(Scottsdale, Arizona) With the M2, BMW gives relief to its catalog that some consider too smooth today.

Designed as a manifesto dedicated to the pleasure of driving, the M2 is a return to basics. This BMW is based on clear-cut options. Aesthetes will like that it is rear-wheel drive and that the weight is contained. It invokes a rather modern vision of the automobile: you don’t have to drive fast to get thrills.

It was before automatic transmissions, electronic aids, SUVs and (semi) autonomous driving. At that time and even more than today, at BMW, everything was organized around the driver. More precisely at the level of his buttocks. The chassis of a BMW was structured in such a way that the center of gravity of the car was located at the height of the point of articulation of the hips of its driver. This had the effect of making us feel the movements better and keeping us alert to the slightest drift. Hence the English expression “to drive with the bottom of his pants”. Gilles Villeneuve, who passed away 41 years ago today (May 8, 1982), would most certainly have approved.

The M2 belongs to that breed of automobile that makes you want to hit the road. Rather rare these days. The M2 is a “machine” for riding. Not to show off. Even less to take the children on holiday by the sea. The only concern of this car is to bring pleasure (or a form of learning) to whoever gets behind the wheel.

The M2 is neither a hybrid nor an electric. It only consumes gasoline. And that’s great on top of that. And, given her size, we are surprised that she absorbs so much. Even if you caress the accelerator pedal with your toes, the engine, a six-cylinder, seeks to express its speed, its character, but also its smoothness. At most, it will be criticized for its artificial sound and a certain numbness before the needle pricks the 3000 rpm of the tachometer. This is where the fun begins.

This is the second generation of M2. The first, revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in 2016, had two additional versions (CS and Competition) with confidential distribution during its life cycle. Will these be rolled over? Probably, but BMW officials won’t say anything. Even if you subject them to torture.

What to take away from this new model? That it occupies more space in the street than its predecessor, without being really more welcoming, however. Especially for the occupants of the rear seats where clearance is limited. And what else? That he is also a hundred pounds heavier! See how lucky you are, since BMW is offering—for an extra fee, of course—to drive out some (no, not all) of them by opting for the $13,000 carbon package. This will lighten your load, too! But you might regret spending such a sum. As beautiful to look at as they are, the molded buckets included with this option provide much the same comfort as a horse saddle and are not suitable for long trips.

The new M2 wraps a more modern architecture, but there is nothing new about it. This is the platform that pretty much all BMWs (and Rolls-Royces) are made of today. Same for the engine. This is a restrained version of the homemade 3 L.

For their part, neophytes anxious to perfect their skills (while respecting the Highway Safety Code) will especially retain the confidence that this M2 provides. But everyone will be sensitive to the possibility of setting up this vehicle according to their mood. In addition, to minimize the risk of distraction, it is possible to store your preferences in one of the two pull buttons on the steering wheel (M1 and M2).

The steering offers a decent feel. However, we have already experienced better with this manufacturer. Traction is impressive — even in the rain — but looks horrible in winter with such low ground clearance.

A little “tape-ass”, I agree, this M2 fears for its tires (and its rims) when passing potholes that we still encounter too frequently with us. On the roads of Arizona, where this preview test took place, traffic was rare and clutches and disengaged, just as much. The manual gearbox combines admirably well with the mechanics. The guidance is not as silky as that of a Honda, but certainly more pleasant than that of a Subaru and more frank than that of a Volkswagen. Never mind, the clutch requires a good calf. Automatic then? It does not entail an additional outlay and lowers the acceleration time by a bit. However, it has no (positive) impact on consumption. Prefer the manual before it disappears.

Anyone who likes the feeling of a balanced automobile, able to brake as quickly as it accelerates, must make an appointment with the M2. Especially since she could very well be the last.

Suggested retail price: $76,500

Consumption: 12.6L/100km

A “very 20th century” vision of the sports car, no doubt, but we “M”.

La Presse will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: GMC Canyon, Ioniq 6, Nissan Ariya, Porsche Cayenne and Subaru Crosstrek. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering one, we would love to hear from you.

To crown the 50th anniversary of its sports subsidiary, BMW is reviving a mythical name: the 3.0 CSL. You’ll have a better chance of hitting the 6/49 jackpot than coming across this BMW on the street. The German brand will only produce 50 copies of this model, each of which requires 6 days to be painted. Like the M2, the 3.0 CSL only drives its rear wheels, but only through a manual gearbox. This is tied to the inline six-cylinder whose power has been increased to 560 hp.

The M2 is without a doubt the spiritual daughter of the 2002 Turbo (1973-1975). The latter, however, required a very good steering wheel to realize its full potential. Powered by a supercharged 2.0L engine, the 2002 Turbo produced 170 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. No ride aids, just 13″ tires to keep her grounded and rear drums to brake their run.