The rumors of an entry-level BMW sedan positioned a notch below the 3 Series refuse to go away. A recent report coming out of England indicates the model has been given the green light for production, and it will be joined by a sedan variant of the high-performance M2.
Tentatively called 2 Series Gran Coupe, the four-door will be positioned at the bottom of the BMW lineup. It’s still at the embryonic stage of development, so executives allegedly haven’t decided whether it will take the form of a traditional four-door sedan like the 3 Series, or if it will be a four-door hatchback like the 3 Series Gran Turismo. Insiders suggest that giving the family-friendly 2 a hatchback would make it more practical than the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz CLA, its two main rivals.
In Europe, the 2 will be offered with the same three- and four-cylinder gasoline- and diesel-burning engines as the 1 Series hatchback that’s only sold overseas. Interestingly, British magazine Autocar reports that BMW will introduce a range-topping model powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine found under the hood of the M2 coupe (pictured). The six will make 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, enough to send the M2 GranCoupe from zero to 60 mph in about four and a half seconds.
M2 Gran Coupe buyers will be asked to choose between an enthusiast-approved six-speed manual transmission, and a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Rear-wheel drive will be the only configuration offered. That’s important, because the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and the upcoming Audi RS 3 both resort to all-wheel drive in order to mask their front-wheel drive roots.
At the other end of the spectrum, the lineup could include a plug-in hybrid model called 225e powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor built into an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sourcing electricity from a lithium-ion battery pack, the motor will be capable of driving the 225e by itself for up to 31 miles.
BMW has yet to comment on the rumor. If the 2 Series Gran Coupe truly is on the way, we won’t see it land until 2018 at the very earliest — and possibly even 2019.