When the build up for the BMW M2 was happening, before its launch, one of the main questions BMW fans had was if it would live up to the incredible standards left behind by the 1 Series M that preceded it. The BMW 1 Series M is a legend in the eyes of most BMW enthusiasts, so its successor has quite large shoes to fill. This BMW 1M owner took his car to the track, along with a friend who just bought their brand-new BMW M2, to see how the two cars stack up against each other.
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When they get there, the 1M owner immediately jumps in the M2 to give it a go on the track, so he can familiarize himself with it. The first thing he notices is just how similar it feels to his 1M. That’s surprising to hear, as the two cars, while similar in style, are from different eras in BMW’s history. The 1M is very much an analog machine, with hydraulic power-steering and no fancy technology. The M2 uses electric power-steering and has sophisticated traction control systems as well as a fancy new electronic rear diff. But, according to this 1M owner, the BMW M2 feels and drives remarkably similar to its legendary predecessor.
The steering, while far more numb and much lighter, is equally as accurate and has similar tactility on the track. Its clutch is also light and so is its shift action, but its shifter is actually more precise and easier to use. However, aside from that, the two cars are almost the same. They both have the same seating position, ride and feel and position of the controls. So it almost felt as if he was back in his 1M. This is a very good thing.
The engine in the M2 is also a bit different, as it pulls more smoothly to redline, in a more linear fashion than the 1M does. The 1M’s torque comes in more abruptly, with a much punchier mid-range, making it a bit more exciting and requires more discipline to control, which in turn makes it more rewarding to drive quickly, as it’s more of a challenge. However, he says the M2 sounds better, with a growlier sound and more pops and burbles.
He hops back in his 1 Series M for some timed laps and realizes that the 1M is still the car for driver enthusiasts. Its hydraulic steering is meatier and dripping with the feedback that the M2’s helm lacked. Its clutch is heavier and so is its shift action. But it’s just more rewarding to drive and a bit more fun. Not that the M2 is bad, but that the 1M is the more pure, exciting experience.
After some timed laps, his best time in the 1M was 1:30:15. So he set out in the M2 to see if it’s faster on the track.
In the M2, he notices that it’s a bit more confidence inspiring. It has more mechanical grip, thanks to its M4 suspension bits, and is more composed through corners, thanks to its fancy differential. So its new technology does make it very fast. Its also more forgiving, allowing a mid-corner throttle lift to be survivable. It also feels easier to drive fast and is still a very fun, very rewarding car to drive on a track. So he pulls off to check the time.
That’s about 2.5 seconds faster in the M2, which is a car this 1M owner has very little experience driving. That just proves that the M2 is an incredible track car and more competent on the track than the 1M. However, after all is said and done, he still prefers his 1 Series M over the M2 and it would be the car he drove home if he had the choice. However, he claims that the M2 is probably the better daily driver, as its suspension is more comfortable and all of its controls are lighter and easier to use. That makes the BMW M2 a great compromised between daily driver and track monster. But it’s still no BMW 1M.