October 11, 2022/ Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2022, 21:32 / 8 minutes read
This has been a long time coming but it’s finally here. The 2023 BMW M2 G87-generation is finally here and it’s very likely the last purely internal combustion engine M car we’ll ever see. There’s a very good chance that every M car hereafter will be either hybridized or fully electric. So this is it, the last stand for the pure piston engine M car and, thankfully, it’s shaping up to be one helluva sendoff.
Let’s start with the good stuff, right off the bat. The G87 M2 Coupe will get the same S58 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six as the M3, M4, and X3 M. Except, for M2-duty, it gets fewer horses. In its base-spec, the 2023 BMW M2 will make 453 horsepower (338 kW) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque. There’s no Competition model, so this is the only M2 you’ll get. For now at least. Peak torque comes in at 2,650 rpm and lasts until 5,870 rpm. Peak power comes in almost immediately after, at 6,250 rpm and it has a 7,200 rpm redline.
That slightly detuned S58 pairs up with the same transmission duo you’ll find in the M3. In the United States, the BMW M2 comes standard with the six-speed manual transmission. The eight-speed automatic is standard in countries like Germany where the six-speed manual is a no-cost option. However, unlike the M3 and M4, there’s no power penalty with the manual, so you get the same 453 horses regardless of the transmission choice.
Also unlike the M3 and M4, there’s only one choice of drivetrain. Despite most customers preferring all-wheel drive, the new 2023 BMW M2 is rear-drive only. While it’s possible for BMW to offer an xDrive model somewhere down the line, there are no official, public plans for an all-wheel drive M2 at the moment. But if we were betting people, we would bet on an M2 xDrive in the future. As per usual, though, there’s an Active M rear differential to help transfer power between the rear wheels properly.
According to BMW, the manual car gets from 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds) and the automatic car does the deed in 4.1 seconds. The 0-60 mph with the auto M2 is 3.9 seconds. The 0-124 mph sprint in 14.3 seconds with a manual and 13.5 seconds with automatic. The standard top speed is 155 mph but if you get the optional M Driver’s Package bumps that up to 177 mph.
Small and Compact But Not Exactly Lightweight
Compared to the last-gen BMW M2, this new car is longer (119 mm), wider (16 mm), and lower (11 mm). It’a also shorter than the current M4 by 214 mm but has the same wheel track, so its presence on the road is wide and short. And yet, despite its optional carbon fiber roof, the M2 is actually surprisingly heavy, weighing in at around 3,700 lbs. Thankfully, the weight that is there is well-balanced, as BMW claims a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
It’s also much stiffer than the standard 2 Series, thanks to increased structural bracing, especially up front. You can see the massive new strut brace under the hood, which looks cool but it still isn’t as cool as the carbon fiber strut brace in the F80 M3. Vertical bracing also connects that new strut brace to the front axle, which pairs with structural bracing at the C-pillars and trunk, which tighten up the rear end.
BMW M also gave the M2 unique suspension kinematics, with larger caster and kingpin angles. Combined with new aluminum front wishbones from the M3, the M2 should be far sharper than the standard 2 Series, or even the previous-gen M2 Competition. It even gets lighter-weight wheel bearings, which not only reduce weight but apparently have a very high camber stability.
The 2023 BMW M2 with the manual transmission weighs 1710 kilograms (3769 lbs) while the 8-speed auto M2 weighs 1725 kg (3802 lbs). This is the DIN weight. Now if you look at the U.S. market, the curb weight numbers are higher. 3,814 lbs for the M2 with six-speed manual and 3,867 lbs for the 8-speed auto.
If you were hoping BMW might finally get rid of variable steering, I’m sorry to disappoint you. BMW’s Servotronic steering is back, with its speed-sensitive assistance and variable steering ratio. Admittedly, BMW has been getting better at tuning and calibrating its variable steering systems over the years, and it’s mostly very good in the M3, but it can still feel too light and video gamey. So let’s hope that changes with the new BMW M2.
Adaptive M Suspension is standard on the BMW M2 and features electromagnetically controlled valves that adjust the damping forces at each wheel. The system constantly checks for tire and road condition, as well as steering inputs, to create per-wheel adjustments. There are three settings for the adaptive dampers and each have their own parameters.
As for the brakes, the BMW M2 gets the same adaptive brake setup as the BMW M3. So you can choose between two different levels of braking, thanks to a brake-by-wire setup that proves a softer, more comfortable pedal feel and response for normal driving, and a harder, more aggressive feel for sportier driving. While the physical brakes themselves feature six-piston calipers up front, which clamp onto 380 mm discs. At the rear, single-piston floating calipers squeeze 370 mm discs. Calipers are blue as-standard but can be painted red if you give BMW some extra money.
Standard lightweight M wheels are 19-inch up front and 20-inch out back, wearing 275/35 ZR19 and 285/30 ZR20, respectively. Track-ready tires are available as an option, on the same set of wheel. To keep those sticky tires planted, the same M differential system used in every other M car, just tweaked for the M2, makes an appearance on the M2 as well.
