Up Close with the M2 Performance Edition

Warning. This does contain an obligatory video of arousing exhaust noises.

Now, can you believe that the M2, the self-proclaimed savior of driving fun, has been out for over a year? Me neither. And yet dealer’s are still asking sticker or more. It was also only a matter of time before the Munich suits decided what was needed is a limited edition version of an already highly limited car. For more money, of course!

So what’s this new M2 Performance Edition all about? It takes the already highly impressive M2, takes some stuff out, and puts some extras in. Let’s go positives first, with what is gained: Trick, tire-hugging coilover suspension, an attractive and especially throaty exhaust with a switchable track mode, black accents on the mirrors, kidney grills and the fake side vent looking thing behind the front wheel. Lastly, it includes the M Driver’s Package, which gets you a day at a high-performance driving school, as well as raising top speed to 168, as if 155 isn’t enough.

Now let’s go to what you lose: Power seats, dual zone A/C, comfort access keyless entry, and a standard stereo instead of the upgraded Harman Kardon unit. Alpine White is the only color offered.

Only 150 will be available, made clear by a LED door projector that displays the fact loud and clear. All this bumps up the price to $61,695.

So is it worth it? Depends on what you’re looking for in an M2. Having only ridden in it, the suspension is on the stiff side of things, but the way it hugs the taut body right over the 19″ wheels is glorious. The standard exhaust on an M2 is already quite good, but this sounds like it should be jumping over Pflanzgarten at the Nurburgring. Included is a handheld remote switch that looks like it’s for detonating plastic explosives. Well, in a way it does, as it’s what sets said sexy exhaust into a track, or loud mode.

I could personally make do with manual seats, how often do you really change your seating position anyways? The lack of proximity sensing comfort access is a bit less convenient, but the single zone climate control, well, I dislike having to adjust both sides as it is, so that’s a win for me. Stereo downgrade? Not really, you got a stereo playing out four bazooka tailpipes out back already.

Thing is, you could get a base M2 and then upgrade it, with Dinan parts or such for the same money, especially if you want the gorgeous Long Beach Blue color which isn’t on offer here. So here’s the deal with it. I wouldn’t wait for one as there’s only 150 and only a few left available I bet, but if you’re looking for an M2 and this is what your dealer has, you probably don’t have much of a choice. The exhaust alone will sell this car.

The M2 Performance Edition pictured is currently available at BMW of Roseville.

 

Do You Really Need that M2 or is the M240i enough?

The M240i has been hitting dealer showrooms for the last couple month now and you might be wondering, “just what is different here? What about the M2 though?” Let’s start with the obvious changes over the outgoing M235i. For starters, there’s the name. Again, like all BMW’s of the last ten years, even though displacement isn’t changing (the names have not corresponded in 10 years anyways…), they do have to make it seem like the car is improving, which it has. If I hear both M240i and M235i, I’m going to automatically assume the bigger number is the better car.

M240i trunk badge So how exactly has it improved? It has a new engine, but it’s the same size, has the same number of cylinders, as well as use of a single, twin-scroll turbocharger. However, the block is different, being substantially stronger than the N55. The new B58, first debuted in the 340i earlier this year, has a ‘closed-deck’ design (block strength will be likened by tuners undoubtedly), and is of a modular architect to keep costs down for the bean counters in Munich. Simplified, the new 6 cylinders is the same engine as the 4-bangers, just with cylinders added on. But what a difference two cylinders make, giving a raucous bark to the exhaust note on startup and some nice cracks and pops on the overrun. And it’s what a dictionary refers you to when looking up the word smooth.

Torque is up significantly, now 369 instead of 330. That’s the same that the fabled M2 makes when on overboost.

And yes, as is obligated, it has more power now. 335 to be exact, where the M235i had ‘only’ 320. Torque is up significantly, now 369 instead of 330. That’s the same that the fabled M2 makes when on overboost. And it’s only 30 down in the power department, which got me thinking: where does it stack up against the M2 in an old-fashioned drag race? I immediately scoured Youtube and was both surprised and unsurprised at the result: it appears to be a damn near draw. Next was to get behind the wheel of the new ’40. Flipping down a couple ratios to second and, nailing it, I feel no difference as  my memory recalls the M2’s speed. Honestly, I can’t really tell. On paper, an M2 with a DCT will have the edge from it’s brutal launch control method, but through the gears, it feels every bit as quick as an M2. Maybe the top of the power band isn’t quite as strong, but how long are you really above 6500 RPM? I reckon BMW M will have an updated, faster M2 out in no time as a response, and likely with the new B58 engine as it still harnesses the ‘ancient’ N55.

So, you got fifty odd grand burning in your pocket for a proper BMW sports coupe, which should you pick? Well it becomes more difficult than it seems. If it were me, I’d have the M2 everyday. Having seen an M2 parked next to an M235/M240i, the M2 simply makes the latter look like a rental car. The wheel arches on the M2 look like the Hulk stretched and shrink-wrapped the metal around those lovely 19” wheels. It looks just bloody brilliant. The M2 also wins on sound, having a proper throaty snarl out of its four tailpipes. M2 has real track credentials too, sporting a fancy differential and better steering as well. The cabin comes standard with alcantara inserts swathed on the doors, lending a special aroma. Sounds like a win-win, right? Remember, I did say this was difficult.

