BY PETER BARNWELL
THE second-generation BMW M2 has been unveiled internationally with local availability next year priced from $119,900 plus on-road costs.
It has more of everything we have come to love in the powerful two door still with unadulterated ICE power and a choice of six-speed manual or eight speed Steptronic auto.
Only one high spec’ model will be offered in Oz… with more features, options, power, luxury, driving options, acceleration, weight (1710kg) and reportedly better handling.
Regarding the styling… well that’s subjective. Looks good from certain angles is a reasonable description.
The first generation M2 ran from 2016 and was priced between $90 – $100k which makes the newbie $20,000 extra albeit in a car with numerous enhancements.
Start ‘customising’ your M2 using the options list and the price escalates rapidly.
The new model arrived internationally recently to a palpable wave of excitement from performance car enthusiasts around the world.
It’s earned an enviable reputation for punching above its weight offering near supercar performance, sound and drive feel at a fraction the cost.
The new M2’s arrival corresponds with celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of BMW M that included world premieres of iX M60, M3 Touring and XM.
The M2 has been popular in Australia with more than 2600 units sold between 2016 and 2022 over a range of variants and special editions.
Australia is one BMW M’s strongest markets with one in five BMWs sold here wearing an M badge.
Still a compact coupe, the new model is a touch larger than the previous model across many dimensions.
They include 119mm longer and 16mm wider but 7mm lower. The wheelbase has grown by 54mm while the front track is 38mm wider, 40mm at the rear.
As a ‘practical’ two door coupe M2 is capable, at a pinch, of carrying four adults… to the track or to the opera.
An athletic appearance to its flanks gives the M2 a distinctive, aggressive profile on the outside particularly around the rear haunches and tail area coupled with a luxury, functional interior complete with a raft of new technologies.
It features an enhanced control/operating concept for customising vehicle set-up that enables fine tuning and calibration of key functions for an elevated performance experience on both road and track.
This would suggest BMW is OK with owners using the car for track day driving.
It has an angry frontal appearance with a frameless BMW kidney grille featuring a three-section lower air intake. The design is built around cooling air requirements and aerodynamic balance.
BMW describes M2’s look as: “Clearly designed surfaces, prominently flared side skirts and muscular wheel arches set the tone for the side view. The rear end of the new BMW M2 also has a compact, commanding feel and adds individual touches including a boot lid spoiler, prominent rear diffuser insert, and two pairs of 100mm diameter exhaust tailpipes.”
Yep, pretty much bang on there from BMW.
It’s available in five exterior paint finishes including the new Zandvoort Blue and Toronto Red metallic.
A weight saving M Carbon roof will feature as standard equipment on Australian specification vehicles.
The new M2 features powertrain and chassis technology from the larger BMW M3 and M4.
Under the bonnet is the all-conquering BMW M straight-six engine with M TwinPower turbo technology developed for the new M2 to produce ‘exceptional’ performance.
Differing only in minor details from the M3 and M4, the 3.0-litre is said to deliver ‘urgent response’ and a ‘linear power delivery’ into the highest reaches of the engine speed range up to 7200rpm.
That means a maximum 338kW, 36kW more than the previous generation M2 Competition complete with peak torque of 550Nm at between 2650 and 5870rpm.
Keeping the high output engine cool and reliable is an oil supply and cooling system designed to handle demanding driving situations such as on the track.
The crescendo of power is accompanied by an emotive, wailing six-cylinder exhaust note designed to send a shiver down the spine of performance car fans.
The rear-wheel drive M2 is offered with a choice of two transmissions – an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, or a six-speed manual.
In hard numbers BMW says the new BMW M2 sprints from 0 to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds with the eight-speed M Steptronic and 4.3 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox.
After that it is capable of blitzing from 0 to 200km/h in 13.5 seconds (automatic) or 14.3 seconds (manual). V-max is up to 285km/h depending on options selected.
Putting power to the rear axle and controlling drift is what BMW terms M Traction Control and a locking Active M Differential.
The M2’s compact dimensions, short wheelbase, 50:50 weight distribution and sophisticated chassis technology combine to deliver what the company describes as “pin sharp handling characteristics”.
Body structure has a lot to do with it as does technology including a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle each with M-specific kinematics.
Standard equipment on new M2 is extensive starting with adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers, M Servotronic steering with variable ratio, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) including M Dynamic Mode and a powerful M Compound brake system that comprises 380mm discs with six-piston fixed-callipers at the front and 370mm diameter discs with single-piston floating-callipers at the rear.
Two brake pedal ‘feels’ are available to the driver and the car comes with 19-inch M light-alloys at the front and 20-inch rims at the rear, with style choices available.
Inside is what BMW calls an advanced sports car design with curved display and a ‘driver-centric cockpit’ integrating M-specific readouts, controls and setup options, as well as the high-definition curved display.
Driving-related information including shift lights appear in a new graphical layout on the 12.3-inch information display.
A head-up display will be fitted as standard on Australian models, features M-specific readouts and specific graphics. A premium harman/kardon audio and leather upholstery are among standard equipment items for Australian models.
Comfort features include three-zone automatic climate control, BMW Live Cockpit Plus and ambient lighting.
The M2 has an extensive suite of active and passive, primary and secondary safety features.
An M Mode button on the centre console can be used to adjust both the level of driver assistance system activity and the content shown in the information display and Head-Up Display, with a choice of Road, Sport and Track settings.