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Review of the 2016 BMW M2: An Investment In Excitement!

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On: Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 12:49PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Review of the 2016 BMW M2:  An Investment In Excitement!

Over the course of even just recent history, it has been made pretty clear that numbers can be misleading. Ask those wonderful folks over at companies like Enron, Worldcom, or Tyco about how to make numbers look better or worse. Or maybe even more recently than that, see what the chairmen of any of the major banks across the US had to say about how to make numbers mislead people in the early 2000s for things like a mortgage, for instance. Of course, those numbers were intentionally misleading, and with very malicious intent in mind, but then there are other numbers out there that can also be misleading, but in a way that might surprise people in a positive way. One such example is the 2016 BMW M2. At first glance, one might be inclined to believe that just by the numbers, the M2 would naturally just be half of what the top-flight M4 is for its driver. While that math does work out, the actual application of that theory couldn't be farther from the truth.

The M2 is a powerfully imposing addition to the legendary M-car lineup. It has the looks, the power, the handling, and the style to get it the front of the valet parking lot in a hurry. From the outside, the M2 differentiates itself from its lesser brethren with a more menacing front facia, noticeably wider wheel wells, massive brakes, wheels, and tires, as well as the trademark quad exhaust. The M2 gets tons of hand-me-downs from the up-market M4. Aside from its dampers, prongs, and tires, the M2 uses most of the same aluminum suspension parts, limited-slip differential, and forged 19-inch wheels that are all the same as those in the M4.

What is specific to the M2 is the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6-cylinder engine. This high-powered turbo terror is an evolution of the very successful N55 motor that BMW has used in quite a few cars in recent years, due to its strong torque curve and ease of drivability. The N55 shares a few things with the M4's S55 motor including its block, pistons, rings, main bearing shells, and crank bearings. Thanks to direct injection and some serious boost, the N55 makes a wicked 365 horsepower at 6500 rpm and equally impressive 369 pound-feet of torque at an incredibly low 1450 rpm on its way up to its 7000 rpm redline. Sad that it is actually surprising, but a six-speed manual is the standard transmission for the M2 (get this one), while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional (don't do it).

The M2 also defies its mathematical presumptions when it comes to acceleration. It is not—let us repeat, not—twice as slow as the M4. The 3,415 pound M2 rockets to 60 mph in only 4.2 scant seconds, to 100 mph in 10 seconds flat, through the quarter mile in 12.7 seconds @ 113 mph, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 164 mph. Just to give some perspective, the M2's 0–60 mph time is 0.7 seconds faster than a manual transmission 235i, and only a tenth of a second slower than a six-speed M4. Credit the M2's lighter weight to help it stay neck and neck with the 425 horsepower M4. Of course, up to 100 mph, weight starts becoming less of a factor and the M4 pulls away by about a full second, and in a race to 150 mph, the M4 puts a gap of about 4.7 seconds between itself and its little brother. But seeing as how not too many races end up going to NASCAR speeds, having only a second's difference to the century mark may make more than a few buyers consider the M2 over the M4. It just depends how much that extra second is worth to you. But for the $14,000 difference in price, one could argue there are quite a few mods you could purchase with that extra money to more than make up that extra second.

Aside from just being a straight-line monster, the M2 can hold its own in just about any other performance category you want to throw at it. Skidpad? No problem, how does a mark of 0.99g sound? With a skidpad score that good, credit should be given to the M2's amazingly tight chassis, as well as its choice of rubber—arguably the best street/track tires on the market right now, the Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The M2 uses 245/35R-19 up front and bigger 265/35R-19 out back. How about braking? No problem. Big four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers borrowed directly from the M4 stop the M2 from 70 mph in only 159 feet. Even fuel economy isn't too much of an issue. The M2 posts a respectable 18/26 city/highway. Not quite Prius-worthy, but not bad considering we're talking about a track car you can also drive cross-country.

Inside the M2 is not quite as exciting as the outside. The interior is dressed up with M badging, but essentially isn't much different from your run-of-the-mill 235i. It's nice, but nothing more than you would expect out of any BMW. What might still surprise you is that the M2 can get a bit noisy from inside. Thanks to BMW's controversial decision to pump engine noise through the sound system to help… stimulate… its drivers (?), and its less controversial decision to keep bulk to a minimum, there is less sound-deadening to be had. This equates to a cruising sound level of 72 decibels right around 70 mph. Much higher than your typical 5 Series sedan. Of course, if you are buying a near-400 horsepower car and complaining that it's too loud, maybe you should've opted for an X3 in the first place.

Finally, the M2 does its last bit of funny-money trickeration with its price tag. While it has proven beyond a doubt that the 2 is definitely not half of what the 4 is, unfortunately, the M2 also isn't half the price of the M4 either. But, with a sticker of only $52,695 compared to $66,695 for the M4, little brother still doesn't look too bad by comparison. The M2 gives you 90% of the M4's performance for 80% of its price, and that equates to about 99% happiness on just about any road in America. Those numbers seem confusing? All you need to really know is that after deciding to buy an M2 instead of an M4, you'll have about $14,000 left over. Who couldn't use that kind of extra money? You could even buy some stock with it, just stay away from those faux-energy or not-quite mortgage-backed pseudo stocks and you should be just fine.

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