If the recently announced 2023 BMW XM wasn’t your thing, perhaps the all-new second-generation 2023 M2 (G87) will be more your speed. It’s true that both the XM and new M2 are quick and powerful, but the similarities stop there. While BMW described the XM as a “lounge”, they describe the M2 as having “all the elements of a classic high-performance sports car”, with “compact dimensions, an inline 6-cylinder engine, a manual gearbox [option], and rear-wheel drive”. Check, check, check, check. BMW, you have my attention.

The G87 M2 has grown a little over its previous generation, as most vehicles do these days. At 180.3 inches long, 74.3 inches wide, and 55.2 inches tall, the G87 M2 is 4.1 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and 0.3 inches lower than the F87. It actually now has the same front and rear track widths as the M4. The G87 M2 weighs in at 3,814 pounds when equipped with a manual transmission, slightly more with the eight-speed automatic. That’s about 200 pounds heavier than an F87 M2, but to put this in perspective with BMW M’s other new release, the XM, the G87 M2 is about 2,200 pounds lighter. That’s almost a whole E30’s worth of weight savings.

Because the M2 doesn’t eclipse 6,000 pounds like the XM, it doesn’t need over 600 horsepower to break the four-second zero-to-sixty barrier. The G87’s turbocharged inline six-cylinder S58 engine produces 453 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 406 pound-feet of torque from 2,650 to 5,870 rpm. That edges out the previous M2 CS by about ten horsepower. The eight-speed auto does have the acceleration advantage here, but some of us are willing to live with a 0.2 second slower car to enjoy the additional involvement of a manual transmission. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the ZF8 transmission as it’s one of the more engaging and performant automatics on the market today.

To make that power reliably and consistently, the G87’s S58 engine comprises “an extremely rigid crankcase, friction-optimized cylinder bores, a crankshaft drive with high torsional rigidity, and a forged crankshaft with lightweight design,” says BMW. Additionally, there are track-spec cooling and oil supply systems, which according to BMW, consist of “an oil sump with two separate chambers and an additional suction stage allowing the map-controlled oil pump to keep lubricant flowing reliably even under high lateral and longitudinal acceleration loads.”

As the M2 is a proper M car, in addition to engine performance, it receives unique M touches for the exterior, chassis, and interior. As we’ve seen on the camouflaged prototype and now from the press photos, the new M2 has wide sculpted fenders to fit over its wider track. The front bumper has large intakes used to cool both the powertrain and the brakes. Above those functional bumper intakes, resides individual headlights, which BMW says is a throwback to the 2002’s single circular headlights. The rear bumper of the M2 houses an inset stack of vertical reflectors and the expected quad exhaust. Another unique M touch is an optional carbon fiber roof, which further lowers the weight (and center of gravity) of the car.

Underneath the G87’s bodywork, there are a number of M-specific bracing and chassis components. BMW has incorporated M2-specific links connecting the individual front strut towers, the nose, and the bulkhead. Also in the front, attachments at the A-pillars connect to other bracing in the engine bay to further stiffen the chassis. At the rear C-pillar, furtherM2-specific reinforcements have been added.

 

Like the rest of the G87 M2, the not-a-lounge interior is performance focused. Buyers have the option of upgraded M Sport seats with larger stock bolstering, or upgrading to the M Carbon buckets, which are part of the M2’s Carbon package. The Carbon package also includes carbon fiber interior trim and the aforementioned carbon fiber “slicktop” roof. All G87 M2s come standard with a driver-centric large curved screen that has special M content, like the integrated M Laptimer and M Drift Analyzer. This would also be the place you can set up the M Traction Control system’s ten stages of DSC intervention. Only ten stages? They really missed an opportunity here and could have gone to eleven.

For all of the critics of the XM, is the 2023 G87 M2 a beacon of hope? How does it measure up to your expectations in terms of looks and performance? If you think seeing it in person would make your decision easier, how does later this week sound? Both the XM and the M2 will be on display for the M Anniversary Celebration at BMW at BMW CCA and BMW NA events in South Carolina. If you like what you see, BMW has announced the base price will be $62,200 (plus a $995 destination charge). They’ll be produced at the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico with an expected launch in April of 2023. —Mike Bevels

[Photos courtesy of BMW.]

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