Ever since BMW unveiled the CS1 concept at the Geneva Show in 2002 and subsequently launched the 1 Series, automotive scribes have expected the Munich-based manufacturer to plug the gap between its Ones and Threes with saloon, coupé and cabriolet/roadster versions of its subcompact…
Ever since BMW unveiled the CS1 concept (shown here) at the Geneva Show in 2002 and subsequently launched the 1 Series, automotive scribes have expected the Munich-based manufacturer to plug the gap between its Ones and Threes with saloon, coupé and cabriolet/roadster versions of its subcompact…
CARtoday.com reported in 2002 that BMW had “already” planned saloon, estate and coupé spinoffs for the 1 Series, which, sources said, would collectively be known as 2 Series models. At the time it was believed that the company had decided that its future mainstream models would use odd numbers, as in the 1-, 3-, 5- and 7 Series, while sports cars would have even numbers, as in the 2- and 6 Series. However, the recently unveiled E92-series sports coupé was launched with familiar 3 Series model designations and there has been no further announcement on new 1 Series variants seeing the light since the subcompact range made its début two and a half years ago.
That’s not to say that plans for roadster and coupé versions of the 1 Series (as suggested by the X Coupé concept shown at the Detroit Show in 2001) have been shelved. Reports from Germany suggest BMW is developing an “affordable roadster” below the Z4 to challenge Mazda’s MX-5 in the entry-level sports car market.
BMW AG’s outgoing chairman, Helmut Panke, was reportedly keen to extend the Z-car lineup. Just as the Munich-based manufacturer’s X-car lineup was expanded to include the X3, BMW also sees demand for Z2 models that would complement the existing Z4’s respective roadster and hardtop offerings.
Insiders say the new entry-level Z model would take at least four years to bring to market, suggesting it probably won’t arrive until after the next-generation Z4 arrives in 2009. The Z2 moniker is likely to be retained, considering it was trademarked by BMW as long ago as 2001. CARtoday.com also revealed in 2004 that BMW officials had registered the names 216i, 220i, 225i, 218d and 220d – might they be saloon models?
As with the Z4, the newcomer is likely to share components with the existing 1- and 3 Series and will probably be built alongside the next-generation Z4 at BMW’s Spartanburg plant.
A North American automotive publication suggested that the Z2 would only be powered by four-cylinder engines, most likely with normally-aspirated 1,8- and 2,0-litre units (no-one initially expected six-cylinder power for the 1 Series, yet the 130i is now firmly established, it must be said). And, because BMW had launched the first of a new generation of turbocharged petrol-engined models with the 335i, a forced-induction 2,0-litre engine (producing up to 224 kW) was definitely on the cards for Z2.
Transmission choices for the Z2 should include a standard six-speed manual and an optional double-clutch unit with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles; But just how long will enthusiasts have to wait before the next chapter of the 1 Series goes to print?