Car News

2023 BMW M2 Arrives with 453 HP, Manual Transmission

The BMW M2 is back. The compact performance machine gets a new 453-hp inline six-cylinder engine that you can enjoy with rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. What you won't get is the controversial kidney grille you'll find on the larger M4. Instead, BMW has done something a bit different.

The M2 has grown and is longer in wheelbase and overall length than the car it replaces. It now sits about halfway between the last M2 and the larger M4. It's much closer to the M4 in performance thanks to the twin-turbo S58 3.0L I6, which makes 48 hp more than the old M2, for a total of 453 hp, just 20 hp shy of the M4. Importantly, it also has 406 lb-ft on tap from 2,650 rpm all the way through 5,870.

A six-speed manual is offered and BMW will also let you pick an eight-speed automatic. Either way, the M2 sends its power to the rear wheels only.

Big (but not too big) grilles and front air inlets keep the M2 cool and are ready for high-speed track use. The BMW M2 has a two-chamber oil sump with an extra suction stage to make sure that the engine stays lubricated even in extreme driving situations, which is M-speak for track days and drifting.

Hiding under those big flares are big wheels measuring 19 inches up front and 20 in the back. The tire setup is surprisingly square at 275 in the front and 285 in the back, which should give the M2 tremendous grip in corners.

Brake discs as big as the wheels of an original M3 lurk under the M2, wearing six-piston calipers in the front with a single-pot setup in the rear. BMW says the system is better integrated with the car than ever before. Brake activation, boosting, and control are all in a single module, letting an integrated actuator reach the desired brake pressure quickly and precisely. This integration improves the responses of the stability and traction control systems as well. The system also gives the driver the choice of two different brake pedal feel settings.

Typical for an M car, the M2 has a load of bracing a standard 2 Series doesn't, along with its own bushings and bearings in the chassis and suspension to make the car stiffer. The result of the stiffer chassis is that the adaptive M suspension can better control body movement of the vehicle, both in comfort and in track-ready modes.

M Drive Professional, one of the electronic systems in the car, brings M-grade traction control and a track-specific drive mode. It also has a new M Drift Analyzer that monitors how you induce oversteer and how you countersteer. It chews up that data and spits out the distance, duration, and angle of your last drift, in case you're trying to hit a new high score.

Inside, the M2 has BMW's latest curved display. The big panel integrates a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 14.9-inch centre screen for a cleaner look. The display gets M-specific modes and graphics, and gauges for oil temperature and other things you'll want to know if you're really pushing the car hard.

The driver and front passenger get more heavily bolstered M Sport seats wrapped in Veranasca leather. They can be ordered in black or in cognac, and have an illuminated M logo in the headrests. M Carbon buckets are optional and cut 11 kg compared with the standard seats. A carbon fibre roof is offered, or you can get a glass sunroof that's bigger than before by 20 per cent.

The new 2023 BMW M2 starts from $76,500 and should arrive at dealers in the second quarter of next year.