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Replace 7/6/21: This assessment has been up to date with check outcomes from a special M2 CS examined at our Michigan monitor, which carried out higher than our California check automobile.
It may be simple for automobile firms to get a bit too self-referential, too in thrall to their very own historical past. Bear in mind when Jaguar redesigned the XJ and created a very new automobile that seemed nearly precisely like each different XJ from the prior twenty years? Or when Ford saved utilizing stick axles in Mustangs, with a number of exceptions, till 2014? BMW tends to go in the other way, periodically making an attempt on new identities to see what matches. Typically that works to uncommon impact—the Bangle-era V-10-powered M5 was each wildly new and wildly wonderful—and generally not. However legions of Bimmerheads resent the truth that BMW refused to mainly simply hold constructing the E46 M3 perpetually and ever, like Porsche does with the 911 or Volkswagen with the GTI. They made the M3 sedan as huge as an E39 M5, and take a look at the grille. However heartsick aficionados of compact Bavarian straight-six coupes have a brand new crush, within the type of the 2020 M2 CS. It is like an E46 with an additional 111 horsepower. And it begins at solely $84,595.
HIGHS: Hits 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, throwback measurement and proportions, superb steering really feel.
Automobile and Driver Observe-Examined: 4 Generations of M3 2011 BMW 1-series M Coupe Examined
We concede that that is some huge cash for a 2-series. However what a 2-series it’s, armed with the outgoing M4 Competitors’s 444-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six and, on this case, a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission (a $2900 improve). Whereas you can even get the M2 CS with a six-speed guide, the dual-clutch ‘field makes it a faster automobile and one that does not skimp on driver involvement. As an example, even when utilizing launch management—your ticket to a 3.4-second zero-to-60-mph time—the motive force must dial within the optimum engine rpm for launch utilizing the cruise-control toggle. Something far more than about 3000 rpm and the clutch engagement sends the 265/35R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rear tires up in smoke. All-wheel drive would clear up that traction algebra, however what is the enjoyable in that? Additionally, all-wheel drive—an possibility within the new M3 and M4 Competitors fashions—would probably convey alongside a traditional computerized slightly than the dual-clutch transmission. Even with its traction-limited launches, the CS’s 3.4-second 60-mph time outran the final M2 Competitors we examined by 0.6 second, and its quarter-mile time, an 11.7-second wind dash, improved by 0.7 second, whereas crossing the road at 120 mph. The CS’s additional 39 horsepower clearly aren’t simply on paper.
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Squeezing 4 seats into an 89-cubic-foot cabin makes the M2’s cabin tight in a manner that evokes nostalgia for BMW coupes of yore. (Do you have to get pulled over and must retrieve your registration, the glovebox is a straightforward attain.) The overly chunky steering wheel is trendy BMW, however the indicators that come by way of it are excessive constancy within the old-school method. Which is an effective factor, as a result of the stubby CS just isn’t an off-the-cuff drift machine like the brand new M3. It is a squirming, writhing handful, albeit one which logged 1.04 g on our skidpad. That is steady-state cornering, although. Add some throttle to your lateral acceleration, as in a nook exit, and the CS is blissful to remind you of the bounds of its contact patches. By the wheel, it feels as should you can discern particular person molecules of Michelin straining to take care of buy on the pavement in 1,000,000 little battles. This can be a automobile that slays hairpins, an all-time autocross weapon, however possibly not the proper instrument for a 130-mph sweeper.
LOWS: One yr solely, $96,545 for a 2-series?
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The CS’s exterior is restrained, however there are tells that that is the final word 2-series. The roof is uncovered carbon fiber, as are the mirror caps, entrance splitter, and rear spoiler and diffuser. The hood can be carbon fiber, with an enormous purposeful middle vent that BMW says aids each cooling and downforce. Carbon-ceramic brake rotors—as fitted to our check automobile, an $8500 possibility—returned a 138-foot cease from 70 mph and a 291-foot cease from 100 mph with zero fade, each super-impressive outcomes, notably for a front-engine automobile.
With its compact proportions and snarling 7600-rpm inline-six, the M2 CS actually does really feel like a direct evolution from the very best M automobiles of yore, even retaining the old-style low-profile kidney-shaped grille openings. That is BMW exhibiting that it is aware of learn how to construct a killer little coupe, exhilarating and buzzing with nervous power. Sadly, the CS is a one-year-only mannequin, with the 2020 version representing each the start and the tip of its run. Which leaves us with the identical query we had again in 2006, the final yr for the E46 M3: Why cannot they only hold making this?