BMW’s M models are some of the best driver’s cars you can buy. But which one is the “purest”, the 2018 BMW M5 or the smaller, less expensive M2?
If we could, you know we’d be on the race track every single day. Especially when you have cars like these: the 2018 BMW M5 and BMW M2 are two of the most driver-focused cars out there right now. However, while these cars both carry the “M” badge, they carry out different philosophies as to what makes a great driver’s car. The M5 is the last word in cutting edge technology, as the largest M car’s crammed full of buttons and settings to cater every aspect of the car to your whim.
The M2, on the other hand, is a rather simple by comparison. Especially if you get it with a manual transmission, there isn’t as much tech on board to enhance – or some enthusiasts would argue ruin – the driving experience. Engine at the front, three pedals and a manual shifter in the middle, and rear-wheel drive. You can’t get much purer than that these days. But which is faster around the track – the newly-all-wheel drive M5, or the rear-wheel drive M2?
Well, that all depends on how you slice it. The 2018 BMW M5 is, on paper, the faster car. Of course it is – with a $129,795 price tag and nearly double the horsepower – it ought to be. The M5’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 cranks out 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Not only that, but this is the first time power is sent to all four wheels in an M5. Although, for the rear-wheel drive purists, there is an option to go back to rear-wheel drive. Select it, and 100% of the available power is sent to the back. As it should be, some would say. With all-wheel drive engaged, however, our professional racing driver Paul Gerrard clocks a 0-60 time of 3.86 seconds in the M5. That’s pretty phenomenal, considering we’re a mile above sea level.
BMW M2 – Purer driver’s car?
The BMW M2 on the other hand, isn’t that fast out the gate. It’s packing a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes just 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. It is much lighter, since it’s a coupe – 3,450 pounds to the M5’s 4,370 – but it still clocks in a 0-60 time of 5.31 seconds. That’s still not bad, by any means, but it’s not nearly as fast as the twice-as-expensive M5. But how do they both fare on the track? Watch the video above to find out!
As it turns out, the BMW M2 manages a hot lap around our track of 1:03.69, which puts it ahead of the Ford Focus RS, which has 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive. However, in all-wheel drive mode, the 2018 BMW M5 is nearly a full second faster, at 1:02.56. However, and this is where the “it depends on how you slice it” argument comes back into play, it racked up a time of 1:05.16 in rear-wheel drive mode. That means, apples to apples (at least with both being rear-wheel drive), the M2 is faster around this particular track. The BMW M2 is one of the most balanced M cars out there, and it’s likely a bit less wayward with 365 horsepower to the M5’s 600.
Both cars are definitely hot, but on the basis of its relative simplicity, and the fact it costs half the price, the BMW M2 is the purer M car of the two. If you want to take four people for some pedal-to-the-medal action, the M5’s definitely your best bet, though. Not only that, but it does cope well as a daily commuter, as Roman demonstrates on the roads outside Boulder, Colorado. And, in the end, beckoning that 600 horsepower is only a stab of the throttle away.
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