To put it mildly, BMW’s current lineup is a labyrinthine jumble of letters and numbers long enough to keep a mathematician scratching his head for days. Want an entry-level 3 Series with a little more cargo room? Well, how about a 328i xDrive Sports Wagon, or maybe the 328i xDrive Grand Turismo, a crossover version of the 3? Or better yet, how about an X3? Just remember, that isn’t a sports utility vehicle, it’s a Sports Activity Vehicle.
OK, we’ll stop there. The point is that BMW hopes its lineup is designed to offer something for everybody, and its stable is far and away one of the most expansive in the industry. And when you’re trying to sell 23 separate models in the U.S. alone, you run a pretty high risk of losing the plot somewhere along the line. Don’t get us wrong – BMW is very, very good at what it does, but for 40 years now, we’ve been sold the idea that it’s the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” Is the X3 really the Ultimate Driving Machine? What about the 4 Series GT, X1, Z4, or X6?
No, no they’re not. But that’s OK because, like rival Porsche, BMW knows how to sell people movers in volume to keep the hits coming. Like the jaw-dropping i8, the new track-focused M4 GTS, and the industry-standard M3 and M5. Now, they’re adding a new model to the M-Division lineup. It’s called the M2, and to a certain breed of Bimmer enthusiast, it’s the only car that matters.
For starters, the M2 is not the same as the M235i that’s currently on sale. That’s a production car with go-fast parts. The M2 is a different beast– it’s BMW’s Motorsport division at its best. It’s a compact coupe with a tall greenhouse and dimensions that recall two of the most iconic BMWs of all time: the 1968-’75 2002, and the original E30 M3. More recently, it also recalls the 2011-’12 1M coupe, the rare, 335 horsepower rear-wheel drive gem that instantly made most BMW fans’ “best of” lists.
But while the M2 recalls this Bavarian holy trinity, it’s also determined to leave them in the dust. Its turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-six is rated at 370 horses, with 369 pound-feet of torque to keep you pushed back in your seat. Zero to 60 comes in 4.2 seconds, and top speed is electronically pegged at the BMW standard 155 miles per hour. Unlike the 1M’s manual-only setup, the M2’s mill can be mated to either a six-speed row-your-own borrowed from the M3 and M4, or a seven speed dual-clutch auto. Proving that the machines have already risen, the M2’s top zero to 60 comes with the DCT – for purists, the fastest you’ll ever be able to row through to 60 is 4.4 seconds.
On top of the sweet, sweet inline-six, the M2 also gets bigger brakes, 19-inch aluminum wheels, an electronic limited-slip differential, a stability control setting for on-track drifting, and a second oil cooler for the transmission on DCT models. Add it all together, and you have one world-beater of a performance car priced somewhere in the mid-$50,000 range (BMW hasn’t released exact pricing yet). According to the brass in Germany:
A compact high-performance BMW sports car was already causing heads to turn and hearts to flutter over 40 years ago. Indeed, the BMW 2002 turbo perfectly encapsulated BMW’s resolution to deliver outstanding dynamics, exceptional agility and optimum car control. As if to demonstrate in similarly resounding style that this commitment is alive and well, BMW M GmbH can now unveil the new BMW M2. With its high-performance six-cylinder in-line engine, rear-wheel-drive agility, lightweight aluminium M Sport suspension and extrovert styling, the new BMW M2 Coupe has all the ingredients to deliver the last word in driving pleasure.
For a certain type of BMW enthusiast, the M3/M4 is just too damn big, the 1M was too short lived, and BMW couldn’t build anything today that’s better than the original M3. The M2 is both a car for them, and a loud rebuttal to their arguments. The old adage goes “our best today, better tomorrow.” With the M2, it looks like BMW took it to heart. Take a good look, this is the world’s latest Ultimate Driving Machine.
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