Due to go on sale in March, the rear-wheel drive successor to the 1-series coupé adopts BMW’s new naming system, which sees the German car maker’s more overtly sporting models receive an even-number model designation, as seen on the recently introduced 4-series and longer-established 6-series.
A trio of 2-series models are planned from the outset of UK sales, including the expected volume sellers, the £25,040 220i and £25,865 220d. They will be joined by the range topping M235i, priced at £34,250.
The replacement for the highly rated M135i coupé runs a 321bhp version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine, giving it a 0-62mph time of 5.0sec in standard six-speed manual guise or 4.8sec with an optional eight-speed automatic gearbox.
A further two models, the 218d and 225d, are planned to join the line-up in May.
The 2-series coupé sports unique exterior styling credited to a team of in-house designers overseen by BMW brand design boss Karim Habib.
The appearance is considerably more refined than that of the old 1-series coupé, boasting a combination of traditional elements and contemporary touches in a classic three-box body that, in keeping with the new car’s sporting brief, clearly places good looks ahead of overall practicality.
As with other recent new BMW models, buyers will be able to choose between four individual lines: SE, Sport, Modern and M Sport – the latter standard on the M235i in combination with 18-inch wheels and lowered suspension.
At 4432mm in length, 1774mm in width and 1418mm in height, the 2-series is 72mm longer, 24mm wider and 7mm lower than the outgoing 1-series coupé. It also has a 30mm-longer wheelbase than its predecessor at 2690mm.
Inside, the 2-series offers seating for four together with 390 litres of luggage capacity – some 20 litres more than the 1-series coupé. BMW also claims the new car boasts an added 19mm of front seat headroom and 21 mm of rear seat legroom than the car it replaces.
The interior is largely lifted from the second-generation 1-series hatchback, including the dashboard, front seats and switchgear. However, a limited number of unique trim elements attempt to provide the new car with an individual feel.
Together with the coupé, the new 2-series will also support a cabriolet model. Planned for launch during the second half of 2014, it follows the lead of the 1-series cabriolet in adopting a fabric hood and boasting seating for four adults along with 270 litres of luggage space.
Among the standard equipment planned for the 2-series coupé in the UK is air conditioning, a leather-bound multi-function steering wheel, rear park sensors, automatic dimming rear view mirror and LED tail-lights.
The 2-series uses the same range of longitudinally mounted engines and the same rear-wheel drive platform as the existing 1-series hatchback – a layout BMW says provides the new car with class-leading performance and handling.
In efforts to improve its dynamics and provide it with a more sporting nature than its hatchback siblings, BMW’s engineers have provided the entry-level coupé with unique chassis tuning. It also features its own track widths, which also vary between standard 2-series coupé models and the M235i. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential also appears on range topping model as standard.