European press have had their embargo lifted and the long awaited BMW M2 CS reviews are in. Does it live up to the hype and is it worth extra $30k? Let’s find out with some quick excerpts:
The most tangible change is the way the new car gets into corners. Unlike the M2 CS racing car, which uses a purely mechanical Drexler limited-slip differential, the road car has the same Active M differential as the Competition, software tweaks notwithstanding. And unlike a traditional LSD, the Active M diff remains fully open at the point of turn-in, so along with the Michelin tyres and that iron-clad body control, the CS gets its nose into corners with astonishing precision and agility. And yet it isn’t so sharp that the rear axle being to feel nervous.
And, once you’re into the corner, this is just another brilliant M2. The car will slide predictably, endlessly, enjoyably and just plain beautifully, but only if you want it to.
Overall the M2 CS is still a less-subtle car than something like the sublime Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (which is a similar price) and sadly it can’t match that car for aural entertainment. But there’s no doubting the turbocharged punch it delivers in a straight line, and you’ll still have a massive grin on your face down a good piece of road. Although they are similar in price and both have six-cylinder engines driving the rear wheels with manual gearboxes, the BMW and Porsche feel like very different cars, to be honest.
In fact I think the bigger conflict for the CS comes from something much, much closer to home. Because much as I loved driving the M2 CS and although I never failed to look back and admire it after I’d parked, I’m not sure I’d be rushing to spend an extra $25,000 over the already brilliant package that is the M2 Competition. I look forward to driving a CS on track at some point as I suspect a little more magic might be unveiled between some striped curbs (and you just know that it’s going to be fun to slide around), but on the road I think the visceral gains are very marginal. Perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising when you look at the spec sheet, because overall the weight of the M2 CS is nearly identical to the Competition. Great though it is (and it really is great), I can’t help feeling that BMW should perhaps have gone the whole hog, stripped the interior right back and added an “L” onto the end of the “CS.”
The CS builds on the Comp’s reputation for tenacious front-end grip. It’s pointy, agile and feels like it’d do a barrel roll before it conceded to understeer. The front’s so tied down, it gives you the confidence to use it like a hinge for the rear to pivot around, even though the steering lacks any outright feel and the wheel itself appears to be a party balloon that terrifying clowns use to fashion latex giraffes.
You sense how stiff the structure is – under the bonnet, there’s the same carbon strut brace as an M4’s. If you concentrate, you also decipher the clues that the centre of gravity is now lower, thanks to the carbon roof. The M2 wants to change direction, duck, weave, bob and generally show off. Above all, it’s huge fun. Old-school stuff. A taut rear-drive platform and this much punch couldn’t fail to be, really.