CHATHAM, Mass. – Precision. The word perfectly describes the experience after a week securely planted within the aggressively bolstered sport seats of the 2023 BMW M2 coupe.
From the bright red brake calipers peeking through the 10 double spokes of the ebony wheels shod with fat, low-profile tires to the prominent wheel arches covering those wide rubber donuts to the deep chin spoiler to the hood bulge making room for the twin-turbocharged 453-horsepower engine, the M2 screams performance from all angles.
And the engineering within the coupe’s distinctive lines provide the precision – it goes when you press on the accelerator pedal; stops NOW when the brake pedal is depressed; reacts as soon as you begin moving the M carbon-reinforced steering wheel.
Inline six – a BMW tradition
BMW has produced a full range of motive power including engines and motors for motorcycles and airplanes but its inline six-cylinder gasoline-fueled engines remain a hallmark of the Bavarian automaker.
Equipped with what BMW calls M TwinPower Turbo technology, this 3.0-liter powerplant produces 406 pounds-feet of torque in addition to the 453 hp.
An extremely rigid crankcase, friction-optimized cylinder bores, a crankshaft drive with high torsional rigidity, and a forged crankshaft with lightweight design enhance the efficiency, power development, and high-revving nature of the engine. The core of the cylinder head is 3D printed, enabling a weight reduction in the component (compared to conventional designs) and optimized coolant-duct routing.
Two mono-scroll turbochargers supply compressed air to the combustion chambers. The turbocharging system also features an indirect intercooler and an electronically controlled wastegate. Other elements of M TwinPower Turbo technology include High Precision Injection with maximum pressure of over 5,000 psi, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS fully variable camshaft timing.
A six-speed manual or, as in the review model, an automatic eight-speed M Steptronic transmission puts the power to the rear wheels through the Active M Differential networked with DSC (dynamic stability control) to allow for precise amount of locking depending upon the driving situation.
A chassis equal to the engine with integrated braking system
The Adaptive M suspension features double-joint spring strut front axle in lightweight aluminum construction, M-specific kinematics and elastokinematics at the front and Adaptive M suspension with five-link axle in lightweight aluminum/ steel construction, rear-axle subframe with rigid bolted connection to the body, M-specific kinematics and elastokinematics in the rear.
In addition, there are electronically controlled dampers designed to maximize road contact and traction in all driving situations. The dampers are controlled with the help of sensors that constantly monitor body movements, the condition of the road, and steering adjustments.
The included braking system with adjustable (two settings) pedal feel and M Compound brakes contribute to the overall driving feel through its integration into systems like the M Drive Professional and M Traction Control which both contribute to allowing driver customization and more precise control.
Here is how BMW describes the performance of the M2’s brakes: “The integrated braking system erases speed with great precision. This system brings together the brake activation, brake booster, and braking control functions within a compact module. The required brake pressure is triggered quickly and precisely using an electric actuator. Here, the integrated braking system is fitted in an M-specific version that offers the driver two pedal feel settings, allowing them to choose between more comfort-oriented or very direct execution of brake pedal inputs in the M Setup menu.”
Luxury meets carbon inside
The BMW name means the M2 interior is filled with the latest technology, amenities and luxury married to performance features.
A 30-inch LCD display extends from behind the steering wheel, where one screen within the display includes the instrument-cluster information, while a second screen over the center of the dash shows infotainment – included standard navigation — and vehicle apps. system.
The latest version of BMW’s iDrive center-console-mounted rotary knob, steering-wheel controls and screen touch can all be used to select from the myriad of app choices to customize driving characteristics, infotainment choices, and vehicle settings.
In addition, center-dash switchgear allows for instantaneous adjustment of the dual-zone automatic climate control
The usual collection of leather seating surfaces, electrical seat adjustment and thorough infotainment sources are included.
A precisely crafted driver’s car
I have scratched the surface of the dynamic engineering pieces which are combined to produce the 2023 BMW M2. This is a terrific performance coupe, a true [ultimate] driving machine. It is not for everyone – the ride is not soft; the seats and the overall car is low and could be a challenge for some on ingress/egress; the rear seats are great for an extra jacket or sweatshirt.
The engine sings to you as it does its job and it does it immediately with a strong pull when you push on the go pedal, and the trunk will easily take your luggage and your partner’s for a weekend blasting through the Green Mountains of Vermont. And when you do, you will have a smile on your face.
To ensure getting the most from the M2, BMW offers a day of training at the BMW Experience ($2,500 option) which was part of the Carbon Package (option, $9,900) included on the review model. Other pieces within this package, the primary option on my ride, include M Carbon Roof, M Carbon Bucket Seats and carbon-fiber interior trim.
This driving competency comes with a price, a $62,200 base price and in this case $76,845 which includes the Carbon Package, some lesser options and a $995 destination charge. Not insignificant, but to achieve this level of precision requires high-end engineering devotion and expertise.