Due in showrooms in 2019, the M2 coupé sibling will retain a longitudinally mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, making it a unique offering compared with its rivals, which use transversely mounted engines and four-wheel drive.
BMW’s intention is that this format will provide the new M car with more engaging driving traits than its Audi and Mercedes competition — a move that has already made the M2 coupé a big hit among enthusiast drivers. The company believes there is sufficient scope within its future line-up to accommodate an additional model riding on its widely used rear-wheel-drive platform, hence the introduction of the 2 Series Gran Coupé.
New pictures of a 2 Series Gran Coupé development car show how the bodyshape will look. It gets rear doors and a raised rear roof section to create a five-door liftback shape, which, in M2 Gran Coupé form, promises to be a more practical performance offering than the regular M2.
The need to accommodate two conventional front-hinged rear doors and sufficient rear seat leg room is said to be behind the decision to give the new car a wheelbase that is halfway between the 2690mm span of the 2 Series Coupé and the 2810mm of the 3 Series saloon.
Inside, the 2 Series Gran Coupé will sport a new interior layout that is also set to be adopted by the successors to today’s 2 Series coupé and cabriolet, which are due in 2020.
The turbocharged three-cylinder and four-cylinder engines for the 2 Series Gran Coupé will mirror those of the existing 2 Series coupé and cabriolet.
On the petrol side, expect a 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit in the 218i Gran Coupé, together with 181bhp and 242bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinders in mid-range 220i and 225i models and a 326bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder in the 235i. Among the diesels will be 148bhp, 187bhp and 221bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinders in 218d, 220d and 225d models.
As with its two-door sibling, buyers of the 2 Series Gran Coupé will have a choice of a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, as well as standard rear-wheel drive or optional xDrive four-wheel drive. However, four-wheel drive will be offered in combination with only a limited range of engines.
The highlight of the new line-up, though, will be the M2 Gran Coupé.
It will use the same 365bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine as its highly lauded two-door sibling. It will be offered in combination with a standard six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Although it is still early days, the S55 B30-designated engine is expected to provide the M2 Gran Coupé with similar performance to the M2 coupé, which has an official 0-62mph time of 4.5sec in manual form and a limited 155mph top speed.
The 2 Series Gran Coupé will be produced alongside the coupé and cabriolet models at BMW's Leipzig plant.
A 2 Series Gran Coupé plug-in hybrid model is also mooted. It is expected to use BMW’s turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor mounted within the forward section of a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox.
In combination with a lithium-ion battery pack positioned within the floor of the boot, this is intended to provide the 225e Gran Coupé with an electric range of up to 31 miles.