The car's platform won't adapt well to hybridization.
A small, front-wheel-drive car isn't usually what you'd associate with BMW. That's more a Honda or Volkswagen thing. But overseas, you can still buy a small, economical BMW. It may even have the front wheels motivated by a small four-cylinder engine. Here in the States, the closest thing we get is the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, but Europe benefits from a BMW hatchback as well.
However, the fate of those smaller Bimmer platforms is now being drawn into question. In some ways, electrification is to blame. Predictably, the architecture of larger electrically-motivated cars like the BMW iX is significantly different. And with hybridization heading the way it is, time for these smaller platforms is running out.
A BMW source told Autocar that the future of BMW's front-wheel-drive architecture is in doubt due to the auto industry's new greener direction.
Internally, that platform is known as UKL. It's already seven years old, and will surely be due for replacement soon. The source said there are "a number of issues to consider."
First and foremost, the size of the UKL platform does make both hybridization and electrification difficult. Some automakers have found somewhat clever approaches to this, like Kia and Hyundai, who place much of their EV's inner workings where the engine would normally live.
Of course, there's also the overall size of the platform. Apparently, it's not only bad for future powertrains but sales as well. Cars based on the platform "sell in very low volumes in the US." Really, that's no surprise to us at all. We Americans like our cars like our Macs- Big. However, the Chinese market for these cars is apparently rather healthy, but only for the sedan body styles.
The source also said they're important as "my first BMW" models, and that leaving would give that slice of the pie to rivals.
Over in Europe, these UKL cars, like the 2 Series GC, must also conform to Euro 7 regulations. At least, they'll need to eventually. Those regs are very harsh on a car's emissions, and almost force hybridization on European cars. Again, that leaves us back where we started with the packaging issues for the UKL platform.
Given how little attention the 2 Series GC gets here in the US, we won't be surprised to see the model disappear in short order. BMW doesn't sell many of them here, and it is, admittedly, a rather lackluster car. In the end, it'll depend on what BMW does with these smaller cars on a larger scale.