2023 BMW M2, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2023 BMW M2 Prototype Drive Review: Honing BMW’s Sharpest Knife
The next BMW M2 is poised to keep its status as our favorite-performing M car.
bmw m2 Full Overview
We’ve frequently waxed lyrical about the F87 BMW M2 that arrived in 2016, dusting off superlatives to sing its many praises. Now the 2023 BMW M2 adopts the company’s CLAR architecture and shares a heckuva lot with the M3 and the M4. We were recently invited to the Salzburgring in the Austrian Alps to briefly sample heavily camouflaged examples of the new M2 and learn a little bit more.
BMW says the 2023 M2’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches shorter than the M4 coupe’s, and the engine is essentially the same one used in the base M3/M4. Output ratings have yet to be finalized, but expect it to be detuned slightly for corporate hierarchical reasons (there’s nothing physically restricting the intake or exhaust tracts).
It will most certainly weigh less, and there’s no corporate edict demanding its weight-to-power ratio rank below its siblings, and we’re told to expect this M2 to come closer to achieving peak M3 performance than any previous M2 variant.
The new 2023 BMW M2 uses many M3/M4 chassis components, including their electric power-steering systems, but with tuning to make the M2 more agile and nimble than its siblings. As an example: The front springs are stiffened slightly while the rears are softened; to compensate for this, the M2 borrows its rear dampers from the heaviest 3 Series Touring (global wagon) model to ensure the rear tires remain pressed to the pavement.
Speaking of tires, the M2’s standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires will be the same ones you pay $1,300 extra for on the M3 and M4: 275/35R19 front and 285/30R20 rear on 9.5 x 19 and 10.5 x 20-inch wheels.
More good news: BMW will offer six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions, with most of the former coming to our market. (Another market might end up receiving a small allotment of manual cars.) We were offered hot laps in both and eagerly started off in the three-pedal version fitted with the standard sport seats.
The 2023 BMW M2 remains one of those cars that conforms to you, becoming an extension of your central nervous system. The driving position is near perfect, with everything feeling natural. Everything is programmable in seemingly endless ways, but two combinations of settings tuned for differing roads or moods can be programmed quickly to the “M1” and “M2” steering-wheel buttons.
We recommend setting them precisely as they were in our test-drive cars—M1 with all functions set to Sport except for comfort brakes and shocks (perfect for slightly bumpier roads and circuits) and M2 set to max attack while retaining a stability-control safety net.
Our session started out dry, but rain began falling just as we began picking up the pace. This steering setup seemed to telegraph the tires’ lateral grip better than most, while the chassis itself communicated intimate detail as to the tires’ limits of longitudinal grip.
This is a brake-by-wire pedal that physically isolates your foot from the ABS pump, and yet as the track grew wetter, we felt evidence of the slightest ABS braking or traction-control intervention through the seat, wheel, and pedals. This rich information stream helped build confidence in such adverse conditions.
By the time we strapped into the M2 automatic with the lightweight carbon competition bucket seats, the rain was coming down in buckets, creating mini rivers across the track.
The event was red-flagged before we could draw conclusions about shift logic, the responsiveness of the carbon-fiber shift paddles—or basically anything other than the delightful intimacy of the cockpit, the seats (which look exceptionally cool and are comfier than expected), and how we missed the manual’s optional head-up display.
It also helps a ton that this car remains a paragon of weight-proportional-to-size and-power virtue. The engine isn’t insanely overmatched to the chassis and—here’s the treat that’s getting rarer and rarer as the global automotive fleet bloats and electrifies—the mass isn’t so great that it requires herculean active anti-roll bars and miracles of tire science to corner swiftly.
BMW engineers freely admit they could turn the power and torque levels up from where they are, but here’s an unusual instance where corporate marketing restraints are to be praised, not lamented.
Heaven knows the aftermarket will offer no end of options to boost output, and buyers are free to tamper with perfection, but right out of the box this M2 is an immensely entertaining and accessible track-day dance partner—and everyone reading this would be well advised to leave well enough alone. Seek out club competitions that group entrants with respect to their weight and power ratings and enjoy this car’s spectacular balance and confident handling.
Floating Screen and iDrive 8
The 2023 BMW M2 gets a curved rectangular floating screen like the one in the new iX. It may not be for everyone, but it looks high-tech, and the new M-graphics package largely shared with the iX M60 looks cool and offers Road, Sport, and Track modes. Road mode gives you a central cluster with a blue speedometer on the left and a red tachometer on the right—each an angled ribbon graphic, not a typical gauge.
Your choice of ancillary information gets displayed in the center. Sport tightens up the graphics, leaving a blue speedometer on the left and a more obvious brighter red linear trace for the tachometer on the right.
There is less information on the screen. Track replaces the graphic speedometer with a digital readout and displays other vital info on the left (tire pressures, important temperatures, or M settings) with a digital speedometer in the middle, displayed in a smaller font than the gear indicator.
This mode also turns off the infotainment half of the screen to eliminate distraction. The avant-garde iD8 graphics risk looking dated in a few years, but if they do and there is a market, BMW can always offer an over-the-air update to re-contemporize it.
