2016 BMW M2

26 Apr 2016 BMW M2

The BMW M we have been waiting for?

To me, BMW M offers some of the best “drivers cars” out there. But over the years, BMW M has sort of lost their concentration building “pure” drivers cars, instead they were developing more and more models and even worked on “M-inizing” SUVs! And they are doing a great job building 2 ton cars, that drive amazingly for their size and weight, much more so than their competitors in my opinion. However, after I drove the BMW M3, oh sorry, M4 (see that’s one of the M distractions I was talking about). After I drove the M4, I was sort of disappointed that the last raw drivers car by BMW M, has gone soft. 

The M4 is not a terrible car! In fact, it sort of grew on me while I drove it for a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, it’s not the engaging, emotional drivers car that the M3/M4 (man this is so annoying) should be. But then BMW announced the M2.

The idea of a BMW M2 made me excited from day 1. I thought this might be the car I have been waiting for since the E46 M3 CSL. But an other side of me thought it might just be a stronger M235i. So I was very excited going into this, and couldn’t wait to actually drive the car. But when I picked it up, I was first a bit disappointed about some issues I had with the interior.

First, I didn’t like the Carbon Fiber trim. In the video, you even hear me saying that it feels like cheap plastic. Later, I learned from the BMW community on www.bimmerpost.com, that I was actually mislead, and that these inlays are made out of real high quality, high tech carbon fiber. I really couldn’t believe that, since it felt so cheap. I will have to go to a dealership and take another close look at it. Another thing that bothered me was that the dashboard lights were orange instead of white, like on all other “real” M cars. I was also quite distracted that somebody at BMW actually made the decision to make the speed and rpm indicator needle M style red, but leave the needle that indicates the fuel level white. Very weird. Not a big deal to everyone, but as a former M owner, I thought it was weird and not the right way to go. It makes it seem like they try very hard to remind you that you are in a “cheap” M car, and that you didn’t have the wallet for the real thing, until you get to explore it a bit more.

Once I got to the Canyons outside of Los Angeles, I slowly started pushing the car more and more. I wanted to push the car until it shows some signs of understeer or until it loses posture, but I was’t successful. The car just seemed to have endless grip for what I considered a safe speed for this almost empty road. It changed directions with no problems, it turned in immediately, and it didn’t complain even a bit while doing so. That’s partly because of the wide front and rear axles that the BMW M2 got from it’s bigger brother, the M4. The axles didn’t only make BMW build the widest fenders ever, but also helped them save about 5 KG per axle over the axles used in the M235i.

What also helps make this car turn so well, is the M limited slip differential (LSD), which is electronically controlled and can lock from 0 to 100%. Also, the dampers are fixed and not electronically changeable like in other M’s, which is something that I much appreciate, because it is set up fantastically. It’s not too hard, but it definitely is firm, which is what it should be on a sports car. Less customizability, more sport car feeling.

That’s one thing I really appreciate about this car, they kept it simple and made no compromises. This is the only M car that you can’t option with adjustable dampers and without any M buttons on the steering wheel. First I was a bit upset about that, and thought they were just saving money again, but once I understood the real reason, which is simplicity, it all made sense to me. I mean back in the day of the E46 M3, there was 1 button – POWER. That sharpened up the engine and that was it. And for a sports car with no compromises, that’s how it should be in my opinion. With the driving experience switch, they still give the driver the option between Normal, Sport and Sport+. Sport makes the steering heavier and opens the exhaust valve, while Sport+ also makes the throttle more sensitive and puts the stability control into the dynamic mode.

And then there is this engine. Even though it’s from the regular BMW shelf and has been around for quite a while now, the N55 engine fits this car perfectly. The M magic that was done to it, really makes this engine quite a lot better. It revs so freely and does feel almost naturally aspirated, and it sounds very good for a turbo-charged car as well. I am sure with a BMW Performance Exhaust and some downpipes that sound will only get louder and better, but the base is there. Especially when the exhaust gets hot, the sound gets even more spectacular, with added explosions in addition to the already computer controlled pops and burbles.

Here is some engine Data:

BMW M2 Engine
Rumors actually have it, that the BMW M2 has posted an unofficial 7:52 min time already, but the 7:58 min is a easily reproducible lap time.

The sheer performance of the car is incredible. I mean it posted a 7:58 min around the Nürburgring Nordschleife! That’s 14 seconds quicker than the BMW 1M and 7 seconds quicker than the E92 M3. It’s almost at the 7:50 min mark of the E46 M3 CSL and even closer to the F82 M4, which made it around the Ring in 7:52 min. Rumors actually have it, that the BMW M2 has posted an unofficial 7:52 min time already, but the 7:58 min is a easily reproducible lap time.

I think BMW hit a home run here, even they might hurt their BMW M4 sales. I come to the prices in a second, but even in terms of performance numbers the BMW M2 is on the same level as the BMW M4.

Here are some recent test numbers by Motor Trend:

BMW M2 Performance Figures

What’s important when you have so much grip and performance, are good seats. I know some journalists have complained about the seat, but even I am a bit bigger, I think they are rather good. You can tighten the seat and they give you plenty of support for those faster canyon runs. I also took this car on a 5-hour road trip and had no complains by me or my passenger. Sure, the leather could be a bit nicer, but again, this is a entry-level sports car. Nobody cars about the quality of the seat. At least I don’t. Not for that sort of performance at that price tag! So let’s come to the price finally.

The BMW M2 costs $51,700 MSRP in the United States (56.700 Euros in Germany including 19% Sales Tax). With the Long Beach Blue ($550) and the only real option, which is the “Executive Package” ($1260), which ads Automatic High Beams, Rear-View Camera, Heated Steering wheel and a few other things, you come out at $54,495 including the $995 destination charge. That is still $16,250 less than a base BMW M4 (incl. Dest. Charge). For me, there is no question which car I would chose. And if you really don’t want the manual, you will have to add $2,900 for the DCT, which I hope won’t be the most popular choice for this car, because if it is, I am afraid that BMW will consider ditching it in future models.

Overall I didn’t think I would like the M2 so much and there were many ups and downs throughout the few days I had the chance to drive this car. I was hoping it would be great, then I was a bit let down by the first impression of the interior, then I was blown away but how well it drives and how much fun it is. If I had the money, I wouldn’t consider anything else at that price point. This is not only a great entry-level sports car or M, this is the ultimate M in terms of driving pleasure. No wonder the wait time is already over 18 months.

Article by Kai Groschupf

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