Spotted for the first time bearing similar cab-backward proportions to today's car, the second-generation M2 coupé, which takes the internal codename G87, is scheduled to go on sale in the UK in 2022. It will bring with it a detuned version of BMW M’s latest six-cylinder petrol engine, sourced from the new M3 and M4.
Despite the heavy camouflage of this newly spotted prototype, it looks as if the M2 will feature angular front end styling influenced more by the Z4 and M8 than the controversially big-grilled M3 and M4. Flared arches, big performance wheels and a quad-exit exhaust will be the most obvious visual differentiators from the standard 2 Series, but upsized air intakes and aero-enhancing trim will likely complete the look.
This twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol unit, dubbed S58, replaces the similarly configured S55 used by the current M2 and promises the same high-revving characteristics, with a redline of 7200rpm.
Nothing is official at this early stage, but insiders hint that the S58 engine will be tuned to provide the new junior M car with at least 420bhp in standard form – a 16bhp increase over today’s M2 Competition – to top the 416bhp of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S.
Together with 406lb ft of torque, this should ensure off-the-line performance is on par with, if not better than, that of its predecessor, despite an incremental increase in weight due to slightly larger dimensions. Its 0-62mph time should be in the low four-second bracket and its top speed close to 175mph when configured with a final drive ratio similar to today’s M2.
Due to reach showrooms in 2021, the new 2 Series Coupé, known internally by the codename G42, takes a different technical route to the new 2 Series Gran Coupé by adopting the latest evolution of BMW’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform. This ensures the future M2 will have a similar mechanical layout to today’s model, with a longitudinal engine mounting instead of the transverse layout of its four-door M235i xDrive Gran Coupé sibling, which is based on BMW’s Front Architecture (FAAR) platform.
The adoption of the CLAR platform also future-proofs the M2, to an extent, by providing it with the basis for a 48V electrical architecture, which is crucial for such features as throttle-off engine idling, regenerative braking and the option of an electric boosting function.
The new M2 is expected to go without mild-hybrid electric boosting at launch. However, with BMW’s M division already well advanced on such a system for the S58 engine, it could be incorporated during the car’s planned seven-year life cycle.