When check driving a brand new model of an present automobile, it may be tough to correctly gauge its enhancements with out driving each the brand new and previous automobile back-to-back. Fortunately, I discovered myself within the traditional, however extremely lucky place, to do exactly that with the brand new BMW M2 CS.

BMW just lately held its usually semi-annual “Take a look at Fest”, by which journalists are invited to a race monitor to drive all of BMW’s latest automobiles on each the monitor and the encompass public roads. Sometimes, these occasions are held in both of BMW’s Efficiency Facilities; one in every of which is Efficiency Heart West, out in Palm Springs, California, and the opposite is Efficiency Heart East, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Nonetheless, as a result of Covid and the dangers of air journey, BMW needed to host it a bit nearer to its New Jersey-based dwelling headquarters, so Take a look at Fest was held on the Monticello Motor Membership, in Monticello, New York.

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Being that I dwell in New Jersey and didn’t want a airplane to get there, BMW was gracious sufficient to mortgage me a enjoyable automobile with which to make the almost three-hour northern trek. The automobile I used to be lent was a BMW M2 Competitors with a seven-speed DCT gearbox.

I made the journey on Sunday, so I’d left at evening, to keep away from any site visitors leaving the Jersey Shore. I had assumed I’d need to take a number of toilet and low breaks to maintain myself awake, as I’d labored your entire day placing up baseboard trim in my home and was exhausted. Nonetheless, the M2 Competitors reintroduced itself to me and jogged my memory of its bewitching charms. I used to be awake for your entire three hours, cherished each minute of it, and made it to the lodge in time to catch the second half of Sunday Night time Soccer earlier than going to mattress.

The next morning, I topped the M2 Comp off with fuel, as I used to be too lazy to refill the evening prior, and headed off to Monticello Motor Membership. There, I parked my Lengthy Seashore Blue M2 Competitors subsequent to another unbelievable automobiles (together with a inexperienced Lexus LC500 Coupe!) and walked into my first socially distant press occasion. BMW did a wonderful job of maintaining every part clear, distant and secure, for the report.

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As soon as contained in the open storage space, fitted with particular person tables for breakfast and lunch for every journalist, I had a take a look at the automobiles we’d have obtainable to us that day. One among which was the BMW M2 CS, which I’d recognized was going to be there. Nonetheless, what I didn’t know was that it might be obtainable for each highway and monitor testing. Sometimes, that’s not the case with automobiles just like the CS at these occasions, as they’re usually relegated to only the monitor. Evidently, I used to be excited.

My pleasure grew once I discovered that the road-going M2 CS was fitted with a handbook gearbox. The track-use M2 CS’ have been DCT-equipped, like my My M2 Competitors loaner. So I had the possibility to each precisely examine the CS with the usual Comp, whereas additionally testing the CS with a handbook. The day couldn’t have been higher.

On the Highway Once more

I’d pushed an M2 Competitors on the highway for a pair hundred miles, simply hours earlier than the occasion, so I used to be keen to leap proper into the BMW M2 CS and take it proper again onto the roads I got here in on.

A handbook transmission makes a world of a distinction. Not solely does a handbook have interaction the driving force extra however the M2 CS’ handbook is the perfect I’ve utilized in a BMW in a very long time. The throws are quick and tight, making them extremely satisfying. The clutch is a bit too springy however that’s not an issue. Truthfully, whereas driving it, I used to be simply glad that it had a handbook, as that further pedal and row-your-own gear lever full the M2 bundle.

After the shock and delight of the M2 CS’ six-speed stick, the factor that stood out most wasn’t its energy or efficiency however its experience. The BMW M2 CS is the one automobile within the M2 household historical past to return with adaptive dampers they usually’re excellent. I’m undecided what BMW did to them however the adaptive dampers within the M2 CS make it experience higher than the M2 Competitors, regardless of being decrease and sportier. Even over a few of the blitzkrieged roads surrounding Monticello, the M2 CS rode brilliantly. It’s a agency automobile, little doubt, nevertheless it’s by no means harsh or uncomfortable.

