Detroit LIVE: BMW M2

Powered by a turbocharged straight-six, the M2 is nearly as fast to 60 mph as a Porsche 911 Carrera S.

BMW's all-new 2016 M2 made its world debut in Detroit Monday. This track-focused version of the 2 Series coupe is the successor to the limited-edition 1 Series M.

Power for the M2 comes from an evolution of the turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine that's found under the hood of the M235i, the next model down in the lineup. Fitted with a number of M3/M4-sourced components, the mill is tuned to make 365 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 343 lb-ft. of torque from 1,400 to 5,560 rpm, though an overboost function can bump the torque output up to 369 lb-ft. for short bursts of time. By comparison, the M235i is rated at 322 ponies and 332 lb-ft. of twist.

The six spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. A quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox controlled by shift paddles is available at an extra cost, but, unsurprisingly, the rumors that claimed all-wheel drive would be offered as an option weren't true.

The M2 sprints from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds when it's fitted with three pedals. Selecting the dual-clutch lowers the 0-to-60 time to 4.2 seconds, a figure that makes the M-tuned 2 nearly as fast as a Porsche 911 Carrera S. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph regardless of which transmission is chosen. High-performance brakes and a sport-tuned suspension help the driver make the most of engine's grunt both on and off the track.

A long list of aluminum components -- including many of the parts that make up the suspension system and the 19-inch wheels -- are fitted to keep the coupe's weight in check. As a result, the M2 tips the scale at 3,450 pounds with a six-speed manual and 3,505 pounds with a seven-speed dual-clutch.

Looking the partVisually, the M2 immediately stands out from the 2 Series on which it's based thanks to a more aggressive-looking body kit that includes a deep front bumper with three large air dams, new side skirts, flared fenders on all four corners, a discreet trunk-mounted spoiler as well as a new rear bumper with an integrated air diffuser and quad exhaust tips. The body kit reduces drag by five percent and lift by 35 percent.

The cockpit gains sport seats for the front passengers, a M three-spoke steering wheel, a M2-specific instrument cluster with analog gauges and the obligatory sprinkling of M emblems scattered across the cabin. Carbon fiber trim on the dashboard and Alcantara upholstery on the door panels as well as around the parking brake lever add a premium touch to the cabin.

Buyers can choose from four exterior colors called Long Beach Blue metallic, Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic and Mineral Grey metallic, respectively. The seats are upholstered in black Dakota leather with blue contrast stitching regardless of which paint color is chosen.

The 2016 BMW M2 will go on sale this spring with a base price of $51,700. While the 1 Series M was a limited-edition model, BMW has hinted in the past that the M2 will join its lineup as a regular-production car.

Live photos by Brian Williams.

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