The BMW M2 has always been a favorite among enthusiasts who appreciate a compact, agile, and powerful coupe that can deliver exhilarating performance on the road and on the track. The first-generation M2, launched in 2016, was praised for its balanced handling, responsive steering, and punchy engine. The BMW M2 Competition, introduced in 2018, upped the ante with a more potent version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine from the M3 and M4, as well as improved brakes, suspension, and cooling. The M2 CS, which arrived in 2020, was the ultimate expression of the M2 formula, with a lighter body, a more aggressive aerodynamic package, and a tweaked engine that produced 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.
But now, there's a new kid on the block: the 2023 BMW M2. This is not just a facelift or a minor update; this is a completely new generation of the M2, based on the latest 2 Series Coupe platform that debuted in 2021. The new M2 is bigger, bolder, and more advanced than ever before. It also features a controversial design that has divided opinions among fans and critics alike. But don't let the looks fool you; this is still a true M car that promises to deliver an exhilarating driving experience like no other.
What's New with the 2023 BMW M2?
The most obvious change with the new M2 is the design. The front end features a massive kidney grille that dominates the fascia, flanked by slim LED headlights and large air intakes. The grille is reminiscent of the one found on the BMW 4 Series and the M3/M4, which have also sparked controversy among BMW aficionados. Some love it, some hate it, some are indifferent to it. Personally, I think it gives the car a distinctive and aggressive look that sets it apart from the crowd. It also serves a functional purpose, as it allows more air to flow into the engine bay and cool down the powerful motor.
The side profile of the new M2 reveals its larger dimensions compared to its predecessor. The new model is 4.7 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and 0.3 inches lower than the outgoing model. The wheelbase has also grown by 2.1 inches, which should improve stability and interior space. The new M2 features 19-inch wheels at the front and 20-inch wheels at the rear, giving it a staggered setup that enhances its sporty stance. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that provide excellent grip and feedback.
The rear end of the new BMW M2 features a sleek LED taillight design that extends across the width of the trunk lid, as well as a prominent spoiler that adds downforce and reduces lift at high speeds. The rear bumper houses four exhaust tips that emit a throaty roar from the engine. The rear diffuser also helps to channel air under the car and improve aerodynamics.
The new M2 is available in six exterior colors: Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic, Brooklyn Grey Metallic, Hockenheim Silver Metallic, Portimao Blue Metallic, and Sao Paulo Yellow. The latter is exclusive to the M2 and pays homage to the iconic Phoenix Yellow color of the E46 M3.
What's Under the Hood of the 2023 BMW M2?
The heart of the new M2 is the same engine that powers the current M3/M4: the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine that produces 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. This is slightly less than what the engine makes in the M3/M4 (473 hp and 406 lb-ft) but still significantly more than what the previous M2 CS offered (444 hp and 406 lb-ft). The engine features a forged crankshaft, a closed-deck design, an indirect intercooler, and two mono-scroll turbochargers with variable valve timing and lift.
The new M2 can be paired with either an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission, both sending power to the rear wheels only. The automatic transmission features three different modes: Efficient, Sport, and Sport Plus, as well as launch control and paddle shifters. The manual transmission features rev-matching and a gearshift indicator. Both transmissions are connected to an Active M Differential, which electronically distributes power at the rear axle depending on the drive mode selected and other factors such as wheel speed, steering angle, traction levels, and yaw rate.
The performance figures of the new M2 are impressive, to say the least. The automatic version can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, while the manual version can do it in 4.3 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph but can be increased to 177 mph with the optional M Driver's Package. The new M2 also features a Drift Analyzer that measures the duration, distance, and angle of your drifts, as well as a lap timer that records your track performance.
How Does the 2023 BMW M2 Handle?
The new M2 is not just about straight-line speed; it's also about cornering prowess and driving dynamics. The new model features a stiffer and lighter chassis than its predecessor, as well as a wider front and rear track that improves stability and agility. The suspension system consists of a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle, both with adaptive dampers that adjust to the road conditions and driving modes. The steering system is an electromechanical rack-and-pinion setup that offers two settings: Comfort and Sport. The former provides a lighter and more relaxed feel, while the latter provides a heavier and more direct feel.
The braking system of the new M2 is also upgraded from the previous model. The standard brakes feature four-piston fixed calipers at the front and two-piston fixed calipers at the rear, with 15-inch discs at both ends. The optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes feature six-piston fixed calipers at the front and four-piston fixed calipers at the rear, with 15.7-inch discs at the front and 15-inch discs at the rear. The carbon ceramic brakes offer better heat dissipation, fade resistance, and weight reduction than the standard brakes. The brake system also features two settings: Comfort and Sport. The former provides a softer and more progressive pedal feel, while the latter provides a firmer and more immediate pedal feel.
