BMW’s latest M car, the M2, is the hottest iteration of everyone’s favorite BMW, the M235i. The M235i is considered by many to be BMW’s best car since the 1 Series M. Many enthusiasts prefer it to even the M3 and M4 because of its smaller size, lighter weight and for the fact that it feels more BMW-y than everything else in the current BMW lineup. So when fans heard that the M235i would be getting proper M treatment, they got excited. But how will the M2 stack up against its former self?
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The differences between the BMW M2 and the M235i are drastic, visually. The M235i has subtle curves and reserved bodywork. By comparison, the M2 is all shock and awe. It’s muscular and aggressive. Its wheel arches bulge out like an runners quads under compression shorts. It looks as if it’s ready to pummel the road into submission as opposed to dance across it.
The front end gets aggressive M treatment, with massive scoops and ducts. The air dams on the M2 might be the biggest of any M car and it looks like it might swallow small animals that cross its path. At the rear, the M2 gets vertical reflectors, a big rear diffuser and quad exhaust pipes. It is definitely the more aggressive looking car, the M2, and far more muscular. However, the familial looks are still there and the M235i is still one helluva looker.
On the inside, things are even less dissimilar. The M2 only differentiates itself on the interior with a different shift knob (for the DCT), different seats, carbon fiber trim and different paddle shifters (also DCT). Everything else is 2 Series as usual, which isn’t bad, just not very different.
The M2, while very similar in terms of looks and interior, is very different underneath the skin. While both cars have engines displacing 3.0 liters, have six inline cylinders and both have one twin-scroll turbocharger, the M2’s develops 370 hp while the M235i’s develops 320. The M235i is available with a six-speed manual and BMW’s ZF-sourced eight-speed auto, the M2 has a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT. The M2 also comes with BMW’s Active M Differential as standard and a heavily revised, aluminum intensive chassis.
The M2 will be faster, more rigid, stiffer and more nimble than the car from which it’s based. In terms of pure driving pleasure, the M235i will be tough to top. It’s this generations E46 3 Series, so it’s incredibly fun to drive. The M2, however, has all of the ingredients to put together a better recipe for fun. Whether or not it can pull it off will be the question.