2023 BMW M2 Review: Pure und Simple Everytime

Clifford Chow

We put BMW’s smallest M car to the test, and quickly learnt that even with all of its new-age bells and whistles, it still is definitely built for the purist

2023 BMW M2

Price: S$507,888 with COE and VES
Two-door, small sports coupe, four seats
460hp, 3.0-litre petrol engine, VES TBC, 9.7L/100km

Ability to put a smile on your face
Well-sorted drive
There is a manual

Not a good idea as an everyday car

Photos: Clifford Chow


The previous BMW M2 first appeared back in 2016, as the replacement for the 1M. And right away, it was a massive hit. I had an opportunity to put the track both M2 Competition, and with its milder (previous-generation) M240i sibling through their paces, around Phillip Island Circuit in Melbourne, and would say that the harder I pushed each car, the clearer it became how different both these cars were. While the M240i held its own, it was in all intents still built to be a car for the road. The suspension, while firm enough to carve through a quick corner on normal days, was still in my opinion, too soft for the demands of a proper track day. Don’t get me wrong. It was still a great car to muck around with at the Australian circuit.

The M2 on the other hand, proved itself to be the absolute spitze of BMW M’s knowhow. That in-line six dug deeper, and the suspension could handle even more when slung around a bend. Behind the wheel, it is translated to knowing that you could whoop it much… much harder… which the small coupe happily obliged.

This blue car here is BMW’s new second-generation M2. Along with the M240i, BMW’s smallest PROPER M car, has also grown. It is longer by almost 120mm, and about 15mm wider. To keep the coupe’s centre of gravity down, the new M2 sports a carbon fibre roof. Interestingly, its design direction differs heavily from the M3 Competition and M4 Competition cars, where its front-end, with its squared kidney grille, is much easier on the eyes. Overall, it is well-proportioned, and there is a good deal of road presence from the small coupe. But damn! The Zandvoort Blue coat on this car, which is unique to the M2, probably is the most challenging colour to photograph.

If you were to find the dashboard familiar, it is lifted out of the facelifted 3 Series. Resting above the steering and air-conditioning vents, its single panel screen housing, which incorporates both the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display, has become a common design element found across the BMW model range. You can find this from cars like the i4 eDrive35, which Lionel took out recently, to the flagship 735i, which Derryn Wong thinks is Very Bloody Good. The brains behind the infotainment is BMW’s Operating System 8, which is among the best voice recognition systems out there. 

Like in the M3 and M4, you are able to set your drive modes easily, since the ‘Setup’ button, located on the centre console, provides direct access to your drive menu. The two ‘M’ preset buttons, located atop each spoke of the steering wheel, can be set to your favourite drive modes, for a quicker access. Other driver goodies include an M Drift Analyser and M Laptimer.

Interestingly, the M2 fills a small niche, since what is offered which is around the same footprint would differ quite a bit. There is the mad Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4Matic+, the Audi RS 3 with its one-bank half-V10 (both with east-west mounted engines, and which are derived from point A to B premium transport), and somewhere within this equation, lives a Porsche Cayman.

Under the power-domed bonnet, the biturbo in-line six, which is the same one which powers the M3 and M4, turns 460hp and 550Nm; and puts drive to the rear wheels via a ZF-derived 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. Driven in its softest ‘Comfort’ drive mode, the M2 feels civilised enough to ply the Orchard shopping belt without your spine snapping. The staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloys, coated in their respective 275/35 ZR19 and 285/30 ZR20 Michelins; together with dialled-down dampers, also offer a somewhat acceptable amount of damping on our roads which have repairs upon repairs.

I turn off onto the highway, and keep the drive mode dialled down. Right away, I am impressed with just how much torque there is available from low down. There is a sense that the M2 can pull an overtaking manoeuvre from almost any gear. That inline-six also delivers a smoothness which is quite difficult to match. However, after playing with the M2’s drive modes, I find that the milder of the two ‘Sport’ modes is the sweet spot for sportier driving on our roads. Over here, the engine’s response and suspension’s stiffness move up a notch, while the quicker steering and more “bitey” brakes play their part in keeping the drive nice n’ tight.

I like that you do not need to go into ‘Sport+’ to experience the best of the small coupe. When in ‘Sport’, simply lift-off the throttle, invoke exhaust burble, and go onto the brakes, trail into a bend, and then power out… You do not need to do a lot to know that the M2 absolutely feels the part… that it is designed to be an absolutely proper track machine. It feels superbly balanced, while the rear wheels and steering transmit blips on asphalt, into the cabin. Of-course if you are a keen driver, and if you’d like to make things more interesting, there is the M Traction Control, which you can dial up or down, to adjust for how much you’d like the car to “let go”.

However, I would stop short of saying that this could be your everyday car. It might be a total riot for the first few days, but over time, you would still want to sink into something a little more comfortable… which I feel is what the M3 and M4 are more capable of doing.

But again, this is a very special car. One which you could say would attract a niche… within a niche of buyers. At the time of writing, BMW’s smallest M car retails at $507,888, which is almost $110k less than the M3 and about $100k less than the M4. An M badge does not come cheap, but I can assure you that the M2, with all its mechanical whiz-bang, is bang-on once you pull out of the pit lane.


Drivetrain typePetrol engine
Engine2,993cc, inline 6, twin-turbocharged
Power460hp at 6250rpm
Torque550Nm at 2650-5870rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic
0-100km/h4.1 seconds
Top Speed250km/h
Fuel Efficiency9.7L/100km
VES BandC2
AgentEurokars Auto / Performance Motors Limited
PriceS$507,888 with COE


2 door Audi RS 3 bmw BMW M BMW M2 Coupe Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Singapore

About the Author

Clifford Chow

Lives to travel... there he goes again with his strange quirks, and ranting on about how diesels are underrated. Shifting Gears has to be One of the Top pleasures in life. IG:@thenewcarguy

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