The Evolution Of The BMW M2 From 2016 to 2024 - SUV VEHICLE

The Evolution Of The BMW M2 From 2016 to 2024



  • The BMW M2 has evolved from its debut in 2016 to become a competitive and sleek sports car in the M range.
  • With updates like the M2 Competition and M2 CS, BMW has continually improved the performance and design of the M2.
  • The second-generation BMW M2 is the last to feature a pure combustion engine, making it a significant model in the transition to electric power.

Throughout BMW’s history, the M badge has allowed the Munich-based brand to compete at the pinnacle of the performance car scene, with its models stretching across multiple segments. Starting with the M1 back in 1978, the first road-going BMW M car, we’ve been treated to countless trend-setting grand tourers, sedans, wagons, and SUVs that turn the heads of every BMW rival. With the M3, M4, and M5 being the cars that grabbed the attention, the 2016 model year introduced a new model to the M range, the compact M2 sports car.

The M2 quickly became a favorite within the community, with its impressive performance, sleek design, and more affordable price, making it a serious opponent to the existing compact sports cars. Since its initial release, BMW has continued to evolve and refine the M2, turning it into one of the most competitive new cars in its segment this year. Here’s a detailed look at the history of the BMW M2 from 2016 to 2024.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from BMW and other authoritative sources, including Car And Driver and CarBuzz.

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The First Generation M2 F87

The model in question that kickstarted the M2’s legacy hit the roads in 2016, with the first-generation F87 debuting at the Detroit Auto Show. Anticipation for the M2 was growing more robust as the reveal neared, and the official reveal most definitely lived up to the expectations for the new M car. Combining the best elements of different BMW models, the 2016 M2 was an ideal base for expanding the nameplate.

Its updated, attractive design style initially attracted the M2’s attention, introducing a new, improved aero package and an overall wider, imposing stance. The ’16 M2 was 80 millimeters wider than the 2 Series due to the larger front and rear bumpers. Wider wheel arches also came with the M2, which makes a huge difference despite only a minor design tweak.

Setting A New Standard

The BMW 2 Series was already in production by 2016, with the first generation released in 2013. The idea behind the 2 Series was to offer a similar experience to the larger models combined with the practicality of the 1 Series, inspiring BMW to do the same for the M range. Despite being identical in proportions to the base 2 Series, the power saw sizable changes in the first-ever M2 to justify the extra money.

In 2016, the best non-M performance BMW 2 Series you could buy was the M235i, which at face value shares similar characteristics with the M2. While this is true for parts such as the engine, with both models featuring a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, the M2 came with plenty of upgrades to set it apart truly. The M235i started at $45,100, and the M2 started at $52,695, which was not a big jump at all.

As for power output, the M235i produced 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, whereas the M2 increased to 365 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Some upgrades that led to the sizable power output improvement for the M2 included the same pistons and crankshaft bearings from the larger M3 and M4 models, an upgraded oil sump system, and improved cooling. Subsequently, the M2 could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds.

Falling Only Slightly Behind The M3 and M4

Gray 2018 BMW M3 CS

Although not quite beating out its larger M counterparts in 2016, the M2 still managed to creep up behind the existing flagship M3 and M4 models. It wasn’t expected that the M2 would match the power output of the larger models, with both the 2016 M3 and M4 producing 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque as standard.

However, those who have driven the ’16 M2 applaud it for better handling, thanks to its smaller body. Some owners complained about the size of the M4, and thanks to the M2 receiving the M4’s suspension components, the compact sports car managed to hit the ground running within the M performance range.

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Introduction Of The M2 Competition In 2018

In 2018, the first major update for the BMW M2 was introduced as the M2 Competition, which improved almost every aspect of the base-level first-generation model. The previously mentioned M3 and M4 received the same package in 2016, making it only a matter of time before the all-new entry into the M range would also reap the benefits.

Taking Performance To The Next Level

As the package’s name suggests, the ’18 BMW M2 Competition took the smallest model in the M range to new territory. Using a new 3.0-liter inline-six as the base model, the M2 competition bumped the power output to an awe-inspiring 410 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It was priced only $3,900 more than the base M2 at an overall starting MSRP of $58,900 in 2018. This new engine was taken straight from the M3 and M4 but was slightly turned down.

