Power for the M2 is provided by an evolution of the M235i’s turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine that has been upgraded with high-performance components borrowed from the bigger M3/M4. As a result, it delivers 365 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 343 pound-feet of torque from 1,400 to 5,560 rpm, though an overboost function can bump torque up to 369 lb-ft. for short bursts of time.
An enthusiast-friendly six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox controlled by shift paddles is available at an extra cost.
The M2 can reach 60 mph from a stop in 4.4 seconds when fitted with a stick, and in 4.2 seconds when ordered with the seven-speed automatic. In comparison, the 1 Series M Coupe took 4.7 seconds to sprint from zero to 60 mph, and a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera S performs the same task in 4.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph regardless of which transmission is chosen.
When viewed from the outside, the M2 stands out from the M235i — the next model down in the 2 Series hierarchy — thanks to a noticeably more aggressive look that starts with wide fender flares on all four corners. The front fascia gains a deep sculpted bumper with three air dams, while the rear end features a discreet trunk-mounted spoiler and four exhaust tips integrated into an air diffuser that’s painted gloss black. BMW explains the M2’s race-inspired body kit reduces lift by 35 percent and drag by 5 percent compared to a regular-production 2 Series.
Weight checks in at 3,295 pounds — a figure that’s on par with the aforementioned 1 Series M Coupe — thanks in part to the use of ultra-light suspension components crafted out of aluminum, and it boasts a near-50/50 weight distribution. The M235i that the M2 is based on tips the scale at 3,373 pounds.
Inside, the M2 gets a three-spoke steering wheel designed by BMW’s M division, sport seats for the front passengers and a driver-focused instrument cluster with simple, easy-to-read analog gauges. M emblems sprinkled throughout the cockpit remind the passengers that they’re not riding in a run-of-the-mill 2, while carbon fiber trim on the dash adds a sporty touch to the cabin.
The 2016 BMW M2 will go on sale early next year with a base price that’s expected to lie in the vicinity of $50,000, and the first deliveries are tentatively scheduled for next summer. Buyers will be asked to choose from four colors called long beach blue metallic, alpine white, black sapphire metallic, and mineral grey metallic, respectively.
Official pricing information and availability will be published in the weeks leading up to the coupe’s on-sale date.