There’s a graph BMW uses. It has body styles along one axis and car size along the other, thus allowing you to see what kinds of cars it makes and how big or expensive they are.

Twenty years ago it would have been a pretty straightforward noughts and crosses-size affair. But these days it looks like a giant Connect 4 board. Coupé SUV a bit bigger than a mid-size executive SUV? But of course.

And now this 2-series coupé. Not to be confused with the new front-wheel-drive 2-series Active Tourer, the 2-series coupé is to the 1-series what the 4-series coupé is to the 3-series. Geddit? It’s a rear-drive, two-door, three-box variant of the 1-series that, while effectively a replacement for the old 1-series coupé, is said to offer more space and style than the old car did.

And thus far, it’s a car we’ve been mightily impressed by, especially in the quick M235i that sits atop the range. You could argue that the 2-series coupé’s history is quite short, extending as the direct lineage does only as far back as its 1-series coupé predecessor.

But BMW has a long history of three-box coupés with the presence of a number 2 in the name, starting with the 1600-2 of 1966 and followed up by the splendid 2002 in 1968, whose turbocharged version BMW would doubtless cite as an inspiration for the new M235i.

Trim levels for the new 2-series comprise SE, Modern Sport and M Sport, and engine options consist of a range of petrol and diesel units. BMW offers a 220i 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, the hot straight-six M235i petrol, and 218d, 220d and 225d 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels.

So is the new BMW 2-series set to repeat the success of its predecessors? Our comprehensive road test will reveal all.

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week