The closest thing you’ll be able to get to a modern-day BMW 2002 has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring.
The next-generation BMW 2 Series Coupe is retaining the rear-wheel drive layout of the current model, even as the 2 Series Active Tourer and recently introduced 2 Series Gran Coupe feature front- or all-wheel drive.
That’s good news for enthusiasts and it leaves BMW as the only luxury brand in this sub-3 Series segment to offer a rear-wheel drive model, but for Cadillac and its CT4 which isn’t sold here.
Under the skin, the next 2 Series Coupe is expected to use a version of BMW’s modular CLAR architecture which, among other cars, underpins the 3 Series. The 2 Series will be the smallest model to use this architecture, with other sub-3 Series models using the front/all-wheel drive UKL2 platform.
It looks like it’ll miss out on the controversial grille of its big sibling, the 4 Series. In fact, we may already know what the 2 Series’ front and rear ends look like undisguised due to a leak back in April of what appeared to be a production 2 Series prototype.
Though some doubt was cast on the veracity of this leak, it revealed a handsome, muscular-looking coupe that lacks the latter-day Bangle Butt of the 2 Series Gran Coupe.
We’ve also spied the dashboard which closely resembles that of the Gran Coupe, even though the two cars are unrelated.
While its former platform-mate the 1 Series has migrated to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in its top M135i variant now that it uses the UKL2 platform, the 2 Series Coupe is expected to continue offering six-cylinder engines in its M235i and fiery M2 models. Turbocharged four-cylinder engines will still be offered lower in the range, however.
The current rear-wheel drive 2 Series range in Australia comprises coupe and convertible body styles in 220i and 230i guise, packing a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in two different states of tune.
Above these sit the M240i with a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six and the M2 with a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-six.
Introduced in 2014, the 2 Series coupe and convertible replaced the 1 Series coupe and convertible as BMW shifted to even numbers for its coupe models.
Last year, BMW sold 923 examples of its two two-door 2 Series models. That was more than the larger 4 Series range (468) and the Audi A3 Convertible (233).
The 2 Series has little in the way of direct competition. The A3 Convertible is front/all-wheel drive and lacks a coupe variant, while Mercedes doesn’t field a two-door model this small.
Current prices range from $54,990 before on-road costs for the base 220i Luxury Line to $147,400 for the M2 CS Auto.
That means it’s priced against rivals as disparate as the Ford Mustang High Performance and Nissan 370Z at the low end and the Porsche Cayman S and Audi TT RS at the top.