BMW claims that the M2 CS is comprehensively upgraded over the M2 Competitors and that’s technically true, as a lot went into making the M2 CS really feel sharper, extra dynamic and extra partaking than its much less counterpart. Nonetheless, on the highway, it’s actually laborious to note the distinction.

Whereas good, the steering of the BMW M2 CS feels barely totally different than that of the M2 CS. Although, that’s not a knock on the M2 CS however as an alternative excessive reward for the M2 Competitors. Don’t repair what ain’t broke, proper?

The added energy is good, too, because of the three.zero liter twin-turbo “S55” engine’s bump to 444 horsepower. Once more, although, it’s not going to be noticeable on the highway. It’s very quick and really effecitve nevertheless it feels about as quick because the M2 Competitors.

On the Monitor

Certain, the BMW M2 CS didn’t really feel drastically totally different than the M2 Comp on the highway. Nonetheless, it felt considerably higher on monitor. Final I drove an M2 Competitors on monitor was on the M Competition in Toronto, Canada and it was a handful. So I used to be anticipating the much more highly effective, much more raucous M2 CS to be downright terrifying, contemplating the heavy rain and oil-slick monitor. But, it wasn’t. The truth is, it was probably the most thrilling, confidence inspiring automobile I drove on monitor all day, together with the brand new M5 and ALPINA XB7 (sure, I drove the mammoth XB7 on monitor — evaluate to return).

The M2 CS’ we had on monitor have been DCT, so I used to be tempted to go away it in automated and let the automobile determine what was finest, thus leaving all of my focus for the slippery situations. However after realizing simply how a lot grip and composure the M2 CS had, even within the sketchy situations, I flipped it into handbook and actually started to have some enjoyable. Admittedly, I needed to maintain the automobile a gear increased than I usually would have, to maintain it from spinning its rear wheels. Nonetheless, with that in thoughts, the little blue Bimmer was an absolute riot.

On monitor can also be the place the M2 CS exhibits its value. It’s noticeably sharper and extra succesful than its lesser sibling once I was lastly capable of push it to its (my) limits. It’s simply so balanced, correct and confidence inspiring that I saved pushing more durable and more durable, lap after lap, regardless that the situations scared the crap out of me in each different automobile. The truth is, I felt extra relaxed within the M2 CS than within the all-wheel drive M5.

Is the M2 CS Well worth the Improve?

There aren’t any two methods about it: the BMW M2 CS is an costly automobile. At slightly below $84,000 to start out, the CS mannequin is about $25,000 greater than the M2 Competitors. So is it value that improve? I feel it debates in your use-case. In case you’re going to take the automobile to the monitor regularly, then I’d say sure, the M2 CS is value the additional cash. Proper out of the field, you’re getting a automobile you may drive to the monitor, have an absolute blast with, after which drive dwelling in. Few automobiles in its value vary shall be nearly as good to drive on monitor because the M2 CS.

Nonetheless, if you happen to’re not going to the monitor, I’m not so positive the BMW M2 CS is well worth the cash over the usual M2 Comp. Purpose being is that the M2 Competitors is already so good. With only a few thousand {dollars} in mods, you can even make the M2 Competitors simply as thrilling on the highway because the M2 CS is. A brand new set of excellent coilovers, higher brakes, some aero tweaks and possibly even an engine tune and the M2 Competitors is a dynamite little sports activities automobile.

Having mentioned that, if you happen to neglect the associated fee, neglect how tough it’s to get one, it’s not possible to disclaim that the M2 CS is BMW’s finest driving automobile. It’s razor-sharp, shockingly succesful and packs a ton of character into such a small, nice trying bundle. In a time when BMW is altering a lot about itself, from the way in which it makes automobiles to the way in which it designs them, it’s refreshing to drive such a merely BMW; one which reminds us of what the model is understood for.