Price and On-Sale Date
Production of the 2023 BMW M2 is scheduled to begin at the end of 2022, with deliveries commencing in March 2023. An official press launch is slated for this summer; official specs and pricing won’t be available until then. But the 2020 BMW M2 Competition was priced about $10,000 less than the entry M4 coupe, so if you’re saving up for a 2023 M2, fill that piggy bank with around $65,000. And expect to feel like you got your pennies’ worth and then some.
|2023 BMW M2 Specifications|
|BASE PRICE||$65,000 (est)|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.0L/450-hp (est)/406-lb-ft (est) twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed manual, 8-speed auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,600-3,650 lb (est)|
|L x W x H||176.0 x 74.0 x 55.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.0 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||280 miles (est)|
|ON SALE||April 2023|
Frank Markus – Writer / Manufacturer – Photographer / motortrend
With rear-wheel drive and an available manual transmission, the 2023 BMW M2 is expected to preserve its predecessor’s delightful driving behavior. While it shares bones with the regular BMW 2-series, the newest generation of the M2 is once again intended to provide maximum performance.
Not only will it have a more distinctive appearance and a specially tuned chassis, but its twin-turbocharged inline-six should exceed the 405 horsepower made by the outgoing M2 Competition. Along with a manual gearbox, the 2023 M2 will also offer an eight-speed automatic. As for the rest of the details about the two-door coupe? Well, we’ll just have to wait for BMW to reveal them.
What’s New for 2023?
With the regular BMW 2-series recently entering a new generation, it was only a matter of time until its higher-performance counterpart—the M2—followed suit. Although we currently have limited information about the next-gen M2, we know that it’ll still have a rear-wheel-drive layout and feature a twin-turbocharged inline-six.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
BMW hasn’t said how much the 2023 M2 will cost, but it will almost certainly be more expensive than its predecessor, which had a starting price of $59,895 for the 2021 model year. Once BMW releases more details, including trim levels and available features, we can recommend which one to buy.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The new M2’s engine will be a twin-turbo inline-six, but it’s expected to be more powerful than the outgoing version, which featured a 3.0-liter with 405 horsepower on the Competition model. If we had to guess, we’d say the new engine will make somewhere in the mid-400-hp range. Feeding the new M2’s rear wheels will be either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an M car without a specially tuned suspension and various other chassis enhancements that help it be the quickest version of the 2-series to circle a racetrack. We had a chance to test drive a prototype M2 on a racetrack in Austria, but sadly our experience was cut short by heavy rainfall. When we get a chance to drive the M2 again, we’ll update this story with driving impressions and more powertrain details.
BY ERIC STAFFORD / caranddriver
The goodness of the BMW M2 as a largely unfiltered driver’s car has earned it a spot among the M brand’s greatest hits. Much of its behind-the-wheel joy has spilled over to the newly redesigned 2-series, particularly the brawnier-than-ever M240i model. But where does that leave the next-generation M2? We still don’t know a ton about that car, but BMW invited us to drive prototypes around Austria’s 2.6-mile Salzburgring racetrack to learn more.
Firing up the M2 prototype produced the same thrumming six-cylinder growl we heard in our long-term M3, and both cars’ controls share a similar satisfying action. The manual—yes, a stick shift is confirmed, complete with automatic rev matching—slots into its gates with a positive if slightly rubbery feel. The ZF automatic, meanwhile, rips through its gears with a quickness that we can fault only for being not as engaging.
Weather conditions meant we couldn’t push the M2s hard enough to gauge feedback levels or tell how much more sharply they turn in to corners than before, which the M engineers said was their goal. But the overall feel is one of a tidy, highly responsive sports coupe that, much like the previous car, envelops you at speed. Where the larger M4 exhibits stability bordering on that of a grand touring car, the M2 feels livelier and more willing to rotate under power. Its playfulness remains intact.
Sadly, after a couple of reconnaissance laps in camouflaged mules fitted with both eight-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions, Mother Nature cut our time short. Sprinkles began to fall as soon as we left pit lane, which made for a sketchy surface right off the bat. Steady rain quickly gave way to a downpour, and the cars were soon kicking up roostertails of spray even at moderate speeds. As small rivers ran across the track, the red flag flew, and the circuit went cold.
However, this did give us time to chat with the M engineers sheltering in the paddock. They were coy about some of the car’s specifics ahead of its official debut later this year (it will go on sale next spring), but they were candid about the next M2’s high-level gist: It’s a junior M4. Beneath its stubbier body shell are essentially the guts of the latest M4 coupe and M3 sedan, including their S58 twin-turbo inline-six, their gearboxes and rear-wheel-drive hardware, and their brakes. Even the M2’s staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires will be M4-spec.
Like the new 2-series, the M2’s wheelbase will be about two inches longer than the last-gen model’s 106.0 inches, and it will be around two inches wider than the already broad-shouldered 2022 M240i’s 72.4 inches. For reference, the current M4 has 112.5 inches between its axles and is 74.3 inches wide. We’re told that technology creep and additional structural rigidity will bring a small increase in curb weight compared with the last M2 CS, which weighed 3544 pounds on our scales.
Engine output should be in the neighborhood of that car’s 444 horsepower—robust, yet appropriately shy of the M4’s 473-hp baseline. No word yet on a future M2 Competition model, but higher-performance variants surely will come in time. Expect 60-mph times in the mid-three-second range as well as more than 1.0 g of cornering grip. Thankfully, diluting the experience with an all-wheel-drive system does not appear to be part of the plan.
The M2’s interior treatment will likely mimic the straightforwardness of the 2-series it’s based on, and its lightly buffed exterior should make it look like an M240i on a CrossFit regimen. Pricing will need to remain sufficiently distanced from the M4’s $72,995 starting point, likely just north of $60K. Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait. But our all-too-brief initial exposure gave us plenty to look forward to from one of BMW M’s best products.
BY MIKE SUTTON / caranddriver
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