The new MPV went on sale this year with a hybrid powertrain comprising a three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, and now the company who developed its four-wheel-drive system, GKN Driveline, has confirmed that the technology is based on the driveline of the BMW i8.
The i8’s eAxle has been adapted to work in compact vehicles, such as the 2 Series. It is now 229mm wide and 259mm tall, while weighing just 20.2kg - which makes it around half as tall and 6.8kg lighter than it originally was.
As in i8, the 2 Series’s eAxle is responsible for driving one axle with electric power, and it can also disengage the motor to reduce rolling resistance when it’s not needed. The other axle is powered by a detuned version of the i8’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine.
There is one key difference between the two cars’ systems, however. In the mid-engined i8 the petrol engine drives the rear while the eAxle sits at the front, but in the front-engined 2 Series, petrol powers the front wheels and the eAxle drives the rears.