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BMW plays down M2 Gran Coupe rumours

No go: BMW Australia has refuted rumours that the brand will build a full M car based on its FAAR front-drive platform.

BMW reiterates stance of no FWD M cars after M2 Gran Coupe rumours spread

11 Mar 2020

BMW has played down rumours that the just-launched 2 Series Gran Coupe sedan will be produced in full-fat M guise, following reports that an M2 Gran Coupe and M1 hatchback are on the way in the future.


Reports surfaced overseas that the new 2 Series Gran Coupe and its platform-sharing 1 Series small hatch will be released in M form sometime after the rear-drive M2 coupe us updated, with the two-door version likely to land sometime next year.


The new 2 Series coupe is rumoured to be built on BMW’s CLAR rear-drive architecture shared with the Z4, ensuring its longitudinal six-cylinder, rear-drive layout will be retained going forward.


Meanwhile, the 2 Series Gran Coupe and 1 Series are built on the FAAR front and all-wheel-drive architecture, which like the M135i and M235i, can support M-fettled levels of performance when employing all-paw grip.


When asked if the rumours of an M car built on the FAAR platform were credible, BMW Australia head of product and market planning Brendan Michel said that nothing had changed from when the German brand’s head office announced last year that it would not be possible to build an M car on the FAAR architecture.


While rear-biased all-wheel drive is used on other full-fat M models in BMW’s stable, a front-oriented all-wheel-drive setup would be breaking new ground for the brand.


It is also faced with another problem, in that it would need a more powerful version of its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine to achieve a level of performance required for an M badge.


The 2.0-litre mill in the M135i and M235i produces 225kW/450Nm, and is the most potent four-cylinder engine in the brand’s arsenal.


If a proper M version was released, outputs would have to compete with its more powerful main rivals, the Mercedes-AMG A45 and CLA45 (310kW/500Nm) and the Audi RS3 (294kW/480Nm).


The FAAR platform is also unable to house a six-cylinder engine, meaning the S58 twin-turbo engine rumoured to go into the next M2 coupe would not be able to fit, neither would the 302kW/550Nm S55 unit underpinning the current M2 Competition.


According to the reports, an M2 Gran Coupe would use an uprated version of the 2.0-litre engine with fully variable all-wheel drive, with a roughly 300kW output to take on its German competitors.


An M1 and M2 Gran Coupe would mark the first time a four-cylinder engine has been used in an M car since the E30 M3 from the late 1980s, which developed up to 175kW from its 2.5-litre mill.

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