By on May 27, 2016

2016 BMW M2 Front 3/4, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

2016 BMW M2

3.0-liter I6, turbocharged (365 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm, 343 lbs-ft @ 1,400-5,560 rpm)

Six-speed manual (seven-speed DCT optional), rear-wheel drive

18 city / 26 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20 (Observed, MPG)

Base price: $52,695

As tested: $54,495

All prices include $995 destination fee.

For decades BMW worked tirelessly to cultivate a reputation for building performance machines that could hit above their weight classes. Although the 2002 is a well-regarded classic, and the homologation special M1 is a bonafide supercar of its era, it wasn’t until the debut of the E30 M3 in 1986 that BMW’s high-performance road cars really started to find favor with the general public.

In recent years, BMW has sought to recapture some of that E30 magic with cars like the M235i and the 1M before it. While both of those models have their virtues, they fall short of the mark largely by way of an unidentifiable, intangible element. After a stint behind the wheel of the M2, I discovered that “fun” is that elusive character trait, because this car has it in spades.

When it comes to the M division, enthusiasts tend to recall the past through a rose-colored lens. But regardless of quantifiable merit, the original M3 set the tone for numerous M road cars to come — one which included naturally aspirated motivation, lightweight, exceptional handling, an emotive driving experience, and legitimate daily driver practicality.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, M more or less continued to deliver on that unspoken promise, culminating with the E46 M3 and E39 M5. Both the 3 and 5 Series cars grew in size and weight over those decades, but M’s engineers still had control of the reins. The resulting cars in general felt objectively better than their predecessors and became standard bearers for high performance road cars outside of the realm of exotics. Things were progressing.

2016 BMW M2 Rear 3/4, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

But something changed in the M division’s core philosophy. While the cars continued to grow, so did their luxury content, and curb weights rose alongside. BMW sought to remedy this with more power. In doing so, M cars began to change on a fundamental level. The current generation F10 M5 serves as the culmination of this trend. With roughly 4,400 pounds to lug around, it’s motivated by a twin turbocharged V8 making 600 horsepower in its most potent form, and the driving experience bears more resemblance to piloting a torpedo than wielding a scalpel.

In many ways, the M4 suffers from a similar fate: it leaves the driver feeling somewhat disconnected from the road, instead coddled by luxury appointments and electronic assistance, while twin turbocharged theatrics unsuccessfully attempt to distract one from the issue.

But none of this accurately describes the M2. It should, because it’s also turbocharged and it weighs nearly as much as an M4 despite being significantly smaller. Yet the truth of the matter is that the M2 is one of the most well-executed cars that the M division has put out in a very long time.

2016 BMW M2 Engine, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

Powertrain

Available with either a seven-speed DCT automatic used in the M3/M4/M5 or a six-speed manual gearbox, the M2 is powered by BMW’s ubiquitous direct-injected inline six-cylinder N55 engine, versions of which are used in everything from the X4 to the current M3 and M4. Here it’s tuned to 365 horsepower and 343 pounds-feet of torque, the latter of which is available from 1,400 rpm and stays with you until 5,560 rpm due in part to a single twin-scroll turbocharger.

BMW says the engine is capable of getting the 3,450 pound, manual-equipped M2 to 60 mph from rest in 4.4 seconds (4.2 with the DCT) and I’d venture to guess that’s a conservative estimate. More importantly, with peak torque coming in so low in the rev range, the sensation of turbo lag is virtually nonexistent, and the motor feels responsive even when called upon to dig out of a low speed corner or tasked with overtaking slower traffic on the highway while loping along in sixth gear.

Almost as big of a surprise is the fact that it sounds good too. Where the M4 and M5 sound mechanically clinical and subdued, the M2’s exhaust note is significantly more raucous. BMW seems to have gotten the message about faking the soundtrack through the stereo as this car sounds good both inside and out. We’re talking about real engine noise here and not simulated nonsense.

Shifters in recent manual-equipped BMWs have typically had a rubbery feel to them while rowing through the gates, and the M2 is not an exception to the rule, nor is the relative lightness of its clutch. But neither seemed to detract from the car in a substantial way. Shifts felt admirably positive with fairly short throws. And despite the light clutch, the engagement point was easy to identify and felt natural almost immediately.

