That color. Such a soft, powdery, pastel shade of light blue. The kind of sweet color Barbie might pick for her 1956 Chevy Corvette, if she didn’t have to go with Pepto Bismol pink.
Some might think baby-blue an odd choice for BMW’s most driver-focused, ultimate driving machine, the brand-new M2 road rocket.
But it’s a perfect counter to the car’s manly-man image, and it nicely softens that muscley, no-nonsense styling. It also spins heads faster than a Ben and J-Lo sighting at Starbucks. Me? I just love it.
BMW calls it Zandvoort Blue, after the windswept racetrack on Holland’s Atlantic coast just west of Amsterdam, where this little bundle of automotive joy would feel right at home carving curves.
Among the multitude of BMW models out there, this for me, is the driving enthusiast’s choice, a car that feels so alive, so dynamic, so energetic it could be running on Red Bull.
And it has all the right credentials. It’s the most compact and lightweight of today’s M-division cars, it’s only available with rear-wheel drive and two doors, and under that bulging hood sits the most powerful turbo straight-six ever to be offered in an M2.
Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a six-speed “stick-shift” manual transmission as standard, though a terrific eight-speed automatic is a no-cost option.
It’s also a great value. With a base sticker of $63,195, or just under $70,000 nicely loaded, it offers so much driving fun, and so many smiles per mile for the price of some dull SUV.
See it in the metal and it looks so athletic it should be wearing Spandex. It’s all blistered fenders covering thin-spoke 19-inch front, 20-inch rear alloys, and a front-end with air-gulping openings wide enough to ingest small pets.
Then there’s the grille. Whereas the bigger M4 Coupe, and pretty much every new BMW these days comes with those massive, swollen kidneys at the front, this M2 stays old-school with a much simpler design in keeping with the car’s analog character.
Talking of M4, this new M2 is essentially a shrunken, $12,500 less-expensive version of the one-size-up 4. While it’s not that much smaller – it’s only around eight inches shorter nose to tail – it feels much more compact on the road.
It also shares the M4’s magnificent M TwinPower Turbo in-line six, though in slightly de-tuned form. Here it cranks out a healthy 453 horseys and 406 torques which, for a car weighing 3,800 pounds, is like add gasoline to a barbie.
I’ve just spent an adrenaline-charged week driving this 2023 M2 with the 8-speed auto option, and it hurt me beyond comprehensive to have to give it back. I love small, compact, nimble, fun-to-drive performance coupes, and this new M2 is like a dream machine.
And it is a blast. Pedal to the carpet and it’ll cover the standstill-to-60mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds. And, if no one is looking, it’ll hit 100mph in 8.7 secs. That’s fast, and it feels it.
But it’s the way that turbo engine delivers it prodigious power with such creamy smoothness and with such strong mid-range muscle. This is truly one of the world’s great engines that elevates the M2 into that ultimate driving machine status.
Through the twisties – as far as I could tell on Florida’s curve-less highways and by-ways – the M2 feels like an oversized Hot Wheels slot racer. The steering is laser-precise and beautifully weighted, the grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport rubber at each corner immense, and the nimbleness and agility just staggering.
And you’re in control in a cockpit that’s surprisingly light and airy with great all-round visibility from the slim-pillared roof. The standard M Sport seats are super-supportive, while the thick-rimmed wheels feels like something off a BMW racecar. Yes, there’s a rear seat, but no one will want to sit back there for any distance.
This, without doubt, is one of the most fun, most enjoyable, most rewarding cars you can buy today. Ultimate driving machine? Yep, I’d go with that. Even in baby blue.