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A faction within BMW’s engineering division is reportedly pushing for the next-generation of BMW 2 Series models to be rear-wheel drive, including a new four-door Gran Coupe variant.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the engineering team lead by Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s chief development officer, is advocating for the next iteration of the 2 Series sports models to be built on the company’s next-generation rear-wheel drive architecture.

It’s well known that the next-gen 1 Series hatchback will be based on the UKL1 platform that’s currently employed underneath the new Mini 3- and 5-door hatches.

The move to front-wheel drive is intended to fix one of the biggest complaints levelled at the 1 Series: it’s relatively cramped passenger quarters.

BMW 2 Series04

If the engineers get their way, the new 2 Series coupe, convertible and, potentially, four-door frameless-windowed sedan will resist the move to front-wheel drive. Instead, they will use a shortened and shrunk down version of the “35up” rear- and all-wheel drive architecture.

The new 35up component matrix aggressively utilises lightweight components to improve fuel economy and performance. The first car to make use of 35up is the next-generation 7 Series. The currently stated plan calls for all vehicles from the 3 Series upwards to use this architecture.

BMW 2 Series09

The German magazine believes that a 2 Series Gran Coupe could arrive as early as the middle of 2018 and will challenge the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the small four-door “coupe” category.