used for the feature photo is the only visual representation we have to go off now, but the China-exclusive F52 1 Series sedan, which has been in production since 2017, might offer a few subtle clues.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]