2023 BMW M2 Review: One For The Purists

Barely a few months after its global debut the new generation of BMW M2 has made its way to India, and it is the first car from the brand with a manual gearbox in our market. We drive

By Shams Raza Naqvi


7 mins read


01-Jun-23 12:00 PM IST



  • The new M2 is the first manual from the brand in India
  • It is the last M car from BMW with an internal combustion engine
  • Expected Price of the car is Rs. 1 crore, ex-showroom

The most powerful letter is back in a new avatar. The most affordable or shall we say the most basic M car from BMW, the M2 was launched globally earlier this year. The first generation of the 2 series-based sportscar was on sale for a good 7 years and in the process became the most successful offering from BMW M by selling over 60,000 units globally. 



This new gen promises to be a more advanced version in almost every way. The new M2 has now come to India, and the most special thing about it is that it’s the first manual from the brand in our market. 



It is the last time we’re seeing an M car with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).


For years enthusiasts and those who follow the brand BMW in India have waited for a car like this. It isn’t that we’ve got a car from BMW M for the first time here, but all of these were automatics or at best came with paddle shifts, while the new M2 with its manual gearbox starts a phase that will be welcomed by the purists. Getting straight to the gearbox, it is really a different and unique experience and as expected it is fast, agile and quick. The gearshifts are really slick, but they are not as smooth but quite notchy which you like looking at the character of this car. It is difficult to find faults with the gear ratios and the gear spread is matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.


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A never before seen feature on a BMW in India.


The response is anything but sluggish and the engine here revs to a maximum of 7,000 rpm while the power delivery is surprisingly linear. The torque band is wide enough and if you love to drive you wouldn’t have it any other way from this rear-wheel drive and twin-turbo setup. The 2,993 cc V6 Petrol makes 455 bhp @ 6,250 rpm along with 550 Nm @ 2,650 – 5.870 rpm and apart from this 6-speed manual you also have the option of an 8-speed Automatic. A 6-cylinder unit is something not really seen in the segment and that just enhances the overall performance of the machine.


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Top Speed on the new M2 is limited electronically to 250 kmph.


All the BMW MGMBH motorsport experience is on display when you get behind the wheel of the M2. This pocket rocket with its high-revving nature races to 100 kmph in around 4.3 seconds while the 8-speed M steptronic transmission is slightly quicker at 4.1 secs. As with many other cars top speed is limited electronically to 250 kmph, but if you do choose to buy the optional M Driver's Package it can go up to 285 kmph. And what is BMW M without that sweet sound of the exhaust? The M specific system is music to the ears once the throttle is pressed hard. 


Ride & Handling

The adaptive M suspension is a standard feature on the M2. 


Electronically controlled dampers on the car ensure maximum possible road contact and good traction at all times.The Active M differential at the rear axle also plays an important part here. It works with dynamic stability control system and uses sensors to provide varied grip levels to different wheels which just enhances the experience of the driver specially while taking fast corners. The degree of lock depends on a range of factors and the car adapts to your driving style to ensure a more engaging feel. 


Also Read: New BMW 5 Series Debuts With Refreshed Looks, New Tech

New M2 also gets a gear shift assistant feature.


This is a manual of course and that's new for us but you do get that quintessential BMW sporty drive you’re looking for in the new M2, but you can also do is choose different settings for different parameters in the car. So, for the engine, chassis and steering you can choose from different settings, from efficient to comfort to sport. And then you can get a more comfortable drive or a sportier drive depending upon your requirement. The sport setting on the steering suits the character of the car more and while it requires some extra effort to turn it, the overall experience is more precise. There is also a gear shift assistant in this manual version of the car, what it does is that when you are downshifting quickly say on a fast corner, the system comes into play to add you in doing it in a better, quicker way.



The new M2 gets various drive modes like Road, Sport & Track. 


The M2 to comes with many Advanced Driver Assistance Systems which come in handy both in traffic and on empty roads. There are different modes here where the involvement of these ADAS functions comes down. So, you have the road mode, but you press the button on the centre console, the M mode button, then you can switch to the Sport mode or the Track mode where the number of ADAS functions reduce. In fact, in the track mode ADAS gets completely switched off. 


Also Read: BMW Launches Refreshed Z4 M40i Drop-Top In India; Priced At Rs 89.30 Lakh

Specifically for the track the car also gets a lap timer. 


In Sport and track modes the content on cluster and head up display is reduced which is a nice touch. Specifically for the track the car also gets a lap timer along with a M drift analyser which oversteers deliberately to help the driver drift better. You also have a lot of settings of traction control and how much involvement do you want of the system in your car, depends on if the dynamic stability control feature is on or off. Once it is off you can set multiple levels of traction control. Talking about breaking you get 380 mm disc on the front and slightly smaller 370 mm one at the rear. Using the integrated braking system, you can choose how you want to apply brakes – in a direct execution or in a more comfort-oriented way. 



The retro look of the kidney grille stands out on the exterior. 


The M2 looks equally menacing even when it is stationary. It is 119 mm (4,580 mm) longer, 33 mm (1,887 mm) and 7 mm (1,403 mm) lower. The wheelbase too has gone up by a good 54 mms (2,747 mm) and track widths have also increased. The frameless kidney grille, muscular wheel arches or the frameless doors are some design highlights while adaptive LED headlights are available as an option. That is also the case with these red brake calipers and the carbon fibre roof. 

The rear of new M2 looks particularly attractive when compared to earlier.  


The rear is particularly attractive with its sloping roofline, M exhausts, a nice looking spoiler and the diffuser. 19-inch wheels on the front and 20-inch ones on rear are standard though you have the option of upgrading them. The Alpine white solid is one of the 5 colour options you can choose on the car.


Tech & Interior

BMW curved display finds a place on the new M2.


Take a closer look at the cabin and here too you find significant differences when compared to the previous generation. Clearly the M elements stand out here. Almost everything here just points to one thing that you're going to have a great driving experience even before you start driving the car. The M Sport seats are high on quality and a lot of places you get carbon fibre finish. 

M Sport seats are high on quality.


The big, curved display on the dash is something we are used to seeing it on various other cars from the brand, the M2 also gets it. The second row isn’t very generous on space, but the front seats do slide forward to provide an easier access for the occupants. The new M2 gets a boot space of 390 litres. 



New M2 car could start at just under Rs.1 crore, ex-showroom. 


This new BMW is a package that is so well put together that it’s difficult to not get by enamoured by it. It’s a car that doesn’t intimidate you, in fact it gives you the confidence to drive hard and aids you in many ways without you even realising it. It is a lovely addition to the brands portfolio here in India, and despite being from the performance division comes across as a car that will add fair value to your garage. The launch is not too far away and the car could start at just under Rs.1 crore, ex-showroom. 




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