Most recently the BMW M2 has already been earned the coveted Automobile Magazine All-Star Award, having already been named Sports Car of the Year by the readers of the German Auto Bild magazine, Car of the Year in Japan, Car and Driver magazine’s 10 Best List, and the BBC’s Top Gear Coupe of the Year.
For a car that’s been in the market for just over a year, that’s a highly impressive list of accolades. And in fact, there are even more than what’s listed above. So what is it about the M2 that gets otherwise taciturn automotive writers lavishing praise on a new model? Let’s start with the engine.
The 2017 BMW M2 is equipped with the latest generation of the highly-regarded TwinPower Turbo engine. Advanced features include High Precision Direct Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing, and VALVETRONIC III variable valve lift control. The 3.0 L six cylinder engine produces 365 horsepower at 6500 rpm, with a redline of 7000 rpm. The engine’s torque curve is both substantial and ruler-flat, with 343 lb-ft available between 1400 and 5560 rpm, with an overboost function that enables an increase in torque of a further 26 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft between 1450 and 4750 rpm.
As the M2 is about the driving experience, the best way to enjoy the engine is with the choice of one of two transmissions. Standard is the six-speed dry sump manual with carbon-composite syncros. When engaged a dedicated speed control matches engine speed with the gearbox for seamless up- and downshifting. Optional is the M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) with Drivelogic which anticipates which gear the driver will engage with the paddle shift, align all internal components accordingly. When the driver then initiates the change, it’s nearly instantaneous. Power is put down to ground via the ultra-fast responding Active M Differential, an electronically-controlled multiple-plate limited slip unit.
Another point of contact between driver and car is through the steering system. The development of the Electric Power Steering of the BMW M2 utilized traditional M standards such as direct steering feel, precise feedback at both the track and in everyday driving, and communications to the driver the available grip at the tires. The integrated Servotronic function with M-specific calibrations, controls the level of steering assistance electronically according to the car’s speed, and by utilizing the Driving Dynamic Control switch the level of power steering assistance can be altered at any time.
One of the most effect design techniques to improve vehicle handling is to reduce unspring weight, that is, weight that is not carried by the vehicles springs. Wheels and tires are common examples of unsprung weight, but so are portions of a vehicle’s suspension. The control arms, wheel carriers, axle subframes, and the underbody stiffening plate (which offers an additional connection between suspension and body structure) weigh 11 pounds less in the 2017 BMW M2 than had they been manufactured from steel. Additional weight reduction is provided through the utilization of aluminum in the suspension struts and tubular anti-roll bar.
The lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels substantially reduce rotating and unsprung masses, to the benefit of vehicle response and handling. Fitted to the wheels are Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires developed specifically for the M2. Front tires measure 245/35 ZR 19 with rears at 265/35 ZR 19.
It goes without saying that BMW engineers spent countless hours with the M2 traversing the legendary Nürburgring race circuit that’s long been the yardstick that automotive manufacturers utilize to fine-tune their high performance offerings. Not to brag, but the BMW M2 set a lap time of 7:58 at the ‘Ring, which places it among some expensive Italian hardware.
We’ve just scratched the surface of the M2. There’s its braking system, launch control, exhaust tone, and interior features to review, which is best left to one of the M experts at BMW of San Francisco at 1675 Howard Street.