2023 BMW M2

The M2 has consistently been regarded as BMW's most pleasurable car, and the latest model continues to elevate that reputation.
The M2 has consistently been regarded as BMW's most pleasurable car, and the latest model continues to elevate that reputation.

by Rushabh Shah | June 5, 2023


In recent years it’s been hard to be a true BMW fanboy. Recently it’s been difficult to have a conversation about anything the brand without addressing the, ahem, controversial styling techniques implemented in the last bit. Everything from the massive grilles on the facelift G11-7 series, to the downright meme worthy vertical grille on the new M3/M4, no new BMW has been able to avoid the wrath of the internet keyboard warriors, and the same goes for the all-new 2023 BMW M2.

The more time I spent with this car the more I realized that this has kind of been BMW’s M.O. for a while. Thinking back to the bangle-butt era, there were many products released by our beloved Bavarian automaker which at the time also riled people up with their unusual styling such as the E65 7-series and E60 5-series.

Looking back at those cars now, I think that, especially in the case of the E60 M5 which was a departure from the handsome yet understated E39 M5 that came before it, the styling has grown on people over the ages and has become one of the most iconic vehicles to come out of Munich. There is just something about the way that BMW does things that is simply better.

The previous iteration of the BMW M2 was the best-selling M car. Over a span of seven years, BMW successfully sold more than 60,000 units globally, indicating the enduring demand for compact, high-performance vehicles among enthusiasts.

Consequently, this model, internally referred to as the G87, holds significant importance for BMW’s performance division. As the M3 has evolved to match the performance and size of the M5, the 2023 M2 assumes the crucial role of being the accessible M car for the average consumer. It must possess the ability to excel at track weekends while also serving as a reliable daily driver. Most notably, as the smallest M car in BMW’s lineup, it should evoke a sense of joy – an aspect in which the M3 and M4 have somewhat fallen short.

The latest M2 has undergone slight dimensional changes compared to its predecessor, however, BMW has wisely retained the core formula that made the previous car successful. Similar to its predecessor, the new M2 is powered by a twin-turbocharged straight-six engine, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission in our tester. Power is exclusively sent to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential. Unlike larger M cars, the M2 doesn’t incorporate an advanced all-wheel-drive system or hybrid technology, ensuring that the driving experience remains pure without unnecessary weight additions.

Under the hood, the M2 is equipped with BMW M’s 3.0-liter S58 straight-six turbocharged engine. It produces 453 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 406 lb-ft of torque from 2650 rpm to 5870 rpm, making it the least powerful iteration of this engine. The internal components remain unchanged from the M3 and M4 versions, but it has been deliberately detuned to create a clear distinction within the lineup, considering that the M2 and M3/M4 have nearly identical curb weights. Nevertheless, with 453 horsepower at its disposal, the 3814-pound bimmer can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in a claimed 4.2 seconds, or 3.9 seconds when equipped with the optional eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The top speed is electronically limited, although it can be increased with the optional M Driver’s package.

On the road, the M2 feels just as quick as its impressive 0-100km/h time suggests, delivering strong acceleration and ample power throughout the rev range. While there is a noticeable torque gap below 4,000RPM compared to the M3, it doesn’t significantly detract from the overall performance. In fact, this characteristic gives the M2’s drivetrain a distinct personality when compared to its larger sibling. The M3 can be likened to a freight train, while the M2 requires the driver to work a bit harder to extract maximum power, rather than relying solely on available torque. The engine’s sound remains unchanged, boasting a delightful tone, albeit with a hint of artificiality.

The suspension geometry remains largely unchanged, although a few adjustments have been made. Notably, the front springs are now stiffer, while the rear springs have been softened compared to the M4. This alteration aims to enhance initial turn-in response and maintain the M2’s inherent balance when tackling corners, and it remains every easy to slide the M2 around corners predictably and controllably. Even in the softest setting of the adaptive shock absorbers, some bumps and undulations can be felt inside the cabin. However, it’s important to remember that this is a genuine M car, prioritizing performance over luxurious cruising comfort.

The electrically assisted steering in the M2 is good but falls short of greatness. BMW has made significant progress with its Electric Power Steering (EPS) system, although it doesn’t quite reach the levels of feedback found in higher end sports cars like those from Porsche. The steering feel is somewhat muted, requiring more input compared to an M4. Interestingly, the slower steering rack in the M2 feels more organic, it feels like this is an aspect where BMW has prioritized driver enjoyment over performance.

The interior of the M2 maintains a straightforward design, largely borrowed from the standard 2-series coupe. With the exception of some playful M-patterned accents on the door cards, the most notable updates can be found in the seats.

The focal point of the cabin is the large, curved display, which combines the digital gauge cluster and the infotainment touchscreen. While BMW’s standard speed and rpm gauges may not be the most legible, switching to sport mode offers a simpler display with clear numerical speed readout and a bright red tachometer. The iDrive 8 system offers a plethora of features, but it’s easy to get absorbed in adjusting driving settings such as steering weight, brake feel, power delivery, and suspension to find the optimal configuration for your personal driving style.

Fuel economy figures stated by BMW are 14.6L/100km city and 10.3L/100km highway, we averaged a lot closer to 14.0L/100km mixed. But hey – this is a M car, and you don’t exactly drive like a grandma going to church on Sunday. That being said, we think on the daily, you should be just fine and for the power available at the touch of the pedal, it’s worth it.

Starting at $79,754, the 2023 BMW M2 competes directly with vehicles like the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S. Our tester came in at $82,854 with the addition of some nice daily driver features in the Premium Package ($3,100). While the compact all-wheel-drive sedans may offer more practicality, the M2 stands out with superior dynamics and the option for a manual gearbox, making it the clear winner for the enthusiast. Opting for the Carbon Pack adds even more excitement, although it brings the price closer to the base M3. Nonetheless, the M2 is a compelling choice, offering impressive speed and a significantly more enjoyable driving experience, not to mention appealing aesthetics. Over the past seven years, the M2 has consistently been regarded as BMW’s most pleasurable car, and the latest model continues to elevate that reputation.


See Also:

2023 BMW 230i xDrive

2023 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC

2022 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo

Vehicle Specs
Performance Coupe
Engine Size
3.0L turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower (at RPM)
453 at 6,250
Torque (lb-ft.)
406 at 2,650
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Rushabh Shah

Staff Writer

Rushabh is an avid car enthusiast since the day he was born. He’s an experienced detailer and largely does his own vehicle maintenance. On the side, Rushabh can often be found tinkering on his classic Porsche 911SC.

Current Toys: ’97 F355 Spider 6MT, '79 911SC Targa, ’00 M5, '13 M5