6 reasons why the new BMW M2 CS costs £75,000 – but you should still want one
Will cut his teeth as a designer on Evo magazine, before slinging a U-ey and writing for them instead. So if it has four wheels and an engine then there's a chance he's drifted it in front of a camera and then written about it. When he's not writing he can be found trying to stop Wagtails defecating on his old Range Rover.
It’s a sad day for BMW’s feisty little coupe, the M2. News of a special edition always highlights that the end of a car’s lifetime is fast approaching, and today BMW has announced the M2 CS. Possibly the last hurrah for this generation of the small M-car.
To comfort us from this impending loss is the specification of the M2 CS. It’s tougher, faster and more aggressive than the already angry M2 Competition. On paper at least, the M2 CS looks to be a riot. But we can’t ignore the fact that this little BMW costs £75,000. Ok, £75,320 to be exact. That’s £23,895 more than an M2 Competition. Is that too much money? Well, here are 6 reasons why it might be worth its asking price.
There's plenty of carbon fibre
This lightweight, super-strong composite material ain’t cheap, we know that, and there’s plenty of it draped over the M2 CS. The bonnet is made entirely of the stuff and has a new deep central air vent, reminiscent of the one found on the M4 GTS, that improves engine cooling and aerodynamics.
Since the BMW E46 M3 CSL, all of BMW M’s most extreme offerings (as well as few more ordinary ones too) have had a carbon fibre roof. The M2 CS is no different. Gone is the steel top in favour of a visible-weave carbon fibre skin. The side stripes, where a roof rack would normally attach, have also been removed, saving even more weight.
New for the CS is a downforce-generating front splitter, boot spoiler and diffuser. All of which are made from carbon fibre. As too are the door-mirror caps. BMW hasn’t revealed a weight for the M2 CS yet, but similar changes to the M3 and M4 CS have resulted in 10 to 30kg being shaved from their kerb weight.
It's lost weight from all the right places
Rather than just taking any excess weight from the M2 to create the CS, BMW has focused on an area that will really benefit from being lighter: the rotating unsprung mass. Instead of more conventional cast wheels, the M2 CS has forged items.
Similar in design to the wheels found on the M4 CS, the M2 CS’s rims are also fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – 245/35 ZR 19s at the front and 265/35 ZR 19s at the rear. However, if Cup 2s aren’t suited to the weather where you live (if it’s a bit rainy and cold), the more everyday Michelin Pilot Super Sports are a no-cost option.
It gets clever suspension
Since its launch in 2014, the M2 has only ever been equipped with regular passive dampers. Even the optional M-performance suspension, which allowed height adjustment, never altered its bump and rebound rates. The CS finally gets the fully adaptive system the M3 and M4 have utilised for years, allowing the driver to select three different firmness settings from the dampers: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
There's more power. Quite a bit more power, in fact
Much like the situation with the dampers, the M2 always got the bum deal with its engine. To begin with it wasn’t treated to a proper S-numbered motor, instead it had to share a unit from the M235i. And then, when it was given the proper S55 twin-turbocharged 3-litre straight-six from the M3 and M4 and called the M2 Competition, it only had 404bhp and 406lb ft. Not the full-fat 444bhp version from the M3/4 Competition models.
That’s all changed now. Thanks to the adaptive dampers and Cup 2 tyres, the CS is entrusted with all 444bhp, but torque remains the same. That’s good enough for a 4.2sec 0-62mph time and a top sped of 174mph.
It’s hardly any more expensive than a Renault and cheaper than Porsche
At £75,320, the M2 CS is only £3180 more than a Renault Megane. Ok, not just any Megane but the Renault Sport Megane Trophy R, the current fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nurburgring. The £72,140 version of the Megane may have even more exotic parts (Ohlins adjustable dampers, a titanium exhaust and carbon fibre wheels), but it’s still a front-wheel drive hot hatch with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine.
The M2 CS is also cheaper than the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, by a whole £28. Even though it costs more money (every little helps), the Porsche is down 30bhp and 96lb ft compared to the BMW. The GT4 is also 0.2sec slower to 62mph and it has two fewer seats than the CS.
The BMW makes a strong case for itself in this line-up. The Megane Trophy R, 718 Cayman GT4 and M2 CS may well be unlikely rivals, but that’s the group test we all want to read.
It's an M2
No, I’m not being fatuous, I know you know it's an M2. You see, the M2 has always been more enjoyable, more forgiving, more satisfying and more exciting than any other contemporary M car. The M3 and M4, in all of their guises be it Competition, CS or GTS, have been fast and sharp, but also tricky and often terrifying.
The M2 Competition, and the regular M2 before it, have always been the pick of the range, so you could reasonably expect the CS to follow suit. And with the M4 CS at £89,130, you're going to save £13,810 by going for the M2 version.
It's not really £75,000
The list price of £75,320 may well buy you an M2 CS, but it doesn’t get you the ultimate M2. There are still some significant and pricey options available that could arguably make the CS even better.
The M2 CS comes with steel brakes as standard, upgraded ones over the Competition. But if you want carbon-ceramic disks – and on the most hardcore M2 yet, why wouldn’t you? – that’ll cost you extra. BMW hasn’t revealed the price of the carbon brakes, but the fancy stoppers are a £6,250 option on an M3 and M4, so expect this upgrade to cost a similar amount.
As standard the M2 CS is equipped with a gearbox that’s either a proper driver’s choice or an antiquated throwback to the past (delete as appropriate); a six-speed manual. The choice of basic transmission is in line with the M2 being the more playful but not necessarily the fastest in the M-car range, but there is an optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Past experience of the M2’s 3-litre straight-six twin-turbo motor attached to a DCT ‘box would push me towards the manual. The DCT box is snatchy and often jolts the back axle so abruptly the rear tyres lose traction. The manual change, although far from perfect, allows much more control and makes for a much more pleasing drive.
Still, if you are seeking the quickest M2, you will want the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as it cuts the 0-62mph time down to just 4 seconds. That’s going to cost an extra £2110. Add the DCT transmission and carbon-ceramic brakes to the M2 CS and it goes from a £75,320 car to one for over £83,000.