BMW’s M division has an exciting list of launches scheduled for 2022, with plans to unveil four new performance cars in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary.
Our spy photographers have once again spotted what’s arguably the most important car of the bunch, the replacement for the much-loved BMW M2, tackling the latter stages of its development programme.
The previous-generation M2 was a key model for BMW’s M division. Back in 2018, the brand labelled the car as its “strongest growth driver,” so the success of this new model is vital, even though the firm’s portfolio has since expanded to include more popular performance vehicles, such as SUVs and even electric cars.
BMW’s latest M2 prototype isn’t wearing the heavy body cladding of our previously snapped test cars, which gives us a detailed look at the cosmetic tweaks the company’s performance arm have made to the flagship model’s design.
Up front, there’s a new bumper with a lower splitter and more vents, while the rear end gets an enormous diffuser complete with BMW M’s trademark quad-exit exhaust tips. The side skirts are also lower and there’s a new ducktail spoiler on the bootlid.
New 2022 BMW M2: platform and powertrain
BMW’s next M2 will take advantage of the fresh platform found under the new 2 Series coupe, which was derived from that of the 3 Series. However, there’ll be significant changes over the powertrains and chassis in the standard 2 Series.
Power should come from BMW M’s latest turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine, found in the likes of the X3 M and X4 M performance SUVs. Codenamed S58, the unit develops 503bhp in BMW’s flagship Competition trim but, so the M2 doesn’t tread on the toes of its larger (and more expensive) siblings, we expect BMW will limit the coupe’s output.
Like the rest of BMW’s M line-up, the M2 will be offered with two power outputs – there’ll be a standard variant at the entry-level and a more potent Competition option acting as the flagship. The M2 base model will have at least 400bhp, which will provide enough breathing space between the M2 and the new M240i xDrive, which produces 369bhp.
That 400bhp output would also give the M2 enough grunt to compete with the current crop of hyper hatches from Audi and Mercedes. The new Audi RS 3 has a 395bhp turbocharged 2.5-litre five-pot petrol engine, while the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S offers 415bhp.
However, unlike those cars (and indeed the M240i), BMW is expected to keep the M2 rear-wheel-drive only, rather than adopting the rear-biased four-wheel-drive system from the new M3 and M4. Purists will also be glad to hear that a six-speed manual gearbox will also be available alongside the usual eight-speed paddle-shift automatic.
The M2 Competition will have a bit more power still, possibly edging towards the 430bhp mark if BMW mirrors the gap between the standard and Competition versions of the M3 and M4. The brand may even produce a replacement for the track-focused 444bhp M2 CS, which was the most powerful road-going M2 so far.
To control the extra power, BMW will make a few changes to the platform. The firm engineers will widen the coupe’s track, add some extra braces to reduce chassis flex, bolt on some larger brakes and fit an M Sport rear differential as standard.
The suspension will be upgraded, too – and the brand’s engineers have two options to pick from here. Choices include the firm’s stroke-dependent mechanical dampers, tuned to match the M2’s stiffer and wider chassis, or M Sport adaptive electromechanical dampers.
New 2022 BMW M2: interior design
As well as gaining a new exterior design compared to the M240i, BMW will alter the M2’s interior design to distance the car from its more mainstream sibling.
Our spy photographers have also seen inside the new M2, revealing that BMW will equip the coupe with its latest Curved Display iDrive set-up. That means the digital instruments and infotainment screen are joined together in one seamless display.
The rest of the cabin will get BMW’s classic M division touches, such as supportive bucket seats and a new sports steering wheel with two bright red M mode buttons, allowing the driver to quickly switch between two individually configured vehicle set-ups.
New 2022 BMW M2: prices and competitors
BMW isn’t expected to launch the new M2 until the end of 2022, and the car might not reach UK showrooms until the beginning of 2023, so pricing details still haven’t been confirmed.
Despite this, prices for the M2 Competition (which is the only model we’ll get here in Britain) are expected to start from around £60,000. That means the coupe will be able to compete with sports coupes such as the Porsche Cayman, as well as the new Audi RS 3 hyper hatch.
Now click here to read our review of the new BMW M3 Competition…