Since the 2015 model year, BMW has marketed the subcompact 2 Series as a two-door or four-door coupe. In any form or trim, the BMW 2 Series offers eager performance at a better price than its larger brethren. However, the M2, built by the company’s M motorsports division, is really something special.
The BMW M2 is a two-door coupe, available with a 6-speed manual transmission. That right there sets this little coupe apart from the modern run of the mill offerings. But the M2 also brings a state-of-the-art suspension, chassis, tech package and sporty interior worthy of its premium badge. This coupe is a driver’s car, and it’s among the best in the world.
As mentioned, the M2 is available only as a two-door coupe. If you want the four-door Gran Coupe, you’re limited to other 2 Series models. Either way, you’re getting an attractive, sporty small car. The M2 offers one of the best profiles from BMW. When you look at the M2, you see a fast, handsome car, with fat fenders housing plenty of tire to grip the road.
You’ll note that BMW has not saddled the M2 with its current “hog snout” grilles, but rather left a large lower air intake for the front-mounted intercooler, in a nod to tuner style. Bottom line: this is one of the best-looking cars on the road. Our test car also had the super-cool $2,600 carbon fiber roof option.
Our test car carried the $800 carbon fiber trim option, so the interior is dominated by smooth composite trim pieces. Not gonna lie, it’s still kind of sexy, if a bit overdone in recent years. BMW’s leather-wrapped M Sport seats can also be a little narrow for larger drivers, so be sure to take a good test drive before you choose your trim level.
Generally speaking, the interior of the M2 is all business, and the business is performance. Controls for all the go-fast goodies are located down on the console next to the shifter, so you can set things up the way you want it on the fly. The $1,100 live cockpit option puts a tremendously useful head-up display in front of you on the windshield.
Despite its subcompact size, the M2 comes with BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, boasting 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That’s passed to the rear wheels through your choice between a crisp 6-speed manual or paddle-shifted 8-speed automatic transmission, and then the active limited slip M Sport differential.
Our test car came with the automatic, and I don’t think you give up much, if any, performance by choosing the two-pedal option. There’s no upcharge for the automatic or the manual — either one is included in the base price. The only performance option you can buy is a $2,500 driver’s school, which also includes a rise in the governed top speed of your M2.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2 Series, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the car top marks in all crash tests. Only some quibbles with the headlights keep this car from getting the organization’s lauded safety pick.
In addition, the M2 comes with all the modern gear for safety and driver assistance. There’s lane-keeping, for example, and BMW’s is among the best at being non-obtrusive. Even so, it occasionally would be fooled by a pavement change and wiggle the car a bit. You can turn it off through the menu system. The head-up display is worth paying for, as you’re likely to want to keep your eyes on the road. The M2 likes to go fast, especially on a winding mountain road.
Like the majority of new European cars, the M2 uses a single glass-clad panel that stretches across the dash. It houses a 14.9-inch short-wide infotainment screen, and a 12.3-inch driver information display. Audio comes courtesy of a Harman Kardon surround sound system, and it’s great. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported.
On the road, the M2 is a car you want to drive fast, and BMW makes it easy. The adaptive suspension soaks up bumps while making you feel like you could tell the difference driving over a dime or a nickel. Despite the surprisingly heavy curb weight of 3,814 pounds, the M2 takes off like a rocket when you light up the engine. Those people who dawdle along and then try to race you on short passing lanes? Yeah, they’re going to lose.
Performance stats tell the story — from a standing start the M2 will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and 100 mph in about 9 seconds. The top speed is governed to 155, but if you buy the driver’s school, you can get 177. I’m not sure where you would actually be able to do either of those speeds without getting arrested, but there it is.
Oh, one more thing to mention is BMW’s brakes. With the M2 you get huge drilled rotors and 6-pot fixed front calipers with special M compound brake pads. These brakes will stand the M2 on its nose if you really stomp on the pedal and will continue to work through a track day or any mountain range you want to conquer.
2023 BMW M2 Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 180.3 inches/W: 74.3 inches/H: 55.2 inches/Wheelbase: 108.1 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder; 6-speed manual transmission|
|Fuel Economy||16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/19 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $62,200; As tested: $69,695, including $995 in destination charges|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The BMW M2 has only one trim level, and just a few options. As mentioned, our test car came with the carbon roof and interior trim, plus the head-up display. Additionally, this car has a remote engine start capability for $300, full LED lights for $650, and the “Shadowline” blackout exterior package for $300. Oh, also some 50-year M badging for $200 and adaptive cruise control for $550.
It’s a bit cheesy for BMW to charge for adaptive cruise control in 2023, but OK, we’d buy it. We’d leave the 50-year M badges on the shelf, though. But everything else is worth the extra money. All those options plus the very reasonable destination fee of $995 take us from the base price of $62,200 to $69,695, so it’s not going to make a huge difference anyway, so why not plus it up?
2023 BMW M2 — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the M2 a real M car?
The BMW M2 is a high-performance version of the BMW 2 Series automobile developed by BMW’s motorsport division, BMW M GmbH. As the 2 Series replaced the 1 Series coupe and convertible models, the first-generation M2 was marketed as the most basic M Car in the range.
Does the M2 use a single turbocharger?
Yes. BMW calls it a TwinPower because it’s a twin-scroll turbo design, but there’s just one turbo.
Is it expensive to maintain a BMW M2?
The estimated annual cost to maintain and repair a BMW M2 ranges from $95 to $2,331, with an average of $330.