The new M2 also features a Dynamic Stability Control system that has three modes: On, M Dynamic Mode, and Off. The On mode provides maximum stability and traction control, intervening when necessary to prevent loss of control. The M Dynamic Mode allows for more wheel slip and oversteer, enabling controlled drifts and slides with a safety net in case things go wrong. The Off mode disables all stability and traction control systems, leaving the driver fully in charge of the car's behavior.
The new M2 also features an M Traction Control system that has 10 settings, ranging from one (maximum intervention) to 10 (minimum intervention). The system allows the driver to fine-tune the amount of wheel slip and oversteer that they want, depending on their skill level and driving style. The system can be adjusted via a rotary dial on the center console or via the iDrive menu.
What's Inside the 2023 BMW M2?
The interior of the new BMW M2 is a blend of sportiness and luxury, with high-quality materials and ergonomic design. The driver-oriented cockpit features a digital instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch display that shows various information such as speed, rpm, gear, fuel level, oil temperature, tire pressure, navigation, media, phone, and driver assistance systems. The instrument cluster also features an M-specific design that changes according to the drive mode selected.
The center console features a 14.9-inch touchscreen display that runs on the latest iDrive 8 system, which offers various functions such as navigation, media, phone, settings, apps, and vehicle status. The iDrive system can be controlled via touch, voice, or gesture commands, as well as via a rotary controller on the center console. The iDrive system also features an Intelligent Personal Assistant that can respond to natural language commands and learn from the driver's preferences and habits.
The new M2 offers two options for seats: standard sport seats or optional M Carbon bucket seats. The standard sport seats feature leather upholstery and electric adjustment with a memory function for the driver. They also feature heating and lumbar support. The optional M Carbon bucket seats feature Alcantara upholstery and carbon fiber shells that reduce weight by 21 pounds compared to the standard seats. They also feature heating and electric adjustment with a memory function for the driver. Both seat options offer excellent support and comfort for spirited driving.
The new M2 also offers various options for interior trim: Aluminum Tetragon, Carbon Fiber, or Piano Black. The interior also features ambient lighting with six colors to choose from.
The new M2 also comes with a host of advanced driver assistance systems that enhance safety and convenience. Some of these systems include:
- Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, which automatically adjusts the speed and distance to the vehicle in front and can bring the car to a complete stop if necessary.
- Driving Assistant Professional, which includes Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Emergency Stop Assistant, and Active Side Collision Protection.
- Parking Assistant Plus, which includes a rear-view camera, a surround-view camera, a 3D view camera, and a Reversing Assistant that can automatically steer the car along the same path it took when entering a parking space.
- Head-Up Display, which projects key information such as speed, navigation, media, phone, and driver assistance systems onto the windshield, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road.
The new M2 also features a Harman Kardon surround sound system with 16 speakers and 464 watts of output, providing a rich and immersive audio experience. The system can be controlled via the iDrive system, the steering wheel buttons, or the voice command. The system also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, allowing the driver to access their smartphone apps and functions on the iDrive display.
The new M2 also offers a range of personalization options that allow the driver to customize their car according to their preferences and style. Some of these options include:
- M Performance Parts, which include exterior and interior components such as carbon fiber mirror caps, rear spoiler, diffuser, side skirts, front splitter, grille, steering wheel, shift knob, pedals, floor mats, and door sills. These parts enhance the appearance and performance of the car, as well as reduce weight and improve aerodynamics.
- M Performance Accessories, which include items such as key cases, wheel bags, tire bags, valve caps, license plate frames, car covers, cleaning products, and luggage sets. These accessories add convenience and style to the car ownership experience.
- M Performance Drive Analyzer, which is a smartphone app that connects to the car via Bluetooth or USB and records various data such as speed, acceleration, braking, cornering, lap times, fuel consumption, and engine temperature. The app also allows the driver to share their driving performance with other users via social media or email.
The new M2 is expected to hit the showrooms in early 2023 with a starting price of around $60,000. This is slightly higher than the previous M2 CS ($58,900) but still lower than the current M3/M4 ($69,900/$71,800). The new BMW M2 will compete with other high-performance coupes, such as the Audi RS 5 ($75,100), the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S ($76,200), and the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 ($86,800).
The new M2 is a beast in sheep's clothing; it may look controversial on the outside, but it delivers an exhilarating driving experience on the inside. It is a true M car that combines power, agility, and dynamics in a compact package. It is a car that will appeal to enthusiasts who value performance over appearance and who are willing to embrace the bold design of the new M2. It is a car that will make you smile every time you get behind the wheel. It is a car that will make you forget about everything else. It is a car that will make you feel alive.