Certain areas of the U.S. may currently be experiencing unseasonably warm weather, but up near the Arctic Circle, it's still quite cold and snowy. That's also where our spy photographer caught BMW winter testing the upcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe. A small sedan is certainly no X5, but despite the snow on the ground, this prototype appears to be handling the icy roads just fine.
This isn't the first time we've seen the 2 Series Gran Coupe, either. Last year, we caught one testing on public roads in Europe. Based on the blue brake calipers that both cars had, we'd be willing to bet both prototypes are some kind of higher performance model. Early rumors suggested BMW had plans for an M2 Gran Coupe, as well, but that was back when we thought it would be built on a rear-wheel-drive platform. More recent information suggests the four-door 2 Series will ride on the front-wheel-drive UKL platform that BMW borrowed from Mini. That makes a true M version much less likely.
Previous rumors suggested that the U.S. would only be able to get the 2 Series Gran Coupe with BMW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. Our source believes BMW will also offer a three-cylinder option, but that engine might only be available in Europe. We expect all-wheel drive, on the other hand, to definitely be an option here to help the 2 Series Gran Coupe take on the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3.
A few years ago, we would have questioned whether or not a front-wheel-drive-based BMW could succeed in the U.S. But now that the X1 rides on the same platform, and BMW announced the front-wheel-drive X2, a Mini-based 2 Series Gran Coupe seems a lot less controversial. And since our source believes it will be sold as a 2019 model, look for BMW to hold the official reveal before the end of the year.