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The standard features of the BMW M2 Base include 3.0L I-6 365hp intercooled turbo engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 19" forged aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control.
Starting at: $51,700
|Base Search New||$51,700||365-hp 3.0L 6-cyl||6-spd man.||18 / 26|
The M2 brings the sensation back to the driver, having been lost in more uppity M cars. The driver settings are simple, for one thing. The Sport+ mode doesn’t feel artificial like it does in the M4, while sharpening the response of the transmission and steering, and backing off the stability control system.
The M2 is at its best driven hard, with precise body control, well-weighted steering, and powerful brakes. The engine sounds great, especially at redline 7000 rpm, thanks to an exhaust-flap system and piped-in induction noise.
The 7-speed dual-dual clutch automatic manual transmission does seamless shifts in the blink of an eye, with or without the steering-wheel paddles.
The 6-speed manual gearbox shifts nicely with tight linkage (it shifts like the M3 used to shift) and great clutch coordination. It also has rev-matching that turns off with the stability control. The 6-speed gearbox has its own oil cooler.
The ride takes hard impacts at the wheels in stride, but it can feel jittery on bumpy pavement. The firm suspension allows the correct amount of weight transfer in the corners, without using adaptive dampers. The Active M Differential controls torque to each rear wheel, to help make cornering nimble. By providing the optimum torque in corners, this system keeps the driver engaged (feeling it in the seat of his or her pants), compared to an electronic system that uses the ABS to control wheelspin.
The stubby M2 clearly looks like it means business. Under the BMW twin-kidney grille, there’s a big air intake flanked by a pair of angular ducts. Flared fenders hold the wide stance.
It’s far from luxurious in the cabin. A $53k BMW doesn’t have the same interior materials as say a $75k one. It feels a bit stark inside, with lesser surfaces, even though they are special M surfaces; and not much design, even though there are M logos on the gauge cluster, shift lever, door sills, and steering wheel.
The seats are great, good bolstering for the twisties and easy on the back on rough highways. Road noise is mostly a mere whoosh.
The M2 is the nimblest and quickest BMW M sedan. With its almost-screaming 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbo, tight 6-speed manual transmission, big brakes, stiff but not uncomfortable suspension, it almost brings back the M3.
Sam Moses contributed to this report, with staff reports by The Car Connection.
The 2017 BMW M2 ($51,700) comes as one model in the U.S. with the manual transmission or the M DCT dual-clutch ($2900). Standard equipment includes heated seats, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and electronic safety features, but not a rearview camera. An Executive package adds a heated steering wheel, plus park distance control, automatic high beams, active driving assistant, and that rearview camera. The Drivers’ Package ($2500) adds 13 mph to the 155-mph top speed. There are no stand-alone performance upgrades. They all come standard.