There's a common opinion in the automotive community right now that the M2 is the best driver's car BMW makes. We feel the same way. It's odd, then, that we had to turn one away from our 2016 Best Driver's Car contest in favor of the track-focused M4 GTS. Instead, that 2016 BMW M2 found itself in what became a group of similarly jettisoned but otherwise excellent BDC candidates, "The Leftovers." As good as that car was, the six-speed manual was criticized for is long throws and ropey feeling. Also, the nondefeat (unless stability/traction control were shut completely off) automatic rev-matching feature turned us off. Sadly, that car finished a highly contentious fifth place.
Well, we haven't had our fill of the best BMW has to offer, so we got another one-for a year this time-an Alpine White 2017 BMW M2. Rather than harp on that shifter, we opted for the seven-speed M double-clutch transmission, which adds $2,900 to the car's $53,495 base price. Like those in some Porsche and Audi sports cars, the M DCT has two clutches instead of a torque converter as traditional automatic transmissions do. We've already demonstrated that these automated manuals are quicker than even the most caffeine-addled test driver, but we're going to be curious to see how well behaved this one is in L.A. traffic. The M DCT will shift by itself in Drive or at the behest of steering wheel?mounted paddles or a nudge of the shift lever. Extra points to BMW for going with paddles that rotate with the steering wheel; the left paddle downshifts, the right paddle upshifts. Pulling the stubby shift lever results in an upshift, and pushing results in a downshift. As the race car gods intended.
Like last year, the same brilliant 3.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged inline-six with dry-sump lubrication makes 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque and sends it to the rear wheels through an electronically controlled differential. Drive modes include Sport+, Sport, Comfort, and EcoPro. The aluminum-intensive suspension is literally taken right off of the M3/M4 parts shelf, which means the body work needed to be widened to accommodate the wider stance, and not by just a little. That's why the blistered fenders are 2.1 inches wider up front and 3.1 inches in the rear. It looks like a proper factory hot rod. The 9.0-by-19-inch/10.0-by-19-inch forged aluminum wheels are wrapped with sticky 245/35R19 93Y; 265/35R19 98Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.
Other standard equipment is very generous. Highlights include 19-inch wheels, a sport exhaust that sounds both vicious and refined, xenon headlamps, a proximity key, heated sport front seats, dual-zone auto climate control, BMW Online/Apps, 360-watt 12-speaker premium Harman Kardon audio with satellite and HD radio, and the latest iDrive system with navigation. Our M2 also has the reasonably priced $1,400 Executive package (a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, automatic high-beams, wireless phone charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a speed limit info display, lane departure warning, frontal collision warning, low-speed collision alert/automatic braking, and pedestrian protection). Our car's total is $57,795.
It goes without staying" (see what I did there?) that we love how the compact two-door looks ready to pounce, with its muscular, blistered fenders, and ready to suck the lane markers off the road with all those air intakes, cooling ports, and grille. We're looking forward to commuting, traveling, and taking the M2 to the track as often as we can over the coming year.
2017 BMW M2
- BASE PRICE $53,495
- PRICE AS TESTED $57,795
- VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 4-door coupe
- ENGINE 3.0L/365-hp/343-lb-ft* turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6
- TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto.
- CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,506 lb (52/48%)
- WHEELBASE 106.0 in
- LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in
- 0-60 MPH 4.2 sec
- QUARTER MILE 12.9 sec @ 107.1 mph
- BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 106 ft
- LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.99 g (avg)
- MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.9 sec @ 0.83 g (avg)
- EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 20/26/22 mpg
- ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles
- CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.87 lb/mile
- *369 lb-ft @ 1,450 ? 4,750 rpm in overboost
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