Where the M240i fights back is in real-world usability. M2 is tuned for the track, which is great, when you’re on a track with it’s grizzly grip of the road and tenacious turn-in. On most roads in the wild, it is very stiffly sprung, with a jarring ride. I’m young, I can deal with that for another couple years, but for some it might be frankly too stiff. The M240i also has adaptive dampers, to switch between comfort and sport, something the M2 cannot do, having fixed damper rates. An M240i is also cheaper, before fitting options at least. If you can live without navigation, it will be a few grand cheaper. This is augmented all the more by the single biggest problem with the M2: availability. Most dealers have wait lists for the baby ‘M, and if you find one one on a showroom, they’ll likely be asking for $10,000 over MSRP. It makes the M240i at that point seem like a bargain, considering you get 99.9% daily performance and at least 90% of the track performance the M2 offers.

So, should you still want the M2 over the M240i? Sure! It’s all about desirability, after all. It must be said though, it really comes down to more of what you’re looking for and looking to spend, given dealer markups. For everyday driving, the M240i is probably the safer bet, as it’s more comfortable and has same straight-line speed. If you are a track junky, then I feel it’s a no-brainer to go for the M2. But really, I think it’s more or less what is available to you. If you’re considering one of the two, see what your dealer has. And if they only have M240i’s, give it a test drive and you’ll probably drive it home; you will not be disappointed. However, if you’ve driven an M2 already…

BMW M2 Performance Parts

New video highlights BMW M2 Performance parts

The video highlights a host of carbon fiber bits designed to spice up the exterior: a rear diffuser, trim for the tailpipes, a front splitter, side skirt extensions, mirror caps, and a rear spoiler. Inside, BMW’s M Performance Parts offers a gear lever covered in, you guessed it, carbon fiber, as well as a “pro” steering wheel wrapped in grippy Alcantara. Black kidney grilles and signature BMW M tri-color stripes round out the stylistic changes.

2017 BMW 230i and M240i – the 2 series gets more power!

A key element in the new engine’s ability to serve up thrillingly dynamic acceleration is the pulling power that comes on tap early and is maintained over a wide rev range. The new unit lays on peak torque of 369 lb-ft between 1,520 and 4,500 rpm and generates maximum output of 335 hp at 5,500 rpm.

Today, BMW announced the new 2017 BMW 2 Series now featuring the latest generation of BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder inline engines. The new BMW 230i Coupe and BMW 230i Convertible are powered by the latest generation 4-cylinder 2.0 liter engine featuring an even smoother power deliver and efficiency with increased horsepower and torque, 248 hp and 258 lb-ft. The M Performance Model with the new BMW M240i Coupe and BMW M240i Convertible feature a new inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine that develops 335 hp, a 15 hp increase in maximum output over its predecessor. The new engine has an impressive 369 lb-ft of torque, 39 lb-ft more than before. The 3.0-liter unit with further developed M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology. This new engine produces the same performance levels as the sought after 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe. With an acceleration time of as little as 4.2 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, it is 0.2 seconds quicker than its predecessor. The BMW M240i Coupe and BMW M240i Convertible are fitted with the latest generation of the 8 speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission as standard and rear wheel drive models are also available with a six-speed manual gearbox as a no cost option. These M Performance vehicles as an alternative to sending their power to the rear wheels can also be ordered with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive.

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One has to ask themselves though… with this upgraded power, is it making the need for an M2 less relevant? Discuss this topic here and let us know.

[tweetthis]No more M235i! Time to get a M240i![/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Who needs an M2?  I’ll take an M240i![/tweetthis]

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2016 BMW M2 Close Up

The 2016 BMW M2 offers its driver and passengers a driving dynamic like no other small car in its class. The smooth refined chassis has been dialed in by BMW, resulting in better handling whether navigating a track day or the back roads. The 3.0L 365 horsepower turbo straight six gives the BMW M2 all the push it needs to zip towards 60 in just over 4.2 seconds, planting all that power with axles out of the M3 and M4.

Interior

As you enter the cabin of the new 2016 BMW M2, you are greeted with comfortable and supportive heated leather seats, and plenty of carbon fiber trim. BMW always gets the feel of their steering wheels right, perfect 10-2 position and it comes heated as an option. If you want to fill the cabin with fresh air, a one touch window option is right at your fingertips. Whether you select to shift the gears yourself with the rev matching six speed or let the computer do the work with the 7 speed DCT auto, the gear changes are smooth and effortless and they really put the power to the pavement. BMW makes it easy with the M2 packages, there is only one the Executive Package, which includes rear view camera, active drive assistant, and auto high beams. When it’s time to listen to your favorite song on those daily commutes, the 12 speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system fills the cabin with rich vibrant sound that’s music to anyone’s ears.  

Exterior

The 2016 model year gives the BMW M2 four options for paint, the lone non-metallic Alpine White, or you pay a little more for the three metallic colors Long Beach Blue, Mineral Gray, and Black Sapphire. With the possibility of this car seeing track days, BMW has widened the stance and wheel wells to give way for wider and stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 245’s in the front and 265’s in the rear, rolling on forged alloy 19” wheels. There is no mistaking this car is an M car, with the M rear spoiler giving the car downforce, and the M2 badging at all sides of the vehicle. The BMW M2 is always seen by traffic with programmable LED daytime running lights and night time cruising made easy with the xenon adaptive headlights. Most people would think that because the car is small, you can’t fit anything in it. Trunk space while tight allows room for groceries or a couple of suit cases to last you a weekend getaway.  

BMW has proven yet again that big performance, can come in a small two door coupe with a fair price. The price at just over 50 grand gives the driver the M performance fun and doesn’t put a hurting on your wallet. So whether you are whipping the BMW M2 around the twisty corners at the track, or sipping your coffee while commuting the highway to work, the BMW M2 delivers in every aspect of performance, drivability, and comfort.