The second generation of the BMW M2 Coupe (G87) debuted in October 2022 receiving a lukewarm response from the press and automotive enthusiasts, not because of its specs which were quite impressive, but due to the controversial styling. After checking it out in person last week I concluded that the M2 is probably the best M-branded sportscar on sale overall, but only if you can overcome the fact it is uglier than its predecessor.
1. It’s the most compact BMW M in the current range
With a length of 180.3 inches (4,580 mm), a width of 74.3 inches (1,887 mm), and a height of 55.2 inches (1,402 mm), the G87 M2 is not a small car. In fact, it has a very similar footprint to the E92 M3 from 2007 but it is 214 mm (8.4 inches) shorter in length than the G82 M4. In other words, the M2 is the smallest new BMW M, with all of the benefits this might bring to how nimble it is. Speaking of size, the rear seats predictably feel cramped, although I am 6.04 ft and I found it bearable at least for small trips. Also, the 13.8 cubic feet (390 lt) boot is practical enough for the traveling needs of most couples – I don’t think that a family would ever consider the smallest two-door BMW M.
There is however one drawback and this is the weight. The M2 tips the scales at 3,814 lbs (1,730 kg) when fitted with a manual gearbox and 3,867 lbs (1,754 kg) with the automatic. This means it is more than half a ton heavier than the original E30 M3. It is also heavier than the 3,583 lbs (1,625 kg) of the M4 CSL and the limited production 3.0 CSL which are currently the lightest M cars.
2. It has all the power you’ll ever need for the road
Remember when the original E30 M3 produced 192 hp (143 kW / 195 PS) back in 1986? Those days are long gone as the entry-level BMW M in 2023 is good for 453 hp (338 kW / 459 PS) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque thanks to the mighty twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. More importantly, power is still transmitted to the rear axle through either the standard six-speed manual or the optional eight-speed automatic.
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It is true that the Bavarian automaker couldn’t settle for anything less in a world where “hyper hatches” including the Audi RS3 and the Mercedes-AMG A45 have gone past the 400-hp mark. However, the bottom line is that an ICE-powered sportscar that can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds (or 3.9 seconds with the automatic) and has a top speed of up to 177 mph (283 km/h) with the optional M Driver’s Package would never feel slow. Furthermore, its handling capabilities are well above the skills of the average driver and probably more than what you can take advantage of on public roads. As for experienced drivers, those will certainly have plenty of fun behind the wheel of a manual RWD and well-balanced sportscar.
3. It will likely be the last BMW M with a manual gearbox
The days of manual gearboxes are numbered, with most automakers abandoning them as they move into the electric era. Dirk Hacker, development boss at BMW M, recently confirmed that the six-speed manual gearbox will remain available on the M2 throughout its lifecycle. However, when it ends close to 2030, there is a high chance that manual BMWs will become extinct. Hacker said that this decision also has to do with the potential lack of manual gearbox suppliers by that date.
4. It has sexy proportions despite the ugly bits
I have to admit that while I am not a fan of the G87 M2’s styling, it looks a lot better and cleaner in person compared to the press photos – which is the case with most modern BMWs. This is mostly attributed to the proportions and the road presence of the model which seems to be just about the right shape and size for a driver’s car.
When I first laid eyes on the pictured Zandvoort Blue M2 at an official BMW event in Athens, Greece, it was parked next to a white M3 Competition. While the M3 looks more refined – and I didn’t expect to say that when I first saw the huge grille – it was the M2 that caught my attention. The wide rear fenders are probably the sexiest part of the vehicle, alongside the three-box coupe proportions, the carbon-fiber roof, the black-finished 19-inch alloy wheels, and the frameless doors.
I am still not fond of the grille and the square bumper intakes of the front which looks like a punch, but the headlights are an improvement over the standard 2-Series Coupe thanks to their simplified shape. I also used to dislike the complex taillights and the boxy rear bumper but things looked nicer from up close. The optional M Performance parts make it harder to digest but thankfully the exhibited vehicle was left stock.
5. It is the most affordable full-blown M model
With a starting price of $62,200 in the U.S. market, the M2 is not considered affordable by any means, but it is the cheapest BMW M. For a good measure, it undercuts its big sister, the M4, by $15,900. It also represents savings of $96,800 compared to the flagship XM – but this is another story.
The situation is similar in Germany, where the M2 Coupe costs €75,400 ($82,287), which is a full €29,000 ($31,646) cheaper than the M4 Coupe.
Are those reasons enough to make you love the G87 M2 or do you find the pricier and slightly larger G82 M4 a better option overall?
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