Perhaps you’ve heard of the BMW E30 M3. It’s somewhat famous. As the grand daddy of all BMW performance coupes and sedans, the original M3 had a four-cylinder engine. Which is funny, because the 325i, the model beneath the M3, had an inline-six. If BMW made the E30 today, the internet would roast them. Thankfully, there was no internet back then, but BMW still makes controversial decisions, and the latest comes in perhaps BMW’s most anticipated car since the M3: the G87 M2.
The BMW G87 M2
Before we get to the “problem”, let’s go over the basics. The F87 M2 was a popular car, so much so that it’s the M car I’ve shot the most. The new one promises the same updates that have made the G80 M3 a better car than its predecessor.
The G87 takes the same M2 recipe that worked so well. It will get the S58 turbo six from the M3 and M4, reduced in power a bit but probably not much slower. I’m sure it will get the same wheels, brakes, transmission options (including the manual!), and maybe even xDrive, if the rumors are to be believed.
This formula has worked on the 1M and the M2. You can bet that the new G87 M2 will be an amazing car. Previous M2 owners should appreciate the fact that they aren’t inside BMW’s worst interior anymore, and as the cheapest real M car, it allows access to the world of M that might not otherwise exist.
So, what’s the problem?
In the beginning, cars were designed around mechanical components first. ‘We can’t make this alternator any smaller” means the car gets a certain size hood. In this regard, the mechanics dictated some of the styling decisions.
But we’re not there anymore. BMWs do not need kidney grilles to cool the engine. But rather than hide them, BMW has made them ever bolder, even on electric cars. They sometimes look to sneak out of familiar design cues, like killing the Hofmeister Kink on the M4, but for the most part, BMWs have remained true to their formula dating all the way back to the Dixi.
A lot of things have this problem. A movie comes out that everyone loves, and they demand a sequel. But the movie’s creators can’t duplicate the movie they just made, even though the sequel will always be compared to the original. So it is with BMW. When the F80 M3 came out, everyone agreed it was the best-looking M3 ever. What did you expect BMW to do, make the G80 look identical?
One other point here. Regular Series BMWs aren’t exactly wallflowers when it comes to looks, and that’s made it occasionally difficult for M to give their cars a look that stands out from your mom’s 328i. Sometimes they succeed, like on the E46 M3, and sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart (M5 vs M550, anyone?). When people pay a premium for an M car that does not really look that much different, they complain (and then buy the car anyway).
The result is a car that needs to look a lot different from its M Performance sibling, look different from the previous best-selling generation, and give buyers the WOW factor they seek at the local Cars and Coffee. Speaking of that…
The Sunday morning Club
In 2010, when I first purchased my E92 M3, there was no such thing as a Cars & Coffee type event. But with the internet making organizing events much easier, car clubs like the BMW CCA weren’t required to get a bunch of fancy rare cars together. And in the beginning, it was good.
But something happened over the next ten years: it’s become a popularity contest. You have a carbon fiber hood, so they get one. You order an individual color, they get BMW to paint one a color you’ve never heard of before. And even then, you get 5 minutes of fame before the next car pulls up. I always use this Lambo example:
In 2015, I was at a local event that was almost over, when suddenly a Ferrari La Ferrari pulled up. Everyone, and I mean everyone, went nuts and rushed over to the car. During this process, I noticed a blue Lamborghini Gallardo turning in. Think about this moment. This poor driver spent nearly $300,000 on this ride, and he’s pulling in thinking “I’m the man”.
Not a soul turned to look.
The moral here is, pick a car you like, and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. That’s tough though…
The Toxic BMW Club
A majority of owners I’ve met over the years have been wonderful people. I’ve made more friends from BMWs than any other way.
And though social media can be a great resource, it’s also lead everyone to voice their opinion, even if it’s not valid.
“A V-8 doesn’t belong in an M3!”
“A turbo engine in an M3?!”
“The nose on the G80 looks like crap. BMW lost themselves a customer!”
And so it is with the new G87 M2.
“The car is fugly. Terrible. I’ll never buy another BMW again.”
Which, no problem, everyone is allowed to have such thoughts. But it’s how the community seems to go about it.
For a group of people that seemed to collectively write off the G8X, I sure do see a lot of them around.
A lot of people approach me at shows, but no one has ever said to my face “your car sucks bro”.
So we’re all either lying online, or lying in person. Either one is bad.
Because what you’re saying to your friends is “If you buy this car, you have bad taste in cars.”
Stay in your lane
I don’t like every mod I see on every M3. And I can tell you some silly things car makers do when they design cars. But I can give you a reason why something doesn’t make sense.
Notice I never mention styling in my reviews? It’s because I’m not going to presume to tell you what to like. It’s not just the BMW community either. Pro magazines like Motor Trend do it too. I don’t care what Matt Farah thinks of my car’s nose. I can make that determination myself by looking at it. But how’s it drive? How does it feel at the limit? That’s what I view as my job here on this site.
I guess we’ll find out once the car is released, and there’s a mass exodus from the BMW dealerships just like when the G8X came out…not.
I happen to like the look of the new G87 M2. I’m excited to try one.
I bet you are too, even if you won’t admit it to anyone but yourself.
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