BMW M2 CS 2020 road test review - hero front
BMW M2 CS 2020 road test review - hero front

What do you think is the most important car BMW builds today? We think you’re looking at it. Not necessarily this box-fresh CS, whose £75,320 asking price will give even the most ardent and generously provisioned M-car loyalist pause for thought, but the BMW M2 in general.

A hydrogen-powered BMW X5 slated for 2022 or the upcoming electric BMW i4 saloon may go on to become the most significant BMW cars of this era, but when front-wheel drive is increasingly seen as a full-blown strategy, with the cars ever larger and heavier, you begin to wonder why we enthusiasts ever felt so much affection for the marque.

The M2 reminds us. This compact coupé uses its front-mounted straight-six engine to drive the rear wheels and you can even have three pedals, should you want them. That’s the basic recipe, and the execution has always been excellent, too. When it first arrived in 2015, we wrote that while the BMW 1 Series M Coupé – the rare and thuggish M2 progenitor that hummed with skunkworks-cool – had “confirmed that BMW still knew what ingredients were essential to the building of a legitimate M car”, the M2 was “further corroboration of that fact”.


In 2018, the ingredients were upgraded for the BMW M2 Competition, which brought sharper suspension and borrowed the piledriver S55 engine from the BMW M4, and whose limited playfulness was its “ultimate party trick”. For several Autocar testers, the M2 Competition remains at the sharp end of their own-money-purchase hit list.

And now we have the CS, which is the final instalment of the F22- generation 2 Series Coupé and ought very well to be alarmingly good. The moniker, which stands for ‘Coupé Sport’ but is conspicuously shorn of an L to denote ‘Light’, had been deployed only twice before the most recent M3 and M4 reprised the letters – once in 1968 and then again for the E46-generation M3.

All were fast and expensive for their time, but dynamically there have been hits and misses. Which will it be today?

The BMW M2 line-up at a glance

With the M2 Competition replacing the standard M2 in 2018, that model now represents the entry point to BMW M’s smallest and arguably best model range. The Competition and CS models each come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and an M Sport seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available as an optional extra.

CS models get reworked suspension, adaptive dampers, a modest power hike and more over and above the regular Competition. Not that there’s anything regular about the Comp, mind.

Price £75,320 Power 444bhp Torque 405lb ft 0-60mph 4.1sec 30-70mph in fourth 5.9sec Fuel economy 25.0mpg CO2 emissions 221g/km 70-0mph 43.7m