By now we’re all aware that the BMW M2 is probably the best driving BMW since the 1 Series M. However, a lot of the M2’s brilliance comes from the 2 Series itself. The BMW 2 Series is just such a good little car, regardless of which model you get. Underneath the BMW M2 lies the M240i and it’s a great sports car as well. Even the entry-level BMW 230i is a blast to drive. So do you need an M2 to have fun in a 2 Series? The Fast Lane Car finds out.

In this latest video, TFLC puts the BMW M2 up against its smaller sibling, the BMW 230i, on the track. First, they do a 0-60 mph run and then some timed laps to see which is fastest. Obviously, the M2 has the advantage in terms of performance, thanks to its much more powerful engine and better handling. But is it really that much more fun?

First, let’s take a look at both cars. The BMW M2 makes 365 hp from its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine. In this video, the M2 is mated to a six-speed manual and that drives the rear wheels. So it’s considerably more powerful than the 230i, which makes 248 hp from its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This specific car is paired with an eight-speed auto and has all-wheel drive. Thanks to its fast-shifting auto and all-wheel grip, the 230i actually impresses more than you might think.

In the sprint from 0-60 mph, the BMW M2 ran a 5.31 second time. That’s slow for an M2 but before you go screaming in the comments, TFLC is based on Colorado and at that elevations, all cars suffer from horsepower loss. As for the BMW 230i, it ran a 5.96 second 0-60 mph. That’s damn quick for a little 230i at mile-high elevation. Thank the eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive for clawing the 230i closer to the M2.

On the track, the BMW M2 did some hot laps, proving its handling capabilities. It ran a lap time of 1:03.69, which is actually one of the quicker times TFLC has ever recorded on this small track. Next is the turn of the 230i, which ran a 1:05.75. That’s much closer to the M2’s time than I think anyone anticipated. It’s a surprisingly fun little car and one that offers almost as much fun as the M2 but for less money.

The BMW 230i is lighter than the M2, especially at the nose thanks to its smaller engine, so it’s a properly fun little car. It may not be as fast or as capable but it’s no slouch, either. If you temper your option choices, you can walk out of a BMW dealer with a nicely-equipped 230i for under $40,000. That could be worth it, rather than spend almost $60,000 on an M2.