Review of: 2017 BMW M2 2dr Cpe
2017 BMW M2: Entry M car fun as any of 'em
By G. R. Whale
Jan. 10, 2017
An M2 is more than a resculpted 1M, it’s essentially an M4 with less: power, weight and admission fee. The silky six surprises with big torque and free-revving horsepower, everything downstream is well matched and the suspension that feels stiff around town elicits nothing but praise approaching 200 km/h. If you’ve a place to drive it, the rewards are high.
Pros & Cons
- + Strong brakes, great handling
- + Interior design
- + Transmission
- - Price
- - Ride comfort
- - Artificial engine sounds
Ironically, the M2 looks like a constable’s uniform—starched, creased, puffed up with muscles, authoritative and functional but not necessarily pretty even as it improves on the 1M predecessor. I appreciate an upright cabin I can see out of, a trunk lid designed for easy loading, fenders drawn just wide enough to cover fat tires, and aero ducts and devices to feed coolers and maintain high-speed stability, though I’d opt for a darker color to dial back the drama.
From its properly round wheel to absence of shiny surfaces this is a driver’s cabin with everything rightly placed. It may seem a bit monochromatic but white-on-black markings are hard to beat. Front seats are widely adjustable and very comfortable, rear seats surprisingly accommodating and contoured but this is a four-seater only if everyone’s size average and smaller. Seatbacks fold to enlarge the decent trunk space, at least til you put a spare in it.
Quibbles: the console knee pad doesn’t extend aft enough for me, the wheel heater switch/indicator is difficult to see and the suede shift and parking brake boots don’t look long-wearing to me.
Some things standard on cars half the price are optional here, which could save some coin or make one wonder where the backup camera went. What was here worked unobtrusively in fairly intuitive manner.
The trick differential works transparently on the street (and with these tires cold rain’s nearly as good a test as snow) and laptimer and GoPro apps are available. Do the driving school first.
The engine’s more pumped-up 1M than detuned M4—horsepower and torque both peak around 365 but 5,000 rpm apart, so as power builds through the mid-range in first gear only dry roads can accept it all: 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. With short gearing highway cruising shows 2,500-plus rpm—and noise is controlled, not quiet—and there’s always plenty of thrust available. Since I never bothered with a long highway drive, consumption averaged 11.9 l/100 km.
An update dry-sump six-speed manual is standard, matches revs on downshifts (unless stability is off) and slots through gears easily. The clutch is better than many performance cars so it’s equally easy to drive in traffic…I might get the pricey automatic for track times, but not for convenience,
The chassis is every bit as good, or better, than the drivetrain. M4 brakes offer great bite, modulation and fade-free performance for anything short of time-attack lapping, and the steering, while not endowed with feedback of a Lotus or Alfa 4C points the wheels accurately and does not feel an electronic guidance system.
Ride quality is firm enough to shun poor roads, and there’s no push-button adjustment to soften (or brick) it, yet it seems an ideal compromise to cope with this power. Sure, mother-in-law won’t be happy trundling back from the airport, but find a winding road and a head of steam and it is spot-on. This car wants to be driven, and the harder you push the more alive it feels, not scary.
An M2 is too big and heavy to compare to the first M3 or its predecessor 2002tii, but one has to imagine the philosophy that created those cars still haunts the halls of M engineering.
If you want a track-capable coupe, a Mustang GT, Camaro 1LE, Focus RS or Nissan 370Z Nismo are ten digits cheaper than this $62,000 M2, while similar Audi S5 and Mercedes-Benz C 43 are more. For driving purists this many loonies buys a stripper Porsche Cayman, and for daily drivers consider BMW’s own M240…just 30 hp less, with adaptive dampers and more resilient 18-inch wheels it’s $10,000 less.
With sparkling performance, intoxicating (digitally enhanced) sounds and a lack of electronic feel, the M2 is arguably the purest driver’s car from BMW, save possibly a Z4 28 with the top down. And that costs no less nor goes like an M2.