BMW re-introduces its M2 coupe for the 2023 model year, following a year hiatus, with an MSRP of $63,195
The 3.0-liter S58 inline six-cylinder engine will produce 453 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard.
A variety of chassis adjustments bring this coupe into the modern era, along with a fully redesigned interior layout including optional carbon bucket seats.
BMW's 2-Series has been hailed as a call back to the good old days, mixing the right proportions with rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. The tried and true front-engine, RWD layout is a staple of the brand, and, to the company's credit, BMW has stuck with it. But a push for all wheels to be driven and millisecond-shifting dual-clutch transmissions has taken hold of the performance world, all in the name of speed, of course. As BMW's M cars continue to put on pounds, it seems the M2 might be the only true relic of the company's past.
And it's all new for 2023. After skipping a year in 2022 and dropping the Competition model in 2021, BMW is back with its premier M-model coupe at a starting price of $63,195. Manufactured at the San Luis Potosí plant in Mexico, BMW says US customers can expect the car to officially launch next April. The newest M2 stretches the wheelbase 2.1 inches (to 108.1 inches) and overall is 4.1 inches longer (180.3 inches) and 1.3 inches wider (74.3 inches) than the previous generation. Curiously, the new M2 shares its track width with the current model M4—63.7 inches at the front and 63.2 inches at the rear.
A 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged straight-six S58 engine powers the M2, making 453 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. That's a 48-hp bump from its predecessor. Found in other modern M models, like X3M and M4, the S58 reaches redline at 7200 rpm, though most of the torque is delivered between 2600 and 5800 rpm thanks to two mono-scroll turbochargers. A series of model-specific intercooler piping, M-spec cooling apertures, and track-ready oil coolers will help dissipate heat, even when subjected to hard driving.
Purists will be happy to know the second-generation M2 retains a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, though an 8-speed M Steptronic gearbox is also available. Though we're partial to the manual, either transmission would pair well with the M2's power and layout. The 6-speed manual includes modern features like auto-rev-matching, and the 8-speed automatic is paired with three modes: M (tailored for driver's preference), Sport, and Track.
Performance differences are slim between the manual and automatic models, with 0-60 mph times of 4.1 seconds and 3.9 seconds, respectively. Even with a top speed of 155 mph (or 177 mph with the M Driver's Package installed), the 3800-pound M2 wouldn't need much road to get going that fast.
Chassis dynamics are key with a model like the BMW M2 and the company hasn't skimped on making this coupe track and canyon ready. An active M Differential is paired with a strut tower and vertical engine bracing to minimize the loss of any drive torque.
Electronically controlled Adaptive M Suspension is standard and three-way adjustable, with electromagnetically controlled valves that adjust damping at each wheel with split-second speed.
Steering feel is two-way adjustable—between comfort or sport—and will seamlessly transition steering weights thanks to speed-sensitive power assistance and a variable steering ratio. A pair of 19-inch front and 20-inch rear M Light Alloy wheels ties the whole package together.
Braking hardware should be ample–six-piston, fixed-caliper brakes with 15-inch discs at the front, and single-piston, floating calipers with 14.6-inch discs at the rear—and is assisted by two pedal-feel settings. BMW has integrated the electronic braking and dynamic stability control systems into the engine management computing, eliminating what BMW calls "long signal paths" and speeding up the response of the safety systems.
Notably, a wheel slip limitation function has been included in the DSC, allowing for variable brake application depending on the set slip limit. This means the stability control system will have to intervene significantly less, even with 10 stages of intervention settings available.
Track rats will be pleased to see a Track mode, M Laptimer, and M Drift Analyzer available. Standard driver-assistance technologies include front collision warning with brake intervention and lane departure warning, while stop-and-go adaptive cruise control is optional on 8-speed Steptronic models.
While the M2 is performance-focused, its interior design is well thought out, with a few new additions for 2023. Redesigned M Sport seats in Vernasca leather are standard, though a track-ready, heated carbon bucket seat is optional. Selecting the carbon buckets shaves 24 pounds off the overall weight of the car.
BMW's curved screen is also standard fare, with a 12.3-inch information display and a 14.9-inch control display. Notable interior options include a head-up display, wireless device charging, and personal eSIM 5G.
The M2 is heavier and has more computing power than a parking lot of its legendary M predecessors. Even so, its bones are purebred for driver enjoyment, displayed by its commitment to the manual transmission and switchable driver aid systems. It's about as analog as a modern performance car can be, and enthusiasts should take what they can get.
Does the 2023 BMW M2 push your buttons—a happy reminder of a time when BMWs were smaller and more agile? Please comment below.