This question should be answered far more speedily than we as a nation took to find (deliberate, grin, bear…) a next PM, but picking a BMW M2 over an M140i could be tough.
You see the M135i hot-hatchback that we’ve known and loved for four years is about to switch to a new M140i designation that brings with it more torque and extra equipment for about the same price – from $64,900 plus on-road costs.
That is a long way down from the M2 Pure’s $89,900 starting sticker, but as they say while shifting steak knives, you’d better wait, because there’s more.
Each use differently engineered turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines, a configuration iconic to the BMW brand. The loftier proper M-car coupe gets 272kW and 465Nm, and weighs 1495kg. But the smaller hatchback moves from 240kW/450Nm for the M135i, to 250kW/500Nm for M140i, with a kerb weight of 1445kg.
BMW claims a 4.5-second 0-100km/h for the M2 Pure manual, versus 4.6sec for the M140i eight-speed automatic, which is available as a no-cost option whereas a seven-speed dual-clutch auto version asks $99,900 in the M2 – stretching the difference to $35K.
The M140i gets more kit than the M2 Pure, with Harman Kardon audio system, keyless auto-entry (dubbed Comfort Access) and electrically adjustable leather front seats with heating, all of which is also standard only on the $100K manual or auto M2. Again there’s that $35K like-for-like gap.
All of which looks neat on paper, but it’s worth noting the M135i/M140i needs $4000 worth of optional limited-slip differential before it leaves the showroom.
In MOTOR’s Bang For Your Bucks (see the September, 2016 issue out now) an auto-equipped, soon-superseded M135i auto took 4.92sec to reach 100km/h and lapped Winton Raceway (sans LSD, sadly) in 1:39.2 (99.2sec) – versus 4.55sec and 1:34.8 (94.8sec) respectively.
That lap time is particularly a stand-out for BMW’s latest baby M-car, being 4.4 seconds ahead of its hot hatch sibling. Put another way, in a race it would take the M2 just 22 laps of Winton to fully lap the M135i.
In a case of wheels and tyres, both run 19-inch Michelins – Pilot Super Sport 245/40 front and 275/35 rear for M135i, Pilot Cup Sport 245/35 front and 265/35 rear for M2.
Completely subjectively, the M2 Pure is an absolutely cracking car and true return to form for BMW after the patchy M3 and M4. It is properly ‘next level’ on the road or racetrack compared with an M135i/M140i and worth every cent extra. But many may not have many cents extra.
The M135i/M140i is stunning value, but we’d try and stretch to an M2 every time.