One of the most interesting optional extras on the new BMW M2 is the carbon fiber sport bucket seat. It’s the same seat that you’ll find as a pricey option on the M3 and M4 and it’s a great seat if you’re relatively small, like myself. If you’re a larger person, you’ll struggle to fit but, if you can fit, they’re excellent for both comfort and road-holding. If you don’t want those seats, and prefer your thighs to remain free of a divider, then you can nix the option and stick with standard seats. The U.S. market gets the M Sport Seats and Carbon Bucket Seats, while others market will get a third option of basic seats.
There is also an optional Carbon Package for the US market which adds the M carbon roof, M Carbon bucket seats in Black Full Merino Leather with M Color Highlight and Carbon fiber trim. Three-zone climate control and ambient lighting are standard, which can’t be said about many Bimmers.
There are two roof variants for the new BMW M2 in the United States: an electrically operated glass slide/tilt moonroof offering a glass surface now larger by nearly 20 percent compared with the outgoing model is standard equipment. A weight-reducing M Carbon roof panel is optional and deletes the moonroof in the United States.
Standard interior trim is high-gloss black plastic, which should be a crime. However, aluminum and carbon fiber trims are available options. If you spec the M Race Track Package, you get the carbon fiber holy trinity: carbon roof, the carbon bucket seats, and carbon fiber trim.
iDrive 8 is standard for the BMW M2 and comes with the same dual-screen setup as every other new Bimmer and it’s angled toward the driver, as it should be. However, there are some new bespoke M screens and graphics that the M2 gets, which other non-M BMWs do not. So there are more digital gauge screen options and more customization than you’ll find on your average iDrive 8-equipped BMW.
The new M-style gauge features a digital speed readout and fuel gauge on the left side, with revs, current gear, and any driver assistance information on the right. There’s also an M-specific head-up display, similar to what you’ll find in the new BMW XM.
As with the BMW M3, the new G87 M2 also comes with some neat gizmos to go with the latest iDrive 8. So you get a lap timer and a drift analyzer, so you can show off your skills (or lack thereof) to your friends. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard.
So, before anyone gets all huffy about the new BMW M2’s looks (because there are bound to be some unhappy enthusiasts), let’s remember that the M2’s new design is far from the most egregious change to an M car’s design. Yes, BMW changed the M2’s front end from the 2 Series Coupe and yes, many will say it looks worse (this guy included). However, it could have been M3-like, so let’s count our blessings, here.
That said, the new BMW M2 looks quite odd from the front and it’s a shame BMW didn’t just slightly update the 2 Series’ already good looking mug. The 2 Series Coupe is one of the best examples of modern BMW design creativity. Sure, it’s a bit different looking and it was shocking at first but I think we can all agree that it’s one of the best looking BMWs in a long while.
Its grille is unique but it’s also handsome and clever, its headlights are odd but they harken back to the iconic BMW 2002, and its front air intakes are simple but sophisticated. I have issues with the way the new M240i drives but the car’s overall looks are great and would have looked even better with an M-style upgrade to the front air intakes and maybe a new grille insert.
Instead, the M2 ditches the 2 Series’ handsome grille for funky squarish grilles that just look a bit off. It’s not horrific, but it’s a design that doesn’t seem to fit the car, as if it was an afterthought. And I’m disappointed by that.
What isn’t disappointing, though, is the rest of it. The M2’s design remains mostly unchanged from the 2 Series from the headlights back. The only real differences are the flared wheel arches, significantly wider wheel track, new wheels, and rear deck lid spoiler, as it should be with an M car. And it looks great. The 2023 BMW M2 is an aggressive, punchy looking little car that looks like it will be a lot of fun. While I don’t think it’s F87 M2 CS-good looking, I still think it’s one of the better looking M cars on sale.
Inside the new BMW M2, you’ll predictably find an interior that’s similar to the 2 Series. However, its changes include the new iDrive 8 screen setup (2 Series will be getting it soon), the addition of optional carbon bucket seats, some M badges throughout, and even the debut of a manual gear lever (if you don’t spec the auto). It’s actually the first time I’ve seen a manual gear lever in a new 2 Series, as they’re all automatic in the U.S., and it’s a welcome addition, even if its placement looks a bit off.
The seats will be the best part of the cabin, though. As they do with the BMW M3 and M4, the carbon fiber buckets will make the cabin feel more special, both from the way the look and literally the way the feel. Not only do they sit significantly lower than the standard seats, giving the driver a better seating position, but they hold you in place better and hug you tightly while you drive. Just sitting in the seats make you feel like you’re in something special.
There are things to be really excited (power, chassis upgrades) about with the new 2023 BMW M2 and there are certainly things that will make you scratch your head (design, weight). However, it’s a car we’re going to have to accept, warts and all. The new BMW M2 could very well be the end of the line for purely internal combustion M cars.
There’s nothing wrong with electric or hybrid M cars. They’re the future and many of them are worth getting excited for. However, the M2 marks the end of an era—an era that last five decades—and the brand is moving into an all new era after the M2. So let’s enjoy it for what it is while it’s here because cars like it won’t be here for much longer.
The 2023 BMW M2 goes on sale in April 2023 with a base MSRP of $62,200 plus $995 destination and handling.