Barring some trim and badging, most of it is carried over wholesale from the M2 Competition, though of course this isn’t all bad. The widely adjustable semi-buckets – now with lurid cut-outs – are as comfortable and supportive as ever. The driving position is also about as good as you could reasonably expect given the car’s compact, front-engined architecture. The gloss-carbonfibre swathed across the transmission tunnel will also appeal heavily to the 10-year-old in everybody, even though it’s so obviously superficial.
Move up through the gears and the M2 CS begins to feel every inch the machine with almost 300bhp per tonne. Even half-hearted overtakes are done and dusted in moments because the dual-clutch ’box is slick as hell (though sometimes jerky at crawling speeds) and the engine’s torque bomb is ready to go off in its entirety from around 2500rpm. You can sense this even if you’re not calling for every last pound-foot available, which only feeds into the car’s aura.
Again, it’s very much like the M2 Comp in this respect, and for the CS there’s only 40bhp more power and almost no improvement in torque. And yet – the slightly firmer ride, slightly louder cabin and the meatier steering feel (probably due to the Michelin tyres) combine to dial up the intensity of the driving experience even at five-tenths, and even if you’ve got the adjustable parameters for the steering, engine and suspension responses (there are three settings for each) in their most conservative modes.
Admittedly, it’s all pretty marginal, and to really feel the difference between Competition and CS you need to be, ahem, travelling somewhat. For the Compeition, BMW tamed the original M2’s slightly hyperactive back axle with the help of a solidly mounted rear subframe and rose joints in the attached suspension, and as with that car the CS is immensely planted, only more so.
In fact, only at considerable speeds and on the cruellest B-roads does the taller body begin to feel its slightly saloon-y dimensions, taking a moment longer than, say, Porsche’s Cayman GT4 to take up what little slack there is in the suspension overs crests and so on. The rest of the time the CS will go down your favourite road with a level of capability approaching contempt.
The most tangible change is the way the new car gets into corners. Unlike the M2 CS racing car, which uses a purely mechanical Drexler limited-slip differential, the road car has the same Active M differential as the Competition, software tweaks notwithstanding. And unlike a traditional LSD, the Active M diff remains fully open at the point of turn-in, so along with the Michelin tyres and that iron-clad body control, the CS gets its nose into corners with astonishing precision and agility. And yet it isn’t so sharp that the rear axle being to feel nervous.
And, once you’re into the corner, this is just another brilliant M2. The car will slide predictably, endlessly, enjoyably and just plain beautifully, but only if you want it to. The M Dynamic Mode setting in the ESP is also nicely tuned, giving the driver plenty of freedom if they want it. The control and consistency in the delivery of power and torque through the rear tyres, plus the accuracy of the light steering and balance of the chassis, make driving the car hard an uncomplicated joy.