A prototype of the BMW 2 Series convertible has been spied undergoing cold-weather testing in Europe, giving us our first look at the all-new compact two-door model line.
The new 2 Series nameplate will be applied to the coupe and convertible vehicles built on the platform of the 1 Series hatchback, mirroring the relationship between the 5 Series (sedan and wagon) and 6 Series (coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe), and shortly the 3 Series (sedan, wagon and GT) and upcoming 4 Series (coupe and convertible).
The 2 Series designation gives BMW freedom to further differentiate the coupe and convertible variants from the 1 Series, as evidenced in these spy photos.
The BMW 2 Series will feature slimmer, sportier headlights and prominent, forward-leaning kidney grilles, giving it a more aggressive and assertive look than the bloated 1 Series hatch.
Contributing to the car’s sporty stance is its downward-sloping bonnet, which is more heavily raked than the current car’s from the base of the windscreen to the top of the grille.
As expected, the 2 Series convertible will retain the soft-top roof construction of its predecessor, with the new model appearing to feature a similar folding mechanism.
The 2 Series also looks set to retain the chunky tail-light design of the 1 Series coupe and convertible models, with L-shaped LEDs visible behind the prototype’s plastic camouflage wrap.
The BMW 2 Series is expected to enter production during the second half of 2013 before launching in Australia in 2014.
Internationally, the 2 Series line-up is expected to feature a range of engines offered in the 1 Series hatch, with the 125kW 218i, 160kW 225i and 135kW 220d variants all likely. M235i coupe and convertible models powered by the brand’s 235kW/450Nm 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo petrol motor are also destined to expand the newly created M Performance sub-division, while an M2 coupe is rumoured as a successor to the ballistic but now-discontinued 1 Series M coupe.
Like the 1 Series hatch, all BMW 2 Series models will come with the option of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The current BMW 1 Series coupe and convertible range has been in production since 2007, and will be around seven years old by the time the all-new models are introduced.
BMW Australia sold just 1217 coupes and convertibles to the end of October this year, representing an 11 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2011, putting the compact two-door duo on track for its worst annual sales performance on record since launching locally in 2008.