2016 BMW M2 Front, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

Exterior

Astute BMW fans will note that, despite the company’s recent penchant for convoluted model naming structure, the M2 serves as a successor to the 2011 1M. Though the proportions are similar, the M2 looks substantially more aggressive than its predecessor, though whether or not that’s a good thing is largely a subjective matter.

But there’s no doubt that it looks purposeful, with bulging front and rear fenders housing a meaty set of specially designed Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber, a low, angular front fascia angrily directing airflow, and a racy looking quad-tipped exhaust installed out back.

2016 BMW M2 Rear, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

But the main attraction here is the overall size of the M2. It’s just five inches longer than an E30 coupe, and its proportions feel more in line with the M cars of yore. The car looks tossable and, in turn, inviting to drive.

2016 BMW M2 Interior, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

Interior

The M2’s cabin is pretty standard BMW M car fare, though the inclusion of contrast stitching does liven things up a bit. Seeing an honest-to-God handbrake between the front seats was a pleasant surprise. Even though it’s an antiquated design now, I still prefer them over electronically controlled parking brakes, despite the fact that I have no plans to film a Gymkhana video anytime soon.

It’s comfortable with nicely bolstered sport seats that offer enough adjustment to be cozy for long hauls, but also keep you in place during spirited driving. As you might expect, the rear seats are essentially a write-off — there’s virtually no legroom for any normal-sized human being that you don’t wish intense suffering upon. Then again, the same is true with the M4 to a slightly lesser degree, so the compromise in practicality seems pretty minimal for the M2’s reduced footprint.

iDrive continues to be the center of BMW’s infotainment world, and although the company has made substantial improvements to the system over the years, it’s still a love it or hate it proposition. If you’re happy to use a pivoting rotary knob and a smattering of buttons on the center console rather than registering commands on a touchscreen, you’ll likely have no qualms with it. If that sounds horribly convoluted to you, you’ll probably find yourself cursing at it in fairly regular intervals until you’ve acclimated to it and accepted your fate.

2016 BMW M2 Side, © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars

On The Road

“This thing would be a blast at an autocross,” I said to myself while ham-fistedly careening down the winding stretches of Angeles Crest Highway. That’s not a sentiment I’ve had about any other BMW I’ve driven in recent memory, but the fact is that the M2 is a hell of a lot of fun on an entertaining road, and not just in a “POWERRR!” kind of way. The M2’s mostly aluminum suspension bits — pilfered from the M4 parts bin — surely play a significant role here, though the M2 gets its own unique tuning.

And the car’s near 50-50 weight distribution deserves from credit as well. It feels genuinely balanced, as though the mass is in the center of the car and down low.

But what’s particularly striking is that the M2’s relative lack of features in comparison to the M4 actually make it a more enjoyable car in almost every regard. For instance, where the M4 has three different steering weight settings and none of them really feel particularly right, the M2 offers no adjustability in that regard yet lands on a setting that feels ideally weighted in nearly every situation.

That “set it and forget it” approach seems to follow throughout the car, and it results in a BMW that’s fun to drive right out of the box rather than one you must adjust to find the right delicate balance amongst a myriad of performance settings (although the lack of an optional adaptive suspension system is a notable bummer).

Bottom Line

I feel like the M2 shouldn’t be as good as it is. On paper, this car could be easily overlooked when cross-shopping performance coupes in this segment. But then again, isn’t that true of some of the best performance cars that BMW has ever produced?

Starting at $51,700 before destination, the M2 is substantially cheaper than an M4 while providing a far more entertaining drive. And while you’d expect the price tag of this press car to have ballooned with extra features, the $1,250 Executive Package (which includes a heated steering wheel, rear view camera, automatic high beams, Park Distance Control and Active Driving Assistant) is the only content here not included as standard — which brings the M2’s price tag in under $55K after everything is said and done.

Believe the hype: this is the M car we’ve been waiting for.

[Images: © 2016 Bradley Iger/The Truth About Cars]

Disclosure: BMW provided the vehicle, insurance, and a full tank of fuel for the purpose of this review.

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90 Comments on “2016 BMW M2 Review – Don’t Call It a Comeback...”


  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Perhaps the improved handling is because the rear subframe has already cracked like a Dorito.

