While it’s pretty standard that every BMW M car is eagerly anticipated, we do have to point out that every once and a while the Bavarians have something a bit more special on its hands. Though many look forward to the launch of an all-new M3 or M5, there’s something to be said for the little guy.

Last seen as the 1M coupe, the teeny M-rated product was a leviathan. Easily the best driving M car I’ve ever piloted, I have been in pursuit of a solid example for over 12 months now. With only 739 units available for public consumption in the U.S. market, there's plenty of stiff prices and poorly modified vehicles available. It's been tough.


But now that the all-new M2 is here, perhaps it is time to forego a seemingly impossible quest. After all, it is the 1M’s successor and there’s plenty of hype that this vehicle packs a special punch. My goal was simple: See if the M2 could divert me from my quest. Let’s see how our subject faired out.

Arriving to me painted in Long Beach Blue, it is clear that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill BMW 2-Series. Equipped with some distinguishing characteristics, the M2 looks like a standard 2-Series’ steroid-infused cousin. Not so keen observers will note its much more aggressive front clip that has much larger air intakes flanking its center, the larger wheel and tire combination that looks very M3/M4 inspired, a larger track front and rear with massive hips, and of course, a quad-tipped exhaust.


It doesn’t take too long of a walk around the M2 to figure out that it is a much cleaner and sharp design than the 1M. It still has a tinge of goofiness to its look, but I am fine with that. The same can be said of the highly coveted 2002 and E30 M3.

On the inside there’s nothing shockingly different going on in the M2. Compared with the rest of the BMW product portfolio it is considered a Spartan interior though I would argue it is a rather comfortable and luxurious space. I see it this way: If I cannot order it without an infotainment screen and I have to accept power seats then it is not a Spartan BMW any longer.

To differentiate the M2 over other 2-Series vehicles, there’s a healthy use of Alcantara as well as a contrasting blue stitch throughout the cabin. This isn’t groundbreaking as it is a similar treatment to what we saw in the 1M.

Though there has been much written about how the driver’s seat is peculiarly angled, personally, I did not find that to be a problem. Perhaps I’ve been sitting crooked in every car up until now? I don’t know, I just didn’t feel it like the others have noted. Personally, I thought the driving position was OK, though I wish it were lower, and I found visibility to be excellent in all directions. In the 2-Series there’s a bit more glass than the M4, which seems to have larger blind spots.

If I were a betting man, and I am, I’d wager that you’re not too interested in these elements though. You really want to know how it drives. Let me indulge you.

Equipped with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that’s aided by a turbocharger, the M2 makes an impressive 365 horsepower and 343 lb.-ft. of torque. My test vehicle arrived with a six-speed manual gearbox though you can tick the option box for the dual-clutch transmission (DCT). Tipping the scales at 3,450 pounds, it’s light by modern car standards. Zero to 60 happens in 4.4 seconds with the stick and 4.2 second if you order it with a DCT.

The clutch’s take up is on the smaller side though it doesn’t bite back if you’re a bit careless now and then, and the pedal’s weighting is also on the lighter side when compared to previous M cars I’ve driven. This is actually welcome. The shifter is easily put into each gear with a more fluid feel — it doesn’t fight you — and snap-into-place satisfaction.


While the M3 and M4 can be had with adjustable everything these days, the M2 I piloted only benefited from a rocker switch to toggle different driving modes a la every BMW now made. After putting it through some twisties, you quickly realize that this M car is an agile little thing. That’s because the steering is light by BMW standards but what really makes it shine is how direct its steering rack is. Now I’ve driven a lot of vehicles by the blue and white, but I don’t recall any vehicle from the Bavarians having steering this sharp and precise. Although that’s a bonus it does suffer by being numbed out and uncommunicative — not a surprise in today’s market where electric power assisted steering rules.

Really getting on the throttle in corners, I have to make mention that the vehicle, overall, feels quite planted in Sport +. In M Dynamic Mode; however, it will get a bit of a wiggle in its ass end in a very playful and predictable manner. The M2 is a flirt, which is a good thing, because that’s what makes driving fun.

What stood out to me above all else though is how the M2’s suspension is tuned. Driving the M2 around Manhattan and New Jersey’s suburbs I noticed how well dampened the vehicle is. Even hitting bumps that would be devastating for other autos I’ve driven, the M2 handles them with ease. I would have expected it to be kidney crushing but it wasn’t in the slightest. Compared to how previous Bimmers were set up, the engineers deserve a pat on the back for their work here.

If I were to sum up my total experience with the M2, there are two major takeaways.

First, this car is supremely fast. When you get on the throttle, you’re going to get up and moving extremely quick. Perhaps it’s just me but the car feels a bit faster than the M3s and M4s I’ve piloted. Where I found it particularly pleasing is on highways where you can pass with ease thanks to the mountains of torque. Drop the car a gear and you’re off!

Second, to me the all-new M2 really makes the M4 feel a bit dated. You see, when you put the M4 into Sport + and dial up the settings the steering rack gets too heavy and devoid of feeling. It makes the M4 feel a bit overkill. In the M2, however, the car operating at its peak settings feels nimble, sharp and direct.

If you’re a driver, you’re going to want the M2. Simple as that.

The Good:

- Exterior styling that truly differentiates the M2 from the M235i — there’s no confusing what you’re seeing
- Excellent motor with gobs of power — torque for days
- Surprisingly well tuned suspension with great damping on less-than-ideal roads

The Bad:

- What happened to simple BMWs with cloth and manual seats, and no infotainment systems
- What happened to BMW’s unique steering racks that spoke to the driver and, ultimately, differentiated the brand's driving experience
- For an M car, there’s something missing from it — there’s no lust here

The Lowdown:

One of the main reasons I love providing you with a breakdown of The Good and The Bad at the end of my reviews is because it really spells out the vehicle’s strong and weak points. With the all-new M2 there’s a lot to like, no doubt. And, in my humble opinion, it really makes the M4 obsolete if you’re purely seeking for a driver’s car. There’s just one problem with the M2 for me. There was absolutely zero lust. When I would go for my errands or even a short cruise there was no urge from me to extend the ride or even hop back in. I simply locked it up and walked away. That’s a huge problem because this is the type of car I usually claw to get back into and that special feeling just wasn’t there. The last time I drove a 1M, on the other hand, I didn’t stop thinking about it for two weeks. Hell, I almost went and paid WAY too much money for one against my better judgment — almost. With the blue M2 I just could have cared less. I think that’s because it may actually be a bit too refined and lacking that certain raw character that pervades M cars. Hopefully this is not an early indication of an all-new theme within M because that would just be sad. Really, that would mean the end of enthusiast’s hearts pumping the tricolor and, frankly, that may just very well explain why E30s, E36s and E46s are in such high demand today.


REVIEW: Is The All-New BMW M2 The ONE To Get? 00R Drives And Tells In This M Rated Review...

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