New 2021 BMW 2 Series Coupe specs confirmed ahead of summer launch

The new BMW 2 Series Coupe will be aimed at keen drivers, with the M240i model offering four-wheel drive and a 369bhp straight-six engine. Our exclusive image previews how it could look

BMW is gearing up for the launch of its next-generation 2 Series Coupe. The German firm’s new sports car will make its debut this summer, rivalling everything from the Audi TT to more focused cars such as the upcoming Toyota GR 86, and our exclusive image previews how it could look.

BMW has confirmed a few more details about the compact coupe’s platform and powertrains. The brand says the finished car will have near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution, thanks in part to the gearbox’s placement on the rear axle.

The flagship M240i model will be powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine found in the BMW M440i. It’ll have an identical output of 369bhp and, like its larger sibling, it’ll send drive to all four wheels through BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

Purists needn’t fret, though, as BMW has stressed that the coupe’s four-wheel drive system will be heavily rear-biased. It’ll also come with an electronically locking differential on the rear axle, which the company says will allow for “easily controllable drift manoeuvres.”

The brand also promises that every 2 Series will have “effortlessly controllable handling,” thanks to items such as adaptive power steering and a completely redesigned body shell, which is around 12 per cent stiffer than the old car’s. BMW has also widened the coupe’s track, to help reduce body roll.

Alongside the new CLAR platform adapted from the 3 Series saloon and 4 Series Coupe, BMW has placed a significant focus on aerodynamics. The most powerful models will have a flat undertray, air deflectors and a front splitter, all of which contribute to a 50 per cent reduction in front axle lift over the old model.

While BMW has revealed more information on the new car it’s still only published camouflaged shots of a late development prototype - although it’s our best look yet at the new car’s styling.

The coupe’s proportions will be far sleeker than its predecessor’s, with the new car getting a longer bonnet, sharply sloping shoulder lines and a low, tapered roof. Also, rather than aping the front-end styling of the larger 4 Series Coupe, the new 2 Series Coupe will have a more moderate design language, which appears to have been influenced by the X2 SUV.

The brand has kept the coupe’s kidney grilles to a sensible size and borrowed elements of the crossover’s aggressive front bumper design. The headlights look to be a similar shape to the X2’s, although the rear bumper and lights are completely unique to the coupe.

New 2021 BMW 2 Series Coupe: design and platform

The arrival of the new coupe means the 2 Series model range will become even more diverse. It’ll sit alongside the four-door 2 Series Gran Coupe and the firm’s duo of 2 Series-badged MPVs – the Active Tourer and seven-seat Gran Tourer. However, under the skin, the coupe will share almost nothing with those cars.

While the Gran Coupe uses BMW’s front-wheel-drive UKL platform – which underpins the firm’s 1 Series and is shared with the MINI hatchback – the rear-driven Coupe is based on a BMW’s CLAR architecture, which is found under the latest 3 Series saloon, and the 4 Series Coupe.

However, the 2 Series Coupe’s engine line-up will be familiar to BMW owners. The brand has confirmed specifications for the M240i xDrive, which thanks to 369bhp and 500Nm of torque will sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. 

It’ll be joined by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol 230i with 242bhp, while entry-level models will likely be offered with the same turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit as the 2 Series Gran Coupe.

It’s not yet known whether BMW will offer diesel power. If so, the 187bhp 2.0-litre engine from the 320d and 420d would be a strong candidate.

An M2 Competition model with more than 400bhp will follow in time, crowning the line-up.

While the coupe is undergoing its final stages of development, it’s unlikely that a new 2 Series Convertible will follow. Sales of small premium drop-tops are low, and Audi won’t introduce a new A3 Cabriolet, while Mercedes is set to phase out the two-seat SLC in the coming months.

When the new 2 Series Coupe goes on sale later this year, prices should start from around £30,000 for the three-cylinder 218i.

What does the new BMW M2 Coupe have to beat? These are the best performance cars on sale now

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