As much as we hope the average consumer, upon stepping into a rear-drive car for the first time, will experience an epiphany regarding the thrill of properly tuned vehicle dynamics, it’s a fantasy.
A decade ago, then-BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told us 80 percent of 1 Series owners believed their cars were front-wheel drive. He pitched it as a good thing, seeing an easy path to introducing front-drive products in the future. Well, here we are: the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Specifically, the 2020 BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. The xDrive component of that long name is critical, as every 2 Series Gran Coupe shipped to the U.S., be it an entry 228i or this sporty M-improved car, will be all-wheel drive. Primarily, though, the transversely mounted engine will power the front wheels, with the rear axle disconnected until it’s needed.
It’s a familiar design, one you’ll recognize from BMW- and Mini-branded crossovers. Indeed, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is just the second sedan built on the UKL2 architecture and the only one sold outside of China. Make no mistake, though: This platform (unlike the UKL1 derivative) has been a crossover-SUV platform from day one.
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