    BMW- The Ultimate Invoice Machine.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The cracking subframe is not nearly as common as you might believe – though you wouldn’t be wrong to be concerned about it on a 330i…does this happen on other models?

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        It could happen on a large number of BMWs but only E46s get attention because they sold the most of them.

        • 0 avatar
          carl0s

          It was the boot floor anyway.

          What’s going on with the character encoding on these ttac articles now? I can hardly read them on my android phone.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            ***Breaking News***

            I may buy this vehicle in the same color tested. I’m 65% to 75% of the way there.

            I’m shooting for one equipped similarly, but am aiming for $47k to $48k, and will try to squeeze and extended warranty out of BMW for a modest additional cost as I’ll be keeping this for 6 to 10 years.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            p.s. Bradley’s review prompted my a$$ to head over to BMW dealer for test drive.

            The car looks way better inside and especially out in real life, and handles and brakes really well.

            I lament the lack of hydraulic power steering, but it’s gone nearly extinct in an era of eaps.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    $52k and a rear camera still isn’t a standard feature.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      There’s actually a good reason for that.

      BMW has a monopoly on selling BMWs to people who want a BMW no matter what.

      However, not everyone can afford yo pay top dollar for the car.

      By creating as many necessary options as possible, they make it possible to sell a BMW to someone who wants a BMW no matter what, at the maximum price they will pay.

      No money is left on the table. BMW can play this game on the strength of their brand.

      For a contrast, look at Honda. Their brand is built entirely on the practical aspects of the car, and they couldn’t possibly pull this off. Look at the feature list of the 2016 Civic compare it with the feature list of the 2016 3-series.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Honda was blasted for not making the camera available a couple of years ago…now it’s a much ballyhooed line in every ad they run…STANDARD!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Marone

      $52k and a rear camera still isn’t a standard feature.”

      And so what, it’s a little car and cameras are includes in basic packages.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “No rear camera standard? I”m buying something else.” Said no BMW M buyer…ever.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @energetik9:

        The people who buy BMWs are clearly fine with BMW’s pricing strategy.

        It wouldn’t work for me. Having to pay extra for features that are standard downmarket would make me feel like a sucker.

        But it doesn’t seem to deter people who really want a BMW no matter what, though!

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Instead you are getting a number of features that can’t be had on a downmarket car at any price. Fair trade.

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          > It wouldn’t work for me. Having to pay extra for features that are
          > standard downmarket would make me feel like a sucker.

          Given that demand for these always exceeds supply, I say “good, more for me” :)

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @energetik9 – AMEN! if you don’t know how to back up without hitting something, you don’t deserve an M.

        Me? I think backup cameras are a racket. I’ve never had one and don’t need one and am not inclined to have my base price increase to cover the cost of one.

        • 0 avatar
          PeriSoft

          “Me? I think backup cameras are a racket. I’ve never had one and don’t need one”

          You should get rid of the side mirrors too. They’re for wimps.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Some may even prefer a camera is not available at all….

        I have a friend with a FiST, and he liked that his car was available only sans camera and only as a manual. To keep the owner pool poser free, or some such. I have heard similar laments from Miata, M3 and Porsche owners about wishing the car wasn’t available with an auto at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          “Some may even prefer a camera is not available at all….

          I have a friend with a FiST, and he liked that his car was available only sans camera and only as a manual. To keep the owner pool poser free, or some such. I have heard similar laments from Miata, M3 and Porsche owners about wishing the car wasn’t available with an auto at all.”

          Poser free? Caring about that sort of nonsense is the very definition of a poser.

  • avatar
    ihbase

    Iger: Thanks for posting your review. The current 3 Series feels bloated compared to an e90 generation car. The cowl height feels taller and the driver’s sight line includes real estate under the hood. Consequently, the car feels fat and it has lost the intimacy that made small BMWs feel special. The current 3 Series also feels like it suffered from de-contenting because the lower rear control arms are no longer galvanized and the wiring harness is left exposed in places where it was previously sheathed. The f30 feels like it would have been a good 5 Series.

    Perhaps instead of making every generation larger, BMW should have simply introduced a new model at the top of the range, certainly the company is not adverse to adding models. Adding a “9 Series” at the top and leaving the 3, 5, and 7 the same size would have given badge climbers something to which they could aspire and it would have left the virtues of the existing model proportions intact.

