We’re unabashedly huge BMW fans here at the ol’ Moto Networks office and anything with an M badge is automatically dear to our hearts. There’s been a new edition to the ///M family recently with the M2 and it’s the smallest one to date. If we’re judging the book by its cover it’s gorgeous and therefore magnificent, right? According to everything we have been able to track down about the new M2, that is absolutely the case. It has a turbocharged 3.0L inline six, that although technically isn’t a true M engine , still produces 365hp and an impressive 343lb-ft of torque and revs up well over 7,000 RPMs. Considering the M2 only weighs about 3,400lbs, that’s also a pretty decent power to weight ratio.
The M2 has the same suspension setup as its big brother, the mighty M4, and shares a lot of other characteristics as well. Most notably the look; wider tires require slight fender flares which give the car a stance that can bring a tear to your eye. It also has a true six speed manual transmission that is somewhat of a dying breed and true driving enthusiasts are going to fall in love with this car, partially because of that alone. BMW over the recent years has gone away from some of the key aspects of what makes it the “Ultimate Driving Machine”. The enthusiast loves the as much direct connection between their hands, right foot, and the road as possible. Less electronic aids, at least to an extent, if those aids are seamless and don’t seem to interfere as well as doing something to either save my life or make the car go faster. With exception of a few minor ones, that appears to be exactly what the M2 was going for.
These few minor things, and normally we wouldn’t bother with this sort of thing, but there was a couple small quirks lets call them about this new M2 that really needs to be discussed. The first thing is that the front seat is crooked. That’s right, if you sat straight forward and drew a line from the middle of your eyes you would be looking at the driver side front turn signal and headlight assembly versus looking straight down the center of the car. Apparently it was done as a cost cutting way to improve side collision safety, which safety is great and all, but did you have to make the damn seat crooked. It may only be a small amount and you would probably get used to it after the first 100 miles driving, but it still is a noticeable difference.
One other thing we thought to be somewhat strange about the M2 is that unlike almost every other M model made in the past 10 years, this car doesn’t come with the ability to control the different aspects of the performance of the car individually. Normally on an M car you can adjust the suspension, shifting, and throttle response all to your liking, most even had at least one “M” button on the steering wheel that you could customize to your favorite setting for a quick change, if not two “M” buttons, so you could flip to beast mode on command. But not the M2, not only does it not have any “M” buttons, but they just left that spot blank on the steering wheel so you get a constant reminder of what the car is lacking. Instead the M2 gets the standard three options, comfort, sport, and sport+, that every other damn BMW on the road has.
OK, so maybe we’re being a bit harsh on the little guy. The M2 actually has a lot more in the win column than it does the fail. It still might be a little weird to hear that turbo “pssh” sound coming from BMW M series car, but actually with that inline six it almost sounds like the audio porn of the older E46 M3’s only with a little extra turbo kick added to the mix.
It looks fantastic, sounds amazing, and has a few quirks but now lets talk a little bit more about the speed and performance of this brilliant car. First off, it’s actually faster around the track than its bigger more powerful brother, the M4. The two cars are virtually identical in most performance tests. Both have a 0-60 speed of 4.2 seconds and both have similar skid pad and figure eight test results. The one test that the M4 was able to finally show a slight difference was in the 1/4 mile drag race which isn’t a huge surprise because it does have roughly 60 more horsepower and torque, which is going to provide a higher top speed and better acceleration to say 70-80 mph. But because the M2 weighs roughly a hundred pounds less than the M4, it’s able to keep up on initial acceleration times.
As we mentioned before, the M2 is actually faster around the track than the M4. The guys from the Motor Trend Youtube Channel put both cars in the extremely capable hands of legendary race car driver Randy Probst and let him make a few hot laps at the Streets of Willow course. They throw both laps on a split screen and you can see as the lap goes on that it appears as if the M2 is faster in and out of the turns, but that M4 can make up some ground on a straightaway pretty quickly. As both cars cross the finish line there isn’t a drastic difference in the lap times with the M4 finishing in 1 min 22.94 seconds and the M2 finishing in 1 min 22.73 seconds. That isn’t even a full quarter of a second so literally the blink of an eye.
So if you’re in the market to buy one of these two fantastic cars, you really can’t go wrong with either one. What will most likely be the deciding factors would be price, maybe size, and whether or not that damn crooked seat will be a deal breaker or not. Price for the M4 starts around $66,000 and the M2 around $51,000, so you’re talking about a fairly decent chunk of change difference. Tell us what you think in the comments below.