It may be straightforward for automotive corporations to get a bit too self-referential, too in thrall to their very own historical past. Bear in mind when Jaguar redesigned the XJ and created a completely new automotive that regarded virtually precisely like each different XJ from the prior twenty years? Or when Ford stored utilizing stick axles in Mustangs, with a number of exceptions, till 2014? BMW tends to go in the wrong way, periodically attempting on new identities to see what matches. Generally that works to uncommon impact—the Bangle-era V-10-powered M5 was each wildly new and wildly glorious—and generally not. However legions of Bimmerheads resent the truth that BMW refused to mainly simply maintain constructing the E46 M3 ceaselessly and ever, like Porsche does with the 911 or Volkswagen with the GTI. They made the M3 sedan as massive as an E39 M5, and have a look at the grille. However heartsick afficionados of compact Bavarian straight-six coupes have a brand new crush, within the type of the 2020 M2 CS. It is like an E46 with an additional 111 horsepower. And it begins at solely $84,595.

HIGHS: Hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, throwback dimension and proportions, wonderful steering really feel.

James LipmanAutomotive and Driver

We concede that that is some huge cash for a 2-series. However what a 2-series it’s, armed with the outgoing M4 Competitors’s 444-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six and, on this case, a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission (a $2900 improve). Whereas you can even get the M2 CS with a six-speed guide, the dual-clutch ‘field makes it a faster automotive and one that does not skimp on driver involvement. As an illustration, even when utilizing launch management—your ticket to a 3.6-second zero-to-60-mph time—the driving force must dial in a 1900-rpm launch utilizing the cruise-control toggle. Something extra and the clutch engagement sends the 265/35R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rear tires up in smoke. All-wheel drive would clear up that traction algebra, however what is the enjoyable in that? Additionally, all-wheel drive—an choice within the new M3 and M4 Competitors fashions—would doubtless carry alongside a traditional automated somewhat than the dual-clutch transmission. Even with its traction-limited launches, the CS’s 3.6-second 60-mph time outran the final M2 Competitors we examined by 0.4 second, and its quarter-mile time, an 11.8-second wind dash, improved by the identical margin, whereas crossing the road at 122 mph. The CS’s further 39 horsepower clearly aren’t simply on paper.

Squeezing 4 seats into an 89-cubic-foot cabin makes the M2’s cabin tight in a manner that evokes nostalgia for BMW coupes of yore. (Do you have to get pulled over and must retrieve your registration, the glovebox is a straightforward attain.) The overly chunky steering wheel is fashionable BMW, however the alerts that come by it are excessive constancy within the old-school method. Which is an effective factor, as a result of the stubby CS will not be an off-the-cuff drift machine like the brand new M3. It is a squirming, writhing handful, albeit one which logged 1.05 g on our skidpad. That is steady-state cornering, although. Add some throttle to your lateral acceleration, as in a nook exit, and the CS is blissful to remind you of the bounds of its contact patches. By the wheel, it feels as should you can discern particular person molecules of Michelin straining to keep up buy on the pavement in one million little battles. This can be a automotive that slays hairpins, an all-time autocross weapon, however perhaps not the proper software for a 130-mph sweeper.

LOWS: One 12 months solely, $96,545 for a 2-series?

James LipmanAutomotive and Driver

The CS’s exterior is restrained, however there are tells that that is the last word 2-series. The roof is uncovered carbon fiber, as are the mirror caps, entrance splitter, and rear spoiler and diffuser. The hood can be carbon fiber, with an enormous practical middle vent that BMW says aids each cooling and downforce. Carbon-ceramic brake rotors—as fitted to our take a look at automotive, an $8500 choice—returned a 155-foot cease from 70 mph with zero fade.

With its compact proportions and snarling 7600-rpm inline-six, the M2 CS actually does really feel like a direct evolution from the perfect M automobiles of yore, even retaining the old-style low-profile kidney-shaped grille openings. That is BMW exhibiting that it is aware of methods to construct a killer little coupe, exhilarating and buzzing with nervous vitality. Sadly, the CS is a one-year-only mannequin, with the 2020 version representing each the start and the top of its run. Which leaves us with the identical query we had again in 2006, the final 12 months for the E46 M3: Why cannot they only maintain making this?

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