    Let’s hope that in the age of bloat, the M2 fills the void left by prior generations of the M3. Still, with so much apparently correct, it strikes me as unforgivable that BMW would decline to include an accurate temperature gage in the M2 (light bars do not count). And while it is unclear from your review, other reviews have indicated that BMW is still playing recorded engine sounds in effort to provide us wth the full video game experience.

    A real engine temperature gauge and the elimination of a recorded engine soundtrack would go a long way toward making the M feel more legitimate again. If dealer gouging ever subsides, it would be easy to cross shop a GT350 at that price point.

    -Michael

    • 0 avatar
      Bradley Iger

      Whether or not BMW is piping simulated engine sound in through the audio system, the exhaust system itself is very audible from both inside and outside of this car. So in the case of the M2 that “feature” might be totally superfluous.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @ihbase and Bradley Iger- Unfortunately it appears that BMW couldn’t leave a good thing alone without f*cking it up. Read the technical training manual included in this link and you’ll see that the M2 unfortunately is afflicted with ASD.

      http://f87.bimmerpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1201088

      It’s a shame. This car had potential.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A temperature gauge is pointless in a car with a computer-controlled electronic thermostat that dynamically varies the temperature over a WIDE range based on operating conditions. It would effectively have to be an idiot light. Much more sensible to simply have the computer make an announcement when temperature is outside of expected parameters, which is exactly what BMW does.

      As for the sound – I don’t care how they make the noise, as long as it sounds good. And my M235i sounds just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        ihbase

        The sentiment expressed by krhodes1 appears to represent the buyer BMW is successfully targeting.

        Sales are up.

        -Michael

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And you are evidently not in their target market. So buy something else and quit b!tching about BMW. Plenty of other choices out there if you don’t like what they currently make. Plenty of used old ones too.

          They have only made two cars in the last ten years that I particularly care about, I just happen to have bought both of them.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    $52K, rare car, and how much will dealer markup be?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Wow, that’s a badonkadonk!!!

    The side profile looks okay, as does the co.or.

    But, let me repeat the obvious here, based on this EXCELLENT passage, which I can’t improve upon:

    “The current generation F10 M5 serves as the culmination of this trend. With roughly 4,400 pounds to lug around, it’s motivated by a twin turbocharged V8 making 600 horsepower in its most potent form, and the driving experience bears more resemblance to piloting a torpedo than wielding a scalpel.

    In many ways, the M4 suffers from a similar fate: it leaves the driver feeling somewhat disconnected from the road, instead coddled by luxury appointments and electronic assistance, while twin turbocharged theatrics unsuccessfully attempt to distract one from the issue.”

    Okay, with the M2 tipping the scales at a lets-call-it-3,500lbs, this lends more credence to those who’ve correctly stated that BMW is trending towards more porky, luxury coupe/sedan, than “ultimate driving machines” as of late, and yes, I do realize that all of the safety and technology items required or desired add lots of weight.

    So given more substantial girth & weight, simply applying more horsepower does and can not allow BMW to recapture its former rai·son d’ê·tre, as the other underlying alterations having to do with the laws of basic physics can’t be denied by merely boosting power sent to the wheels.

    My exhaustive point? Baby Hellcat would be just as good?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      For perspective, my Sienna has a curb weight of about 4400lb, seats 7.

      It has “only” 269 HP, though.

      A 4400lbs for a 2-door coupe is definitely overweight. It weighs as much as a minivan!

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        The M2 doesn’t weigh 4400 lbs, the M4 does (and brings 600 HP to the table). M2 weighs 3450 lbs.

        • 0 avatar
          Bradley Iger

          The M2 and M4 weigh roughly the same amount – 3500 pounds or so. It’s the M5 that’s about a half-ton more.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris from Cali

            That’s the part I can’t wrap my head around. The M2/M4 weigh about the same, but every review has the M2 coming out ahead despite being down on power, wheelbase, etc. Every metric would lead one to believe that the M4 would be the better drive (esp. considering the price), but the M2 still prevails. How??

            Is it the tuning of the steering? The suspension setup? The final drive gearing? Magic?

