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BMW M3 with M Performance Parts Plays with Fire

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BMW’s M Performance Parts catalog has never offered such a drastic visual change to a car than this new G80 BMW M3. With this new generation of M3, the M Performance Parts bin can make it look shockingly different from the standard car. It can even go as far as to rearrange the placement of the exhausts. In this new video from BMW M, you get to see just that, as an M Performance Parts-equipped M3 goes ripping around an empty city, while someone has fire hands for some reason.

I always wanted to be a commercial writer/director, so I could do silly things like make a man have fire coming from his hands in a commercial about a car for no apparent reason, never explain it and just move one like it never happened. That’s what happens in this new video.

First, we see the BMW M3 with its new M Performance Parts and the black and red livery BMW used to debut these parts. The car comes with a new lower front lip, side skirts, a big fixed wing and an entirely new rear bumper, complete with a new diffuser and quad exhausts in a completely different configuration than the stock car’s. Ultimately, whether or not you like it depends on how you feel about the new M3. If you think the new M3 is already too brash, you’re going to hate this. If you like how bold the M3 has gotten, you’ll love it.

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We see this decked-out BMW M3 rip around an empty city, while someone sits in a command center of sorts, with screens watching the M3, and presses unmarked buttons. There’s also a man, screaming, with fire coming from his hands as if he’s a superhero who’s upset about having fire hands.

If you want your first look at the BMW M3 in motion with its M Performance Parts, check this video out. If you can explain literally anything about this video, please educate me.


The Rolls-Royce Holiday Gift Guide is My Favorite Gift Guide This Season

I’ve genuinely wondered what you buy people that are absurdly wealthy. Like, what do you buy Jeff Bezos for the Holidays? The man can literally buy a fleet of islands without noticing a change in his bank account, you can’t get him AirPods. Then I saw this Rolls-Royce Holiday Gift Guide and not only did it prove to me that there are things you can buy rich people but it made me genuinely laugh.

Admittedly, there are some genuinely cool things in this Rolls-Royce gift guide, so I won’t go all Fancy Kristen on you. However, there are still some really funny items. For instance, the Kinetic Luggage, which is a six-piece set that all feature carbon fiber and aluminum frames. That’s actually really cool because it allows them to be extremely light and strong; so they’re easy to carry but also protect your luggage. However, the overly opulent side of Rolls has to shine through somewhere, so the roller pieces have wheels with weighted Double-R center caps, just like the cars. Imagine seeing someone with self-leveling Rolls-Royce centers caps on their rolling luggage?

Adding to the rich-person absurdity is the 1:8 scale model. The model can be made of any Rolls-Royce Cullinan or Phantom owned by the person you’re buying it for, right down to the exact options of the real car. While that’s sort of cool, it’s so unbelievably overdone, with working lights, doors, seatbelts, pillows and everything. If you have a $400,000 Rolls in your garage, why do you need to look at a tiny version of it? It’s a bit megalomaniac-ish, isn’t it.

There are some genuinely useful items in the Rolls-Royce Holiday Gift Guide, though. For instance, the Aero Cowling Tonneau cover can be bought for any owner of a Rolls-Royce Dawn. Not only does it look awesome but it covers the rear seats, keeping them protected from the elements and extending the life of the interior. Plus, it can be had in essentially whatever color you want.

I personally like the Champagne Chest, which is a beautifully-made chest, covered in leather and aluminum and lined with gorgeous wood trim, that holds several bottles of champagne, as well as crystal champagne flutes, caviar bowls, mother of pearl spoons for said caviar, a removable serving tray and more. This gift is practical, as it allows you to bring champagne and caviar along with friends and family to have a nice little outing but it also makes you seem like a Bond villain. It’s the sort of thing that Blofeld would have his henchman get from the trunk of his Rolls, so he can sip champagne as he tries to feed Bond to mutated sharks.

The Pursuit Seat is also pretty cool. It’s a foldable leather and aluminum seat, mounted to a carbon fiber shaft that features a deployable spike at the bottom. So you can explore and adventure in nature with it and, wherever you want to stop and soak in the view, you just deploy the spike, stab it into the ground and have a seat. There’s even a removable flashlight underneath the leather seat. And since it’s made from lightweight carbon fiber, it’s easy to carry around and is strong enough to be a useful stick with which to beat insubordinate butlers.

