2023 BMW M2 Cranked to 453 Horsepower, Retains 6-Speed Manual
The small but mighty BMW M2 is back for 2023 with a second generation that builds on a proven formula loved by many driving enthusiasts.
And in case you don’t know: it will be the last M car with a pure combustion engine and zero electrification, as BMW M boss Frank van Meel told journalists this past summer.
- Also: New BMW M2 to be the Last Non-Electrified M Car
- Also: 2022 BMW M3 Competition xDrive: Drifting on Ice and Loving Every Minute
While still considered a subcompact car, the high-performance variant of the BMW 2 Series Coupe is 104 mm longer, 33 mm wider and 7 mm lower than its predecessor. The wheelbase has increased by 54 mm in the name of extra legroom without sacrificing agility, BMW promises. What’s more, the front track is 38 mm wider and the rear track is 4 mm wider, matching the M4 Coupe.
In terms of styling, the new M2 is defined by a wide, frameless BMW twin-kidney grille, redesigned lower air intakes with almost rectangular contours, as well as bold headlight units inspired by those of the legendary BMW 02 models. A carbon roof is optionally available to drop the car’s weight. In the rear, the most striking element is the deeply sculpted bumper and pronounced diffuser insert, the latter incorporating signature M quad tailpipes.
Also standard on the new BMW M2 are exclusively designed M double-spoke light-alloy wheels in a Jet Black finish—19-inch at the front and 20-inch at the rear. By the way, the car pictured here is painted in Toronto Red.
The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine driving the M2’s rear wheels (still no xDrive to avoid adding too much weight) now generates 453 horsepower at 6,250 rpm—a gain of 48 horsepower from the old M2 and just 20 horsepower shy of the base M4—and 406 pound-feet of torque from 2,650-5,870 rpm. It can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching technology or an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission.
The result is 0-100 km/h acceleration in 4.3 seconds with the manual gearbox or 4.1 seconds with the automatic. The standard active M differential can stop rotational speed compensation between the rear wheels whenever required and generate a locking effect of up to 100 percent seamlessly and variably. This optimizes traction on road surfaces offering different levels of adhesion at the left and right rear wheels.
Sophisticated chassis technology originally developed for the M3 an M4 endows the new M2 with the tools required to convert the power of its straight-six engine into sublime straight-line and lateral performance. For example, the torsional stiffness of the front is further increased by unique links connecting the individual spring strut towers with one another and with the nose of the vehicle and the bulkhead. The adaptive M suspension and M Servotronic steering get unique calibration, as well, each one offering various driver-selectable modes.
The M Compound brakes on the new BMW M2—six-piston, fixed-calliper brakes with 15-inch discs at the front, and single-piston, floating-caliper brakes with 14.6-inch discs at the rear--deliver outstanding stopping power. The callipers are painted in Blue metallic as standard, with a Red finish available as an option.
Behold the Big Screen
When it comes to the interior, it’s no surprise to find the new BMW Curved Display, which is angled toward the driver and combines a 12.3-inch information display with a 14.9-inch centre touchscreen, the latter powered by next-gen iDrive 8 with an intelligent voice assistant. M-specific content and graphics add to the experience, especially with Sport or Track mode activated.
The other highlight inside is unquestionably the pair of redesigned M sport seats with more pronounced side bolsters. They are upholstered in Vernasca leather with perforated surfaces and can be ordered in either Black or Cognac. Their integrated head restraints feature an illuminated M logo. Optional for the first time on the M2 are the track-ready M carbon buckets, which save about 11 kg over the standard seats.
The Mexican-built 2023 BMW M2 will launch in Canada early in the second quarter of next year starting at $76,500, not counting freight, PDI and the endless selection of options and accessories. We expect quite a battle with the 472-horsepower Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing—until a new M2 CS arrives and leaves no doubt about who the real champ is.