A full year ahead of launch a few European journalists have found their way behind the wheel of the all new 2024 BMW M2. Early returns sound promising but clearly this is a car that has grown up – for better or worse.
We’re going to focus on the Autocar first drive as its the best we’ve seen in terms of getting to the heart of what we care about – vehicle dynamics and performance. Autocar starts its description by talking about platforms which we agree is a crucial starting point in understanding the differences between this M2 and what came before it. One thing that’s immediately clear – this is a larger, heavier car than the M2 and certainly the 1M before it. Based on the CLAAR platform that underpins everything from the 3 to the 7, M engineers had some serious hurdles to overcome. So let’s cut to it and hear from M Division Project Dynamics Manager Sven Esch (via Autocar) on their approach.
“We knew the (new) platform would bring some added size and weight,” explains M Division project dynamics manager Sven Esch, “and we had to decide very early on whether to fight with that weight at every stage, sacrificing many things in order to deliver the lowest figure we could; or to accept and work with it, and simply to use the best technology at our disposal to maximise the car’s performance across the board.”
“In the end, it was an easy decision. On one path, you have to accept many compromises, and in many ways you know that the car you’re developing could offer more. On the other, you get so many benefits in a stronger, faster, more advanced, composed and complete product, with only one trade-off.”
What we have here is a car that looks to be closer to an M4 in size and weight with a modern drivetrain and plenty of tech. The engine is the same S58 in the current M4 leveraging the standard tuning with 444 bhp. Crucially that tuning allows the use of the Getrag six speed manual making this the driver’s car many of us have been waiting for. Even better it’s only available in rear wheel drive form.
While it may seem on paper like a smaller M4, there’s more changes under the skin. The steering, rear differential and DSC all are uniquely calibrated to get the most out of the 10.1 cm taken out of the wheelbase. Interestingly M has only change the coil spring at the front (it’s firmer for sharper turn-in) and slightly softened the rear spring for more agility mid-corner. In another interesting move M has taken the updated adaptive dampers from the forthcoming M3 Touring which replacing some of the lateral support that the softer rear spring gives up.
Early returns are somewhat expected. This is less on edge than the previous M2 Comp and miles away from the 1M. Yet it’s also more capable and still engaging in ways you’d expect from the M Division.
One final interesting observation. While the car is heavily camouflaged, it’s clear that M designers have taken a more restrained, functionally drive approach to the exterior design over the M4. In other words it would appear the M2 will have less of those faux vents and defusers and a more functionally driven design elements.
You can read the entire review at Autocar.