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “My exhaustive point? Baby Hellcat would be just as good?”

      Just my own experience to include owning M cars. No one I know is buying an M car just for raw power. If that was the case, they just go for a Lexus F car. This M2 would out handle a hellcat.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The new Ms have bad steering and are overweight.

        BMW also hasn’t advanced the ball in terms of chassis rigidity on their cars relative to many other manufacturers (with the exception of truly niche offerings such as the i8).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Why would someone wanting “raw power” go for the Lexus? They have the lowest output of anyone.

        I don’t run in the high-dollar circles, but I’ve always considered AMG to be the “POWER!” brand.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Didn’t they make that? And called the SRT-4? No idea how good it was as a driver’s car, it seemed to be exist for those who worship the god of booooost to crank the boost up till it killed the car. Good on paper, but I don’t know if any lasted long enough to find out if it was good to drive.

      A more telling car would be the neon-ACR. Unfortunately, ACR stood for Air Conditioning Removed and was geographically limited in its usefulness. A test drive was a blast, but with the low gearing (no overdrive. Suspect it was lower than 1:1) would certainly kill the lousy head gasket neons were saddled with in only basic highway driving (at around 4000rpm, thanks to the gearing).

      Of course, doesn’t Chrysler/Fiat sell the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is kind of like the anti-Hellcat? Lightness over everything, impractical, relatively wimpy (for the price and sportiness). But handling monster? For roughly the same list price as the Hellcat? That’s a weird combo to have in the stable.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Sounds nice, but I’ll wait for the M2 sDrive GrandCoupe GT.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      VoGo for the win in ridiculously (possible) new nameplates for BMW! The BMW fan in me cries a little at this. Man, do I miss my 2002 and my E30 318i (yes, slow by anybody’s standards today). Heck, even my 1993 325is still felt connected. I’ve driven numerous newer Bimmers lately and I just have a hard time warming up to them. The closest I felt was to a 1-series manual trans variant I tested few years back at a CarMax…

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Why is it that inflation in the auto business is much higher than in others? This is what a 5 series used to cost just a few years ago

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Inflation is nearly non’existent to negative.

      Janet Yellen & The Federal Reserve said so.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Silly comment, DW,
        You know that cars are cheap today.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “You know that cars are cheap today.”

          Depends on who how secure your place.in the economic pecking order is…

          Most people around me just trade used cars around.

          • 0 avatar
            Corollaman

            Yep, I live in a lower middle income condo and I’ve never seen so many old cars as we have now.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Luke,
            The inflation rate of cars has been proven over and over again to be low in the US. But if you don’t want to bother with actual data, then feel free to use the anecdotes of the people around you.

            C-man,
            Maybe you see lots of older cars around you because cars now last 20 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            My point has more to do with income inequality than the actual price of cars.

            My income is on the side of income inequality that everyone wants to be on, and some cars really are affordable to me. And, yet, many of the people I see everyday can’t afford them.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      This is also close to what the E46 M3 cost, in 2003 dollars. It’s as if car prices haven’t inflated.

      Don’t compare model names. They all bloat. I try to compare size and function.

      Cars have never been a better value.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    WRX STI or M2? is the 17k difference worth it?

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      The more pointed question is: Are the more luxurious interior, the more unique bodywork, the pure FR drivetrain, etc. worth $17k?

      $17k over a $35k STI is a big chunk. This will probably not be a common cross-shop.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The STI Limited is $40K, maybe that is a more likely cross-shop. But I think the GT350, S5 and Gold R are more likely. Maybe the AMG CLA. Or even the 440.

    • 0 avatar
      zznalg

      That my question. My 2016 STI puts a smile on my face every day. As I drive it, I do wonder about this new M2. Would it be as elemental and fun? It would certainly be faster.

  • avatar
    Bazza

    At $52K and nearly 3500 lbs, this thing is a another sad joke, as the Camaro SS, GT350, and Focus RS will be more than happy to demonstrate.

