The 2023 BMW M2: BMW’s Last Pure Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle
BMW has long bragged about being the ultimate driving machine. If you’ve driven any of their cars going back to at least the E36, you’d agree. There’s just something special about the feel of a BMW, especially the M-models. Go to drive a BMW M-anything that go drive the comparable Mercedes, Audi, Lexus or Cadillac, you’ll understand.
For many car enthusiasts, the purest form of that vision is a smaller sports car like the BMW M2 with a smooth inline-six, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. However, what the “ultimate driving machine” means will change markedly over the next decade — and BMW plans to evolve with it.
It’s no secret that BMW is overhauling the M2 for the 2023 model year. Now, the head of BMW’s M Division, Frank Van Meel, has told the German outlet Bimmer Today (first spotted by Motor 1) that the new M2 will be the M Division’s last purely internal-combustion model.
“The BMW M2 will definitely be a purist driving machine with its straight-six and rear-wheel drive. We will see increasing electrification in other vehicles, of course in different forms, starting with the 48-volt electrical system and plug-in hybrids to fully electric drives. From this point of view, the M2 will be the last M with a pure combustion engine drive and also without electrification scope such as a 48-volt on-board network,” Van Meel said (via Google Translate).
BMW abandoning the traditional concept of a purist sports car is not too surprising — especially if the bar for purity is not having even a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Broadly speaking, the combustion engine is on its way out. European Union lawmakers are in the process of banning combustion engines outright by 2035; some countries are planning pure combustion bans sooner. Where ICE engines do linger on, it’s likely to be with affordable vehicles; many of BMW’s main rivals like Mercedes, Audi and Lexus are pledging to go all-electric.
Besides, there isn’t another BMW M car that would make sense to update with a pure ICE powertrain. The M5 is reportedly going plug-in hybrid — and will need to do so to be on the cutting edge of performance. The M3 and M4 were recently overhauled, and should have quite a few more years left. It would be more surprising if the M division were planning to launch a new pure ICE car in the mid-to-late 2020s.
The 2018 BMW M2 has been known as a purist’s car. All business but still well-appointed. Its successor will be the end of the line.As regulations and restrictions tighten all over the world, along with deadlines set for selling fossil fuel-fed vehicles, the days of pure internal combustion engines are numbered. For BMW, electrification is already on the horizon, even for the revered M division headed by CEO Frank van Meel.
As regulations and restrictions tighten all over the world, along with deadlines set for selling fossil fuel-fed vehicles, the days of pure internal combustion engines are numbered. For BMW, electrification is already on the horizon, even for the revered M division headed by CEO Frank van Meel.