BMW’s M editions have long been the pinnacle of factory-built high performance, but as they’ve migrated to include even the brand’s electric SUVs, where do you go to find that raw spirit in its most striking form? Enter the updated version of the diminutive M2, a tough-as-nails drifter and corner-annihilating sports car that just might be the most fun member of the family.
Lower, flatter, and wider, and sporting the now-ubiquitous, postmodern kidney grille design, the 180-inch-long M2 is a deceptively brutal and wickedly fast rear-wheel-drive coupe, with a six-speed manual transmission as its standard offering. Upgrade to the eight-speed automatic transmission and a carbon fiber package that adds tall, stiletto-styled paddle shifters, and you’ll be able to harness every ounce of performance from the 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline-six engine and its quad exhausts.
True to its track-oriented design, M2 now comes with unbelievably tall and hard-edged bolsters on its race seats, which necessitate very careful entries and exits. But once planted, they’ll give even taller drivers a better spot to absorb the G forces inevitable with this much power. It doesn’t take much pedal pressure to get the M2 sideways on takeoffs, but its lateral grip and compound brakes—as well as a sophisticated stability control system—allow you to safely rein in your driving experience. A curved, double-wide instrument and infotainment display also provides individual micromanagement of the BMW’s output and performance.
3.9 0–60 time with eight-speed automatic
$63,200 base price