Whenever a new sports car comes out that impresses most enthusiasts, magazines and websites tend to throw it at ever single possible competitor. Such is the case with the recently released BMW M2. It’s been tested against basically every combination of sports cars on the market to see how it stacks up. Fortunately, the M2 has held up well against its modern rivals. While it hasn’t won every single competition, it’s certainly placed high and impressed, regardless.
However, British publication Whatcar has just put the M2 through yet another gauntlet. Pitted against the Porsche 718 Cayman S and the Jaguar F-Type V6, the BMW M2 faces one of its toughest challenges so far.
The new Porsche 718 Cayman S replaces its glorious flat-six engine with a turbocharged 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine. While it produces 10 more hp than its six-cylinder predecessor, with 345 hp, it’s just not as enjoyable. The old ‘six would rev out beautifully and make a brilliantly distinct Porsche flat-six noise. This new engine sounds coarse, boring and dull. It seems to have sucked a lot of the life out of the Cayman. It does perform though, as the 718 Cayman S gets from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
The Cayman is also helped by still having unbelievable handling and dynamics. It steering was rated the best of the bunch and so was its ride, despite being lower than usual. The previous-gen Cayman was a spectacular sports car and this new 718 model is even better, even sharper. Whatcar considers it to be the best driving car of the bunch, just narrowly beating out the BMW M2.
Jaguar’s F-Type V6 is still one of the most stunning cars on the planet. Despite other brands having some time to benchmark its beauty, none have been able to come close. It’s a runway model with wheels. And it carries that sexiness all the way to its engine. Where the Porsche is a cold, clinical, canyon-carving machine, the F-Type is the exact opposite. Its 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engine, despite being underpowered at 340 hp, is just so intoxicating. The noise it makes is simply sensational, especially with the optional exhaust, and its supercharged nature means that it pulls harder from low-revs. Although, it is the slowest car of the bunch, doing 0-60 mph in 5 seconds flat.
It’s also the worst car of the three through the twisties. In terms of handling and chassis dynamics, the F-Type is best relegated to grand touring duty, rather than sports car duty. While that’s great for crossing countries in speed and style, it’s not great in this company. Plus, it doesn’t pay dividends in the comfort department, as it rode the harshest of the trio.
If there was a Goldilocks car of this group, it’d probably be the BMW M2. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 is not only exciting and wonderfully linear, but it’s powerful. Its 365 hp is the most in this test, making the M2 the fastest, doing 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Not only is it the fastest, but it’s close to the Jag’s V6 for aural excitement. So it sounds great and goes like hell. I’d say this is the best powertrain of the bunch by a long shot.
In terms of handling, the BMW M2 is right on the tail of the Cayman. Despite being at a considerable disadvantage to the Cayman, being that the M2 is front-engine to the Cayman’s mid-engine and heavier, it’s still an incredible handling machine. The Cayman just edges the M2 out, with better steering feel and slightly sharper handling, the M2 is a damn fine handling car and much more fun than the F-Type.
When it comes down to it, Whatcar gave the victory to the Porsche 718 Cayman S, with the BMW M2 coming in a close second and the F-Type in a respectable last. It is tough to see the BMW M2 come in second and not first, considering it seemed to combine the best of both worlds better than the Cayman, we understand why Whatcar chose the Porsche. In terms of being a sports car, handling dynamics are paramount and that’s where the Porsche excelled over the Bimmer. However, as a daily driver, the BMW M2 has backseats (the Cayman is only a two-seater), a far more usable trunk, is the cheapest to buy and own, is the most fuel efficient of the three and has the best engine. And that’s on top of being 8 or /10ths the driver’s car that the Cayman is. So if it were our money, the M2 seems like the best overall choice. But in terms of which is the best sports car, the Porsche 718 Cayman is still the champion.