I can’t believe I’m writing this, the last review of a new BMW M car. Right around the corner is BMW’s G90 M5, and that’s a hybrid. The next M3 and M4? All-electric, says the head of M himself. So it’s just you, me, and this S58-powered BMW G87 M2.
The doom is still a bit off – so let’s see if this newest baby M is as good as its big brothers.
2024 BMW M2 Overview
I see the bill for my M3 come each month. I’ve always had a car payment, from 16. I probably always will. Yet, I’ve never once been bothered by it. If you do it right, the car you decide to own should give you so much more back than you give in terms of financials to any brand. The M3 is worth it.
I say this because I also love the M2. Driving it is sort of like kissing the twin of a significant other.
And this M2 is a twin – closely related to the M3 and M4. How close? It’s within a really nice pasta dinner at grandma’s in terms of curb weight, about 15 pounds off. Wheelbases are just 4 inches apart. Perhaps the most damning is the front and rear track widths – identical. Did they just plop a smaller body on an M4 chassis and head to the nearest Lederhosen dance party?
Kinda, but. The M2 feels different. Lighter on its feet. More direct. Just as fast – don’t let BMW fool you with that “453” horsepower number.
How did they do it?
Performance Score: 9. Me too
Then, the original F87 M2. Much better. But hey, you’re buying the cheapest model, so you’re getting less stuff. N55, no S for you. Even the mirrors were missing those little wings. All in a bid to convince you the M4 was worth the increased cost. By the time the F went away, it had inherited all the best bits of the M4 anyway.
No more waiting. This M2 takes everything from the G platform, including the S58.
Our 2 Coupe has 453 horsepower. Buy a stick M4, and you get 474. Opt for the Competition because you need to get your teeth whitened really fast, and it’s 503.
It’s all bullshit. Car & Driver says the M2 is a tenth off the base M4 to sixty. A tenth is nothing – a squirrel could have broken wind on the track and disrupted the air flow over the M2. Silly, right? So is a tenth. Ignore the horsepower rating (which BMW has said for 2025 will be upped to 474 anyway).
Some tests insist: “It lacks in mid-range torque.”
Stop – peak power and torque happen at identical RPMs in these cars. Big Auto Magazine is betting you’ve never driven both back-to-back, but Daddy Mike is here to speak the truth. Yes, you can catch the engine flat-footed below 2,500 RPM before boost kicks in, but that’s simply the nature of the the boost beast.
Otherwise, it’s BMW’s best inline-six ever made, period. It revs freely, never makes bad sounds, and when combined with the ZF eight-speed, produces the sort of acceleration off the line usually reserved for an F-15 Eagle. The M2 is a bit louder inside compared to the more refined 3 Series, but I don’t mind.
Typical ZF goodness, so let’s be detailed here. You get three modes with this transmission, and they dial up the responsiveness of shifts, as well as make the M2 much more eager to downshift and hold onto lower gears.
If you’re on a track, full-bore level three is wonderful, but no way you need to hold onto second coming to a stop sign. Too harsh.
Leaving the M2 in its comfort setting feels a bit soft and out of place, at least for me. The Goldilocks rule means level two is a happy medium. But I found myself still wishing it would up shift more quickly. Just let go man. What is needed here would be the snappy, quick shifts of level three, with the brains to know when you need the transmission to grab a higher gear in comfort.
BMWs has linked the navigation system to the transmission so it knows what will be up ahead. Perhaps it joined the Lederhosen dance party during the car’s stay with me.
You can solve all this guessing with a manual, where your brain will sense the road and tell you when to shift. But I will say that overall, the M2, M3 and M4 work better with the automatic. They were simply designed as a unit, as oppose to the manual afterthought.
Steering and chassis
Let’s save the space for the chassis, because it’s here where the M2 really shines. The shorter wheelbase and a seating position lower to the ground means the ride feels harsher, especially in Sport + (just never touch that button, wow). But the turn-in response on the M2 is much quicker, almost dart-like. Front-end grip is great like in all G8Xs, but with its smaller cockpit seating position, the car really feels different. If I may, from Car & Driver:
“I’m old enough to remember when M cars did more than just generate great numbers. They felt the fastest without actually being the fastest. The previous M2 had that magic and will be missed.” —K.C. Colwell
More crap. I’m so tired of hearing about “old BMW”. The M2 is not an E30, and it’s not meant to be. But there’s still a playfulness here. Sorry F friends, but I think it’s a huge improvement over your generation. And if you think paying $80,000 for a well-kept E46 is better than a new one of these, we probably won’t be friends.
I can easily kick out the tail and perform long, arching drifts anywhere I want (which I absolutely did not do, BMW), and there’s no sogginess or flex in the chassis. Even my lowered M3 isn’t as tight as the M2. This car wants you to drive it fast. I’m not sure the bigger cars care whether you do or not.
Sorry, no carbon ceramic option here. The standard vented cross-drilled brakes are absolutely fine for anything, even track duty. I find the pedal far too soft and squishy in Comfort mode, so I never drive these cars without the brakes in Sport. That’s my tip for the day, you’re welcome. In that mode, pedal feel is excellent, up there with top-of-the-line performance cars.
The BMW M2 earns its M name, simple as that. If you’re on the fence, or maybe looking to get out of a G82 but want to stay in the family, try the M2. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Utility Score: 7. You can do it
Have you ever been parking your sporty car at a mall, or food store – someplace common and visible – and you catch a dad looking at you. You know the glare. “I’m miserable in my mini van, but I used to be cool like you.” Feel sorry for these people, for they do not know the joys of the performance coupe.
