The upcoming 2 Series coupe is being subjected to its final development stage and is currently undergoing testing ahead of its official reveal. With production set to begin this summer, it won’t be long before we get to see what the new Two really looks like beneath all of that camera-fooling camouflage. Although BMW is progressing toward an electric future at a pace greater than ever before, the upcoming 2 Series will adhere to the qualities that made current generation and the 1 Series it replaced some of the best-driving BMW models in recent memory. These include rear-wheel-drive, a six-cylinder engine in the M240i, near 50/50 weight distribution, enhanced torsional rigidity, and a chassis tuned for agility.
If these sound like the same characteristics and tenets that attracted many of us to BMW in the first place, you’re on the right track. The automaker says the legacy and traits of the original BMW 2002 live on in the new 2 Series, and if you’ve been paying attention long enough, you might remember that’s what the company said about the first 2 Series coupe, the F22. BMW isn’t far from the truth with the statement, as the 2 Series coupe is the closest you can get to buying a modern BMW 2002, and the entire model range, from the 230i to the M240i, M2, and their pre-LCI predecessors, have earned the respect of diehard BMW enthusiasts since their introduction in 2014.
Testing has been taking place on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife, where the suspension, chassis, steering and braking systems have been put through their paces in one of the most challenging automotive environments on earth. Tuning is also being carried out on public country roads near BMW’s headquarters in Munich, along with the BMW Group test facility in Maisach.
The 230i xDrive and M240i xDrive will be the first models of the new 2 Series coupe lineup to hit the market, with rear-wheel-drive versions following later. The M240i will come with the most powerful version of the BMW B58 turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, with 382 horsepower on tap compared with 335 of the outgoing F22 M240i. A variant of ZF’s ubiquitous eight-speed automatic transmission will also be used, and xDrive models will come with an electronically-controlled M Sport rear differential. Aerodynamics in the form of the front lip spoiler and splitter, air curtains, air deflectors, and undercarriage panels covering the fuel tank and rear differential reduce front end lift on the M240i by 50% over the outgoing F22.
Torsional rigidity of the upcoming 2 Series has been increased by 12% over the F22, thanks to widened front and rear tracks, which also improve agility. New suspension dampers are also said to respond more accurately to slight road imperfections and to more effectively compensate for vibration with the goal of improving comfort. Adaptive M suspension will be optional, and includes electronically-controlled dampers with a choice of settings.
Special attention has also been paid to the steering system, which remains a point of contention among BMW devotees. The system used on the new 2 Series coupe runs stiffer support bearings which are intended to improve the feeling so many of us have been missing since the introduction of electric power steering roughly a decade ago. Another option will be Variable Sport Steering which is reported to improve dynamic driving feel and reduce steering input effort at low speeds.
Production of the G42 2 Series coupe is scheduled to begin this summer, during which time BMW will divulge more details about the model, its styling, specifications, and performance. Where the model will be produced remains to be seen, and it will be some time before we learn more about the next-generation M2, which is rumored to retain its manual, rear-wheel-drive layout.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]