As I write this, BMW has recently announced a final, track-focused CS version of the M2.
The £75,000 M2 CS will come with 444bhp, a carbon fibre roof and bonnet, added aero and lightweight wheels.
What it’s like on the road or track I can only speculate about but some recent time with the “standard” M2 Competition would make me guess it will be spectacular.
I had the M2 Competition ostensibly to test Goodyear’s new Eagle F1 Supersport tyres but the nice people at Goodyear left the car with me long enough to get a proper feel for the car as well as its rubber.
And what a car it is. It might be the baby of the M family but it’s still a 404bhp, rear-wheel-drive monster with the kind of performance that will make a grown adult giggle like a child.
At the centre of it all lies a twin-turbocharged straight six engine that can push the relatively small M2 to 62mph in just 4.2 seconds. It’s a torquey, flexible engine that is happy loping along at mid-revs or being strung out right to the 7,500rpm red line. Either way, the pull is relentless and it makes a wonderfully angry metallic roar as it piles on speed, shifting gaplessly via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Supporting that spectacular engine is a chassis that’s every bit a match for it. The Competition features uprated suspension, steering and brakes plus more structural bracing than the original M2 and is an absolute joy to throw around.
BMW M2 Competition
Price: £53,535 Engine: 3.0-litre, straight-six, twin-turbo, petrol Power: 404bhp Torque: 406lb/ft Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic Top speed: 155mph 0-62mph: 4.2 seconds Economy: 28.5mpg CO2 emissions: 227g/km
The whole package is responsive, nimble and completely involving. Turn-in is immediate from razor sharp steering and there’s a glorious poise, balance and engagement that shames some sports cars costing twice as much.
On the road it’s communicative and thrilling, on the track it’s absolutely phenomenal. With the freedom to properly explore its abilities, you can dial steering and angle in with the throttle precisely and even a leaden-footed amateur like me can prompt it into controlled, graceful drifts that just for a moment make you feel like a driving god.
And yet, while it is a full-on high-performance machine it’s not overly harsh. In calmer situations it’s refined enough that you wouldn’t dread longer motorway journeys, which is pretty impressive given how raucous and sharp it feels away from big roads.
All that performance is clear from the way the M2 Competition looks without it going overboard. Everything – arches, wheels, bodykit, quad exhausts – is swollen, muscular, full of intent but it’s not over-the-top attention seeking. Like a professional rugby player in a sharply cut suit, it’s clearly something more powerful than the norm but doesn’t feel the need to shout about it.
Inside, it’s pleasingly simple. There’s very little digital nonsense here, just two big dials for revs and speed with a little info screen telling you that you’ve broken the 15mpg barrier (or not).
Likewise, the rest of the cabin feels relatively simple compared with the flashy, over-endowed interiors of some other BMWs. If you’re feeling generous you can ascribe this to BMW wanting you to focus on the driving, if you’re feeling more cynical you could argue it’s because it’s a car near the end of its life.
Either way, in everything from its looks to its compelling performance it epitomises what an M car is all about. It’s at turns utterly ferocious and yet completely manageable. If you can live with the firm ride and some tyre/wind noise (plus a prodigious thirst) you could use it every day. And every day you’d end up with a smile on your face.