Earlier this week, a mysterious BMW 2-Series-based test mule was spotted in Germany. The vehicle was obviously a mule of some sort and not a regular 2-Series because of its much shorter wheelbase, lowered roof and possibly an extended front overhang. The test mule was also fitted with a carbon fiber roof and hood, likely to further lower its center of gravity.

But why would BMW engineers be testing a mule significantly smaller and lower than the already compact 2-Series? Perhaps it has something to do with the oft-rumored Z2 roadster, a vehicle we first heard about as far back as 2006.

But the new Z2 is expected to ride on BMW’s front-wheel-drive UKL platform, and not the rear-wheel-drive platform of the 2-Series. As Auto Motor und Sport points out, the shortened rear section of this mule means the elimination of the rear differential on the regular 2-Series, meaning the vehicle is likely a front-driver.

Back in September, we reported that BMW was planning as many as seven front-wheel-drive models, including the Z2. The new roadster is expected to be lightweight and sporty, and offer an all-wheel-drive option for those that loathe front-wheel-drive performance cars. Power will likely come from the 228-horsepower version of BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine debuting in the 2015 John Cooper Works Hardtop, which also shares the UKL platform.

With BMW’s replacement for the Z4 expected to evolve into a much more serious performer, since its platform will likely be shared with a new Supra from Toyota, we think a lightweight and fun Z2 would be a smart addition to the BMW lineup.

A reveal sometime in 2016 is expected for the new Z2, with sales here in the U.S. likely to follow in early 2017.


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