Well, that went fast, and the loss is palpable. Honestly, I miss this car. When it arrived, we said the 2017 M2 was “as good as it gets” among BMW’s current offerings. (I now temper that statement with the recently remastered M5.) The M2 remains a Goldilocks “just-right” benchmark, not only for the high-performance coupe segment but also for BMW itself—and the company knows it. I spoke with a BMW product planner who admitted that in the past several years, the company had taken to heart reviews about poor steering, isolated driving dynamics, and a general failure to live up to the “Ultimate Driving Machine” motto. So the M Division took the well-received, now cult favorite 1M Coupe and used the Frankenstein’s monster recipe—borrowing parts from extant M cars—to make its successor even better.
That’s not to say the M2 is flawless. My routine: fire it up, toggle to Sport mode (opening the sonorous exhaust and awakening throttle response), and nudge the shifter, once for Drive and a second time for manual mode. We liked that it was possible to decouple Sport steering from Sport mode, keeping the driveline setting. Why? Sport steering muddies the feel with unnecessary heft. And although the M DCT (double-clutch transmission) is an enormous improvement over the old single-clutch, it still isn’t to Porsche or Audi levels of sophistication in any drive mode.
I drove in full-manual all the time to better choose my up- and downshifts. It was more prudent than Sport Plus, smarter than Sport, and smoother than Comfort mode. Also, there’s very little off-pedal creep, which can necessitate a quick dab of the throttle while covering the brake pedal to roll into a parking spot. Easing away from a stoplight was a hit-or-miss experience (which grew more problematic over time). Sometimes the engine would rev with the car stationary, then the clutch would grab suddenly, especially when cold. Near the end of the year, we also began to hear mild groans from the Active M Differential. Nothing more ensued, though, and spirited driving was unchanged. And although we grew accustomed to it, not having a park button/position and merely shutting the M2 off in gear felt weird. Also, it seemed unnecessary that a driver needs to press the start/stop button once to kill the engine, and a second time to shut the entire car off.
Every staffer who drove the M2 loved the 365-hp twin-scroll turbo-six engine. Because the fuel log tells a story, we could determine who loved it more than others. In the 20,674 miles driven, the worst tankful came at the right foot of “JN” at 16 mpg (guess we know which photographer has a leaden hoof). The best, thanks to Erick Ayapana’s feather-toed road trip, was 30 mpg. The yearlong average of 21 mpg (1 mpg shy of the EPA’s combined fuel economy estimate) is impressive, as most drivers overrode the engine’s auto stop/start function. At an average of $3.45 per gallon for premium, we spent $3,414 on fuel. The most expensive tank was just shy of $50, and the Zero Club award goes (again) to Erick, who added 13.066 gallons to the 13.7-gallon tank. Incidentally, fuel prices rose from $3.20 per gallon in April 2017 to $3.95 per gallon on its last tankful.
In the time we had the M2, we took it to the drag strip twice, had it serviced once, changed out one set of tires, and lapped the Streets of Willow Springs twice. The brakes never complained or faded, but we noticed that the M2 doesn’t like the combination of hot-lapping in hot weather, making noticeably less power in the 95-degree heat. Although the suspension is an excellent match for a smooth racetrack, many drivers complained the M2 crashed over highway bumps and street seams, allowing an inordinate amount of road noise to penetrate the cabin. Several of our staff wished for multivalve or magnetorheological dampers. In our fifth update, we compared our M2 to the more sedate, less powerful M240i and found that the latter was just as quick at a significantly lower price.
Unlike a comparable Audi S5 or Mercedes-AMG C 43 (which offer prepaid scheduled maintenance, ranging from about $300 to $500 for the first year), the 2017 BMW M2 came with $0 routine maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. For the year, we spent $10 for a single quart of oil (at 9,000 miles). Had Michelin not been so generous with a free set to test, we would’ve spent $1,110 on new Pilot Sport 4 S tires (at 11,500 miles). Our total outlay for the year was just $1,120 for normal wear ($4,534 including gas).
In terms of its projected retained value after three years, the 2017 M2 came in at an incredible 76 percent of its $57,795 as-tested price, according to our friends at IntelliChoice. Compare that to our 2015 BMW M3 (at 54 percent) and Jaguar duo 2014 F-Type S and R (both at 50 percent). The M2 is practically an investment.
For a modern turbocharged BMW M Division car to remind us of those long-gone yet beloved E36 and E46 M3s, the 2017 M2 has been a corporate, divisional, and emotional success. Like those legacy screamers, this M2 is a perfectly balanced, cohesive whole with the right size, right look, right power, right brakes, and right performance in a subtle yet assertive two-door coupe. With that in mind, we can’t wait to get our hands on the 2019 BMW M2 Competition.
More on our long-term BMW M2:
|SERVICE LIFE||13 mo / 20,674 mi|
|OPTIONS||Twin-clutch auto transmission ($2,900); Executive pkg ($1,400: heated steering wheel, rear-view camera; rear parking sensors, auto high beams, collision warning with pedestrian detection and auto braking, lane-departure warning, wireless charging, Wi-Fi hotspot)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$57,795|
|AVG ECON/CO2||20.9 mpg / 0.93 lb/mi|
|NORMAL-WEAR COST||$10 (1 qt oil); $1,110 (four new tires)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$43,700 (76%)|
|*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years|
|2017 BMW M2|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged I-6, alum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||181.8 cu in/2,979 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||365 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||343 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm*|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||9.6 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.0-in vented, drilled, 2-pc disc; 14.5-in vented, drilled, 2-pc disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||9.0 x 19-in; 10.0 x 19-in forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||245/35R19 93Y; 265/35R19 98Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport|
|TRACK, F/R||62.2/63.0 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,506 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||52/48%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||40.1/36.5 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.5/33.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||54.4/53.4 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||13.8 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||2.0|
|QUARTER MILE||12.9 sec @ 107.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||106 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.99 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||23.9 sec @ 0.83 g (avg)|
|1.6-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||84.78 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,800 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$57,795|
|AIRBAGS||6: Dual front, front side, f/r head|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||13.7 gal|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||18.7/29.8/22.5 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||20/26/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|
|*369 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm in overboost|