Let’s get this out of the way first. When the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe arrives in the U.S. next spring, the four-door sedan will ride a front-wheel-drive platform with a choice of transverse-mounted turbo-4s, be equipped with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Alongside the 2020 X1, the preference for entry-level “ultimate driving machines” will be to spin up the front wheels first—pearl-clutching purists hand-wringing all the way.
On Tuesday, BMW detailed the 2020 2-Series Gran Coupe ahead of the car’s auto show debut next month in Los Angeles. The 2-Series Gran Coupe will be available in the U.S. in two versions: a 228i xDrive Gran Coupe and an M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. (We’ll pause here to gather a paper bag for those who’ve never considered M badge on a BMW with a front-drive platform.)
2020 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe
Both 2-Series Gran Coupes will be powered by 2.0-liter turbo-4s, albeit in different states of tune. The 2020 BMW 228i xDrive gets a turbo-4 that makes 228 horsepower (Eds note: So literal. So neat.) and 258 pound-feet of twist. That’s mated to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. BMW estimates the powertrain combo will net 0-60-mph times of 6.0 seconds. The hotter M235i xDrive gets the same engine but its strapped with larger turbos, a modified crankshaft and fuel injectors, and a separate cooling system for the transmission. The M235i makes 301 hp and 332 lb-ft and sprints up to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, or 4.6 seconds when an optional M performance package adds an unspecified amount of overboost. It also comes with an 8-speed automatic.
The all-wheel-drive system can transfer up to 50 percent of the available torque rearward, and can use the brakes to tame understeer by stabbing inside front wheels before a plow. The M235i gets a Torsen limited-slip differential in front to lock the wheels, and launch control can send all available torque to the front wheels in first and second gears for breakneck starts.
2020 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe
The 2-Series Gran Coupe isn’t related to the 2-Series on sale in the U.S. now, which has a rear-drive platform. Its days appear to be numbered. The 2020 2-Series borrows liberally from the Z4’s playbook up front, with a sharp nose and angular headlights that sit above a square-jawed front fascia. The rear rises in the back—a la Volvo S60 and the rest of the luxury compact bunch—although BMW’s kept its signature rear roof pillar kink (aka “Hofmeister kink”)—just in case you’re not sure. The stacked tail makes us wonder what Chris Bangle is up to these days, with a subtle decklid lip spoiler on M235i versions.
Inside, the 2-Series Gran Coupe seats up to five, although back seat riders may want for more leg room. Compared to the holy E30—the measuring stick for BMW entry sedans—the 2-Series Gran Coupe rides atop a wheelbase longer by 4 inches at 105.1 inches from wheel to wheel, and is about 3.5 inches longer from bumper to bumper.
The 2-Series comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with a rotary dial controller (which can upgraded to a 10.25-inch screen), navigation, and one year of Apple CarPlay compatibility (subscription required after one year). It also gets automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The M235i includes 18-inch wheels, M sport suspension and steering, the Torsen limited-slip differential, and exterior accents.
BMW didn’t say how much the 2020 2-Series will cost when it goes on sale, but said pricing will be announced closer to launch.