What do you think is the most important car BMW builds today? We think you’re looking at it. Not necessarily this box-fresh CS, whose £75,320 asking price will give even the most ardent and generously provisioned M-car loyalist pause for thought, but the M2 in general.
A hydrogen-powered X5 slated for 2022 or the upcoming electric i4 saloon may go on to become the most significant BMW cars of this era, but when front-wheel drive is increasingly seen as a full-blown strategy, with the cars ever larger and heavier, you begin to wonder why we enthusiasts ever felt so much affection for the marque.
The M2 reminds us. This compact coupé uses its front-mounted straight-six engine to drive the rear wheels and you can even have three pedals, should you want them. That’s the basic recipe, and the execution has always been excellent, too. When it first arrived in 2015, we wrote that while the 1 Series M Coupé – the rare and thuggish M2 progenitor that hummed with skunkworks-cool – had “confirmed that BMW still knew what ingredients were essential to the building of a legitimate M car”, the M2 was “further corroboration of that fact”.
In 2018, the ingredients were upgraded for the M2 Competition, which brought sharper suspension and borrowed the piledriver S55 engine from the M4, and whose limited playfulness was its “ultimate party trick”. For several Autocar testers, the M2 Competition remains at the sharp end of their own-money-purchase hit list.
And now we have the CS, which is the final instalment of the F22- generation 2 Series Coupé and ought very well to be alarmingly good. The moniker, which stands for ‘Coupé Sport’ but is conspicuously shorn of an L to denote ‘Light’, had been deployed only twice before the most recent M3 and M4 reprised the letters – once in 1968 and then again for the E46-generation M3.