Early reports and images are emerging about a new line of BMW cars, to be christened the 2-Series. Starting next year, they will slot in between (naturally enough) the entry level 1 Series and the 3 Series, BMW’s most popular line and the majority of its sales here in the U.S. (Starting in a few months, the new two door 3 Series will be called the 4 Series.) The newest 4 door 3 Series was introduced last year.
BMW numbering can be very confusing. Some abbreviated history for context — for decades the 3 Series was the introductory BMW model. Over the years however, each successive 3 Series body style got larger and more expensive. This created market opportunities for smaller and more affordable models to appeal to buyers who didn’t want to spend $45K+ for a new BMW.
Concurrent with the brand expansion, BMW is increasingly using the same engines in multiple car lines. And that is part of what makes the upcoming BMW 2 Series potentially exciting. They are reported to have the same turbo 4 cylinder and turbo six cylinder power plants as the 3/4 Series, as well as being smaller and (hopefully) lighter. For the driver who wants performance and can do without some of gadgets and options, the BMW 2 Series could be a compelling value. Motor Trend estimates the 2 Series will be priced about $10K below the 3/4.
The 2 Series is the next generation of the existing 1 Series. After the introduction of the 2 Series next year, the future of the 1 Series in the U.S. is not clear. Other markets will get sedan and hatchback versions, with front wheel drive a possibility.
A lot remains to be seen about the 2 Series. Various options and trim packages can make BMW car prices soar far above MSRP. BMW’s insistence on run flat tires is discouraging for customers looking for a better and more responsive ride. Being a modern car with no normally aspirated engine option, it will be harder to DIY any maintenance on the 2 Series after the warranty period expires.
All that said, it’s nice to be truly excited about an upcoming BMW model. It will be very interesting to see if the new 2 Series can rival the enjoyment I get out of my E36 and E39 M cars.
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