By Matt Degen
The 2016 BMW M2 is the most potent version of the 2 Series compact car and the latest vehicle to be blessed by the German luxury brand's performance division. All-new this year, this compact, 4-seat coupe is wider, more powerful and faster than its 2 Series siblings, with a premium price to match. Compared to compact-luxury-performance rivals like the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA45 and Audi S3, the BMW M2 is more fun to drive aggressively, yet it's still surprisingly enjoyable as a daily driver. The M2 is perhaps BMW's purest modern-day sports car and a worthy successor to the limited 1 Series M coupe. With a starting price of over $52,000, the M2's track-ready chops don't come cheap.
If you want a small, seriously potent BMW, the M2 is the performance-luxury coupe to beat. For BMW M enthusiasts wishing for the return of an icon like the E36 M3 of the 1990s, the new M2's purity of performance and form could be just the ticket.
If you insist on having an automatic transmission, those used in the Audi S3 or TTS are more refined for non-track driving. If you want a convertible, you'll have to stick with the standard 2 Series for now, or opt for an Audi A3 Cabriolet or TT Roadster.
The BMW M2 is all-new for 2016. Based on the 2 Series, this 4-seat compact coupe is mean and lean. It boasts a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that makes 365 horsepower and comes with track-ready hardware from BMW's M division.
BMW’s new 2016 M2 is a blast. Its powerband is broad and wide, with a reservoir of grunt that can compensate even if you miss a gear, and the standard...
... 6-speed manual transmission remains stellar and is the one we recommend. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is available but, as with the M3 and M4, it's not as refined or smooth as the automatics offered by Audi or even Cadillac's V-Series performance cars. On the track, however, the 7-speed shines. Off the track, where most M2's will reside, BMW's little beast is extremely pleasant. The cabin is impressively quiet when not at full throttle, and the driver's seat adeptly hugs your body. Most impressive is how civilized the M2 is on the highway given its immense capabilities on the track. The BMW M2 is truly a sports car with a dual nature, and it's easy to love both personalities.
BMW's M performance cars have been around for four decades. They've always been potent, but some of the latest models have lost their edge or have been accused of diluting the brand. The BMW M2, however, feels like a return to the glory days.
The M2's starting price isn't cheap, but this compact BMW performance coupe comes refreshingly stuffed with features. Unlike some luxury cars, whose options can seem endless, only one main package is offered on the M2. Features like navigation and leather seating are standard.
Like the standard 2 Series coupe, the 2016 M2 has 4-passenger seating, with the rear seats best used for very small people or as extra storage space. The bucket seats in front, though, are highly supportive and up to the task of keeping you in place during spirited driving. Above the center dash sits a high-res color screen that displays navigation, audio and other info. BMW's familiar iDrive rotary dial below the gearshift controls the on-screen action, and now features integration with a GoPro app for recording your track drives. You will be taking this to the track, right?
Compared to the standard 2 Series, BMW’s new M2 is wider, slightly longer and enhanced with unique front and rear fascias that express this coupe's extra muscle. From behind, an M2 can be positively identified by a pair of dual tailpipes. It's a beautiful little monster, and better proportioned vs. the old 1 Series. Standard-issue wheels are 19 inches, wrapped in performance tires. Power-folding mirrors are also a nice touch.
As we've mentioned, the M2 comes well-equipped out the door. Standard goods include black leather interior with 14-way-power heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, dynamic cruise control, 12-speaker harman/kardon audio system with AM/FM/CD/HD Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB input, and navigation. Of course, the M comes loaded with performance hardware, too, such as an active differential, upgraded brakes, suspension and more. New BMWs include the Ultimate Service, which for 2016 models offers four years/50,000 miles of complimentary maintenance (it will be reduced to three years/36,000 miles for 2017 models).
Aside from an automatic transmission, most options available for the 2016 BMW M2 are bundled into the $1,250 Executive Package. That includes rearview camera with rear parking assist, heated steering wheel, lane-departure warning and frontal-collision warning with pedestrian detection. Other bits such as carbon-fiber mirror caps and black kidney grilles are also available.
The BMW M2 is powered by a turbocharged inline-6 that makes a robust 365 horsepower. Torque output is rich at 343 lb-ft, and an overboost function allows it to briefly increase that twist to 369 lb-ft. These figures allow the M2 to hit the 0-60-mph benchmark in as little at 4.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. All M2s are rear-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual is the standard transmission (and our recommendation), and a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic is optional. An automatic engine start/stop system cuts power at stoplights, but can be defeated if you find the start-ups too abrupt.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
365 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
343 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (manual), 20/27 mpg (automatic)
The 2016 BMW M2 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $53,000, including the destination charge. Loaded with one of the three metallic exterior paint colors, an automatic transmission and the main option package can lift the M2's price to over $57,000. The M2's price is roughly $10,000 beyond the less powerful Audi S3, and slightly above that of the similarly powered Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA45. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As the M2 is brand-new, our experts have yet to predict this BMW's resale value.