    For someone who used to lust mightily after E46 M3s, it’s sad to observe BMW attempting to pawn this off as a “focused” machine…and even sadder that it’s accepted as such by the automotive press.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      M2 curb weight: 3415 lbs
      E46 M3 curb weight: 3450 lbs (DCT)

      I agree the E46 M3 is a legendary car, but the M2 is hardly heavier in comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The E46 M3 weighed 3,400-3,500lbs, and this thing is within 1″ of it in all dimensions but width. On top of that, it puts down about 50-90 more WHP, and 90-110lb-ft, while still sounding pretty good (though obviously nowhere near as good as an E46 M3). On top of THAT, it’s got universal praise from reviewers, just like the E46 M3, and completely unlike the current M3/M4. ON TOP OF THAT, it costs $52K today…. 10 years ago a base E46 M3 cost $49K, or $58K in today’s dollars, and it was nowhere near as well equipped.

      Those comparisons are BS as well. Camaro SS & Rustang GT350 are much heavier, much bigger, much less precise, completely different kinds of cars. Focus RS at its core is built on a FWD economy car chassis- no matter what performance specs it gets the driving experience doesn’t compare.

      So with all those pesky facts out of the way the obvious question has to be asked- how can you claim to be a fan of the E46 M3 and NOT be a fan of this car? Aside from turbocharging, it’s the E46 M3 version 2.0, with more equipment, a better chassis, better performance and a lower cost of entry. You are not making any sense right now.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Well said. No one is saying it’s perfect and even I decided not to lay down the cash for one, I know on no M fan that would ever call the M2 a joke.

      • 0 avatar
        ihbase

        Well argued points sporty:

        Ford claims that the GT350 comes in at 3650 lbs. 5% more than an M2 does not exactly make the GT350 “much heavier.” And let’s face it, the Ford engine more than compensates for that small weight differential. And it is available only with a manual trans. And it has actual gauges. And it does not play pre-recorded engine noises. It is easy to see why enthusiasts are rethinking which company is willing to manufacture a pure enthusiasts car.

        I have not driven either car, so I do not know anything. But from what I have read, the GT350 has little in common with the descriptions you might correctly apply to other cars with a “Mustang” badge. The current gen M3/M4 feels big to me.

        Your points comparing the M2 to the E46 M are really good. It will be interesting to see how the market responds. I’m looking forward to test driving an M2.

        -Michael

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Precise? What brought the E46 M3 enthusiast’s *praise, actual buyers complained about. BMW knows M3 buyers don’t want to feel every ripple in the road through the steering wheel and seat. Every subsequent M series is softer, more numb and isolated, with extra understeer, engineered in as a bonus.

        Mustangs and Camaro’s have always been crude, lacking refinement, but *road feel* has always been there, by default. Now they’re really giving the term “Ultimate Driving Machine” a run for its moneys.

    • 0 avatar
      Bazza

      …and right on cue another fanboi who can’t stand the thought that BMW phoned it in (again) with yet another Gran Tourismo simulation posing as an involved driving experience. The universal acclaim you speak of amounts to little more than “it sucks less than the M4 because there’s a hint of steering feel”. High praise, indeed.

      Your “Rustang” tweak gives it all away of course. Go ahead and roll out your best mullet snark, because the Camaro SS will mop the floor with this thing just as it did with big brother M4. Adding to the beatdown, the Focus RS has already proven head-to-head that it can more than hang with the M2 in the twisties. There’s some damn inconvenient truths for ya. Now for some informed speculation: The GT350 will have no trouble dusting this iteration of The Ultimate Driving Machine.

      Sorry for the lack of trigger warnings. Safe spaces are in short supply in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The passion here is FABULOUS!

      • 0 avatar
        Bradley Iger

        On a fast track like Road America the GT350 will undoubtedly be quicker than the M2. On a small, technical track like Streets of Willow I’m not so sure.

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          Better make sure a race track is on your commute!

          • 0 avatar
            Bradley Iger

            I think that’s a valid point that gets lost in performance statistics far too often – all of these cars are fast, and faster than you’ll ever need on a public road. But I think using different race track configurations as a metric of a car’s strengths and weaknesses is still valid – the GT350 has long legs, but it’s significantly bigger, doesn’t make a whole lot of power at low revs, and the standard GT350 weighs more while also riding on the same tire (PSS).

