BMW will offer the new M2 with the choice of either a standard six-speed manual or a new eight-speed torque-converter automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The auto replaces the current seven-speed dual-clutch item, which will no longer be available on the M2.
Both the standard and Competition models will have rear-wheel drive with an electronically controlled M differential. Although four-wheel drive is now offered on the car’s M3 and M4 siblings, an xDrive M2 is not planned.
The styling of the new M2 is closely related to that of the upcoming M240i xDrive. Distinguishing elements include a new-look front end with a lower and wider kidney grille than that seen on today’s M2 Competition. Set within a deep front bumper, it goes without traditional fixed vertical louvres, adopting electronically operated active elements that open and close to suit the cooling and heating demands of the new engine.
The headlights, LED as standard, also adopt a more angular design and will be offered with optional laser projectors, with dynamic indicators housed within the front lenses.
The bonnet adopts a prominent power dome and the wheel arches have been enlarged to accommodate wheels of up to 20-inch. A more pronounced shoulder line runs back to form wider haunches below the rear side windows. The windscreen and rear window are also more heavily raked than on the first-generation M2, giving it an altogether sleeker appearance.
In keeping with more recent M models, the tail-lights have a heavily structured design with OLED graphics while the boot slopes down towards the rear and receives a larger lip spoiler than today’s model for added downforce. A wider diffuser is also integrated into the bottom of the rear bumper.
An optional carbonfibre package will allow prospective customers to specify the new car with various carbonfibre elements, including the roof and door mirrors, although the M2 Competition is set to get a carbonfibre roof as standard.
The new coupé has grown in size, albeit only moderately over today’s 4468mm-long, 1984mm-wide and 1410mm-tall M2 Competition. Along with the increase in dimensions, the wheelbase has been extended by 51mm, at 2744mm, and the tracks have been widened at the front and rear. Crucially, the new M2 will match the 50:50 weight distribution of the less powerful M240i.
Automotive Daily’s exclusive partner Autocar has been told the CLAR platform adopted by the new 2 Series provides a 40% increase in body rigidity compared with the structure used by the old model. The new M2 will add further rigidity with its own unique front suspension dome brace strut and a new brace integrated within the rear suspension.
Underpinning the new M2 is a heavily reworked MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. Among the benefits of the new set-up cited by BMW M engineers is its ability to support increased front camber. It will be available with the choice of either lift-related or variable dampers.
In a significant shift in M division operations, the next M2 will be manufactured alongside other 2 Series models at BMW’s newly established factory in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Today’s M2 is produced exclusively at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany. Details about the sourcing of key components, including the S58 engine, have yet to be made official, although insiders suggest it will continue to be manufactured at BMW’s Munich engine plant.