As an avid E46 M3 owner that loves drinking the BMW kool-aid, I am eagerly awaiting the M2 like most BMW fans that are yearning for a product reminiscent of the brands highest peak. Sure BMW sells more cars now than they did in the 90's and early 2000's but few will say that the BMW's being sold today are more Ultimate DRIVING Machines than the likes of the E46, E39, E34, E38, and the hallowed E30.
Granted times have changed significantly since those oh-so-awesome heydays, but every once in a while BMW throws the enthusiast (that helped build their brand into a juggernaut) a bone, the E86 M-coupe, the 1M, and now the M2. Our chances of ever getting another high strung naturally aspirated motor in an M-car are now slim to none. In my opinion the 1M was the perfect candidate to give a send-off to a ///M touched NA six-cylinder but was stuffed with a slightly breathed on motor from a 335i, for lack of better words an utter disappointment (it still is a great car though).
With that we are now at my point of contention with the M2 and the rumors swirling about its power plant. It seems that the enthusiast M-car will be powered by a detuned M3/4 mill. The S53 is a great motor for the M3/4 but do I think it's a great motor for the M2? No...I don't. The goal of the M2 is to bring a true M-car to the mid price range while the M3/4 have moved into the upper-mid. I understand that this means a lot of parts developed for the M3/4 are probably going to be re-used on the M2 to drive costs down, this makes a lot of sense. But I hate to think that the heart and soul of the M2 is a neutered version of the motor powering its bigger siblings, it needs its own identity.
What I think needs to be sending glorious horsepower and torques to the rear wheels of the M2, is a turbocharged inline 4. BMW already makes a very potent turbocharged four banger, why not let the ///M division have a little fun with it? With the rule changes in DTM and Super GT BMW will have to produce a racing engine that is a turbocharged 4. While the motors wouldn't necessarily have too much in common it would be great for BMW to tout in the marketing and advertising of the M2. And it would give the M2 its own identity, something I think the rest of the lineup is struggling with.
Image credit to: BMWBLOG (love you guys!), MotorAuthority, Bimmerfile