The 2023 BMW M2 Comes in Two Engaging Flavors: But Should You Get the Manual or Auto?

Which one would you buy?

2023 bmw m2 manual automatic first drive review

The all-new 2023 BMW M2 is a 453-horsepower pocket rocket sports coupe that comes in two dynamic and engaging flavors. You can get it with either a good-old 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Which one is best for you? I drive both of these to see which one is my favorite.

The second-generation M2 grows in size a bit. It’s a little longer and wider than before. It has a little more space inside it, but it maintains a wheelbase that is shorter than that of the larger BMW M4. Under the hood is a gem of an engine. It’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged S58 inline-6 engine that is turned to 453 horsepower in the M2. Yes! This engine revs high and revs quickly.

Manual transmissions are making a bit of a resurgence. The 6-speed manual in the new M2 is one of the best. It’s very smooth and easy to shift gears. The car offers an automatic rev-matching feature that you can turn off if you want to heel-toe drive yourself. I found myself leaving the automatic rev-match enabled. It made me feel like a great performance car driver, even though I am not one.

The M2 with the automatic transmission is a whole different animal. For one, it accelerates significantly quicker at 0-60 MPH than the manual car. I used a Dragy GPS device I was able to get the M2 auto to 60 MPH in 3.7 seconds with a 1-foot rollout. This was 0.5 seconds quicker than my best 0-60 MPH attempt in the manual car. The automatic transmission also makes the car feel more on edge and a little more raw.

There is no cost difference between the two transmission options. The 2023 BMW M2 starts at $62,200 plus destination charges. This is a tough choice! Both cars are very fun in their own way. In the end, I would personally choose the 6-speed manual. It makes for a super fun and engaging daily driver (even in traffic). If I wanted to do a track day on a semi-regular basis – then I would choose the M2 with the automatic.

My 0-60 MPH video comparison and deep dive videos are available to watch below: