THIS is the one we've been waiting for.
In many ways, this is the definitive BMW. Tracing its roots all the way back to the 2002 Turbo and the original E30 M3, the all-new 2016 BMW M2 represents the very best the German automaker has to offer in terms of, well, the ultimate driving machine. Over the years the M3 has become a significantly larger car than the original. Although BMW has done a fantastic job of evolving its M3, perhaps its biggest fault are those ever-growing proportions.
This was recognized back in 2011 when the 1 Series M Coupe was launched, and it became a smash hit. Jump ahead a few years to the arrival of the M235i. It was considered (and still is) one of the best driver's cars out there, BMW or no BMW. Until now.
The M2, the spiritual successor to the E30 M3 is set to have its North American debut at Detroit early next month with sales to begin later in the year. It's powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that's good for a total of 370 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque, and buyers will have their choice of a six-speed manual and an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with Launch Control. For those opting for the latter, you'll be further treated to a torque increase of 26 lb-ft thanks to an overboost function. When Launch Control is activated, the M2 is capable of going from 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds. Rowing your own gears will get you to the same speed in 4.4 seconds with automatic rev matching.
Our advice: go for the manual. Neither you nor anybody else will give a shit about 0.1 of a second. Top speed, however, is electronically limited to 155 mph. In terms of actual performance capabilities, the M2 more than delivers the goods. How so? It clocked a Nurburgring time of 7 minutes, 58 seconds, making it 7 seconds faster than the V8-powered E92 M3. The 1 Series M Coupe, by comparison, lapped the 'Ring in 8:12, and today's M4 coupe recorded its own lap time of 7:52. Point being, the M2 is wicked fast. Other driving aid features will include an Active M Differential, M electronic steering and M compound brakes. There's even something called M Dynamic Mode which is, more or less, a drift mode.
Once it's activated, it allows for the wheels to slip a bit for a controlled drift. From the outside, the M2 more than looks the part, almost as if it's begging you to drive it hard. It's more than willing to dance. Notice the massive air intakes up front and twin-exhaust at the rear. Step inside and you'll find an interior that's simple and straightforward. There's a wonderful mix of carbon fiber and Alcantara bits throughout and that M steering wheel is world's better than the chunky wheel found in the old 1 M-er. Leather seating is standard. Along with plenty of M badging and a supposed ideal driving position, we think this could end up being one of the best BMW interiors yet.
Again, we'll have to wait and see until we get some time behind the wheel. So, how much is this going to set you back? Try an MSRP of $51,000. For comparison, the M4 coupe starts off at $64,200. Could the new M2 end up being the best driver's car BMW has on the market today? It's a distinct possibility.