The BMW M2 is positioned as an entry level ///M car, and one that will attract and usher in a new, younger generation of enthusiasts.
And while that may be true, it’s also simply the most value/performance for the money from BMW since… maybe forever, and not just brand newcomers are taking note. Certainly in relation to any other ///M car currently on offer, it’s nothing short of a bargain.
In terms of proportions, power, and character, the M2 has been likened to the E46 M3. But a dive into the numbers reveals that the M2 is a far better value than the E46 was in its day, and offers true next level performance as well.
In 2005 a Competition Package (ZCP) equipped E46 M3 had an MSRP of $54,690. That’s equal to $66,684 in today’s money.
The 2016 BMW M2 has a starting MSRP of $51,700. Take every conventional option available, including the costly dual clutch box, and that figure only rises to $57,395.
The M2 rushes to 60 mph 6/10ths of a second faster than the E46, and cuts 5/10ths of a second off of the M2's quarter mile time as well (while adding about 3 mph).
Braking and cornering capabilities are vastly superior. The M2 stops from 60 in 107’. The E46 M3 required 116’.
The E46 completed the Motor Trend figure eight test in 25.7 sec @ 0.72 g (avg). The M2: 24.1 sec @ 0.82 g (avg).
Not surprisingly, the performance advantages translate to reduced lap times –
Nürburgring Nordschleife – E46 M3: 8:22 / M2: 7:58
Hockenheim Short – E46 M3: 1:16.3 / M2: 1:12.2
Laguna Seca – E46 M3 (modified): 1:50 / M2: 1:40.88
Willow Springs – E46 M3 (modified): 1:32 / M2: 1:22.73
Now, this comparison isn’t to bring into focus the performance inferiority of the E46 M3. That machine will always hold a special place in our hearts, and the last one rolled off the assembly line about a decade ago, so it’s not a fair fight. The M2’s superior performance shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It is a bit of a surprise though that with the M2, BMW is offering more performance per dollar than ever before. BMW probably would have had no shortage of M2 buyers at a 10-15% higher MSRP. (Especially now that just about every automotive critic is singing its praises while disparaging the M3/M4.)
Is M2 pricing a sign that Munich is feeling the pressure of the steady improvement and continued value of the American performance car market?