In a recent interview, a high-ranking BMW executive actually exclaimed that he’s tired of hearing people comparing new BMWs to the old ones. He was referring especially to the E46 M3 model which is still very highly regarded among enthusiasts. Maybe this is a clear case of past success haunting a company but the fact is, to this day, that car remains a reference point in the brand’s history. It was so good, everything new the M division brings out, somehow gets compared to it and that’s the case with the M2 as well.
When the M2 came out, everyone rushed to make the rather obvious comparison to the E46 M3, and rightfully so. The two are really close in size and share some traits as well. From the straight six engines to the HP readout, they are closer than anyone expected. Chip in the analogue feel the M2 has – compared to what most other M cars offer today – and the fact that you could buy it with a manual gearbox and RWD and the comparison is making more sense than ever.
The guys from Roads Untraveled got to drive a BMW M2 a while back and, of course, they did the same predictable comparison to the M3. The thing is, they had a tuned up version of the M2 available for testing purposes which probably changes the experience quite a lot. According to the reviewer, this particular M2 has over 400 HP at the crank, bringing it closer to the Competition model in that regard.
However, they do make a good point about tuning. Turbocharged engines are a lot easier to enhance than their naturally aspirated rivals. A simple tune and some exhaust changes can squeeze 50 HP more out of the engine under the hood of this M2 easily, while doing the same on the S54 engine of the E46 M3 would require a lot more effort and money. In the end though, the fact that the man behind the wheel has a smile on his face almost the entire time he’s driving the M2 in this video says more about the car than we need to.