- The 2023 BMW M2 coupe marks the model’s second generation, and it boasts a boatload of improvements versus its predecessor.
- The M2 remains rear-drive only, but its new twin-turbo straight-six makes 453 horses and pairs with a standard manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic.
- When it goes on sale in the U.S. in April 2023, the new M2 will start at $63,195—$3300 more than the last M2 Competition sold in 2021.
The first thing you’ll notice about the 2023 BMW M2 is that it doesn’t have a big pig snout for a grille like the larger M3 sedan and M4 coupe. BMW’s decision to give the new second-generation M2 a more traditional version of its signature kidney grille might be its way of telling everyone the redesigned coupe remains the purist’s choice. Or we might’ve just made that up. Either way, the new M2 is mightier than its predecessor and shares more parts and traits with the M3/M4, meaning it promises to be a hoot.
M2’s Hips Don’t Lie
The M2 is once again based on the two-door BMW 2-series, which was recently redesigned with bigger dimensions than before. Per the transitive property, the 2023 M2 also undergoes a growth spurt, with its wheelbase stretching from 106.0 to 108.1 inches and its overall length stretching from 176.2 to 180.3 inches. Compared with its predecessor, those represent increases of 2.1 and 4.1 inches, respectively. The new M2 also sits 0.3 inch lower and measures 1.3 inches wider. Plus, its track width grows by 1.5 inches up front and 0.2 inch in back, which matches the M4. BMW claims the second-gen car’s curb weight is between 3814 and 3867 pounds, depending on the transmission which is roughly 240–250 pounds heavier than the last M2 Competitions we tested.
With wider hips and grander proportions, the redesigned M2 looks more muscular than before. Its appearance is also highlighted by boxy lower air intakes, quirky headlights with a single LED unit that’s supposedly inspired by the iconic BMW 2002 sedan, and the brand’s trademark Hofmeister kink on the rear window. The back end really makes a statement with funky taillights like those on the regular 2-series as well as square and sharply creased elements on the bumper that flank a set of quad exhaust tips.
Other exterior elements include an optional carbon-fiber roof that saves weight and lowers the car’s center of gravity. The standard sunroof also has a larger opening than before. All models ride on staggered wheels and tires, with 19-inch rollers on 275-section-width tires up front and 20-inchers on 285-section-width tires out back. During a prototype drive back in June, we were told the new M2 will wear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer rubber. Its available paint colors include Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic, Brooklyn Grey metallic, Toronto Red metallic (seen here), and a new shade exclusively for the M2 called Zandvoort Blue.
At the heart of the 2023 M2 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. It’s a version of the S58 engine powering the M3 and M4 that has been detuned to make 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Still, that’s 48 horses more than the S55 mill in the outgoing M2 Competition; its torque rating is unchanged. Of course, that power continues to be routed solely to the rear wheels through a torque-vectoring rear differential—there’s no xDrive all-wheel-drive option like on the M3/M4. There’s also currently no word on an inevitable M2 Competition or CS variant.
With the new M2, BMW also introduces a traction-control system with 10 adjustable settings, essentially letting drivers pick their own risk level. If that doesn’t encourage juvenile antics, perhaps the M Drift Analyzer will. The coupe continues to offer a standard six-speed manual transmission, but the old seven-speed dual-clutch automatic has been replaced by an optional eight-speed unit with a conventional torque converter.
When it comes to acceleration, BMW claims the new M2 can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the automatic and 4.1 ticks with the manual. We expect to see slightly quicker times considering those estimates are almost identical to the results we saw with the previous-generation M2 Competition (3.9 with the manual; 4.0 with the auto). The new car’s top speed is once again limited to 155 mph, but the available M Driver’s package unlocks a 177-mph limit—3 mph higher than before.
Along with components inherited from the M3 and M4, the new M2’s chassis is stiffer than before. BMW says it increased the front end’s structural rigidity as well as reinforced the middle and rear sections of the car. Its suspension also gets the M treatment for maximum performance, and a set of adaptive dampers remain standard. The M2’s electric steering system has the same ratio as before, but its braking system is now electrified too and includes an adjustable pedal feel. The brakes themselves are six-piston fixed front calipers with 15.0-inch rotors; four-pot floating rear units clamp 14.6-inch discs.
Interior: Racy Meets Nerdy
Unlike the regular 2-series, the M2’s dashboard boasts a massive one-piece digital display. The curved screen encompasses a 12.3-inch gauge cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment system. The latter features BMW’s latest iDrive 8 software that has enhanced voice-recognition skills, cloud-based navigation, and 5G connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot. There’s also a newly optional head-up display. The tech is taken further with standard driver assists such as forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and parking sensors at both ends. Those who select the automatic can add a stop-and-go function to their adaptive cruise.
Perhaps more interesting than any of those gadgets are the M2’s new front seats, which have additional bolstering. Along with leather upholstery that’s available in black or Cognac, the seats have power adjustments, heated surfaces, and illuminated “M” logos in the headrests. As in the M3 and M4, the new M2 can be had with lightweight M Carbon front seats that are part of the optional Carbon Fiber package. They have most of the same features as the standard buckets, but they’re said to save about 24 pounds.
When the 2023 BMW M2 goes on sale in the U.S. in April 2023, it’ll have a starting price of $63,195. That’s $3300 more than the 2021 M2 Competition cost before any options, but it’s also $12,500 less than the base price of a 2023 M4. Plus. And who knows? The M2’s discount might be even more appealing thanks to its less polarizing schnoz.
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