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BMW M2 returns with 453 hp and a puppy-scaring mug

The BMW M2 is back (and it's got the M4's engine)

When BMW introduced the fully redesigned 2-Series, the first thing that went through everyone’s minds was the high-performance M2. What does the automaker’s M division have in store for the most affordable M car? With the M2 and M4 moving to be available with all-wheel drive and the German automaker shifting its focus onto large SUVs like the X7, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. The wait, thankfully, is finally over. And from the 2023 BMW M2’s spec sheet, it looks like it will continue to be the purist’s choice. 

While the M3 and M4 set a new standard for BMW’s aggressive designs with a nose that only a mother would love, the M2 goes for a more traditional look. Don’t get us wrong, the broad fenders, pug-nose front end, and bulging hood certainly give the M2 a frightening look that will have all of the neighborhood’s dogs barking. It’s more The Silence of the Lambs compared to the M3’s The Exorcist – one’s freaky, while the other will give you nightmares. 

2023 BMW M2 drifting on a race track during a sunset and mountains in the back.

The good news is that the design portrays the 2023 M2’s improved performance. The M2 grows by 4.1 inches in length and 1.3 inches in width. Under the hood, the 2023 M2 comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It’s a similar engine to the S58 that you’ll find in the larger M cars, but it’s been capped at 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Sure, that’s down on the M3 and M4, but it’s still 48 more horsepower than the previous-gen M2 Competition. Plus, all of the M2’s power is being routed to the rear wheels, as the sports car isn’t available with all-wheel drive. At least for the moment. 

Choose the eight-speed automatic transmission, and the M2 can get to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Opt for the more engaging six-speed manual transmission and the sprint is slightly slower at 4.1 seconds. Top speed with the optional M Driver’s Package maxes out at 177 mph. 

BMW has also tinkered with a few of the M2’s other go-fast parts for 2023. The sports car comes with a traction control system that has 10 different settings. There’s also an M Drift Analyzer to rate your drifts, along with a built-in lap timer for when you want to be a little more serious. 

For the first time for the M2 lineup, the sports car will have a staggered wheel setup with 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch wheels at the back. Six-piston brakes clamp onto 15-inch discs at the front and can be adjusted with two different settings for pedal feel. The M2’s equipment list also includes adaptive suspension, a variable steering ratio, and enhanced structural rigidity. 

The cabin gets an impressive tech upgrade over the outgoing model. The dash features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen that is integrated into a single curved piece. The M2 gets fabulous sport seats with a large amount of bolstering and the door panels feature a trim piece that lights up in the M colors. They’re small things, but they make the M2’s cabin look special. 

BMW will build the 2023 M2 at its plant in Mexico. Deliveries of the sports car are expected to begin at the beginning of 2023. Pricing for the M2 will start at $63,195 including destination, which makes it roughly $3,300 more expensive than the old M2. But if you look at it from a different perspective, the new M2 is $10,600 more affordable than the current M3. From that point of view, it’s the kind of bargain that you can only get from hand-me-downs.  

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Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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