There are many more items in the Rolls-Royce Holiday Gift Guide, all of which are more expensive than most entire BMW cars. Personally, I love this gift guide as it’s equal parts intriguing and hilarious. Some items are genuinely useful and some are just obnoxious rich-people stuff, yet all of them are done in the typically over-opulent Rolls-Royce way. I love it. Check it out.


BMW Motorrad introduces the new BMW S 1000 R

BMW Motorrad introduces today a refreshed version of the popular BMW S 1000 R. Derived directly from the supersports S 1000 RR in the key areas engine and chassis, the new S 1000 R offers the same innovative technology. Thanks to its 121 kW (165 hp) peak output combined with a low weight of 199 kg (DIN) as well as ABS Pro, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), full-scale LED lighting and much more as standard, the new S 1000 R promises a spectacular performance.

The maximum torque of 114 Nm is available at 9,250 rpm and in order to reduce the noise and fuel consumption levels as well as the engine speed level, especially at cruising speeds on country roads, the 4th, 5th and 6th gears now have longer gear ratios. The new S 1000 R is also equipped with engine drag torque control (MSR) for the first time as an optional extra.

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A New, Lighter Chassis

The frame and swingarm are based on the S 1000 RR and have been made considerably lighter in than their predecessor. At the same time, the engine in the so-called Flex Frame takes on a much greater supporting function than before. The new frame offers further benefits due to its very narrow design. This considerably reduces the motorcycle’s width in the area of the knee contact area, thereby offering a more relaxed riding position with even more freedom of movement. An adjustable handlebar clamp enables the rider to make ergonomic adaptations. Two positions are already available as standard: 0 mm / +10 mm towards the front. In addition, 10 mm handlebar riser mounts are offered as an option, which can also be turned in the direction of travel by 0 mm / +10 mm.

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The underslung swingarm has been taken over from the S 1000 RR and the spring strut with Full Floater Pro kinematics is now located significantly further away from the swing axis and the engine. This prevents the engine from heating up due to waste heat and ensures even more stable temperature behavior and even more constant damping response. In combination with the swingarm, which has its roots in motorsports, this results in more tyre grip and lower tire wear.

Three Riding Modes

The new S 1000 R is equipped as standard with Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro with banking angle optimization and the three riding modes “Rain”, “Road” and “Dynamic”. The fully configurable “Dynamic Pro” mode is also available with a particularly wide range of setting options as part of the “Riding Modes Pro” option. With “Riding Modes Pro”, the new S 1000 R also features the “Engine Brake” function in conjunction with the engine drag torque control (MSR) and the “Power Wheelie” function. As part of the “Riding Modes Pro” option, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) additionally supports the rider during emergency braking maneuvers.

A 6.5-inch TFT screen

The new S 1000 R’s instrument cluster was also taken over from the S 1000 RR. The screen was therefore designed to be large for good readability and optimum information display even under difficult lighting conditions. The Pure Ride Screen, for example, provides all the necessary information for normal road riding, while a further Core Screen shows displays for banking angle, deceleration and traction control. A bluetooth smartphone interface which allows app-based arrow navigation is already included as standard. The TFT display is operated comfortably from the handlebars using the multi-controller. The optional M package provides a third Core Screen with bar display and lap timer.

New Lights

The S 1000 R comes with LED main headlamp with optimized low beam and high beam light. The newly designed turn indicator and rear lights also make use of LED technology. The rear turn indicators have been adopted from the S 1000 RR and feature an integrated tail/brake light function. The front turn indicators are “hidden” in the fork area. Enhanced safety when riding at night is ensured by the adaptive turning light which is a component of Headlight Pro as an ex works option. In this case, further LED modules are added.

Color wise, in addition to the basic color Racingred non-metallic, the options Style Sport and the M package with additional product content are available.


Toyota Supra Makes Car and Driver’s 10 Best List

Despite wearing a Toyota badge, BMW fans should be fans of the new Supra. Under its great looking sheet metal lies the same chassis and running gear as the BMW Z4, as both cars were developed together by both brands. So, in essence, the Toyota Supra is sort of a coupe-version of the Z4, and vice versa. Which is why it’s exciting for BMW fans that the new Supra was named one of Car and Driver’s 10 Best cars of 2020.

When the Toyota Supra first hit the road, it was actually a bit of a disappointment. It was mostly good but there were oddities in its suspension and chassis dynamics that frustrated many enthusiasts. However, halfway through 2020, for the 2021 model year, Toyota made some quick improvements to the Supra and they made a bit difference.

