Just when we were getting used to the BMW 1-series coupe and convertible here in the U.S., Munich is about to change things up on us again, with its smallest rear-drive four-seaters getting a name change in the year ahead. The new BMW naming protocol is coupe – even, sedan. But more than just a name change is likely in the works for the smallest of BMW four-seaters. The base 228i will almost assuredly drop its naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter six-cylinder in favor of the 2.0-liter turbocharged N20 engine. The current 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder will likely remain as the upgrade engine in the 235i.
Following the rest of the BMW lineup, we expect the new pint-sized rear-drive drop tops to be named 228i and 235i, respectively. Like the other models equipped with the turbo four, the automatic will likely gain two more ratios for an eight-speed. Other models currently equipped with the six-cylinder engine have a six-speed automatic transmission, and we expect that powertrain to carry over to the 2-series, although it could debut the eight-speed with the six.
Although coupe and convertible-only in the U.S., the current 1-series is sold elsewhere in 3 and 5-door variants, and is unusual for its rear-drive layout in the C-segment size class. That’s expected to change soon, as the next-generation 1-series hatches will move to a front-wheel drive platform shared with the Mini Countryman and just-introduced Paceman.