Culture / Cars

The Ultimate Driving Machine Is Finally Back

BMW Shuts Up the Doubters With a New Classic

BY Jim Shi // 05.19.16

In the eye of the purist, the M2 silences BMW naysayers.

Building on the success of the 1 Series M Coupe, introduced in 2011 as a low-volume special project made available for just one year, BMW’s release of the M2 is, to be blunt, a Godsend. 

Delicious, delightful and too fun for words, the M2 takes its inspiration from several BMW models of yesteryear: the aforementioned 1 Series M Coupe, the original M3, the E30 from 1986, and even the classic 2002 turbo, introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1973.

But make no mistake, the M2 is all new.

Just look at its long wheelbase with wide rear and haunches that flare out, not to mention those more aggressive headlights. Its classic compact yet muscular proportions may mark it as an ideal everyday city car, but glance at the high-gloss chrome quad tailpipes, rear spoiler and diffuser makes it clear that the M2’s track aspirations take it straight to Circuit of the Americas.

For as diverse as its portfolio is now, BMW, once defined by sports sedans with in-line six-cylinder engines and rear-wheel drive, will undoubtedly reclaim those professionals and thrill seekers who want to get down and dirty (translation: traction control off).

With 365 horses produced by the three-liter six-cylinder turbocharged engine, the M2 offers all the latest technological advancements, but doesn’t threaten to diminish the driving experience. Lightning-quick shifts are initiated by the driver, and only the driver; downshifts are never denied, no matter how high the rev, and getting back on the power out of turns is as easy as pie, thanks to 343 pound-feet of torque kicking in at 1,400 rpm fed to the rear wheels by means of a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission is optional, while top speed is governed at 155 mph.

Zero fault is had with the new chassis tuning. The M2 uses the unique chassis components and steering of the M3, plus 19-inch wheels that are optional on the M3. The M2 even has a few race-inspired goodies to help it perform well on the track. A modified oil sump ensures the engine receives proper lubrication even under the most aggressive driving maneuvers. The M DCT transmission also gets its own oil cooler, and a larger radiator keeps it cool.

The perforated and inner-vented disc brakes, measuring 15 inches in diameter in the front and 14.5 inches in the rear, easily slow the M2. 

Lightweight 19-inch forged wheels were wrapped with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 245/35 ZR 19 in the front and 265/35 ZR 19 at the rear.

Just as pure as the M2’s driving capabilities, so, too are its aesthetics and creature comforts (we applaud the adjustable bolsters). A cozy color palette of Long Beach Blue, white, gray and black are offered, and the interior, while Teutonic and hard-edged, hasn’t been completely forgotten. Porous carbon trim lines most surfaces, and Alcantara is wrapped around the door cards and parking brake lever boot. And, of course, M badges abound. 

At a price of $51,700, or $7,550 above the M235i, the BMW M2 is almost a steal in the performance world. Yet it’s so much more than that. This car is proof that the ultimate driving machine continues to live on. 

And for you straight-line freaks, don’t worry: The M2 also has Launch Control.

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