What’s in the pipeline? It’s a question that many brand aficionados and automotive journalists alike ponder frequently. Now that the original M2 has been available for two years, and with the M2 Competition beginning to hit the streets in force, one might be left wondering what’s next in the high performance realm for BMW. We’re quite curious too, and have been hungry for more information ever since the internet caught wind of a particularly hardcore looking M4 variant tearing up pavement on and around the Nurburgring. The public is still waiting to find out more details about that particular F82, but with BMW having filed for patents that indicate the historical CSL suffix may soon be replacing the previous performance range-topping GTS, people have a pretty good idea of what’s to come, considering the M4 GTS was a single-year, limited-production special, and that the M4 CS has left room for a more potent caged and winged variant above it. (BMW CCA members who attended O’Fest might also recall a conversation about this new naming convention with BMW NA M Brand Manager Kevin Phillips. –Ed.)
So then, what’s on display in these photos? The M2 has already been replaced in its only available form by the M2 Competition, but competition-branded models are typically oriented to slot below the more track-ready CS (competition sport) cars, and don’t forget the potential for an ultra-sharp CSL. Off hand, there are a number of indicators that the captured vehicle might be a prototype of the former. Aggressive aero is obvious from first glance, but the front splitter looks a bit recognizable in that it resembles the shape of the carbon fiber M Performance version. The rear end is balanced nicely with another spoiler primary mounted on the trunk lid, and once again, the general shape follows that of the M Performance tailgate, but the rest of the carbon fiber construction appears absent, which leaves the M4 CS as the only other reference point. Large, familiar looking Y-spoke wheels barely clear what look like M Carbon Ceramic brakes and their signature gold calipers, which are not available to the public on any form of M2 as of this writing. Tires also resemble Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber, some of the most aggressive street-legal original equipment on the market.
The M Performance parts catalog for the M2 Competition also includes a carbon fiber hood and roof, and both of these panels appear to be wrapped in the same material as the splitter in the photos. Nonetheless, there are still a number of other parts absent, like the carbon fiber kidney grille, side skirt extensions and mirror caps. Side gills are the same design used on the M2, but appear masked with tape, although they could also be the the carbon fiber M Performance versions as well. Speaking of tape, the rear end is also wearing some, more specifically on the diffusor which, like a few other items, follows the design of the available M Performance replacement, as well as the version fitted to the M4 CS. Interestingly enough however, the exhaust largely resembles the large and likely heavy factory unit used for the detuned S55 engine in the M2 Competition.
While there are plenty of similarities with the M Performance parts catalog on display here, it’s the inconsistencies and careful selection of modifications that seem to stand out the most. By and large, the summary of changes seems to largely mirror that of a potential CS variant. For those in need of a refresher, we’ll revisit our summary of how the BMW M lineup might look in a few years:
If everything falls in line as is expected, the CSL badge will completely replace GTS in the lineup as the absolute most hardcore road-legal variant of M car available. Below these winged and caged models are the CS, or Competition Sport variants, which are marketed just above Competition Package-equipped versions of the garden-variety M3 and M4. Rounding things out are the regular M cars, like the M3 or M5, along with M Performance models, such as the M240i or M550i, which seem to represent entry-level M-badged offerings above M Sport Line-trimmed standard models. It’s a lot to digest with a few sentences, but each tier is delineated by clear boundaries that easily distinguish it for a specifically targeted market segment.
With all of this in mind, and in addition to the carefully chosen assortment of rather subtle yet specialized parts that strike a nice balance for a car that will still spend most of its time on public roadways, this certainly looks like an M2 CS. Clearly something to be excited about, we can’t wait to see how the incredibly fast M2 Competition has been further honed for performance. —Alex Tock
[Photos via Evo Magazine.]