Once the undisputed king of accessible performance, the BMW M3/M4 has gotten lumpier and more complicated with every generation. Add to that stellar competition from the likes of the Cadillac ATS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63 S, and BMW’s long-held place as the alpha dog of the sports-car pack has been under threat. But from deep within BMW M, a new favorite child has risen— the BMW M2 — a car that’s poised to assume its place alongside the limited-run 1 Series M as one of BMW’s most treasured M models of the modern era.
The progenitor of the M2 was the BMW M235i, a car we named an Automobile All-Star in 2015 and later evaluated thoroughly during a Four Seasons test. It handily earned a glowing five-star rating, with editors hailing it as the E46 M3 reborn. (The E46 M3, for its own part, earned a five-star Four Seasons rating in April 2003.) We were thrilled to later learn that the M235i would spawn an even beefier model, and after finally getting a chance to rip the M2 around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Pacific Coast Highway during its media launch, our initial impressions did not disappoint. Of course, we wanted to see if the M2’s charms were powerful enough to stick for the long haul, so we opted to find out the best way we know how: 12 months in the Four Seasons fleet.
The M2 boasts significant performance hardware that make it a far sharper tool for the track than the M235i. For starters, the M2’s N55 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six belts out 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 45 hp and 14 lb-ft over the M235i. The M3’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter mill donated its pistons, rings, bearings, and high-temp spark plugs to the cause, and the engine also receives an extra radiator for its cooling needs. Aluminum suspension components combine with a widened track to make room for the M2’s 19-inch wheels shod in custom-engineered Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. Upgraded brakes (15-inchers in the front and 14.5-inchers in the rear) bring things to halt with help from blue M-badged calipers.
Very few options are available for the M2, owing to its long list of standard features. Power-operated and heated sport front bucket seats come standard, clad in black leather with blue stitching. Xenon headlights with power-retractable washers, automatic climate control, navigation, and a Harman/Kardon sound system with satellite radio are all included as well. Only the sultry Long Beach Blue paint ($550), Executive Package ($1,400 for park distance control, rear-view camera, heated steering wheel, automatic high beams, Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging), and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission ($2,900) were added to our M2’s bottom line.
Although we rarely say this about German performance cars, especially from BMW M, at $57,545 we consider the M2 a screaming good deal. Consider that a comparably equipped M240i (the M235i has since been updated) rings in at $53,270, just $4,500 south of our Four Seasons M2, without the upgraded engine, brakes, suspension, or bodywork to show for it. In fact, if we had been willing to wait up to six months more for a six-speed manual — we weren’t — we could have ditched the dual-clutch and dropped the M2’s price to just $54,645. Unless you really want all-wheel drive or a convertible, the M240i is a bit of a head-scratcher nowadays.
We’re looking forward to many road trips, backroad blasts, and track days behind the wheel of Munich’s new favorite son. But first, let’s see how it handles a Michigan winter.
Our 2017 BMW M2
|PRICE||$52,695 (base), $57,545 (as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.0L DOHC turbocharged 24-valve I-6
365 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 343 lb-ft @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|STEERING||Electric power assist|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.4 ft|
|SUSPENSION, F/R||Aluminum double-join spring strut/aluminum five-link|
|BRAKES, F/R||Four-piston fixed-caliper vented discs /
two-piston fixed-caliper vented discs
|TIRES||Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/35 R19 front, 265/35 R19 rear|
|L X W X H||176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in|
|TRACK, F/R||62.2/63.0 in|
|HEADROOM, F/R||40.1/36.5 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.5/33.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||54.4/53.4 in|
|CARGO CAPACITY||10.0 cu ft|
|WEIGHT DIST F/R||51.4%/48.6%|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/26/22 mpg (city/hwy/combined)|
|FUEL CAPACITY||13.7 gallons|
|EST. FUEL RANGE||301 miles|
|FUEL GRADE||Unleaded premium|
|0-60 MPH||4.2 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph|
|Leather Dakota Black/Blue||Retractable headlight washers|
|Connected app Compatibility||Xenon headlights|
|19” Black wheel 437 M Mix tire||Automatic Climate control|
|Universal garage door opener||Ambient lighting|
|Comfort access keyless entry||BMW online and BMW apps|
|Adjustable front armrest||Advanced RTTI|
|Carbon fiber interior trim||Remote services|
|Power front seats||Navigation services|
|Sport seats||Sirius XM radio with 1 year subscription|
|Lumbar Support||Harman/Kardon premium sound system|
|Storage package||Shadowline exterior trim|
|Heated front seats||Refrigerant|
|Folding rear seat headrest|
|Long Beach Blue Metallic||$550|
|Park distance control||Automatic high beams|
|Rear-view camera||Wifi hotspot|
|Heated steering wheel||Wireless charging|
|M Dual-Clutch Transmission||$2,900|