The Supra made C&D’s 10 Best list thanks to those very improvements, along with a surprisingly low price tag. At $44,000-ish,the entry-level four-cylinder Supra might not sound like great value but when you consider that it can still hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, it starts to look a lot better. Especially when you factor in its stunning food looks and impressive handling.

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Upgrade to the 3.0 liter Toyota Supra, powered by BMW’s brilliant B58 engine, and it can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds while even returning 34 mph on the highway, per C&D. That’s seriously impressive and it gives the Supra real duality.

When we drove the Supra, it was the pre-update 2020 model year car and we liked it then, even if it felt a bit too much like a Z4 to drive. However, these new updates seem to have made a big difference, enough to land it on C&D’s 10 Best list. For reference, not a single BMW made the list, a list that the 3 Series was one for over a decade straight. That tells you something about the state of the Bavarian brand at the moment.

[Source: Car and Driver]


2020 C8 Corvette Stingray Z51 — Game Changer

After having driven the Audi R8 V10 Performance, we were ready to get into some other mid-engine supercars to see how they stacked up to the brilliance of the R8. While there are some other great mid-engine supercars on the market, the one we wanted most was the newest and, oddly enough, the cheapest — the all-new C8 Corvette.

The C8-generation Corvette is the first ‘Vette in history to use a mid-engine layout. Since the late 1950s, the Corvette has used a big, American V8 hung out over its front axle. So moving the engine behind the driver naturally caused quite a stir among Corvette purists. To say we were eager to test out the re-imagining of an American automotive icon would be a gross understatement.

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Due to it being mid-engine, the C8 is also the first ‘Vette to truly compete with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and, in this case, Audi. And after having driven the new C8 Corvette Z51 package for a week, I can honestly say that it’s an absolute game changer.

Not Just Good for the Money

When Corvettes are put up against cars like the Porsche 911, they always lose the comparisons, albeit with an excuse — they’re cheaper. Ever since it debuted all those decades ago, the Corvette has always been the affordable sports car; the car that middle-class folks could save up for and buy when they retired — the attainable sports car. So its shortcomings were always forgiven, due to its relatively low price.

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However, with this new C8 Corvette, Chevy has performed nothing short of a magic trick because it keeps its shockingly low, attainable price tag but ups both the quality and performance to world-beating levels. My test car rang in at just under $66,000… for a mid-engine, V8-powered supercar.

It’s Got the Look

One look at the new ‘Vette in person is enough to prove that it’s the real deal. Its new mid-engine design is killer in person, with its ultra-low stance, wide hips and aggressive lines. It’s not a beautiful car in the way a Ferrari 458 Italia is (no mid-engine Ferrari since has bested the 458), but it looks exciting and aggressive. It’s more Lamborghini than Ferrari, in that it’s a great bedroom wall poster but it’s not exactly beautiful. It also somehow manages to look both Italian from some angles and American from others, which I actually sort of liked.

However, my tester’s Shadow Gray paintwork didn’t do it any favors. It’s a fine color but not one befitting of a supercar. The Corvette needs to wear a flashier color and Chevy has some good ones available. It also doesn’t have any good wheel designs. The five-spoke wheels on my tester were fine but nothing special and the optional upgraded wheels are actually worse looking. Proper aftermarket wheels would go a long way on the new ‘Vette.

Still, even in a bland color and with ho-hum wheels, the C8 Corvette made an impact everywhere it went. I’ve tested some astonishing cars over the years but I’ve never received so much love from passersby than in the ‘Vette. I said the same thing about the Audi R8 but the love shown for the new C8 Corvette made the R8 seem invisible. Not only is it exciting to see but people actually really like a Corvette because it’s the everyman’s sports car. So when they see one looking like a Lamborghini, it makes them happy because they realize it’s something they can actually afford one day.

Not Bad Inside, Either

One almost constant complaint about Corvettes over the years has been about their interiors. You could always tell that 90 percent of the budget for the Corvette went into the engine because the interior always felt like a rental car’s. Cheap plastics, flat seats and boring designs have plagued Corvettes for decades. Not so with this one, though.

Inside the C8 Corvette, you’re met with an interesting, if a bit confusing (we’ll get to that in a bit), interior that stands out not only for its design but also its quality. The standard GT1 bucket seats in my tester were great, the seating position was bang-on and all of the materials I could find were surprisingly nice. The dashboard, center console, door panels and even the lower door bins were all made from either leather or nice soft-touch plastic. During my week with it, I could not believe just how good the interior was, when the car costs less than $66,000.