This M2 fits two in the front easily. My daughter is over four feet tall by now, so the back is getting a little tight for her, but if it’s just the two of us, I push up the passenger seat and we’re cruising in comfort. Ample trunk space that isn’t as generous as the M4 can nevertheless haul your weekly food supply. An upright cabin allows for great visibility.
Maybe I miss the butler that delivers the seat belt to me – it’s hard to reach behind at that angle. I can fit a large cup of iced coffee in the cup holder, something the M3 insists I cannot do.
Is the M2 as easy to live with as an M3? Of course not, but it’s still easy to live with. So if you’re a car dad, and you’re in a mini van, you don’t have to be any more ok? Come on buddy, this website is a safe space.
Fuel Economy: 4. My fault
*Brain taps me on the shoulder.*
“Mike, do the thing.”
“Come on Mike, do the thing with the vroom and the speed.”
*Stomps on gas* *Repeats at every red light and stop sign everywhere.*
Launching a stick car is delicate work. Not so here. The ZF calls to me…“Just tap the gas and I’ll downshift for you buddy…”
Course by doing this, I saw my miles per gallon dip well into the mid-teens. I’m talking 16..ish?
It’s not all my fault. The tank in the M2, at 13.7 gallons, is far too small. The M4 gets a 15.6-gallon keg. Oh, that has nothing to do with fuel economy?
Features and Comfort: 9. No wait – 5. No wait…
Lots to unpack here. The G87 M2 is such a monumental improvement inside over the F87 that it’s difficult to believe they have the same badge on the trunk. It has everything you need, and parts quality is a big improvement.
But a fully-loaded M2 is pushing $80,000, and for that I’d like it to be closer to an M4. No Merino leather, limited color options, hardly any ambient lighting. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll be thrilled, or disappointed.
This isn’t directed at the M2 so much – it’s not the car’s fault, as all BMWs get it. But this is the first long-term review I have of using BMW’s latest interface.
The giant iPad plopped on top of the dash without any effort to make it look integrated is puzzling at best. There are some cheap pieces of surrounding trim that were not there with iDrive 7 screens. And the interface itself is sigh-inducing. You’ll get used to it, but you shouldn’t have to. It should just work.
Most infuriating is the deletion of the climate control buttons. Try the 530i, with it’s dual rotating knobs for temperature, and then hop into this car. Tap tap tap tap…
That’s if you can find the area of the screen where the climate control lives without looking. Bet you can’t!
I could write an entire story on this. Know that iDrive 8 wouldn’t be enough to stop me from enjoying the car, but it would be a maddening part of ownership.
An interior from the future
I was at a BMW dealer the other day for an oil change on the M3, and decided to look up close at an M8 Competition Coupe they had on the floor. Looks exactly the same inside.
While that’s bad for the 8, it’s great for this M2. You get super comfortable standard bucket seats, typical M steering wheel (with optional carbon trim), Harmon Kardon stereo, even the M stitching on the seat belts. I’m totally jelly.
No Merino leather – you’re left with Vernasca in black, black with M accents, or Cognac. It feels exactly like the Sensatec in my X3 M40i. The door panels feature a cool futuristic design, along with that lovely lit M flag from the M240i, but it’s a lot of black plastic. At night, the ambient lighting is only on the front dash – a bit of a disappointment.
Finally, the flappy paddles on the steering wheel. They have a carbon fiber face, but go to pull it, and you’ll feel cheap black plastic. Come on BMW – aluminum, all carbon, even rubber to grip better – anything would be an improvement.
You wanted it, you got it
“You know what, Mike? The front-end has grown on me”, as they point at my car. Well gee, thanks for the blessing.
But now BMW has given you want you’ve asked for – an M4 with a new face. Again with the extra black trim, this time on the lower front-end that gives the car a buck-tooth look. I’d head straight to J&B and get it repainted body color. Otherwise, I love it. Looks great from every angle.
Is the back too chunky for you? Give it a year and everyone will love it.
Unlike the previous generation (well, aside from the CS), you can get a carbon roof on this car. I enjoyed the sunroof for a change. You also get larger 19 and 20-inch staggered wheels here as standard, not the base 18s from the M3. But wow are those wheels sunken in. The bodywork seems to swallow them up, especially around the rear. Spacers here for sure.
LED lighting, black exhaust tips – it’s got it all. Except for color options. Hope you like Brooklyn Grey, even though it’s on every single BMW they make. For 2024, you can get Frozen Portimao Blue or Frozen Pure Grey Metallic. Otherwise, it’s White, Black, Toronto Red, or Zandvoort Blue.
The BMW G87 M2 is the swan song for M
This car is a good deal. For a base price of $63,200, it feels like you’re stealing from BMW.
Do they know it’s the same an an M4? Should I tell them?
While not as raw as an F87, you gain so much in comfort and speed that I’d deem it worth it. And this car feels much more direct than the M3. The sedan fits my life better (and it’s almost done being built), but if this M2 were available two years ago, I’d have been tempted. BMW did an excellent job imbuing the car with its own identity. It just happens to be an identity that’s more fun than the M3 and M4.
BMW M CEO Frank van Meel recently said that the next M3 will be totally electric. So not only do we wave bye-bye to the stick, but to perhaps the greatest inline-six BMW has ever made. That means the M2 will be the last M car sold with an ICE. This is cause for sadness. But you still have a few years to grab one of these.
Drive it and enjoy it, knowing you have BMW’s best G8X on the road.
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