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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 16th August, 2021
The second generation 2 Series Coupe is every inch a proper small sporting BMW, thinks Jonathan Crouch
Is this i8 as quick, as responsive or as ultimately satisfying as, say, an equivalent Porsche 911 or Mercedes-AMG GT? No it isn’t. But it got closer to that benchmark than we ever thought it would. Closer than a car ever should that’s more than twice as frugal and so much cleaner in emissions that it costs a fraction of the usual rate to tax. Here, BMW created what its customers wanted and showed the rest of the industry just how far behind it was in delivering the future of the sportscar.
Hybrid power may ultimately be the wrong direction for all our automotive futures, but like it or not, we’ve gone there, so let’s have some fun on the way. The i8 brought us that - and much more besides. Nothing else we can think of in this segment from the 2014-2020 era is so striking, surprising and sensational as an i8 Coupe, yet this BMW is so ultimately sensible in what it sets out to offer. It was a landmark car: nothing more, nothing less. And an incredible achievement.
If pushed to name BMW’s most convincing sporting car from the 21st century’s second decade, many would walk past the mighty M5, ignore the powerhouse M3 and M4 models, pause briefly to admire the lines of the Z4 and end up at the baby of the range, this ‘F22’-era 2 Series Coupe. With a selection of fantastic engines and the draw of a fully-fledged and awesomely capable M model at the top end, this two-door 2 Series demonstrated once again that light is right. Not for nothing did this model enjoy the lowest average owner age profile of any that the Bavarian brand made in this period.
This 2 Series isn’t perfect of course. You might suggest that its shape isn’t the most alluring we’ve ever seen from this Munich maker - but at the same time, you’d have to admit it to be a huge aesthetic step forward from the old 1 Series coupe. Anyway, what’ll sell this thing to you is its road going experience, its lust for life and the way it’ll remind you of what driving used to be about when all that’s ahead is a ribbon of twisting tarmac. Ultimately, it’s the kind of car that BMW does better than almost anyone.
BMW coupes used to be all about compactness, lightness and rapid responses. This one still is. The Munich brand has really come good with the M235i, a cracker of a little performance coupe that packs a 326bhp punch, is priced keenly, looks the part and, unlike pricier BMW performance models, is still available with a manual transmission. With this car, the game just changed for the better.
BMW’s M5 CS aims to further redefine what a super saloon should be. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ultimately, it boils down to an individual perspective on what a supercar should be. If for you, that definition must include an exotic badge, then you’ll be dreaming of pricier models than this one wearing Porsche, Maserati or Aston Martin badges. Refine your buying criteria down to what the car in question must be capable of though and the case for this third generation M6 can begin to build.
It’s certainly fast enough - and there’s a competition-bred feel to the handling that rivals made in the 2012-2018 era from Mercedes, Jaguar and Audi can’t quite match. A tougher question to answer lies in whether this car is worth more than BMW’s mechanically almost-identical M5 saloon model. That’s a question of personal preference of course. Coupe and Convertible style has always carried its own price premium and here, it’s no different.
What’s not up for debate is the way this car can make you feel, for its buyers delivering a perfect symbiosis of performance and exclusivity, dynamism and prestige. Or, to put it another way, a supercar they could tail-out slide on a trackday, then cruise across Europe in afterwards. These people will love this MK3 model M6, despite its high running costs and even higher price. There’s a need, after all, to pay for the most consummate of pleasures. If you can afford to do that though, you’ll find much to admire here. Powerful elegance - that’s pitch-perfect.
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