Admittedly, the design is a bit confusing. That central stack of climate controls that cascades down from the dashboard in a single-file line is just too difficult to use. Not only is it hard to memorize where all those buttons are when they’re in a straight line but the bottom ones are actually hard to reach, without contorting your arm into an odd position.

Also, the buttons for volume and track selection on the steering wheel are downright odd. You pull them, rather than push them, which is just doesn’t seem intuitive. There are also little ergonomic things that the Germans get so right but you don’t notice until you’re in something else. For instance, the wiper and turn signal stalks are up and out of reach while you’re hands are on the steering wheel. So I had to actually move my hand from the wheel to reach them comfortably, while they’re just a finger’s reach away on most German cars.

Still, those are all minor quibbles. Most of the cabin is actually great. The square steering wheel is odd but you get used to it after awhile and I sort of liked it by the end of my test. The paddle shifters are fantastic; big, chunky and aluminum, rather than the cheap plastic ones you get in the Audi R8. The touchscreen is great, too; exactly in the right place for ease of use, with crisp graphics and quick responses. Thankfully, climate controls can also be operated via touchscreen, so I never had to use the annoyingly confusing center line of buttons.

It’s All About the Performance, Though

Honestly, none of that matter so much. What matters most is what happens after you press the starter button. That 6.2 liter naturally-aspirated small-block V8 roars to life with a classic American V8 rumble. It’s wake-your-neighbors loud on start-up but it then settles into a delicious, burbly idle.

With the Z51 package, you get 495 horsepower 465 lb-ft of torque. That might not be as much as the 602 horsepower you get from the Audi R8 V10 Performance but the Corvette is less than half the price and is actually no slower in the real world. Chevy claims a 0-60 mph time of under three seconds and we’ve seen independent tests reach a staggering 2.8 seconds. So the C8 Corvette, despite having 100 fewer horsepower is every bit as fast as the R8.

Paired to that mighty V8 is an all-new eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle gearbox and it’s one of the better dual-clutches I’ve ever used. It’s not quite as good as the R8’s but it’s 90-percent there. Upshifts are as snappy as they are in the best of gearboxes and they’re met with a kick in the back in sportier settings, which is welcome in a car like a ‘Vette. Downshifts are mostly good but it can get confused at lower speeds. Still, it’s mostly brilliant. Also, using the big aluminum paddles is always a treat.

Old-School Engine in New-School Body

The hulking V8 in the Corvette isn’t really anything new. The LS1 6.2 liter V8 has been used, in some form or another, since cavemen were drawing buffalo on cave walls. However, despite its age, it’s always welcome.

It might only have 495 horsepower but it pulls like it makes double that. Full throttle bursts land you in license-losing speeds before you can blink and I surprised a few passengers with just how quick it will fire off the line. It’s shockingly fast, every bit as fast as the Audi R8.

Admittedly, the R8 Quattro will have a massive advantage in anything other than bone-dry conditions, thanks to its all-wheel drive, as the Corvette is so powerful it can spin its tires in third gear. That small block V8 sends a tidal wave of torque to only its rear wheels. So if the pavement isn’t dry, be careful.

Still, this new Corvette is more composed than every one that came before it, thanks to that old-school engine being put in a new-school spot. Mounting the engine behind the driver not only puts more weight over the rear wheels but it also allows the Corvette to have better aerodynamics. So it grips like no other Corvette in history. Which is why this standard Z51-equipped ‘Vette is just as fast as the last-gen 750-horsepower Corvette ZR1 in a straight line.

Now it Handles, Too

The last couple of Corvette generations have been good sports cars. They’ve had good steering and good handling dynamics. However, they’ve lacked the finesse that their European competitors have had. Now, though, the Corvette is far more capable of taking its more expensive rivals head-on.

Steering is excellent in the new ‘Vette. It’s light on feel but the overall weighting and accuracy is great. It might be a touch too light but it loads up nicely as you add steering lock and you can place it extremely well. Helping that is outward visibility, which is not only excellent but you can also see the flared fenders over the scuttle, so you know exactly where the front tires are at all times. Ironically, it’s a bit similar to a 911 — its closest rival — in that regard.

