|2016 BMW M2. Photos courtesy of BMW.|
If you read nothing else about this car and just drool over the pictures, know this: It produces more torque than any M3 in history, it comes with a manual transmission and rev-matching, there's a fully-variable Active M Differential and it has an aluminum suspension.
Nestled under the hood is a potent 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine (yay!). The thing pumps out 365 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, with a redline of 7,000 rpm. The big takeaway is it packs more of a punch than the 1 M Coupe, which was a great performance car. When it comes to torque, there's 343 lb.-ft. available, which is plenty of twisting force to snap you back in the seats, plus that peak amount is available from a low 1,400 rpm all the way to 5,560 rpm. As has been the practice lately with BMW and other automakers, there's an overboost function that will temporarily increase torque output to 369 lb.-ft. of torque, but it's only available 1,450 to 4,750 rpm.
For those who are really into engine design, they should know this is an all-new design. It's made entirely of aluminum, which lends itself to better performance and efficiency. Engineers worked to optimize its thermodynamics. The closed-deck design is highly rigid, which allows for higher cylinder pressure and obviously better horsepower/torque figures. The configuration also means the water jacket for the cylinders is closed up top.
Some components were sourced from the M3 and M4, such as the crankshaft main bearing shells, the pistons, etc. You can find the turbo integrated into the exhaust manifold, all in the name of efficiency. Other efficient designs include the electric power steering drawing zero electricity when the car's traveling straight, brake energy regeneration, the oil pump being map-controlled and the coolant pump only running as needed.
BMW says that with the optional M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) and launch control turned on, the 2016 M2 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. If you want to row the gears yourself with the manual transmission, that time increases to 4.4 seconds, which is still great. You can go up to 155 in the car, thanks to electronic limits.
The M2 is definitely made for track days. Engineers used a second oil sump cover, plus a special suction system to ensure no oil starvation happens during hard braking or the car whipping around turns. An electrically controlled flap in the exhaust system helps maintain optimal back-pressure.
Another great piece of news is that the electronic helps don't take away all of the fun, when you want it. More specifically, the dynamic stability control works with M Dynamic Mode. Drivers can select Sport+ mode for track driving, which means electronic interventions come later and allow for more wheel slip, so you can drift it around corners on a track. At the same time, there are still the electronic helpers to prevent the car from careening out of control. You won't get monster drifts out of the M2, but you can do moderate drifts. This might not satisfy everyone, but it's better than the tech taking away all of the fun.
One of the best parts of the 2016 BMW M2 is that it looks great. This is a positive sign for BMW, and hopefully it's a taste of things to come.