Albertville, Minnesota, United States
We've already seen the upcoming BMW 2 Series testing in both coupe and convertible body styles, and now we're getting our first glimpse inside the new entry-level coupe. Judging by the sportier exterior that we've seen in previous spy shots, this car appears to be equipped with an M-Sport package, so this is likely not what the base interior will look like.
Compared to the current 1 Series, this new coupe will have cleaner cabin design including fewer buttons on the center stack and an instrument panel with more of a dual-brow design. This car has cloth seats with what appears to be a suede-like accent trim and blue stitching, and the seat's pattern is mimicked on the door panel. The 2 Series will also have a better integrated iDrive controller that operates the widescreen display mounted atop the instrument panel in a similar fashion as what we've seen recently on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA-Class.
As mentioned about the exterior, the bigger wheels, blue brake calipers, dual exhaust outlet and subtle decklid spoiler all lead us to believe that this is the M-Sport, but it isn't sporty enough - inside or out - to make us think this is the rumored M2 model.
Over the last year, we've had the chance to drive two of the most exciting hatchbacks in the BMW family - the BMW M135i and the Mini Paceman John Cooper Works - but Autocar has managed to get the two corporate cousins together for a head-to-head comparison. Just like our initial impressions of the Paceman JCW, Autocar has little to complain about this new 215-horsepower hatchback... until it begins to factor in the faster, better-mannered and similarly priced M135i.
Despite laying down an extra 100 hp and delivering a 0-60 time that is almost two seconds quicker, the M135i carries the same price tag of 29,535 pounds in the UK; US pricing for the Paceman starts at $36,200, while it still isn't even clear if the US will be getting the M135i. Even more surprising is the fact that the Paceman falls short of the M135i in regards to rear seat and cargo volume, and just barely squeaks out a win in the fuel economy department. Scroll down to watch the BMW versus Mini hot hatch battle.
Traditionally, nominations for the Autoblog Technology of the Year award are earned for specific developments - a new-think powertrain, a uniquely developed material, a groundbreaking smartphone app, or what have you. In the case of BMW's marvelous i8, it so bristles with novel applied sciences and fresh features that we broke with tradition and nominated the entire car.
We just couldn't help ourselves. Oh, we could've focused on the i8's carbon-fiber monocoque, or its well-resolved plug-in-hybrid powertrain that incorporates a tiny 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor, or its seamless through-the-road all-wheel drive. This is a car that will even have frickin' laser beams for headlights - at least it will for our friends in Europe (and it will in the US, should our legislators ever catch up).