by Jay Traugott
Every now and then an extremely special car from a mainstream automaker is launched. This is one of those times. Presenting the 2020 BMW M2 CS, an even more potent version of the already highly acclaimed M2 Coupe. We've known for quite some time BMW has been developing the M2 CS and it was very much worth the wait. Very simply, it is the most powerful M2 to date. Powered by the same engine as the M3 sedan and M4 coupe, the M2 CS packs lots of power into a lightweight package.
For those interested in grabbing one, don't hesitate. BMW claims the M2 CS will be for one model year only. Not surprisingly, production is extremely limited as is the list of options. There's no doubt this is an instant collector's car that will surely gain value and prestige over time, just like its most direct ancestor, the 1 Series M Coupe.
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas
At first glance, the M2 CS may look like the M2, but a closer examination reveals some stark differences. For starters, BMW opted for selected use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body panels and components to shave down weight and to improve cooling and aerodynamics. The hood, for example, is half the weight of the standard steel hood and incorporates functional air vents finished in High-Gloss Black. This alone helps to increase front end downforce. For the first time ever on an M2, the roof is also CFRP and, combined with the hood, lower the M2 CS's center of gravity. Other CFRP components include a new front splitter, rear spoiler, rear diffuser, and twin-stalk side mirrors. Only four exterior colors are offered: Alpine White, Misano Blue Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, and Hockenheim Silver Metallic.
The 19-inch wheels are Forged Y-spoke units in a high-gloss Jet Black finish. A Gold matt finish is also on offer but whichever color is chosen, the wheels are wrapped in either Michelin Cup 2 tires or mixed performance rubber.
BMW took things up several notches again with the interior. And yes, CFRP is in utilized again. The general layout looks nearly the same as the standard M2, but engineers used CFRP for the transmission tunnel console, which saved over 6 pounds over the standard console. The center armrest, dash trim, M Sport Steering wheel are all covered in lightweight Alcantara, the latter with red contrast stitching and a race stripe at the 12 o'clock position. You'll also notice the M2 CS logo on the door sill plates and on the instrument cluster once the car is started.
The M Competition seats utilize Alcantara along with Black Merino leather and more red contrast stitching, while BMW M Motorsport stripes are embroidered into the headrests.
Additional standard features include ambient interior lighting, Navigation, a Harmon/Kardon Premium Sound System, and a rearview camera and park distance control.
BMW managed to squeeze the S55 motor normally found in the M3 and M4 under the hood. This 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six produces 444 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque – a 39 hp increase over the M2 Competition. A six-speed manual is standard while a seven-speed DCT is optional, both transmissions directing power to the rear wheels. BMW claims the coupe will blast from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.8 seconds when equipped with the DCT. Manual-equipped cars will do the deed in four seconds, while top speed is 174 mph. The manual does come with BMW's rev-matching technology, but the DCT will be preferred by track enthusiasts because of significantly faster shift times. The DCT offers both automatic and manual modes while the DriveLogic systems offers Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings.
An Active M Differential can vary the locking effect from 0 to 100 percent based on steering angle, accelerator position, brake pressure, engine torque, wheel speed, and yaw rate. Unlike any previous M2 variant, the M2 CS adds the Adaptive M suspension, which also offers a choice of Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ modes.
Two brake options are offered: standard M Compound units with 400 mm front vented discs and 380 mm rear vented disks. Red-painted six-piston fixed front and four-piston fixed rear calipers are used. M Carbon Ceramic brakes are available, also for the first time on an M2. Not only do they reduce weight but also drastically improve brake disc wear characteristics.
BMW has not yet announced official pricing, though production will be limited to only 2,200 examples. We wouldn't be surprised to see this priced at the six-figure mark. The 2020 BMW M2 CS will officially debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The competition in this segment is quite limited, though it's formidable. The M2 CS will face off against the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, Jaguar F-Type SVR, an even its bigger (non-CS) siblings, the M3 sedan and M4 coupe. Though it too has not been announced, the plentiful use of CFRP and more powerful S55 engine will lead to a lower power-to-weight ratio, another significant strongpoint that could lure buyers away from some of its heftier competitors.