2023 BMW M2 comes in hot—RWD only, no-cost manual
BMW’s second-generation M2 is all set to arrive in a cloud of tire smoke in April 2023. The compact, two-door coupe will come with a 453-hp, turbocharged, inline-six engine and a ten-position traction-control system complete with a drift-analyzer function.
The new M2 is 4.1 inches longer than its predecessor and 1.3 inches wider, but, at 180.3 inches in overall length, it’s still significantly more compact than an M4. Lessons have clearly been learned from the bigger coupe, however, as the M2 wears a much more palatable twin-kidney grille. The headlights are said to be inspired by the 2002, although you’ll have to look closely to see the circular lenses inside the narrow housing. The biggest distraction (or attraction) of the front end is down to the massive cooling and aero ducting which really dominates.
Move along the profile and you’ll see the flared arches housing a choice of 19- or 20-inch alloys, and the bold sill extensions you’d expect from an M2, while at the rear a diffuser “with racing authenticity” and quad tailpipes can’t be missed. The roof, incidentally, can be specified in CSL-style carbon fiber to shave a few pounds.
Dialing up the driver involvement is a rear-wheel-drive-only configuration and a standard-issue, six-speed manual transmission. For stick-shift drivers who haven’t quite mastered the art of heel-and-toe, there’s a Gear Shift Assistant to rev-match downshifts, while two-pedalers will be pleased to hear that an eight-ratio M Steptronic shift will also be available. The auto is marginally more rapid, helping the car reaching 60 mph from rest in 3.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than a manual-equipped M2. Top speed is 155 mph as standard, but an M Driver’s Package removes the limiter so the M2 can hit an autobahn-busting 177 mph.
That’s thanks to the three-liter S58 engine which delivers 453 hp at 6250 rpm and redlines at 7200 rpm. Peak torque of 406 lb-ft comes in as low as 2650 rpm, making this an extremely tractable motor that’s equally keen to hit the high revs. Internally there’s a very rigid crankcase, friction-optimized cylinder bores, a high torsional-rigidity crankshaft drive, and a forged crankshaft. Plus you get those BMW trademarks of Valvetronic variable valve timing and double-VANOS variable camshaft timing.
Stopping is the job of M Compound brakes with six-piston fixed calipers and 15-inch discs at the front and floating caliper, single-piston 14.6-inch discs at the rear. Drivers can choose from two different pedal-feel settings to suit their driving style, one being comfort-biased and the other more direct.
Other chassis and drivetrain highlights include an Active M differential which can provide up to 100 percent lockup and is networked with the Dynamic Stability Control System to maximize traction, plus a variety of braces to increase torsional stiffness. Suspension is by double-joint spring struts at the front and a five-link system at the rear, with adaptive dampers all ’round. The M Servotronic steering has Comfort and Sport settings letting drivers choose the heft and directness of the system. All these features and more can be configured in the M Setup menu, but there’s also a single-switch M Mode which basically turns everything up to 11. This is the mode you’ll want if you want to rack up points on the built-in drift analyzer or monitor your laps on the built-in timer.
As you punish the tires through the bends, you’ll be glad of the newly designed M Sport seats or, better still, the optional M Carbon buckets, which save 24 pounds and provide even more lateral support. As standard the cabin features high-gloss black accents, but textured aluminum panels and a full carbon scheme are also offered. A curved display, by now familiar from the new 7 Series and refreshed 3, is made up of a 12.3-inch information panel and a 14.9-inch control panel and is angled toward the driver for better clarity. A head-up display that keeps your eyes on the road ahead is optional.
The new M2 will be built at BMW’s San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico, ensuring a plentiful supply for U.S. customers across the border, with prices from $62,200.