BMW’s M division engineers are working on a new model that’s sure to thrill the brand’s traditional customer base; the firm’s second-generation M2 compact performance coupe will make its debut in 2022.
In 2018, BMW M labelled the M2 as its “strongest growth driver.” Though the M brand’s portfolio has broadened significantly in the intervening years, with more SUVs and now even electric models with M division input, the M2 remains a key model to the brand.
This new performance car, rumoured to be codenamed G87, will look to take advantage of the new 3 and 4 Series-derived platform that the 2 Series coupe is based on. Significant updates will arrive under the bonnet and with the car’s chassis set-up.
BMW won’t downsize the M2. Power will almost certainly be provided by BMW M’s latest 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine, known as the S58 unit. Having made its debut in the X3 M and X4 M in 2019, it’s since found a home in the M3 and M4.
In the Competition-spec versions of those cars the engine develops 375kW, but it’ll be detuned for the M2, to avoid the smallest member of the M line-up treading on the toes of its larger and more expensive siblings.
Revving to a redline of 7,200rpm, the M2 won’t be any different to other BMW models in that buyers will be offered two power levels – a base M2 model with a more potent M2 Competition variant positioned above. Speculation suggests that the M2 base model will offer at least 300kW, possibly a little more – and that’s no coincidence. An output of this magnitude would put clear breathing space between the M2 and the new M240i xDrive, which has 275kW.
It would also mean that the M2 would have enough grunt to compete with a new breed of superhatches from Audi and Mercedes; the new RS 3 comes with 295kW from its 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine, while the A 45 S AMG offers 310kW.
Unlike those cars – and unlike the M240i – BMW is tipped to keep the M2 rear-wheel drive rather than adopting the rear-biased xDrive system available on the new M3 and M4. A six-speed manual gearbox will be available alongside an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Sitting above the M2, and almost certain to be the only model you’ll be able to buy in Britain, will be the M2 Competition. The engine will be the same unit but with more power, possibly punching towards the 320kW mark if the gap between the normal and Competition versions of the M3 and M4 is mirrored in the M2. BMW could even look to push the M2 to new heights, if it goes for a power output in excess of the 331kW developed by the M2 CS – the most powerful road-going M2 so far.
The track of the car will be widened further over the M240i, while the chassis will be stiffer too, and the M Sport rear differential will be fitted as standard alongside stronger brakes to mark it out as the halo model in the 2 Series line-up. Suspension choices will include BMW’s stroke-dependent mechanical damper technology tuned to match the M2’s stiffer and wider chassis, or M Sport adaptive electromechanical dampers.
To really mark the M2 out compared with the M240i xDrive, the design of the car is tipped to change quite dramatically at the front end. It won’t take on the large, vertical kidney grilles used to differentiate the M3 from the rest of the 3 Series line-up.
Leaked pictures suggest that the kidney grilles will move to a squared-off, horizontal design compared with the rounder look of the 2 Series. The square theme will extend to the lower sections of the front apron too, with a large rectangular central intake flanked by two square elements at the front corners. Spy shots show that it will reincorporate the quad-exit exhaust system of the old M2 into a new look rear diffuser.
It’s not just on the outside where it’ll be different to the M240i, however. Our spies have seen inside the new M2, revealing that BMW will equip the model with its new Curved Display iDrive set-up.
This means that the digital instruments and the central infotainment screen join together in one seamless display. The rest of the cabin will see classic M division touches such as huge bucket seats and a sports steering wheel with two bright red M mode buttons, enabling the driver to dial up two individually configured vehicle set-ups straight from the wheel at the touch of a button.
As for when we will see the M2, late 2022 is the most likely time frame for the car’s debut, meaning sales won’t commence until 2023.