2017 BMW M2 Video Review
2017 BMW M2 Video Review By Auto Critic Steve Hammes
The BMW 2 Series epitomizes the brand’s famous ultimate driving machine ethos better than any other. It’s the purest form of driving they currently offer. And now with a full-fledged M model in the lineup, the 2 Series just became the attainable car of your dreams.
With a starting price of under $55,000, the M2 is BMW’s smallest and most affordable high-performance M model. At only 5” longer than the original E30 M3, this is the car BMW purists will gravitate to. Its proportions give it a toy car stance. Muscular and elemental, the M2 speaks to the driver in all of us and its 365 horsepower turbocharged inline 6 continues the conversation. It weighs about 3,500 pounds – 500 fewer than the M4 – and comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. My car however opts for the Double Clutch automatic, making it even faster and more fuel efficient. Using launch control disposes of 60mph in 4.2 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The super sticky 19” Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires not only deliver sublime handling but excellent steering feel, as well. With Comfort, Sport and Sport + drive modes, a stability control off button and an adaptive exhaust system with varying levels of growl, the M2 can be instantaneously set up for whatever kind of driving you have in mind. More so than other rear-drive sports cars I’ve driven recently, the M2 likes to slide its backside out or oversteer a bit before electronics quickly intervene by varying the rear differential’s locking effect and reestablishing traction; a setup better suited for more experienced drivers. It uses the same aluminum suspension components of the M4 for added weight savings and to the driver; it connects you to the road in hallmark BMW M style. Firm but forgiving with chassis and suspension tuning in-step with the selected drive mode, the M2’s ride quality varies from everyday livable in Comfort to rigid in Sport + with expertly controlled body motions that allow for precise wheel placement. And the lightweight compound brakes are designed for hard track use and stop as resolutely as some wildly expensive carbon ceramics I’ve tested.
If you’re of the mindset that the M3 and M4 have gotten a little too big for their britches and lost a little of their soul, then this M2 is going to knock your socks off. Its shorter wheelbase gives it a more rear-drive playful feel with the limited slip differential snapping the car back in-line coming out of a turn. There’s little turbo lag so acceleration is mighty quick and this transmission is as manual-like as they come. A blindfolded passenger could easily be fooled into thinking you were working 3 pedals. Shifts are lightning fast and the steering is weighty but precise. The M2 is all about the drive.
And that’s what this car is all about. In a semi-autonomous age this is a machine that pulls the driver back to the forefront of the action. It’s fun, a bit loud and dynamically exciting. With the turbo overboosted, the exhausts wide open and the paddle shifters in your hand the M2 transports you to that place that stores your childhood imaginations of what driving would someday be like.
A good deal of tire noise permeates the cabin and despite the cool looking carbon fiber trim, it’s an interior that has become far too familiar at BMW. Adjustable side bolsters add support to the comfortable front seats and the leather touch points feel soft and rich but there’s a lack of newness here that makes for an unremarkable impression. The gearshift for the 7-speed is unusual in that there is no park setting – just leave it in gear and pull the brake. The iDrive system can be equipped with Apple CarPlay and the GoPro and M Laptimer apps record track runs for later analyzation. But even with the Executive Package’s Active Driving Assistant, there’s still no side-blind zone alert. The rear seats are surprisingly not as cramped as you’d think for a coupe but are obviously still small. And with an engine stop-start feature, expect about 22mpg.
I really like what BMW is serving here. MSRP of this car is $57,950 which seems very reasonable for this level of ultimate driving machine.