BMW is ending production of the M2 Competition and M2 CS for the European market this fall. The 370-horsepower coupe proved a hit with enthusiasts, offering a straightforward package reminding us that simplicity is often a virtue, but it’s living on borrowed time on the Old Continent, as is the hardcore 410-hp CS variant.
Why would BMW kill off the car often pointed to by auto journalists as the best in its entire lineup? You’re welcome to hazard a guess, though most, including this outlet, would point to strengthening emission regulations in Europe as the likely offender.
With BMW’s M2 Competition coming aboard to succeed the well-respected M2, shaving a quarter of a second off its 0-to-60 time in the process, we figured the brand would put the model on the back burner for a while. However, earlier this week an M2 test mule was spied on the Nürburgring by Motor1.
The outlet surmised that this was likely a prototype for a high performance CS or CLS variant, but we remained uncertain. For all we knew BMW was simply testing new pieces from its performance parts catalog and felt the need to disguise them with some body-colored tape. Then, a few days later, rumors emerged that a production date had already been set for the M2 CS.
You aren’t going to see a lot of televised commercials for the BMW M2 Competition, as it’s an enthusiast car of the highest magnitude. A thirty-second spot in the middle of a popular sitcom doesn’t provide adequate time to run through a laundry list of performance specs for car nerds, and the blanketed marketing approach wouldn’t really be cost-effective, anyway. BMW needs a surgical strike, something viral that can be passed around the internet between the sort of people that actually might consider owning an M2.
That’s what makes its new marketing campaign for the model so good. Outside of offering the most fun you can have inside a car while wearing pants, the M2 isn’t setting any automotive records. It is, however, taking a stab at world records set by humans. Earlier this month, the automaker hooked up a laser to the front of the vehicle to see how many balloons it could pop in a single minute. A week later, it released another video in which it attempted to cut down 116 straw poles with a samurai sword.
We don’t need to tell you that attaching lasers and swords to a car’s exterior is very awesome. And it’s that feeling — like the whole ad campaign was dreamed up by an eight-year-old — that makes for an appealing gimmick.
For a long time BMW was being accused of losing its touch when it came to building the “ultimate driving machine.” People would gripe that the company’s tech was overshadowing driving enjoyment. That may be true to some degree but you could usually point them to the M division and tell them not to worry.
However, most people don’t have the kind of money required to facilitate the purchase of an M3 — and if they don’t have the cash for that, then they definitely aren’t going to pick up the superb M5. But that’s okay because BMW eventually built the M2 and it’s probably the best car in its lineup.
That’s why we are somewhat surprised to learn BMW will be giving the fun-loving coupe a dirt nap, replacing it with the more hardcore “M2 Competition.” It’s not a new car in the strictest sense, but it is a slightly different mindset.