Last year, I personally remember doing a spec comparison between the BMW M2 and Shelby GT350 and was shunned for comparing two cars that supposedly shouldn’t be compared. Since then, though, there have been several comparisons between the two cars. Now, there’s another one and this time, the M2 takes on the Shelby on a circuit and in a drag race. I don’t want to call myself a pioneer. But I’m a pioneer.
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All kidding aside, this is a fun track battle to watch because both cars are decidedly different. The BMW M2 is a small, nippy Germans sports car with great moves and a smooth inline-six engine. The Shelby GT350 is a roaring monster that’s designed to kill tires and tarmac in equal measure. So which one is better? Let’s find out.
Just driving these cars back-to-back reveals their differences. Having driven them, I can relate to this video review. The M2 is a smooth criminal, with sharp turn-in, a balanced chassis and a really clever rear-diff. So you can really play with the M2. Want power oversteer on corner exit? It will happily do that. Want things to be neat and tidy and go as fast as you can? Yup, it’ll do that too. It’s a very flexible car and it feels comfortable and natural doing anything. It’s also a fantastic daily driver, as its interior is nice, its ride is good and its cabin is relatively quiet. At least compared to the Shelby.
Step inside the Shelby GT350 and you’re greeted with a very cheap feeling cabin. Hard plastics and cheap materials adorn the cabin. It immediately feels less premium than the M2. However, none of that matters when you start the engine. Its flat-plane crank V8 fires to life with a growl and a burble. At idle, it rumbles almost uncomfortably, as it feels like it hates low rpms. That’s because it does. That V8 wants to scream toward its 8,250 rpm redline and live there. You almost always drive the GT350 a gear lower than you normally would. It just loves high rpm.
On the track, with a racing driver behind the wheel, each car takes its fastest lap. They assumed the M2 would be quicker in the twisty bits and the Shelby would be faster in the straights. They were right. The BMW M2 beats the Shelby on the circuit, with a time of 1:21.0, compared to the Shelby’s 1:21.4. That isn’t much quicker but very impressive, considering the M2 makes 365 hp and the Shelby makes 526 hp.
Next, both cars hit the drag strip. The M2, with its launch control and clever DCT gearbox actually wins the first heat. Though, the Shelby did get a bad launch. After that, the Shelby won every other heat, proving it the drag-race winner.
In the end, they debated on which car they’d own. The BMW M2 is the better daily driver, with its more comfortable cabin, better tech and more refined capabilities while also being great fun. But it was the Shelby GT350 they chose, all due to that screaming V8.