The debut draws ever closer.

The next-generation BMW 2 Series will soon be official. We've gradually seen prototypes lose camouflage over recent months, and BMW actually started a teaser campaign for its nimble runabout in May. It's been nearly a month since we last saw the 2er in public, and these fresh spy shots from the Nürburgring give us just a bit more skin to look at.

Possibly the best news is further confirmation that the next-generation 2 Series will retain its smaller kidney grille. Previous spy shots showed the face pretty well, but the latest images offer a crystal clear outline of both the grille and the headlights, not to mention the busy lower fascia with its trapezoid corner vents and large central opening. The roof and side mirrors are bare to the world, but BMW still carries some bulky cladding around the C pillars and the rear fascia. However, the takeaway is that the new 2 will carry on with a familiar look, and that's a good thing.

Gallery: BMW 2 Series New Spy Photos

Thanks to BMW, we know the next-generation model holds onto an inline-six for the M Performance model and it will pony up 369 horsepower (275 kilowatts) for all four wheels to handle. Lower spec models should be available with BMW's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The 2 Series will have a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system with all kinds of tech to either let the driver stay firmly planted, or get silly sideways. Compared to the current model, the new 2 will be stiffer and more aerodynamic, all while maintaining a near-perfect weight distribution.

For many BMW enthusiasts disillusioned with the ever-increasing size and design direction of the 4 Series, the 2 Series has become the spiritual successor to the 3 Series of earlier generations. That's especially for the M2, which is often compared to the much-loved M3 of yore. The all-new 2 Series will debut later this year as a 2022 model, but our M cravings will go unfulfilled for a bit longer as it won't arrive until next year.

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