Additional performance upgrades also came with the ’18 M2 competition, most notably with the brakes. The brakes’ size increased for the M2 Competition, which BMW named the M Sport Brake System Red. These new brakes came with internally ventilated and perforated rotors with aluminum front calipers. The suspension and rear differential were also enhanced for the M2 Competition, aiming for a more responsive and confident feel around the track.

Updates To The M2’s Design

Although the appearance updates weren’t quite as significant as the performance upgrades for the 2018 M2 Competition, the subtle changes were more than enough to once again separate the new variation of the compact sports car from the rest of the pack. The larger front bumper side vents instantly catch the eye, with their purpose being to feed more air into the new and improved cooling system. In addition to the more oversized intakes, the iconic kidney grille grew and was painted black.

The grille wasn’t the only element of the M2 Competition that received a fresh coat of paint. The four exhaust tailpipes came in chrome black to be the cherry on top of the car’s new exhaust system. An exclusive Hockenheim Silver exterior color was also available for the ’18 M2 Competition, honoring one of the most iconic racetracks in the world and a key testing ground for BMW.

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2019’s Track-Focused M2 CS

If the 2018 M2 Competition wasn’t radical enough, BMW decided to improve the M2 F87 again with the ’19 M2 CS. While the former model was geared for track use, the M2 CS quickly dethroned the M2 Competition for being the king of the compact M Performance sports car nameplate.

The M2 CS looks relatively the same from the outside, with only a few key differences, such as the huge hood vent and carbon fiber treatments to the rear aero package. However, it’s under the hood that the big gains were made to justify the whopping $83,600 starting price upon release.

Building Upon The M2 Competition’s Performance

While the M2 Competition took quite a few technical components from the M4, the 2019 M2 CS matched its larger counterpart in terms of performance by featuring the same engine as the M4 Competition. This allowed for a total power output of 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, turning the car into a proper track machine. Elements such as the suspension were again tweaked for better balance and sharper overall handling, along with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

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The Second Generation BMW M2

After six years with the first-generation M2, BMW unveiled the new face for the compact sports car, the second-generation G87 model. Introduced in 2023, the new M2 carries over into the 2024 model year without receiving any significant changes but is still one of the most potent M Performance cars that BMW currently offers.

The second generation BMW M2 is also one of the most significant M Performance models ever produced, with BMW CEO Oliver Zipse confirming that it’ll be the last to feature a pure combustion engine as the brand shifts focus entirely onto electric power. The brand recently announced that their Munich factory will exclusively produce electric vehicles from 2027 onwards, so we’ll still see this new iteration of the M2 shine for at least a few more years.

Revised Exterior Styling

Quite a lot has changed for the 2023/24 BMW M” compared to its predecessor, with the car’s exterior design being one of the areas that received a complete overall. Embracing a much more boxy, hard-edged design, the new M2 stands out among BMW’s extensive fleet more than ever, with its design also being one of the most controversial elements of the car.

The first aspect of the car you’ll notice is the much more prominent front grille, which, although it retains a similar shape to the older model, loses much of its curved philosophy to suit the new overall design style. The side panel of the ’23 M2 is much flatter than before, leading to the bulkier rear wheel arches. Moving to the rear, the design is much more complex than the first generation M2, receiving a broader, deeper bumper with wider air vents.

Moving Closer To The Larger M Performance Cars

2023 BMW M4 CSL

While the exterior design of the second-generation M2 was a cause for discussion, nobody could disagree with its blistering performance, which takes a big leap compared to the first-gen F87 model. The M2 comes with a refined 3.0-liter inline-six, capable of producing 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. As for speed, the M2 can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds.

Previous M2 models did manage to compete with the larger M Performance models, but not at the base level of the cars. However, this most definitely changes for 2024, with the BMW M4 producing 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Despite being $16,895 cheaper than the M4, the second-generation BMW M2 further cements itself as one of the best M Performance models currently in production, based on the framework set by the first-ever M2 back in 2016.


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