The bold new BMW M2 gets a retuned version of the M3’s engine, resulting in 453bhp and 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds
BMW’s M division recently announced its first plug-in hybrid model, the controversial 2.7-tonne XM SUV. But the renowned performance experts haven’t given up on pure driver’s cars just yet – and they’re throwing everything at what could be their defining small coupé, the new M2. BMW says deliveries will start in May 2023, but the car is available to order now, priced from £61,495.
The fastest version of the new 2 Series Coupé is arguably one of the main reasons why it was kept on BMW’s rear-drive CLAR platform, in contrast with sibling models such as the 1 Series that use fundamentally front-wheel-drive components. The M2 has grown in any case; it’s now 4,575mm long, just over 11cm up on the previous M2, but also 16mm wider and 11mm lower.
- New BMW M2 prototype review
The appearance is in keeping with the previous M2’s aggressive stance, thanks to heavily blistered wheelarches that reflect increases in track width of 49mm at the front and 18mm at the rear compared with the standard 2 Series Coupé, matching, BMW says, the figures of the larger M4 Coupé.
The front features a widened double-kidney grille, but it’s dominated by a series of huge air intakes in the lower bumper. The centre section of the front splitter is finished in black, creating the visual impression of a gap between the outmost scallops in the body-coloured bumper.
At the rear there’s a quad-tailpipe layout, sharp surfacing on the lower bumper with vertical light inserts, a small spoiler integrated into the edge of the bootlid, and a deep-looking diffuser finishing things off. If you want a more conspicuous look, BMW will soon launch an M Performance Parts catalogue for the M2, in a similar vein to the M3 Touring’s optional package.
Under the bonnet is a version of the same turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine used in the current M3. In the M2 it has been retuned to produce 453bhp – less than the larger car, but 9bhp more than even the more extreme CS version of the previous M2 – and 550Nm of torque. That’s enough, BMW says, for a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
These figures will vary depending on precise specs, however, because buyers can sacrifice a few tenths of a second on the acceleration time to have a six-speed manual gearbox instead of the standard eight-speed automatic. And an optional M Driver’s package can unlock a higher top speed of 177mph. Additionally, more potent versions of the car are likely to be already in the pipeline.
The M2’s chassis features additional torsional bracing, an M active differential, adaptive suspension and 10 levels of traction control adjustability. The various drive modes available include a track setting that allows all driver assistance to be deactivated.
The car sits on lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels at the front, with 20-inch items at the rear, and true to form for M Division, the weight distribution is 50:50.
All models will come equipped with M front seats with electric adjustment and heating, a curved widescreen display that mixes a 12.9-inch instrument panel with a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, a Harman Kardon audio system and a carbon-fibre roof, along with adaptive LED headlights.
Options will include the aforementioned M Driver’s package but also track-focused tyres, M carbon seats that save more than 10kg over the regular items, and different interior flourishes in either aluminium or carbon fibre.
BMW M2 M Performance Parts option
As we’ve seen on the M3, BMW will bring out a raft of cosmetic tweaks to the M2 under its Performance Parts banner. At the front we can see the new ‘50 Years of M’ badge that pays tribute to the old roundel design. There’s also a lower lip splitter and a new air intake design behind the lower and side grilles.
At the side we can see contrasting black gloss wing mirrors, as well as a new design of alloy wheels – finished in black. Behind both sets of wheels we can see horizontal strakes, plus what looks to be a stone guard in front of the rear axle – similar to that of the old Porsche 930 Turbo.
At the rear we can spot a roof spoiler, designed after the classic style of the 3.0 CSL. Behind that there’s a large wing which will surely affect the downforce and drag coefficient of the M2. The rear bumper has also been remodelled and while quad exhausts remain, they’re diagonally stacked in a similar manner to the Performance Parts exhaust system on the M3 and M4.
We haven’t seen the Performance Parts additions to the M2 interior, but we expect lashings of carbon fibre and perhaps a new colour scheme.
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