Take 2
evo India|September 2018

BMW’s smallest M-car has been extensively reworked, but is it enough to elevate the all-new M2 Competition to the top of the class?

Sirish Chandran

YOU WILL OBVIOUSLY HAVE YOUR PERSONAL favourite, as do I, but it’s impossible to say which – Mercedes AMG or BMW M – is the more iconic go-faster brand. Both were born in the crucible of motorsport; AMG set up independently, M Division always in-house, but both had one goal – to win races. Their very first cars, AMG’s 300 SEL Red Sow and M’s 3.0 CSL Batmobile, have been a permanent fixture across the t-shirts of the faithful; their homologation specials, Merc’s CLK GTR and BMW’s M1, have been the wildest cars from a mainstream manufacturer; and their engines have gone down in history, notably Merc’s vast 7.3 V12 that still powers Paganis and BMW Motorsport’s 6.1 V12 in the back of the McLaren F1 that many have rated as the finest engine ever to be made.

Today both make excruciatingly fast cars and SUVs, and both shamelessly flog the appeal of the go-faster brand by tacking badges on to body kits for little diesel cars and SUVs. Yet in India it is AMG that rules the roost. The timeless appeal of the G 63, deft product planning in the form of the (affordable) 43-series, and a commitment to the brand in the form of AMG Performance Centres has seen Mercedes-Benz rule the roost. But this is the car that could change the game for BMW.

Meet the car I have no hesitation in labelling the best M car on sale today.

AMG always had a hot-rod tradition but M was always about lightweight homologation specials. Except nothing in the M catalogue today is small and light. M fanatics moan for the return to the delicacy and agility of the E30 M3, the playfulness of the E39 M5, heck even the affordability of the past – and it has all come together in the M2 Competition, the smallest, lightest and most playful M car right now. Set to take on the C 43 AMG when it is launched in India later this year, it has two fewer doors and two fewer driven wheels but a whole load more power and a tail that wags harder than a Labrador puppy. And it has a manual gearbox. Yes! A manual gearbox!

Of course there is a twin-clutch DCT automatic and that’d be the obvious transmission to bring to India considering nothing remotely expensive is sold with a manual gearbox. But that’d be missing the wood for the trees. The manual gearbox is what sets the M2 

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