The Disappointing Reality of the 2023 BMW M2
Cars are always getting bigger. For whatever reason, that is an indisputable fact. With the exception of the Mazda Miata, every sports car has gained both weight and size with every update. The 2023 BMW M2 is no exception. And while, objectively, the new M2 is excellent, for BMW purists this sports car falls short of its predecessor.
How does the new BMW M2 compare to the old one?
On the stat sheet, the 2023 BMW M2 is miles ahead of the old car. The BMW TwinPower turbocharged six-cylinder engine now makes 453 horsepower and 406 lb. ft. of torque. The old car shares the same torque figure, but with nearly 50 fewer horsepower than the updated model.
But there’s a problem.
In addition to the added horsepower, the newest BMW M2 also gained weight. A lot of weight. According to BMW, the newest model weighs in at 3,814 pounds. That’s 214 more than the previous M2 Competition, the last version of the F-Series M2 sold in 2021.
In turn, straight-line performance between the two cars is nearly identical. The 2023 M2 with a six-speed stick takes 4.0 seconds to get to 60 mph, while the previous M2 Competition took 3.9. And it’s a similar story with the auto ‘boxes, where the new car hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds versus 4.1 ticks with the old car.
In addition, the updated car uses 20-inch wheels with lower-profile rear tires, while the front tires are wider, but with the same sidewall and wheel size as the old car. Dynamically, that makes the ride harsh with little appreciable uptick in grip. In fact, even with an added 20 mm of rear tire width, the lower sidewall means the new M2 doesn’t offer the same confidence-inspiring balance of the M2 Comp.
In-car tech is a letdown
It’s not just the added weight and unnecessary wheel size that makes the new M2 a letdown. The in-car tech seems to be ever at odds with the idea of going fast. There is no better example of this than the lane-keep assist, which defaults to on every time you turn on the car. And note I said lane keep assist, and not lane departure warning. The latter is irritating, but the former actively works against you as you, say, swing toward the white line to enter a corner or cut toward the center line at the apex. (Note: We’re all for having fun in your cars, but crossing painted lines on an open road is always a bad idea)
Before you’ve even come close to crossing a line, the M2 will see that you’re heading toward it and try to steer against you. In a performance car, that should absolutely NOT be the default setting.
Then there is the iDrive system, which is, while incredibly deep, also incredibly infuriating. Even making simple adjustments will find you poring through layers of menus. And while the updated iDrive 8.5 system may help, it isn’t in the M2 as of yet.
The 2023 BMW M2 is a compromise in all the wrong ways
From the added weight to the incredible sound isolation (Straight-six turbo noises, where are you!?) and the annoying tech, the newest BMW M2 is, in many ways, a downgrade from the last car.
In a vacuum, the newest M2 is great! But when looking at where it comes from, it’s clear that this beloved sports car is getting the same oversized GT treatment as the M3 did 20 years ago. Seriously…if you want a fast, comfortable BMW, just get the M4 and leave the tiny 2 Series alone.