As cars continue to roll out of the factory in bigger, heavier sizes, offering buyers even more in the way of technology, comfort, and safety suites, auto enthusiasts should be forgiven for wondering if all the pedal-to-the-metal fun of driving has disappeared forever (at least in cars non-hedge funders can afford).
And the answer is: Not as long as this baby is around.
BMW’s new M2 Coupé goes for just over $50,000, but it’s absolutely as gutsy as any high-end sports car out there.
Just how muscular is this beast? The M2 engine is a modified version of the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six found in the M235i. Engineers gave it a slight retune, and shoehorned that bad boy under the bulging hood of a smaller two door body. That means you’ll have 365 horses snorting angrily from the quad tailpipes of a car that’s lighter than most of the others in the M class.
And thanks to 343 lb-ft of torque, it has enough bottom-end punch to launch from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Other cars with that sort of oomph: The Porsche 911 Carrera and the Aston Martin DBS—which both cost about twice as much as the M2.
But a true performance car isn’t just a straight-line drag racer, and the M2 coupé is no exception, handling so well that it conquered Germany’s spaghetti-like Nürburgring racetrack in less than eight minutes. (No other car in its segment comes even close.)
If you spot one on the road but it’s whizzing by too fast to see closely, know that BMW’s Bavarian car-body designers have also done their part, and the result is something that looks much more villain than superhero: Fenders flare from the rear axles to fit 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in wide Michelin rubber; doors scallop in, like a tux stretching to accommodate the swollen delts of John Cena; enlarged intakes swallow air in thirsty gulps to cool the hot-running power plant; and twin circular headlamps glare angrily from BMW’s square-jawed profile.
Inside the cockpit everything is executed with superb materials and a Germanic attention to details. The rich black Dakota leather seats are buttery soft, contrast stitched in electric blue for pop. These azure hits are echoed throughout the cabin, as are M-spec badges on the steering wheel, headrests, gear shifter, and doorsills. While the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic delivers lightning quick shifts via steering-wheel-mounted paddles, you’re better off opting for the six-speed stick. Manual cars are becoming more and more rare, but the short-throw stick shift properly fills out the M2’s throwback vibe.
Because, as car lovers know, every now and then a man’s gotta open up the throttle and go screeching into the sunset.