2016 BMW M2: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The 2 Series is the smallest and least expensive model that BMW offers in the U.S. However, with the M2 the German automaker transforms this entry-level model into a true Ultimate Driving Machine. Superior performance has always been the hallmark of all M vehicles that BMW offers, and in the same vein as the 2 Series the M2 is the least expensive M car available. The Mercedes-AMG CLA45 is the closest competitor to the M2, although others include the Audi S3, Nissan Z, Porsche Cayman and Lexus RC. Almost everything comes standard on the BMW M2; our test vehicle was equipped with a $1,250 Executive Package that includes a rearview camera, a heated steering wheel, park-distance control and Active Driving Assistant. The tester M2 was also swathed in Long Beach Blue Metallic, which adds an additional $550. Total price including destination charge is $54,495.


© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Like
Although we haven’t been big fans of the 2 Series styling — the proportions don’t look quite right — this aesthetic glitch gets fixed on the M2. The track (distance between the wheels on the same axle) has been widened by about three inches for better handling, as well as to accommodate larger tires. Additional aero enhancements and air intakes in front give the M2 a much more aggressive stance than the standard 2 Series. Four exhaust outlets are a hint — to those not in the know — that this car is something special.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower
An M car isn’t simply about more power, but the engine is the heart of the overall boost in performance. The M2’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine puts out 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. With peak torque available as low as 1400 rpm, there’s never a lack of power on tap. We’re not surprising anyone when we say that acceleration is incredibly strong — triple-digit speeds come up at an alarmingly quick rate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience6-Speed Manual
Sure, the M2 is quicker to 60 mph if you opt for the 7-speed double-clutch transmission, but we still prefer shifting manually, and luckily our test car was equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox. That said, the M2 is by no means slow with the manual — 60 mph still comes up in around 4.4 seconds. Shifts are incredibly smooth, partially due to the “engagement speed control function,” which blips the throttle to match the rpm on downshifts as well as lowering revs on upshifts. We love the sound of that smooth throttle blip — it makes drivers look and feel more accomplished than they might be otherwise.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceM Performance
In addition to the added power, the M2 has lightweight M Sport suspension which makes for a very agile drive. We had a chance to take the M2 for hot laps around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the performance exceeded our expectations. A significant amount of the M2’s impressive grip can be attributed to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and lightweight 19-inch wheels. The precise, responsive steering provides ultimate driver confidence, and the big high-performance brakes offer impressive stopping power.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEveryday Driver
A big allure regarding M cars has always been their incredible power and performance coupled with their ability to function as composed daily drivers. The M2 felt as much at home at the track as it did on a drive to the grocery store. The ride is not overly stiff, and if your drive to the grocery story happens to include some twisty roads, this car will enhance your everyday driving life. An added bonus: decent fuel economy. We averaged around 21 mpg, which included some rather spirited driving.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInterior
Front seats are comfortable and supportive — large bolsters hold you in place when driving through winding roads at speed. The large display is easy to read, and climate controls are now separated out for easy use. The blue stitching throughout is a nice touch, matching the Long Beach Blue Metallic exterior paint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Don’t Like
Most of the sounds the M2 makes are wonderful, including a lovely exhaust note from the turbocharged engine. However, a surprising amount of road noise becomes quite noticeable on long drives. As easy as this car would be to drive every day, the noise could become an issue on longer road trips.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
Sure, the M2 is a sports coupe and it wasn’t really designed with rear-passenger comfort in mind, but we should still mention that access to the rear seat is difficult, and putting two adults in back would not only make it a cramped ride for them, it would require moving the front seats forward, making it uncomfortable for everyone.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrunk Cargo Net
Although considered a minor annoyance by some, the cargo net in the trunk is attached to a removable panel to access the spare tire. Every time we tried placing something under the cargo net the entire panel would come up.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceI-Drive
BMW’s I-Drive interface has improved over the years, but it is still frustrating to have to go through multiple menu items just to select a specific radio station.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStandout Feature
As driving enthusiasts, we appreciate functional features that makes us look like better drivers, so that’s why we love the M2’s manual transmission with its throttle-blipping function on downshifts. Experts can turn this feature off and rev match on their own, but we couldn’t replicate the M2’s clear, slight engine roar while manually downshifting before turns.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.5
For driving enthusiasts, the M2 is an absolute blast to drive. Although it handles supremely well on the track, the M2 is just as enjoyable on some winding back roads or the occasional high-speed highway entrance ramp. With its impressive performance and excellent drivability as an everyday car, the M2 is a great value – and certainly a car any auto enthusiast would love to have lurking in their garage.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M2

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