We took the BMW M2 out for a week in the Colorado mountains and city streets of Denver and found out some interesting things about the new Coupe. How did it handle the high altitudes west of the metro area? We expected the 3.0-liter TwinPower turbo six-cylinder powerplant to cut through the thin mountain air like a hot knife through butter. It didn’t take much effort for the inline six to get to 80 mph quickly even at 8500 ft elevation. We can just imagine how the car performs at sea level. But the other things we found out about the newest M model surprised us.
What is the sports car like in everyday driving? Is it practical enough for urban commuters? This week we’ll see why we found the 2016 BMW M2 Coupe to be a good daily driver in addition to being a track star. There’s at least 10 reasons to buy the newest M performance car and drive it every day. It blows the top off the fun-to-drive meter on the street too.
What’s new for 2016?
You already know, the M2 is an all-new vehicle from BMW M GmbH. It’s been the most highly-touted vehicle to come out of BMW M in a long time. BMW’s engineers got this one just about perfect.
Features and options
This M2 tester came with the 6-speed manual gearbox ($51,700) and the only options were the launch-colored Long Beach Blue Metallic finish outside ($550) and the Executive Package ($1,250) that included a heated steering wheel, rear-view camera, Park Distance Control, auto high-beams and Active Driving assist.
There’s plenty of standard equipment like Black/with Blue stitching Dakota leather seats, power heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, Carbon Fiber interior trim, Xenon headlamps, ambient lighting, navigation and the latest smartphone integrated technology. Total MSRP as tested including destination: $54,495.
The first moment we sat in the M2 Coupe’s cockpit, we immediately sensed how driver focused this high-performance sports car is designed to be. BMW M engineers did a masterful job of creating the right atmosphere for those who like to drive. This is a vehicle that you will never get tired of driving. From the leather sport seats to the perfectly positioned 6-speed shifter, the cabin makes you feel right at home and ready to have fun on the daily commute.
From the blue stitching on the seats and the red and blue BMW-colored stitching on the leather wrapped steering wheel, the cabin features high quality materials and the fit and finish is top shelf. The highly-bolstered sport seats kept us firmly planted during more spirited driving this week. They aren’t too stiff and didn’t leave us feeling tired after a long drive. We cranked up the harman/kardon premium sound and headed to Boulder on one day as an excuse to drive the newest M.
We were surprised with the legroom in the backseat. Average size adults can fit comfortably and it’s easy to get back there. Just push the power button on the front seat and it slides forward effortlessly. Pull the seat back knob and the seat back tilts forward making it easy for adults to climb in. The trunk is average size and can hold two suitcases. There’s also a handy latch that lowers each seat back for additional cargo-carrying ability. With the backs lowered, there’s easily enough room for two sets of golf clubs.
Engine specs and fuel mileage estimates
The M2 comes with a TwinPower Turbo 3.0-liter 6-cylinder inline engine that pumps out an impressive 365 bhp and 343 lb-ft of torque. This is more than 70 lb-ft of additional torque than the past generation M3 produced. The all-new 2016 BMW M2 Coupe features a lightweight aluminum suspension, comes with a manual gearbox with rev-matching technology, a fully variable Active M differential and M high performance brakes. M2 sprints from 0-60 mph in a quick 4.4 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
EPA fuel-mileage estimates are 18/26 city/highway mpg and 21 combined mpg. We were surprise when we got a combined 27.8 mpg combined during the week of mountain and city driving (If the dash reading is correct.)
There’s 10 reasons why we would take this newest M and use it as a daily driver. First, it has an affordable price tag. It’s not so expensive that you would be afraid to drive it in anything other than perfect conditions. It won’t be left sitting in the garage. We took the M2 out in less than ideal conditions as we drove to Boulder. The fog was thick all day and the temperature never got out of the 40s. The streets were relatively dry which kept us feeling safe with the high-performance summer rubber.
The 6-speed standard gearbox shifts are silky smooth and the rev-matching technology is ideal for getting the revs up manually for high-speed down shifts. The gear shifter is perfectly positioned for the driver to comfortably shift all day long. We never got tired of running through the gears.
The M2 Coupe is compact and small but visibility from the driver’s seat is surprisingly good. We had no problem seeing other cars as we navigated the city streets this week in heavy traffic. Some sports cars leave you feeling like you’re in a small closed box. Not so with the M2. We could easily see to the sides and out the back by using the sides and rearview mirror. The rearview camera helped as we backed out of tight parking spots in the city.
The M2 has excellent low end power and the 6-speed manual gear ratio is ideal for city and mountain driving. In some sports cars, you have to constantly shift to keep the revs up or you will lug the engine down. The M2’s power range and gear ratios are matched perfectly for all types of driving situations. We could keep the Coupe in higher gears while traveling at slower speeds and had all the power needed to accelerate. After a long commute, many manual gearboxes leave you feeling tired. Not with the M2.
The steering is lightning quick and ideal for navigating in traffic. Lane changes can be made quickly and efficiently requiring little effort to squeeze into a small spot. The M compound disc brakes benefit from BMW’s motorsport technology and having them at all four corners gives the driver a feeling of ultimate confidence knowing the Coupe will stop when you need to in heavy traffic, or when someone a few car length’s ahead stops quickly. You will be able to avoid the car ahead.
The cabin is relatively quiet for a high-performance sports car. The M-tuned exhaust has just enough sound coming into the cabin, but not so much that it drowns out the tunes playing on the radio. We didn’t need to crank up the harman/kardon premium sound to drown out the wind or tire noise from the outside. After a long commute, you can still hear yourself think.
The sports seats are highly-bolstered and kept us firmly planted during more spirited driving maneuvers this week. They aren’t too stiff and didn’t leave us feeling tired after a long commute home from the office at the end of the day. The 14-way power adjustable front seats made it easy to find a comfortable driving position.
The heated leather seats and heated steering wheel are creature comforts that give an extra level of comfort on cold days. Even in May, in Colorado where anything can happen, the temperature was cold enough that we turned on the seat-warmers and heated steering wheel to take the chill off. In a performance sports car, it’s one extra feature you will be glad to have when the temperature dips into the 40s.
The 2016 BMW M2 Coupe is a track star with its high-performance equipment, yet it has everything needed to be an ideal daily driver. It’s affordable, has a driver-focused comfortable cabin and isn’t too extreme for driving on a daily basis. The only drawbacks? The performance suspension is firm and it will feel a bit solid over rough pavement. But this is the price you pay for precision cornering in the tight mountain curves. This model didn’t come with a head up display that we would definitely get in the M2. Overall, the new M2 is a sports car you will never get tired of driving. BMW’s engineers got this one just about perfect for the track and as a daily driver.
Image source: BMW, Denis Flierl