BMW’s newest M2 is a proper sports car, through and through. It’s the kind of car that brings you back to the old days of sports cars, where handling and feel mattered more than connectivity and technology. So, naturally, most car enthusiasts who want to buy a BMW M2 would opt for the six-speed manual version of it. BMW does offer its excellent DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission) for the M2, but it’s sort of mocked by many car enthusiasts.
Well, Car and Driver decided to test the DCT variant of the M2 out and see if it’s able to keep the same fun feeling that everyone’s been raving about manual M2.
It’s no secret that BMW’s DCT gearbox makes its cars far quicker than with a manual transmission, as the DCT can shift far faster than is humanly possible. So, in terms of performance, the DCT is far superior to the row-your-own gearbox. However, any sort of automatic transmission is typically mocked for lacking the same sort of driving connection and feel that is offered by a manual. But is that the case with the M2?
According to Car and Driver, no, actually. Which is very surprising, as C&D is literally home to the “Save the Manuals” campaign. But the folks over there have now tested the M2 DCT and have come away mighty impressed. All of the great things we love about the BMW M2, its brilliant engine, fantastic steering and superb handling dynamics, all remain. But, because of its ultra-fast gearbox, the DCT M2 is much faster than the manual version, with C&D clocking it at 4.0 seconds flat to 60 mph. That’s only one tenth behind the much more expensive BMW M3.
It also comes with other benefits, such as added fuel economy. While economy isn’t typically the first priority for M2 buyers, it is still something to think about. Having to constantly fill the tank on a gas-guzzling sports car gets tiring and even though the DCT doesn’t improve thing all that much, it’s still an improvement on economy and any little bit helps.
It’s also much better for highway driving. I’ve really only heard one complaint for the BMW M2 and it’s been that, with a six-speed manual, when driving on the highway in top gear, the engine is turning at around 3,000 rpm and can be very loud and irritating after awhile. The DCT solves that, as it has seven gears to work with. While the first six are pretty much the same as the manual’s, in terms of gearing, the seventh offers an excellent highway cruising gear.
Then there’s the fact that it’s downright fun to drive. While a DCT will never have the pure feeling that comes with driving a manual, they do offer incredibly fast shifts that can be thrilling in their own right. The speed never stops with a DCT, as a pull of the right paddle fires off an instantaneous shift and the car just keeps accelerating. This can make cars like the M2 feel manic and the rapid fire shifts can be addictive and the sheer speed is intoxicating. So while the M2 DCT might not have the purity of the manual, it’s definitely a great sports car.
Now, aside from performance, there are typically two reasons why people by dual-clutch gearboxes in performance cars (three if you count people who can’t drive stick). One is that driving a manual can get very tiring in traffic and, let’s be honest, the majority of everyone’s driving is in traffic on boring straight roads. At least in America. The second reason is that many people have significant others who can’t drive a manual, making a manual-transmissioned car quite an inconvenience for their family. So for anyone who’s life checks either of those boxes, the M2 DCT is a perfect option for you.[Source: Car and Driver]