The BMW M135i only launched just a few days ago but it’s already quite a polarizing car. Some fans like it for its punchy engine, promise of performance and high-quality interior. Others don’t like it because of its front-wheel drive nature, its styling and its front-wheel drive nature. Did I mention they don’t like that it’s front-wheel drive? Because of this divisiveness, some enthusiasts are already looking at alternatives. For instance, Top Gear wonders whether or not to buy a brand-new BMW M135i or a second-hand BMW M2.

It is an interesting question, though. By the time the M135i goes on sale, it’s not unlikely that you will be able to find nice used examples of the BMW M2 for around the same price. If you could, would you opt for the proper rear-wheel drive, two-door M car or would you rather have a front-drive-based, all-wheel drive hatchback with a turbo-four?

On paper, it sounds like a no-brainer, right? You’d go with the M2. But it might not be that simple. The BMW M2 is a brilliant driving car, with its smooth I6 engine, option six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. But it’s also a bit harsh to drive everyday, it lacks a lot of the M135i’s practicality and it’s more expensive to own and run.

So if you’re looking for something that’s sporty and fun but can also act as a kid-carrier on school runs, the BMW M135i might actually be the better bet. Plus, it’s not much slower in the real world. With its 306 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque and all-wheel drive, BMW claims it can get from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. That’s not too far off the standard M2 with a manual. Plus, it will certainly be quicker in bad weather, where the M2 can be a bit sketchy.

Obviously, we haven’t yet driven the BMW M135i. However, it’s not hard to imagine the BMW M2 being the better driver’s car, especially when conditions are ideal. However, the M135i might be the better all-rounder and the better one to actually own and live with. So while it’s cool and edgy to just dismiss it for its funky looks and front-drive basis, the new M-Lite 1 Series makes a case for itself. Which means this question isn’t as easy as it might have seemed at first.

So which is it, for the same money: the BMW M135i or a used BMW M2?

[Source: Top Gear]