There’s quite a lot riding on this G87 BMW M2. Not only must it replace one of the most well liked and popular M cars of recent times - more than 60,000 F87s were sold worldwide - it also marks the end of an M car era. After this M2, every BMW M car will be electrified to some extent, be that plug-in or full BEV. For a sub-brand with such a rich combustion engine heritage, that’s a huge mantle to take on. That and the fact recent M cars have been really, really good - the world expects from this M2.
Unsurprisingly given the shared architecture, this M2 is powered by a variant of the M3’s ‘S58’ 3.0-litre twin-turbo six. Like the bigger car, it gets a host of fancy parts - forged crank, ‘friction optimised’ cylinder bores, 350 bar High Precision Injection - but 50 less horsepower, at 460hp. That’s still more than the old M2 CS, though, and means the new car can reach 62mph in as little as 4.1 seconds. Max power is made at 6,250rpm (with the limiter at 7,200rpm), and peak torque of 406lb ft is available from 2,650rpm-5,870rpm. An ‘emotionally rich soundtrack’ is being promised from the customary quartet of exhaust pipes.
The standard M2 gearbox will be the eight-speed auto used to such good effect in the bigger M cars. However, a manual will be optional (it’s not clear yet whether it will cost or not) for full old-school cool in your rear-wheel drive M car. With the six-speed, 0-62mph takes 4.3 seconds and 0-124 is dispatched in 14.3 seconds. As well as taking a couple of tenths from the 0-62, the auto gets the M2 to 124mph faster, at 13.5 seconds. The manual comes equipped with a Gear Shift Assistant for smooth downshifts (it can be deactivated) as well as ratios ‘perfectly matched to the performance characteristics of the engine’. BMW even goes so far as promising a ‘precisely defined shift’, which is some claim from the bosses of knuckly manuals, but let’s see. The manual v auto split will be interesting to see this time around; previously the manual was in the minority, but that was with a DCT option (rather than a regular auto) and without the end of an era significance. More sold new means more available used, too…
The M2 benefits from similar chassis upgrades to the M3 and M4. There’s additional bracing to improve rigidity, the Active M Differential, adaptive M suspension and M Servotronic steering as standard. Furthermore, instead of adapting the axles, it seems the M2 simply takes them directly from an M3, which would explain the bulging arches and punchy stance. The track widths are identical to the bigger M car, which means the M2 is 49mm wider than a standard 2 Series. The rear track is 44mm wider, further emphasising the rear-drive status. At 4,575mm long, 1,887mm wider and 1,403mm tall, this M2 is 114mm longer, 16mm wider and 11mm lower than the old one. It weighs 1,700kg.
The old M2 forged a reputation as a fairly simple M car, eschewing some of the sophistication available to M3/4 owners. That’s not the case this time around; the G87 is crammed with all that’s good (and not so good) about M car configurability. So as standard this car gets the integrated braking system with booster and two pedal feels, a pair of modes for the M Servotronic steering with speed-sensitive assistance and variable ratio, plus three presets for the adaptive M suspension. It’s likely to drive very well given the M3 does, but it does seem a slight shame that the most junior M car couldn’t be a little more back to basics. In better news, the M Traction Control that works such wonders is also standard fit, with 10 stages offered and scope for drivers to ‘configure a setup for controlled drifts that is tailored to the track and their personal preferences’. Marvellous. The M Traction Control will assist chomping through bigger tyres than ever before: 275/35 ZR19 up front, and 285/35 ZR20 at the back. A track tyre (presumably the Michelin Cup 2) will be offered as part of the M Race Track Package, which also includes M Carbon seats (saving 11kg) and a top speed limit raise to 177mph.
It must have been a while since we’ve gone this far into a BMW story without discussing the styling, but what with the leaks and everything else, the M2's design isn't a shock. It’s those chunky tracks that really transform the look, but there’s also a more aggressive front end to help with cooling, a standard carbon roof and prominent diffuser housing those exhaust pipes and said to generate extra downforce. Perhaps it’s not as classically cool as the old one, but this M2 doesn’t look quite so likely to enrage its audience as other recent M cars. The colours on offer are a new and exclusive Zandvoort Blue solid, Toronto Red metallic, Sapphire Black Metallic, Brooklyn Grey metallic and Alpine White solid.
Anybody familiar with the M3 and M4 interior will certainly be right at home in the M2. It gets the new BMW Curved Display, with a 12.3-inch driver displays and central 14.9-inch screen, as well as a standard head-up display and the M Mode button for toggling driver assistance. Looks great, actually, especially with those carbon seats and a six-speed manual lever front and centre.
That’s about it for the new M2 right now, but hopefully you’ll agree that it’s sounding very promising. There’s a lot of what made the M3 and M4 very good, in a more compact and (presumably) lighter package, with the added benefit of a manual option. Even looks quite good, though maybe that’s just the sunset skidding. There’s still a little while to wait for the M2 launch, however, presumably with so much else to cram into the 50th anniversary year. The launch is set for May next year, with a starting price of £61,495. So that’s about £14k more than an M240i xDrive, and £17k under an M3 Competition. In terms of rivals, an RS3 saloon kicks off at £56,230 and the CLA 45 saloon is from £63,515. A Supra manual is £53,495, and a 718 Cayman S from £57,700. Should be one heck of a group test come next summer.
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