            Still, I doubt many people who are seriously considering a Camaro SS or a Mustang GT350 will cross shop it with this car, and that has nothing to do with performance prowess.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “Still, I doubt many people who are seriously considering a Camaro SS or a Mustang GT350 will cross shop it with this car…”

            Some will. What percentage… I don’t know. Peruse the forums and you’ll see a lot of cross shopping between the GT350 and the M2.

            For some folks, it’s not the badge, but how engaging a car is to drive.

            I’d cross shop the M2 and GT350 and I know I’m not alone.

            And here’s the rub. The 1LE and GT350 will show tail lights to the M2 at most any track that isn’t an auto cross.

            But don’t take my word for it. I’m sure they’ll all be there for Car and Driver’s Lightning Lap. I’m just surprised some of you here can’t see it.

            But there’s more to a car than track performance. Oftentimes subjective areas drive purchase decisions.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I don’t know who “sanctioned” your review, Bradley, but I thought it was quite good.

      • 0 avatar
        gt4

        Maybe he’s basing his view on those who’ve earned the right to be considered experts rather that of a Ford fan on a forum. Your view that “it sucks less than the M4” is not consistent with any real reviews I’ve read, at least in the UK. There have been a few comparisons between the RS and M2 here (we don’t get the GT350) and the RS fares pretty well. Both cars a re selling out fast. I think you’re right that it will stay with the M2 through the twisties, but so will a Renault Clio. Round a proper track there will be a reasonable gap, as demonstrated by Evo when they took them round Rockingham – 1.9 seconds difference. Comparison with Camaro SS will be interesting – looks like the M2 was marginally quicker round Streets of Willow, but would expect the more powerful car to be faster on a longer track. Camaro SS also not sold here, which is a shame.

        I own a Ford, never owned a BMW, so no bias here. I would consider a GT350 if they sold them in the UK, looks a great car.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This sounds like an awesome deal. Funniest part is an M240i with an LSD and all the other options this has costs more.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      But you get things on the M240i (which doesn’t actually exist yet)that you can’t get on the M2. Like the adjustable suspension and a choice of interior colors. AWD (big one for some people). You also will NOT be able to get a factory LSD on the M240i. They are not even port-installing them anymore.

      I got invited to drive the first M2 that my local dealer got their hands on. I liked it. A LOT. But I would not choose it over my M235i. And the reason is that the M2 is what an M car should be – the standard car cranked up to “11”. It’s LOUD. The suspension is HARD. It is just a much less comfortable car in exchange for a performance edge over a car that already has a completely unusable on the street level of performance. And in the real world for the moment it is a good deal more expensive.

      I just a few minutes ago got home from a two-day work trip to far Eastern Maine – 550 miles, 1/2 of it on some pretty bad rough and rutted rural 2-lane. No WAY would I want anything harsher than my M235i for that sort of work. The M235i was brilliant – suspension in Comfort most of the time, switch to Sport for some of the tighter bits. Calm and collected even at, shall we say, slightly illegal speeds on those backwoods roads. Enough go to treat slower cars and trailer trucks with absolute disdain in the passing zones. Then get on I-95 with the cruise on 85 for the first and last 130 miles and kick back and relax.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I love that blue!!

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Another nice German car for the track fanciers! Our NW roads will eat it alive, though.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Where in the NW do you live where “NW roads” are tearing up cars? I grew up in the NW and I’m not familiar with where that might happen. NW roads are far better some areas I have lived recently.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    This car seems like it would be a hoot. If I were in the market it would be between this and a GT350.

    Or maybe buy a Golf R AND an S1000R and have a few thousand left over.

    Decisions, decisions.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      “Or maybe buy a Golf R AND an S1000R and have a few thousand left over.”

      I like this M2, but I think that you’re on to something here…

  • avatar
    Chan

    This is a comeback, isn’t it?

    It’s the return of the universally loved E46 M3 Coupe. Similar size, similar weight, similar cost without even accounting for inflation. Plus, much more safety equipment and increased performance.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Notably, the new G11 7-Series does have an all-new generation of iDrive with touchscreen support (as well as gesture controls and the traditional rotary know). As has historically been the case, I’m sure that this new iDive system will trickle down to the other BMW models. If not, it will definitely be in the soon-to-be-redesigned Rolls-Royce Phantom.

  • avatar

    IMHO, peak BMW was reached with the e90 M3. You get all the goodness of the e46 and a smallblock V8. Hydraulic steering.

