Now such an integral part of the BMW M lineup, it can be hard to believe that the M2 arrived as recently as 2016. Even that was five years after the world went wild for the 1M Coupe. With experience now of how favourably those cars were received, BMW isn't hanging about when it comes to another M2 - it knows the appetite is there.
Even clad in the usual disguise, there are a few key pointers to this car's enhanced status. For now, the quad exhausts are the most obvious giveaway, but don't underestimate the impact of those much chunkier wheelarches. We're expecting the model's additional width to balance out the somewhat convoluted 2 Series styling, and - just maybe - provide the coupe lineup with the kind of standout halo variant it richly deserves.
Note as well big brakes behind M4 wheels, an angrier front splitter than the M240i and the hint of a powerdome in the bonnet. Or maybe that's the disguise playing tricks on our eyes. Whatever the case, there are plenty of M design cues in this M2 - which, given some of the stranger things emerging from M GmbH in recent months, is particulary reassuring. We're all set to cling onto a more traditional-looking coupe. Even with those strange rear lights.
Given how similar the M240i xDrive is to the larger 4 Series in engineering terms - and how it drives - we're expecting the new M2 to perform rather like an M4. Albeit with a bit less weight, a bit less power, and - if rumours are to be believed - a standard manual gearbox. Which only the faithful will buy, but we'll crow on about. Though its shared platform certainly makes all-wheel drive possible, it's conceivable that BMW might have chosen to keep xDrive the preserve of the M3 and M4 to prevent the more affordable M car from cannibalising sales. And as good as the AWD versions are, you wouldn't hear us complaining about a rear-drive only M2.
With the old F87 M2 bowing out with 450hp in the CS, we'd expect the new car to kick off with a similar output, although now it will be delivered by the S58 3.0-litre used elsewhere. Certainly we anticipate it surpassing the 421hp offered by an AMG CLA45 or the 420hp found in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, while still leaving some room between it and the 510hp M3/M4 Competition duo.
Whether or not the car makes it into showrooms this year - or launches as a 2023 model - is open to question, but the new M2 is thought to be one of the tentpoles of the firm's 50th anniversary celebrations, which would mean its official unveiling is fast approaching. And the thought of it debuting in the same period as an M3 Touring and the new M4 CSL makes it easier to forget about everything else BMW M is up to...
Image credit | S.Baldauf/S.B. Medien
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