There's a lot to love. The M3, BMW's legendary compact performance car, got bigger and bigger over the years, leaving room for a new model that captured the spirit of the original. The modern M3 and M4 — both more than 3,500 pounds — have strayed miles from the E30 M3 of the late ’80s, a revered model that tipped the scales at under 3,000.
But it's not just that the M2 is the spiritual successor to one of the best cars BMW ever made. There are also the numbers: this car will sprint from 0-60 as quickly as a $100,000 M5, if BMW's own specs are to be believed. (And BMW has a tendency to underrate, which suggests the M2 could have a 0-60 time under 4 seconds.) Power is provided courtesy of a turbocharged inline six good for 365 hp. And you can get it with an honest-to-goodness manual transmission, a rarity among modern performance cars.
And then there's the appearance. This car looks great in person, wide enough at the rear to look downright musclebound. It's impossible to mistake it for a garden-variety 2, which is good news for the few who get to buy one. List is $51,700, but the M2 is a limited-run car — and if the predecessor 1 M is any indication, these will sell out quickly and be worth more than sticker when they launch later this year.
Living in Manhattan, I can't possibly justify owning this car (or any car, really). But still, if I were to make an utterly irrational five-figure purchase, this might be the one.