Video: The BMW M2 at the Testing at the ‘Ring

The M2 is easily the most anticipated production of 2015 from BMW for us and our readers. So when it turns a wheel at the Nurburgring, it’s worth watching.

As you can hear, under the M2’s hood, we’ll find the N55B30T0 inline six. An iteration of the N55, the N55B30T0 will be available as standard with a six-speed manual transmission, which is likely a variation of that found in the M3/M4 — which itself is a variation of the 1M unit. The biggest addition over the 1M will be an optional automatic transmission. Which automatic? We’d hope M will utilize the 7-speed DCT from the M3/M4 in the M2 to further distance it from the M235i and properly position it against its competition. But that ZF 8 speed is likely tempting from a cost vs performance standpoint for BMW.

Based on what we’re hearing from sources, we’re expecting the N55B30T0 to have an output around 355-365 hp. Power-to-weight-ratio that will be key in the M2. Despite the fact that the 2-Series is heavier than the 1-Series that came before it, we expect the M2 to be similar in weight to the 1M (3,296 lbs) if not less thanks to use of carbon fiber. Adding 25-35 hp and (likely) increased torque at that weight, the M2 should rocket to 0-60 faster than the 1M with the DCT. In fact, it ought to slot-in just under the M3 and M4 in regard to straight-line performance.

(Interesting side note. BMW M will be levering the N55B30T0 in the M Performance version of the X4: the X4 M40i.)

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Pricing.

Speaking of pricing, BMW NA has a hard act to follow with the 1M — a car which had an MSRP of $46,135 — which has had a massive value increase over the past three years. Currently, prices for low mileage cars are hovering between 60k and 70k (and some over). With only 740 cars imported to the US, you can expect a healthy market for years to come. This puts BMW NA in an interesting position. The M4 is priced at $64,200 on one side, and the M235i is at $43,100 on the other.

Given this, and a much healthier options list than with the 1M, we’d expect a base price of over $50,000 with options pushing potential prices over $60k.

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Technology, Light Weight Materials & Performance.

This is where things get interesting. BMW M looks for clear differentiators within its products. One of those is where and how it uses carbon fiber or CFRP. It’s an expensive material but has excellent weight saving properties. However sources are reporting that, due to cost and a need to separate the M2 from the M4, BMW M has nixed the carbon roof for the M2 along with other M4 like weight savings measures. What does that mean for curb weight? Given that the M2 will have extended bodywork, extra M specific plumbing and a much more robust suspension, outright weight reduction will be hard. In fact sources are telling us to expect a curb weight around 30 lbs lighter than the M4 which would bring it to 3,500 lbs exactly.

That figure would make the M2 204 lbs heavier than the 1M – a noticeable weight gain. Could that be right? Or could the final figure be closer to the relationship between the 1M and the 135i where BMW did shed some weight? More specifically BMWM stripped down the 1M to only 3,296 shaving off 77 lbs without the use of CF or CFRP. If they could match that in the M2 we’d be looking at a weight close to 3,423 and a full 100 lbs lighter than the 3,530 lbs M4.

Here’s the problem with that theory. The E82 1 Series chassis was designed in the early 2000s and didn’t have the weight savings techniques the F22 does today. The E82’s inefficiencies allowed M engineers to strip weight (a lot of it) out of the E82 before adding a bunch back in the form of the E92’s sub-frame, brakes diff and that wild body work. All of that work netted out with a 77 lbs weight loss. With the F22 2 Series employing more weight savings materials and design techniques it would be surprising if M could find that much weight to lose. In fact the more we think about it, that 3,500 lbs figure makes sense. M would still be dropping a healthy amount of weight before adding all the components that will make the F22 an M car. The net of that could very well be basically a wash with the M235i’s curb weight.

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Is that a bad thing? If you were hoping for 1M type of figures perhaps. There is simply no way the M2 will not weigh more than the 1M. And that difference could be substantial.

Still overall performance will undoubtedly be better. Extra power and torque (rumored to be around 365 hp and 380lb ft for the US) should more than make up the difference in final performance figures. And a stiffer chassis should help it at the track.

The potential concern we have is the extra weight combined to the EPS steering and larger size could make the M2 a more grown up version of the 1M. Or perhaps more a true junior M4. Is that a good thing or is that getting away from the original baby M car brief? Let us know in the comments below.

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Timing.

The M2 will make its public debut in LA this fall with production starting in November of 2015. Deliveries will began in December throughout western Europe and the UK. US production will begin in March of 2016 with deliveries in late April. Unlike the 1M, production will not be limited in any way other than production dates. In fact, if BMW NA can keep pricing in check as they did with the 1M, could BMW have a massive M car hit on its hands? One important note however. BMW M2 is internally listed to end production on 10/18 giving the car a two and a half year run. Double that of the 1M but much less than the 6-7 year model run of the M3 and M4.

Colors

Exterior colors will be Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic, Long Beach Blue metallic, Mineral Grey metallic. Reportedly inside you can get any color you like as long as it’s black leather with blue stitching. These options are of course inline with M’s philosophy on the 1M as well where there were three exterior colors and black with orange stitching inside.

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