The new BMW M2 coupe will feature a detuned version of the M3’s 3.0-litre straight-six, but it’ll still have upwards of 300kW.
BMW’s M division is working on a project that’s certain to excite the brand’s traditional fanbase – a replacement for the much-loved M2 coupe. The second-generation model will make its debut later this year, and our exclusive images preview how it could look.
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 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 370kW 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 295kW, which will provide enough breathing space between the M2 and the new M240i xDrive, which produces 270kW.
That output would also give the M2 enough grunt to compete with the current crop of hyper hatches from Audi and Mercedes. The new Audi RS 3 has a 290kW turbocharged 2.5-litre five-pot petrol engine, while the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S offers 305kW.
However, unlike those cars (and indeed the M240i), BMW is expected to keep the M2 rear- wheel-drive only, rather than adopting the rear-biased four-wheel-drive system from the new M3 and M4. Purists will also be glad to hear that a six-speed manual gearbox will also be available alongside the usual eight-speed paddle-shift automatic.
The M2 Competition will have a bit more power still – possibly edging towards the 315kW mark if BMW mirrors the gap between the standard and Competition versions of the M3 and M4. The brand may even produce a replacement for the track-focused 327kW M2 CS, which was the most powerful road-going M2 so far.
To control the extra power, BMW will make a few changes to the M240i’s 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.
BMW will change the coupe’s styling quite dramatically at the front end. Leaked images show that, rather than adopting the enormous vertical kidney grilles used to separate the M3 from the standard 3 Series, it’ll get a pair of boxy, horizontal replacements.
This square theme will extend to the lower sections of the front apron, with a large rectangular central intake flanked by two square elements at the front corners. Spy shots show that the next M2 will also reincorporate the quad-exit exhaust system of the previous model into a new look rear diffuser.
The M2 won’t just differ from the M240i on the outside, though; the cabin will get a host of improvements, too. Our spy photographers have seen inside the M2, revealing that BMW will equip the coupe with its new curved Display iDrive setup. 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 setups.
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 are unavailable.
Despite this, prices for the M2 Competition (which is the only model we’ll get here in Britain) are expected to start around $100,000. That means the coupe will be able to compete with sports coupes such as the Porsche Cayman, as well as the new Audi RS 3 hyper hatch.