Today in Detroit, BMW debuted a new sibling in its M family. The 2016 M2 Coupe. Smaller and lighter than the 3 Series M, it still bears the familiar features that distinguish our favorite line of performance vehicles. There’s the short overhang up front. The long, sloping hood that covers the M2’s 3.0 liter in-line six, turbocharged engine. The athletically sculpted fender flairs and the wide rear deck with a subtle lip spoiler and four chrome tipped exhaust pipes that let anyone who tries to keep up know this is no ordinary coupe.
While the engine and power are important to BMW’s M heritage, this model is really about its handling. And as such BMW continues to focus on reducing weight from its high-performance cars. The M2 uses the same aluminum underpinnings as the M3/M4 including the front and rear axle assemblies, suspension struts and tubular anti-roll bar. The control arms and wheel carriers in the five-link rear suspension are made of aluminum to reduce unsprung weight which helps keep the tires on the pavement.
The M2 has 19-inch forged aluminum wheels at all four corners which means they have low rotating mass. The wheels wear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with their widths staggered slightly, 245/35 ZR 19 in the front and 265/35 ZR 19 at the rear, to aid in turning, braking and acceleration. Brakes are M Compound composites with a four-piston caliper up front and two-piston caliper in the rear. The rotors measure 15 inches in diameter in front of the driver and 14.5 behind.
Because we like our small sports cars to be both safe and tossable, we’re also excited that in BMW’s excellent DSC system is standard on the M2 for driving in most road condition, but M Dynamic Mode for track use. DSC monitors the car’s steering angle, accelerator position, brake pressure, engine torque, wheel speed and yaw rate. If it detects anything amiss, the control unit locks up the rear differential anywhere from 1 to 100% to reduce wheel spin and bring things back in line. There are times however, like on the track, where drift and wheel spin are desired, so by hitting a button you engage M Dynamic Mode that gives you more control over how much drift you’d like coming out of the corners.
This is an M car, so no discussion of it would be complete without the drivetrain. This lightweight, lithe machine is driven by a turbocharged inline six cylinder engine making 365 horsepower and 343 lb.-ft. of torque. It features an aluminum block and the added punch of BMW’s TwinScroll turbocharger, a design that brings the power on at lower RPMS by reducing turbo lag. It also has a redesigned oil system that ensures oil will be available to the engine even under high lateral G-forces developed when the car is driven on the track. Given the power to weight ratio, it’s not surprising 0-60 times are in the low four seconds and it can achieve a top speed of over 150 miles per hour. Available with both a 6-speed manual and an automatic dual-clutch transmission, BMW continues its tradition of allowing drivers to choose their preferred choice of shifting gears.
Inside the M2 is all business, with hand stitched leather M performance seats and carbon fiber accents throughout the cabin. Instrumentation is straightforward and purposeful, but still includes all the functionality of BMW’s iDrive system. Available this summer, pricing for the M2 starts at $51,000 and will climb from there. We’ll bring you a full driving impression when we get behind the wheel in February on the track at Laguna Seca. Stay tuned.