During our incredible drive of the brand-new BMW M2, the Bavarian brand had some classics on hand to represent where the M2 comes from and give some perspective as to what it’s actually like. On hand from BMW’s historical stable was a gorgeous BMW 2002 tii Turbo and a 1 Series M, two cars that have both given inspiration for the creation of the M2. It’s genuinely wonderful to see the brand new M2, the best of what BMW currently has to offer, side by side with some of the greatest Bavarians in the brand’s 100 year history.
The 2002 tii Turbo, painted in that gorgeous and classic racing livery, looks brilliant and reminds us of what BMWs were always supposed to be. When we think of cars like the BMW M235i as small, we’re woefully misguided. The 2002 tii Turbo is small, really small. It’s like a shoe with wheels. But holy hell does it look fun to drive. Its tiny chassis and turbocharged engine seem like the most enticing car in the world when seeing its small frame sitting on the track. But it also shows just how far BMW has come. Its massive turbo on its little engine gives it quite a lot of turbo lag and its steering and front end, while full of feel and feedback, is no where near as precise as the M2’s helm.
When looking at the 1 Series M, we get a very good look at exactly where the M2 has come from. It’s almost as if we’re looking at a before and after image when looking at the pair of them. The 1 Series M is the car that inspired the idea of the M2, as it reintroduced BMW to small, punchy and lightweight sports cars in the same air as the E46 M3.
At the time of the 1 Series M, all other BMWs had gotten fat and heavy by comparison, so the 1M was a breathe of fresh air. That’s something the M2 is for BMW today. While the M2 might be the more competent car, as it’s faster, can handle better and will be more comfortable and confidence-inspiring, the 1M is the master while the M2 is the student.
Now that the M2 is here, we can see the lineage come together to create it. It has lessons learned from each and every performance car BMW has ever made baked into its DNA. The BMW 2002 tii Turbo and 1 Series M represent some of the best of where BMW has been and the M2 represents the best of where BMW is headed. It’s awesome that BMW brought those two cars to the M2 launch, as it gives a lot of perspective and allows us to appreciate the M2 even more. Plus, the three of them look incredible together, so there’s always that.