2023 BMW M2 spied at the Nurburgring

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BMW’s next-generation M2 has been spotted at the ‘Green Hell’.

The all-new BMW M2 has broken cover at the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany. As our spy pictures show, a disguised version of the near production-ready high performance flagship has been testing at the fearsome 20.8km long circuit

Due to hit showrooms this year, just in time for BMW’s 50th anniversary of its M division, the new M2 is based on the recently launched 2 Series Coupe. Yet as our images show, the M2 gets an aggressive new look. Look past the camouflage of this prototype and it appears the new M2’s design is near-enough finalised.

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At the front, there’s a new bumper with a lower splitter and more vents, while the rear end gets an enormous diffuser complete with BMW M’s trademark quad-exit exhaust tips. The side skirts are also lower and there’s a new ducktail spoiler on the bootlid. There’s a wide stance set off with larger wheels than the M240i, while it’s likely that the new M2 will have even wider wheel arches than its predecessor.

The outgoing BMW M2 remains one of the most exciting compact sports cars, while the recent CS version has taken the manual, rear-wheel drive, straight-six formula to another level – although the extra cost is hard to swallow. However, the good news for BMW M purists is that the new one is likely to retain all of the old car’s key attributes, but deliver even more performance.

The previous-generation M2 was a key model for BMW’s M division. Back in 2018, the brand labelled the car as its “strongest growth driver,” so the success of this new model is vital, even though the firm’s portfolio has since expanded to include more popular performance vehicles, such as SUVs and even electric cars.

BMW’s latest M2 prototype isn’t wearing the heavy body cladding of our previously snapped test cars, which gives us a detailed look at the cosmetic tweaks the company’s performance arm have made to the flagship model’s design.

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Up front, there’s a new bumper with a lower splitter and more vents, while the rear end gets an enormous diffuser complete with BMW M’s trademark quad-exit exhaust tips. The side skirts are also lower and there’s a new ducktail spoiler on the bootlid.

BMW’s next M2 will take advantage of the fresh platform found under the new 2 Series coupe, which was derived from that of the 3 Series. However, there’ll be significant changes over the powertrains and chassis in the standard 2 Series.

Power should come from BMW M’s latest turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine, found in the likes of the X3 M and X4 M performance SUVs. Codenamed S58, the unit develops 375kW in BMW’s flagship Competition trim but, so the M2 doesn’t tread on the toes of its larger (and more expensive) siblings, we expect BMW will limit the coupe’s output.

Like the rest of BMW’s M line-up, the M2 will be offered with two power outputs – there’ll be a standard variant at the entry-level and a more potent Competition option acting as the flagship. The M2 base model will have at least 300kW, which will provide enough breathing space between the M2 and the new M240i xDrive.

To control the extra power, BMW will make a few changes to the platform. The firm engineers will widen the coupe’s track, add some extra braces to reduce chassis flex, bolt on some larger brakes and fit an M Sport rear differential as standard.

The suspension will be upgraded, too – and the brand’s engineers have two options to pick from here. Choices include the firm’s stroke-dependent mechanical dampers, tuned to match the M2’s stiffer and wider chassis, or M Sport adaptive electromechanical dampers.

As well as gaining a new exterior design compared to the M240i, BMW will alter the M2’s interior design to distance the car from its more mainstream sibling.

Our spy photographers have also seen inside the new M2, revealing that BMW will equip the coupe with its latest Curved Display iDrive set-up. That means the digital instruments and infotainment screen are joined together in one seamless display.

The rest of the cabin will get BMW’s classic M division touches, such as supportive bucket seats and a new sports steering wheel with two bright red M mode buttons, allowing the driver to quickly switch between two individually configured vehicle set-ups.

BMW isn’t expected to launch the new M2 until the end of 2022, and the car might not reach Australian showrooms until the beginning of 2023, so pricing details still haven’t been confirmed.

Alastair Crooks

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