And of course, the styling is sure to be controversial.
In BMW M's 50th-anniversary year, fans of the Munich-based automaker have had a lot to talk about, for better or for much, much worse. Among the highlights have been the return of the CSL nameplate and the news that a special edition based on the M4 CSL will follow. But now we must turn our attention to the BMW M2. Officially, it's only had one previous generation, although that F87 model was born from the success of the preceding 1 Series M Coupe. Nevertheless, in that single generation, the M2 quickly became the enthusiasts' choice for usable power in a compact package that doesn't weigh too much. Is that the case with the new G87 model? Let's find out.
As predicted the new M2 arrives with a detuned version of the BMW M4's S58 3.0-liter straight-six twin-turbocharged engine (the same one that powers the M3, M4, X3 M, and X4 M). Here, it produces a respectable 453 hp at 6,250 rpm and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is available between 2,650 and 5,870 rpm. The redline arrives at 7,200 rpm.
Power goes to the rear wheels as standard, although the rumor mill suggests that an AWD version will be offered later. More good news arrives in the form of a standard six-speed manual, although an eight-speed M Steptronic auto is available, replacing the DCT that was available for the last M2.
0-60 mph is dispatched in 4.1 seconds with the stick, while the auto manages the same sprint in 3.9 seconds. Both versions top out at 155 mph unless you specify the M Driver's Package, which moves the limiter to 177 mph.
That manual transmission comes with Gear Shift Assistant, a rev matching feature that keen drivers can deactivate via the onboard touchscreen, but more on that later. Other standard features include an Active M Differential, Adaptive M Suspension, and the same M Traction Control system from the M4. That means 10 stages of variable slippage, as well as a Drift Analyzer. Handling should be brilliant because this car has a wheelbase 4.3 inches shorter than the M4 but has the same track widths (63.7 inches in front and 63.2 inches at the rear).
The car has "nearly 50:50 weight distribution," but there's a lot of that weight. With a manual, the car weighs 3,814 pounds (up from 3,296 for the F87) and 3,867 with the auto (up from 3,640 lbs in the DCT-equipped predecessor). It's also 4.1 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and 0.3 inches lower. M Compound brakes with six-piston calipers handle the stopping with 15-inch discs in front and single-piston floating calipers with 14.6-inch discs at the rear.
It's difficult not to take issue with the styling of the new M2 if you're a traditional BMW fan. For one thing, where are the front fender accents that appear on all other M cars? Of course, taste is subjective, so we'll try to remain objective. Once again, BMW defends the styling of its new M car with the justifications of cooling and aerodynamic balance.
The frameless kidney grilles get horizontal vanes, while the lower air intakes are more square and feed the brakes and the cooling systems. As with the 2 Series, BMW claims that the headlights are inspired by its 02 models from years gone by, including the 2002 and 1602. The rear taillights are not much different from the regular 2er, but muscular arches, a similarly square rear end with a faux diffuser, and the return of quad-exit exhaust tips mean that you know this is an M product. A lip spoiler rounds off the aggressive styling.
Two solid colors and three metallic hues are available at launch: Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic, Brooklyn Grey metallic, Toronto Red metallic, and the new, M2-exclusive Zandvoort Blue. An M Carbon roof is optional, but a sunroof that is 20% larger than before is standard. As for the wheels, these measure 19 inches in the front with 20-inch rims at the back. Brake calipers come in Blue metallic as standard, but Red is an available option.
These press photos arguably make the new M2 slightly more attractive than leaked images led us to believe, but there's no doubt that this car's styling will stir up controversy. We'll try to reserve judgment until we see it in person this weekend.
As standard, the cabin gets M Sport seats in your choice of either Black or Cognac Vernasca leather. However, those who want a little more drama (and potentially a little less comfort) can opt for the M Carbon seats as part of the Carbon Package. These buckets with their composite backs are fully electric and heated yet save 24 lbs, so the compromise isn't too great. Finished in Black Full Merino leather with Tricolor highlights, these are arguably the most attractive part of the new M2.
Back to that Carbon Package. This gives you those spectacular seats, a carbon roof, and carbon fiber interior trim. Alternatively, Aluminum Rhombicle anthracite trims can be chosen instead of the standard Black high-gloss. If you choose the carbon, however, you also get the lightweight material added to the shift paddles (on auto cars) and the M steering wheel.
BMW's Live Cockpit Plus with Operating System 8 is carried over from other new Bimmers and features a 12.3-inch driver's display connected via curved glass to a central 14.9-inch screen. The infotainment system and the driver display feature M-specific graphics, and this is where you can switch off rev-matching, switch between your various M modes, and access that Drift Analyzer. The brakes can also be customized to provide more or less responsiveness.
Optionally, a wireless device charger, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and Active Cruise Control can be added.
As for pricing, the base MSRP is $62,200 plus $995 for destination and handling. The new M2 will be produced at the firm's San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico, with a US market launch scheduled for April 2023.