There’s a common adage in sports that there’s no such thing as a moral victory in a loss. Meaning, if your team loses but played well, they still lost. There’s no such thing as a moral victory if your team loses, no matter how close the game was. And, most of the time, that’s true. However, I’m gonna say that the BMW M2 Competition deserves to celebrate a bit of a moral victory after Top Gear’s Speed Week, where it came in fifth place.

Why does the BMW M2 Competition get a moral victory, despite coming in fifth? Because of the company it holds among the top five and some of the cars it beat to get there.

First, let’s talk about what Speed Week is and some of the cars that the M2 Comp beat out just to get into the top five. Despite its name, Speed Week isn’t entirely about speed. So it’s not the fastest car that wins but the car that’s most enjoyable to drive, in all circumstances — both road and track.

Prior to selecting the top five, the M2 Competition was running against cars like the Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Lotus Exige Cup 430. Yet, it beat all of those cars out. That’s right, the M2 Comp beat the 911 GT2 RS and Aston Martin Vantage, both of which are faster, more expensive and, on paper, more exciting. It also beat the Lotus, which is basically a track-day special.

So what cars took the BMW M2 Competition down? There are four of them, obviously. Which car was in fourth place? The Ford Fiesta ST. If that seems crazy to you, that a Fiesta could take down a proper M Division product, think again. The Fiesta’s tiny size, pugnacious attitude and superb handling (also the lowest price of the bunch by far) make it the sort of car that just begs to be driven. Third place went to the McLaren 600LT, the go-faster version of the 570S. It’s a sensational driving, mid-engine supercar whose only flaw is that it needs extreme speeds to really reach its driving potential.

Second place went to the Ferrari 488 Pista, a 710 hp mid-engine, hardcore supercar that can reach 60 mph in less than three seconds. According to TG, the Pista was very close to winning outright, as it’s an astonishing car to drive, if it weren’t for the first place winner — the Alpine A110.

The reason we’re talking about this is because the Alpine is a car that BMW, and the rest of the industry if we’re being honest, needs to learn from. The A110 is a car that prioritizes lightness and fluidity above all else. Its steering is pure, its chassis dynamics are balanced and playful and its suspension is supple, even lending it a bit of body roll. We haven’t driven the Alpine, as it isn’t offered here in America, but it’s said to be the sort of car that baffles its driver with its incredible fluidity and balance. It’s driving at its purest.

And it’s made by Renault. Not BMW or Mercedes-Benz or even Porsche. Renault. If the plucky French brand that isn’t even sold in the second largest car market in the world (America) can make a car like the Alpina A110 and justify it with the bean counters, then BMW can as well. BMW needs to look to the A110 and realize that making something lightweight, simple and balanced is far better than just adding power, grip and aero. When BMW makes something lightweight, it ends up being a torture chamber on the inside, with a stripped out cabin and suspension hard enough to compress spinal discs. The Alpine isn’t that. It’s dynamic and engaging and thrilling, all while being supple and easy to live with. Learn from the French BMW.

[Source: Top Gear]