    I liked the 2 series, I drove one with Track pack and one without. The car goes well with the turbo four as much as I hate to admit it. If I was buying, though, I’d stretch for the six.

    The F30 ? Meh, at least as 98% of them are sold.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      As I keep saying, my Mother’s 3spd automatic ’83 528e sure was the embodiment of “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. /sarcasm:off

      Please take off the rose-colored glasses, the overwhelming majority of cars BMW has ever sold in the US were not amazing. Good cars, but not exactly road-going race cars. Nothing has changed.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The biggest issue with the E90 M3, wast that the V8 needed to stop for gas halfway down the drag strip, in order to complete the run….

      I personally vastly preferred the E30 and E36 to any of the later M3s as road cars.

      The E36 was pretty much perfection in every way, for every conceivable use and user who may have considered it. It is one of the seminals, which along with the NSX, LS and a few others, make the “the automobile was largely perfected by the 90s” statement, more true than not.

      The E30 was a lot rougher, but genuinely charming in a real “M for Motorsports” manner, without stooping to having enough “character” to be just annoying to live with. At least for those young and/or young at heart.

      Even by the E46, genuine, uncompromised excellence as a road car above and beyond anything on offer elsewhere, were giving way to bloat, spec sheet dominance, reliance on lap time bragging rights and overbranded show-offery. The sportiest editions of non-Ms, were better representatives of the E46 as a road car, if you ask me.

      The M made a bit of a relative comeback with the E90, but mainly on account of the rest of the line going to runflats, and increasingly turbos.

      As for the current lineup? We are now far enough past the 90s peak of automotive sublimity, that the decline is becoming increasingly noticeable. At least across virtually all “premium” segments. While today, it’s the “econoboxes” and “stripper spec” models, that remain most faithful to the traits that made 90s Bimmers so charming.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      I’m in a local car club that was started as an E9X M3 club. I’ve never had one, though.

      Most of the guys there agree that the E9X had a great deal of curb appeal, but it was more of a heavy, blunt HP monster than the lighter scalpels that the E36 and E46 were.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Here’s the problem with BMW.

    They don’t make sports cars anymore. They’re in the Status Product business. So long as the product sounds and looks like what the Status Seeker Customer Base expects , they’ll move the iron. How they achieve that used to matter. It doesn’t anymore, because Mr One Up customer just wants the M to be better then the peons driving “standard” BMWs. You can see an example of such a person crashing his M4 at a Cars & Coffee event on YouTube.

    Pretty soon “M” will begin and end with unlocked software settings in the iDrive console.

    BMW could care less if the cars are lightweight or appealing for the same reasons the old school iron was. They just want those sweet sales and lease figures.

    If you want a real BMW M, buy a 1:18th scale model of the older cars. If you must go full size, ensure the warranty has robust terms.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I think an interesting comparison would be the Cadillac ATS Coupe V versus this BMW.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    How does it compare to the Porsche 718s?

  • avatar
    baconator

    You make an important point – stiffer and more powerful isn’t necessary usable capability. In the real world, the twisty back-roads are bumpy and poorly maintained. A little suspension compliance helps.

    Same for power – my sense is that the M2 is right on the edge of what’s usable. Cars that are 0-60 in under 4 seconds and do the quarter in under 12 are just frustrating to work with on the street. Just not too many places to use that level of acceleration safely.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      If you go back to the 90s, most sports cars were softer than today’s equivalents. But because they were lighter and had less insulation, the best cars were nearly equally capable and entertaining in turns despite the body roll.

      For a modern-day example of how a relatively soft car can still do wonders, see the ND MX-5.

      Unless you want a track car, stiffness isn’t the end-all for handling performance.

  • avatar

    “Almost as big of a surprise is the fact that it sounds good too. Where the M4 and M5 sound mechanically clinical and subdued, the M2’s exhaust note is significantly more raucous. BMW seems to have gotten the message about faking the soundtrack through the stereo as this car sounds good both inside and out. We’re talking about real engine noise here and not simulated nonsense.”

    Are you shitting me?

    This car, just like all the other cars, has a digital soundtrack. Did you do any research? Did you even bother to read the press release that you’re spewing verbatim?


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