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Baby Bimmer blasts off

BMW’s M2 Coupe has 3.0-litre turbo six shoehorned under the bonnet

14 Oct 2022

MORE of everything is what the new, ICE powered, second generation BMW M2 has to offer when it arrives here in the first half of next year priced from $119,900 for both six-speed manual and eight-speed M Steptronic auto versions.


Launched in one high specification variant, it has more features, options, power, luxury, driving options, acceleration, weight (1710kg) and reportedly better handling. 


More style?


That’s a subjective question but personal preference is for the cleaner lines of the earlier model. 


Gen’ one from 2016 was priced between $90 – $100k so the new car represents a $20,000 uptick albeit attached to an extensively enhanced model.


Ticking extras on the lengthy options list leads to rapid price escalation.


New M2 lobbed internationally this week to a palpable wave of excitement from performance car enthusiasts around the world.


It has a ‘giant killing’ reputation offering near supercar performance, sound and drive feel at a fraction the cost.


Its arrival complements 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 examples of the first model across multiple variants and special editions sold between 2016 and 2022.


This country is one of the strongest markets for BMW M, with one in five BMWs sold here wearing an M badge.


Though a compact coupe, the newbie is slightly larger than the previous model in many dimensions.


It is 119mm longer and 16mm wider but 7mm lower. Its wheelbase has grown by 54mm compared with the outgoing model while adding 38mm to the front wheel track and 4mm to the rear. 


Being a practical two door coupe means M2 is capable, at a pinch, of carrying four adults… to the track or to the opera.


Though not what you’d term handsome, new ‘athletic looking’ M2 has 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.


An enhanced control/operating concept for customising vehicle set-up enables fine tuning and calibration of key functions for an elevated performance experience on both road and track.


Which seems to suggest BMW is OK with the M2 being used for track day driving.


The assertive frontal area sports a frameless BMW kidney grille with a three-section lower air intake. The design has been built around the requirements of the car’s cooling air supply, and aerodynamic balance.


BMW describes M2’s look thus: “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.”


GoAuto would have to concur with that.


Five exterior paint finishes are available including the new Zandvoort Blue and Toronto Red metallic.


The 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-important 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.


In the bench racing stakes, new M2 makes a strong argument proffering a maximum 338kW, 36kW more than the previous generation M2 Competition. Peak torque of 550Nm is produced between 2650 and 5870rpm.


Keeping the high performance 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.


The eight-speed automatic with three shift modes provides rapid-fire gear shifts and a direct connection to the engine with the ability to execute multiple downshifts to the lowest available gear for optimum performance.


The six-speed manual gearbox is available as an option for anyone seeking a performance experience in the classical mould.


The manual has a Gear Shift Assistant which uses engagement speed control to ensure slip-free (compression lock) operation when downshifting under braking into corners. It can be deactivated in the M Setup menu.


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 standard M Traction Control function is designed to allow the driver to carefully probe the vehicle’s performance limits by setting individual intervention thresholds for wheel slip limitation, with a choice of 10 stages.


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.


In safety terms M2 scores automated driving and parking systems such as Front Collision Warning, Speed Limit Display with no-overtaking indicator, Lane Departure Warning and Parking Assistant.

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.


More M2 details will be available closer to the model’s Australian launch.

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