Every year, at least one member of our Four Seasons fleet gets the staff frothing. Presently, the Civic Type R fits the bill, but last year that honor went to the now-departed 2017 BMW M2. The car arrived at our Detroit bureau midway through the fall, prompting the near-immediate sourcing of a set of winter tires (Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II), which stayed on the M2 for the first five months and 12,000 miles of its Four Seasons stint. But all that new rubber did was allow Team Michigan to enjoy the Long Beach Blue Metallic sports coupe more.
“This M2 is just a blast, even in the snow,” then-road test editor Eric Weiner said. “It rides pretty stiff on these beat-up roads, especially on side streets with uneven surfaces and large patches of built-up ice and snow, but turn off DSC and traction control, and enjoy beautiful and effortless drifting around corners.”
Former videographer Sandon Voelker took the M2 down to Florida while it still wore its winter shoes and made a detour to North Carolina’s famous Tail of the Dragon. “Even on winter tires and temps getting up near 40 degrees, the M2 clung tight to the carving road,” he noted. “The tight on-camber corners are what makes this road unique, and the M2 stuck to every one.”
“The M2 doesn’t just hug the road—it takes it and strangles it.” —Mike Floyd, Editor-In-Chief
Less than two months later, the coupe made its way back down to the Carolinas, this time with Weiner at the wheel and its Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer shoes on. In South Carolina, near BMW’s Spartanburg factory, Weiner and the M2 met up with our resident pro racer, Andy Pilgrim, and a 2011 BMW 1M. BMW threw on a fresh set of Michelins while the M2 was in South Carolina—at that point the original set only had about 4,000 miles on it, but we aren’t the type to say no to a set of fresh rubber.
“I couldn’t disagree more with the people who go on about dead-feeling electric power steering and a disconnected chassis,” Pilgrim declared regarding the M2 after some time in both cars. “This steering has excellent weight, razor-sharp response, and predictable precision. There’s better road feel in the 1M, but that’s it.”
The praise for the chassis continued. “The M2 doesn’t just hug the road—it takes it and strangles it,” editor-in-chief Mike Floyd opined. “This car is more than capable of handling any stretch of broken concrete or asphalt in its way, any urban environment. But it excels where you expect it to, on a circuit, your favorite mountain road, and anywhere else a performance car roams with impunity.”
Executive editor Mac Morrison chimed in to say, “The M2 is an easy car to manipulate with the gas pedal, and its quick steering and reasonably lively chassis setup made me happy every time I drove it.”
Enough about the chassis—you get the idea. What about the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six under its long hood? With 365 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque—369 lb-ft with overboost—it pulls the M2’s 3,505 pounds along to 60 in just 4.2 seconds.
“Just firing up the 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six is an aural treat, the quad-port exhaust belching out sensational growls and pops with every roll on the throttle pedal,” Weiner wrote in “Shooting Stars,” his 1M meets M2 feature.
Contributor Marc Noordeloos was less enthusiastic, however. “The M2’s inline-six makes gobs of power, but it’s not the most exciting engine around,” he said. “It’s more of a tool to get the job done than an emotional, visceral powerplant,” he continued after tracking the M2 at Grattan Raceway outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Reactions to the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which added $2,900 to the price tag, were not as positive.
“I continue to dislike the BMW shifter setup,” Floyd said. “I get the shift-by-wire thing, but I don’t get why it has to be so clunky to operate.”
Noordeloos wasn’t a fan, either. “You can tell the DCT isn’t the latest and greatest dual-clutch setup,” he said. “The clutch can be quite grabby and jerky from a stop, especially when cold. I also find the auto mode shift points sometimes have a mind of their own. There are times it shifts when you’d hope and other times it hangs on far too long. I end up switching to manual mode 95 percent of the time.”
Still, Noordeloos felt that the DCT matched the M2 well and wasn’t without merit. “The car has so much power that the ultra-fast shifts of the dual-clutch box fit it perfectly,” he said. “I’m a tried and true manual guy, but having driven both, there are some plusses to the DCT versus the manual in the M2.”
Features editor Rory Jurnecka was more firmly in the “just get the stick” camp. “The M2’s dual-clutch gearbox makes traffic a breeze, but it’s not perfect in its operation,” he said. “Especially when cold, the transmission’s response moving away from a stop can be lazy, with longer-than-expected periods of clutch slippage followed by abrupt take-up and the resulting jerk forward. It’s an inconvenience more than a serious issue, but I can’t help but think I’d just save myself the hassle—and the $2,900—and spec the standard manual gearbox.”
Aside from the transmission, the only other gripes anyone made were directed at rattles and creaks that developed over the course of the M2’s stay with us. Not entirely surprising given that it’s a stiffly sprung car that spent plenty of time in urban environments with roads of questionable quality, but it’s still disappointing for a car that rings in at more than $50,000—$57,545 in our tester’s case with the added DCT gearbox, $1,400 Executive package, and $550 paint.
Thanks to BMW’s free maintenance program, the three scheduled service visits we made with the M2 cost a combined $0. That program doesn’t cover replacement of windshields or repair of scratched bumpers, however, which set us back $698.88 and $1,112.69, respectively—both steep fees. The winter Pirellis cost $1,270.14 shipped from Tire Rack, plus $100 for the mounting and installation, and later we parted with another $100 to put the original Michelins back on.
The set of BMW-supplied Michelins would have cost $1,055.72, and we ended up replacing one of those tires when the M2 picked up a flat during a session at Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway. That replacement cost $335.97 ($290.87 for the tire, $45 for installation). A dealer visit for a brake flush ahead of that track day added $139.82. Around $4,800 worth of expenses is a bit steep for one year, but hefty tire bills are often part of the deal when daily driving a proper sports coupe.
Steep gas bills were also no surprise. The M2 is rated at 20/26 mpg; we saw an average of 22.9 mpg over our 26,799 miles with the car. Rarely has a driver’s car been the ride of choice for as many road trips, but that just speaks to how much we loved this one. Morrison summed up succinctly: “It’s a blast to drive, the best driver’s BMW in years, and you don’t have to drive it at insane speeds to get big enjoyment out of it.”
OUR 2017 BMW M2
|MILES TO DATE||Start/End: 312/27,111|
|GALLONS OF FUEL||1,169.19|
|OBSERVED MPG||22.9 mpg|
|FUEL COST TO DATE||$3,606.93|
|3 x Oil Change
RECALLS and TSBs
OUT OF POCKET
|Winter tires and installation||$1,370.14|
|front bumper repair||$1,112.69|
|Mount and balance tires
|Summer tire installation||$100.00|
|New summer tire set||$1,055.72|
|Tire replacement and mounting||$335.97|
|ENGINE||3.0L turbo DOHC 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|
|EPA MILEAGE||21/26/23 mpg (city/highway/combined)|
|L x W x H||176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph|
|Long Beach Blue Metallic||$550|
|M dual-clutch transmission||$2,900|
|Park distance control||$0|
|Wi-Fi hot spot||$0|
|Heated steering whee||$0|