BMW is finally bringing the heat with its all-new M2 sports car.
Recently, AutoGuide.com conducted a poll that found many automotive enthusiasts believe BMW’s M division has lost its way. In fact, we conducted the same poll on forums with BMW owners, and many of them shared the same sentiments. Some would say the current-generation M3 and M4 models are a bit underwhelming and too heavy, closely resembling their 3 and 4 Series counterparts. Others are disappointed that BMW has axed the naturally aspirated V8 engine for a turbocharged mill.
But now, BMW has introduced the M2, and it’s appearing to be a throwback to classic M models – the ones that automotive enthusiasts were proud and excited to own.
The BMW M2 serves as a direct successor to the 1 Series M Coupe, that was named so strangely to avoid confusion with the legendary BMW M1 mid-engined sports car. Now, BMW has changed its nomenclature across its entire lineup so that the M2 is a real thing and we don’t have to worry about any M1 confusion. The coupe also serves as a spiritual successor to the classic BMW 2002 Turbo that was introduced more than 40 years ago. Even back then, BMW turned to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to bring 170 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque to provide an agile sports car the performance it needed to stand out from the crowd.
The big question is whether or not the BMW M2 does justice to the 2002 Turbo, and while we haven’t had the opportunity to get behind the wheel yet, we have five good reasons to be excited.
1. It Packs a Mean Punch
BMW claims the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine under the hood of the M2 is newly developed and it packs a real mean punch with 370 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque can also be increased to 369 lb-ft in short bursts with the car’s overboost function. The current M3 and M4 models have 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque with a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds when equipped with an automatic transmission. Despite having 55 less horsepower, the M2 goes 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds – just enough to help differentiate the models in the marketplace. The thing is, we wouldn’t be surprised if the BMW M2 turned out to be more fun to drive compared to the M4 coupe, since it tips the scales at 3,295 pounds – more than 200 pounds lighter than the manual transmission M4 at 3,530 pounds.
2. Fast ‘Round the ‘Ring
BMW says the M2 clocked a 7:58 Nurburgring lap time, which is just six seconds slower than the M4’s official 7:52. That also makes the BMW M2 faster than a 2007 Audi R8 V8, Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche Cayman S, Audi RS4 and Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z51 around the ‘Ring. We get it though, very few owners will even get a chance to put their M2 coupes to the test at the Nurburgring, but the sports car will likely be a hot buy for weekend track warriors and we’re going to go out on a limb here and say the M2 is going to be a real blast to drive on the track with its near 50-50 weight distribution.
3. It has a Frickin’ Manual Transmission!
Manual transmissions are slowly becoming a dying breed, but BMW isn’t going to let that happen. We’re well aware that the above photo shows the M DCT shifter, but for some strange reason, the German automaker didn’t release a photo of the manual shifter. That’s pretty weird, considering it’s more exciting to see than the M DCT shifter. But, we digress, we really don’t care that the seven-speed dual clutch transmission will make the M2 accelerate faster in a straight line. It’s simply not a true sports car if you can’t row through the gears yourself and thankfully, we’ll be able to with the BMW M2.
4. Integrated Launch Control
Because everyone is now 2 Fast 2 Furious, the new M2 comes with Integrated Launch Control that proves the company is serious about performance. Helping ensure the best possible acceleration off the line in all conditions, the integrated Launch Control automatically dials in the ideal getaway rpm and keeps the clutches primed for maximum propulsion. Combined with the M DCT, upshifts are timed with optimal rev matching that helps it outperform the manual transmission when accelerating from a straight line. According to BMW, the M DCT-equipped M2 goes 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds, versus the manual transmission model that does it in 4.5 seconds.
5. Uber Aggressive Styling
One of the biggest complaints enthusiasts have had over the past decade with BMW’s M models is that the styling isn’t as extreme compared to their standard counterparts. Wider front and rear fenders have become a signature design aspect for the M models, as well as sportier front and rear bumpers. But now, BMW offers the M Sport package that bridges the gap between standard and M styling, leaving the M models a bit mundane in the aesthetics department. That is entirely not the case with the BMW M2. If you were to put the standard 2 Series coupe next to the BMW M2, you wouldn’t even need to stare at them for more than a second to know the M2 means serious business.
These front and rear fenders are noticeably wider, helping accommodate the standard 19×9-inch front and 19×10-inch rear wheels. From the factory, the front wheels are paired to 235/35/19 tires while the rear gets 265/35/19. Is it even worth mentioning the 2 Series coupe comes with paltry 17×7-inch wheels on all four corners? Perhaps the biggest difference is just how aggressive BMW went with the front bumper of the M2. It’s unmistakably M, but it’s seriously a lot meaner than the M4 coupe. Hell, it’s more aggressive than the M4 GTS that was recently unveiled.
Out in the back is another signature M lip spoiler on the truck, subtle yet satisfying. The rear diffuser houses a quad-tip exhaust setup that flows nicely from the bulbous rear fenders.
Of course, we’ll have to reserve final judgment until we get an opportunity to put the BMW M2 to the real test, but we have good reason to be excited and some would say it’s been a long time coming for BMW’s M division.
Discuss this story on our BMW Forum