A car from BMW’s famous M Division is designed to be good both on the road and on the track. It must be livable everyday, on public roads and doing grocery runs, while also being track-capable. Motor Trend currently has a BMW M2 as a long-term test car, having it for the year. While most of its life has been on the road, MT recently thought it would be interesting to see how it handles on track at the hands of racing driver Randy Pobst.
Typically, when journalistic publications test cars on the the track, they’re prepped and ready for the tough task ahead, with fresh tires and fresh brakes. This M2, though, has been driven on the road for 7,655 to hitting the track. So it’s interesting to see how it performs.
Randy Pobst did ten laps in the M2 at the Streets of Willow Springs, in 95-degree California heat. The first thing Pobst has to say about the M2 is that he doesn’t like the Sport+ mode at all. In fact, he hates it. “In brake zones, even in Sport+, it will not automatically perform matched-rev downshifts [a la Porsche or Mercedes-AMG]. The downshifts happen after going to the throttle. Too late,” said Pobst. “Also, the upshifts are too aggressive, un-smooth, and can/will cause the rear tires to lose traction while cornering.” All of that slowed him down, with the best time he could muster in Sport+ being 1:26.35.
However, once in just Sport mode with ESC off and the DCT gearbox in auto mode, he was able to get a 1:24.78 lap time. What’s interesting is that when in manual mode, Pobst actually returned a slower lap time of 1:25.14. Though, that’s because he did it after the automatic lap and the M2’s engine was starting to heat-soak in the blistering desert temperatures. According to MT’s data, the M2 wasn’t accelerating as hard or as quickly as it was when they first started. This is a common problem with M2s, actually, as they tend to heat up a bit and lose power on the track. Though, Pobst did like the BMW M2’s N55 engine, despite the heat issues, and the way it put its power down.“The M2 puts the power down very well—much better than the M4,”.
So the BMW M2 is a good car on track but it does have its issues. When in the right setup and before it gets too hot, the BMW M2 can actually put down an impressive lap time. Its fastest time under Pobst is actually quicker than his time with the Aston Martin Vanquish V12 on the same track, which has almost 300 hp more than the M2 and twice the cylinders.[Source: Motor Trend]