The 2023 BMW M2 will offer two model variants, a manual transmission and up to 320kW from a twin-turbocharged inline-six, new reports indicate.
British publication Autocar reports the next-generation M2 – due to enter production towards the end of 2022 – will switch to BMW's new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged 'S58' inline-six featured in the latest M3 and M4 mid-size cars, replacing the 'N55' and 'S55' turbo sixes used in various iterations of the outgoing M2.
Two states of tune are slated to be offered, as per the M2's larger siblings: a 'standard' model developing 306kW, and a range-topping Competition variant producing 321kW – notably more realistic figures than the 360kW quoted by overseas reports in recent weeks.
The figures are said to be "accompanied by a moderate lift in torque", with BMW sources telling Autocar a figure of up to 580Nm is on the cards.
MORE: 2023 BMW M2 spy photos
For reference, the original, N55-powered BMW M2 introduced in 2016 developed 272kW/465Nm (or 500Nm on overboost), increasing to 302kW/550Nm in the S55-driven M2 Competition in 2018, before rising to 331kW/550Nm in the limited-run M2 CS in 2020-21.
Autocar's claimed outputs put the new M2 a comfortable distance away from the 353kW/550Nm developed by the 'base' M3 and M4, as well as their 375kW/650Nm Competition range-toppers.
Drive in the new M2 will reportedly be fed to the rear wheels through a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission – the latter replacing the outgoing car's ageing seven-speed dual-clutch auto, the M2 being the gearbox's final application.
Despite the availability of a selectable M xDrive all-wheel drive system on the related M3 and M4, the new M2 will remain rear-wheel-drive-only – though power is set to be fed through an electronically-controlled locking M differential.
Under the skin is set to sit the latest iteration of BMW's shared CLAR platform, claimed to deliver a 40 per cent increase in body rigidity over its predecessor in standard 2 Series guise, and an even greater increase in M2 form thanks to unique front and rear strut braces.
Autocar reports reworked MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension designs will feature, the former reportedly allowing BMW M engineers to up the amount of front camber over the previous model. Adaptive dampers will reportedly be available as an option.
The M2 is said to benefit from the same dimensional increases as the new 2 Series on which it's based, which will feature a 51mm-longer wheelbase, and wider front and rear tracks. The M2 will also reportedly share the lesser M240i's 50:50 weight distribution.
On the styling front, the British publication reports an appearance "closely related" to the mid-tier M240i xDrive, with the M2 differentiating itself through a restyled lower front end with active cooling vents, a 'power dome' on the bonnet, a large rear lip spoiler, and an aggressive rear diffuser.
Blistered and enlarged wheel arches will reportedly make space for alloy wheels up to 20 inches in diameter.
Above and bottom: The outgoing BMW M2, in swansong CS guise.
An optional 'M Carbon' package is slated to be offered, adding carbon-fibre finishes to the roof, mirror caps and other styling elements – though the flagship M2 Competition is said to score the carbon-fibre roof as standard.
While not detailed in the Autocar report, BMW insider and BimmerPost forum member ynguldyn claims the new i4 and iX electric vehicles' twin-screen dashboard will be standard in the new M2 from 'day one'.
Autocar claims the 2023 BMW M2 will go on sale in the UK by the end of 2022 – though other reputable BMW sources have pegged a December 2022 start-of-production date at BMW's plant in Mexico, translating to an early 2023 European launch.
Whichever timeline proves true, expect an Australian launch sometime in the first half of 2023.