Along with a new 'i1' electric hatchback.
Revealed last May and first shown to the public last month at Frankfurt, the all-new 2020 BMW 1 Series hatchback is a departure from past 1 Series models for one main reason: it's built on an all-new front-wheel-drive platform with optimal all-wheel-drive. While the hatchback won't be coming to the US, its soon to debut corporate cousin will: the first-ever 2 Series Gran Coupe. Americans prefer four-door coupes over hatchbacks, which is nothing new. This shared flexible architecture, however, also allows for electrification and that's exactly what's about to happen.
According to the UK's Auto Express, BMW i Division boss Robert Irlinger has revealed plans for an entry-level electric hatchback based on the 1 Series that could debut as soon as 2021, the same year the first battery-powered BMWs will debut, specifically the iX3, i4 sedan, and iNext SUV.
Potentially called the i1, this new entry-level all-electric hatchback will reportedly look nearly the same as the internal combustion-engined 1 Series with the exception of it lacking a radiator grille and a unique color palette. The 2 Series Gran Coupe is slated to be revealed in the US next month at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Sales will likely get underway by the summertime.
That being said, along with Irlinger's comment that "Even in the front-drive architecture you will see fully electrified cars" and BMW's desire to take on the Tesla Model 3, a fully electrified 2 Series Gran Coupe is highly probable. The question is when?
"You will see electrification in our whole portfolio," Irlinger added. "We can rework our front-wheel-drive as well as the rear-wheel-drive platforms and both are able to show all technologies – our customers have the power of choice. Whatever they demand they can get – a plug-in hybrid X3, a fully-electric 4 Series, too. That's a big step and a big change in our strategy." He's right, and BMW has paid attention to the Model 3's high demand.
The 2 Series Gran Coupe would be an ideal entry-level BMW EV for the US, especially once the i3 is discontinued. Irlinger confirmed that the i3 will not be replaced once its production cycle ends sometime within the next few years.