BMW unveiled the new 2 Series at the beginning of the month and it didn't take too long for the M2 to partially leak online. Originating from China, photos of the high-performance coupe's front bumper emerged on social media days after the 2er's debut. Some people – including yours truly – had doubts about the authenticity of those images since the front grille design was substantially different compared to the regular 2 Series Coupe.

As it turns out, those pics depicting the front fascia of the G87-generation M2 were accurate since our spies have just spotted the speedy coupe with exposed kidneys. Much like the 3 Series Saloon has a different grille design compared to the M3, it would appear BMW will be going down the same road to create a visual distinction between the 2 Series Coupe and the range-topping model. However, the 4 Series Coupe shares the controversial grille with the M4 Coupe, so design consistency doesn't seem to be a top priority for BMW.

Gallery: 2023 BMW M2 spied with exposed grille

Proving that it's still hip to be square in 2021, BMW is preparing some rather chunky air intakes for the M2 to go along with a more angular take on the front grille. We're getting the impression the headlights are also different compared to those of the new 2 Series Coupe, although it could be the camouflage playing tricks on us.

The typical M mirrors similar to those of the M240i are visible on this prototype, as is the boot lid spoiler akin to the M Performance model. The quad exhaust tips denote this 2 Series Coupe sits at the top of the food chain, as do the large wheels and lowered sports suspension. While this prototype didn't have a carbon roof, we're expecting hotter M2s to offer this option to shave off weight and lower the car's centre of gravity.

Images of the interior are not available in this new batch, but we're keeping our hope alive there's a stick shift in there since none of the other 2 Series Coupe flavours have a manual transmission. The rumours say BMW will offer the new M2 with a three-pedal setup and a RWD-only arrangement. It is believed the turbocharged inline-six (detuned S58) will pump out 490 bhp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) before the engineers up the ante with hot derivatives like an M2 Competition.

2023 BMW M2 new spy photo (interior)
2023 BMW M2 new spy photo (interior)

Aside from the different front end and the extra oomph compared to the 2 Series, the M2 will also have a different dashboard layout by adopting the side-by-side screen setup seen in larger BMW models. This isn't speculation on our part as recent spy shots (see above) depicted a test vehicle with the slightly curved glass panel housing the pair of displays for the iDrive 8 setup.

It will be a long wait for the new M2 since we're hearing production won't start until December 2022. BMW is expected to unveil the car a few months earlier, but customer deliveries are unlikely to begin before 2023. European-market cars are said to come from the Leipzig factory in Germany whereas the US-spec M2 will allegedly be manufactured at the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico where the normal 2 Series Coupe is built. For the first time, the M2 is said to come in fancy Individual colours.