Through the twisty stuff, the new ‘Vette shines. Its chassis is both balanced and predictable. It will get sideways if you push it, which can happen quite suddenly and isn’t unusual in a mid-engine car, but when it does happen it’s easy to reign in. Though, you really have to push it too hard for public roads for that to happen. For the most part, it turns in, grips and goes, like a proper supercar should. I also didn’t notice any of the understeer that many journalists have noticed. Though, I didn’t take it to a track, so I didn’t really get to test out its limit handling.

On the road, though, the C8 Corvette is an absolute weapon; it’s shockingly fast, steers with precision and responds to your inputs like a willing dance partner. In terms of outright capability, the Audi R8’s limits are higher and it’s probably a bit quicker around a track. However, the ‘Vette feels more fluid, it’s more of a proper driver’s car than the R8. The Audi R8 makes you feel like a superhero, capable of incredible feats of speed and performance. While the ‘Vette is less capable overall, it’s the more rewarding to push hard and it involves you more in the process.

Nothing’s Perfect

During my time with the new Corvette, I was genuinely blown away at how much I liked it. Having said that, there were some minor drawbacks. For instance, while forward visibility is outstanding, rearward visibility is virtually nonexistent and my tester lacked a backup camera. So backing out of my driveway was a bit sketchy. Also, because it’s a mid-engine car, its blind spots are enormous and my tester also lacked blind-spot monitors. Though, I had the very same complaint about the Audi R8, which was more than double the as-tested price of the ‘Vette. My test car also lacked heated seats, which was frustrating on chilly mornings.

That’s about it, though. There was honestly very little to complain about during my week with the ‘Vette. Plus, all of those little issues were completely erase by the fact that my test car had a sticker price of just $65,000. That’s $10,000 cheaper than an Audi S6, with twice the performance in a mid-engine package. Wild.

Cool Features

Sure, there were some mild complaints about the ‘Vette’s lack of options and slightly annoying blind spots. However, the new C8 Corvette also has a few really cool features that more than make up for it. For instance, the roof panel is manually detachable, via three levers inside the cabin, and fits perfectly in the trunk, allowing for open-top, mid-engine V8 pleasure.

Speaking of trunk, the C8 Corvette is a rare mid-engine car that has two trunks; one behind the engine in the back and one at the front. The only other mid-engine car that comes to mind with two trunks is the original Acura NSX. The back trunk’s lid is also soft-close, so you don’t have to slam it near that spoiler. Just gently shut it and it will soft-close like the doors of most luxury cars. Brilliant.

Build into the gauge cluster, there’s a kick-ass 0-60 mph timer that will constantly judge how quickly you get to sixty. Even if you’re just gently pulling away from a stop light, it will record your time to 60 mph and reset every time you stop. It’s completely irrelevant in the real world but I got a kick out of it every time I used it. Silly stuff like that makes car ownership more fun.

Verdict — Game Changer

The Corvette has historically been considered a good sports car for the money. It could never beat cars like the Porsche 911 but it was always the budget option. Now, though, the C8 Corvette is such a good sports car that it genuinely rivals the best from Europe and can even stand toe-to-toe with some of the best supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and, most importantly for us, the Audi R8.

Not only is the new Corvette brilliant to drive, its interior is excellent, it has great technology and is the most practical supercar we’ve ever used. When you throw in the fact that you can get the Corvette — a mid-engine, V8-powered supercar — for under $70,000, it completely changes the game. Not only should supercars fear it but there are only one or two sports car under $100,000 that I’d prefer to the ‘Vette and they both wear Porsche badges. Every other sports car needs to fear the C8.

The C8 Corvette somehow manages to ditche the value excuse but actually retain the value. I honestly don’t know how GM has managed to sell a car that such a complete package for so little money. But I’m glad it did because the new ‘Vette is brilliant.


The BMW R18 is One of the Coolest Motorcycles on the Road

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know the first thing about motorcycles. The extend of my motorcycle knowledge begins and ends with the fact that they have two wheels. When it comes to motoring, I much prefer doing it with four wheels. I have nothing against bikes, nor do I disagree with bikers that they provide a more visceral experience than cars. However, I’ve just never had the desire to ride them. Fear does come into play a bit but it’s not the main reason for my lack of interest. That said, there are some bikes that I just find to be icy-cool and the BMW R18 is one of them.

In this new video from Auto Trader UK, we see Rory Reid test out the new R18 and he shows off how BMW has made a German Harley-Davidson.

There are actually some bikes I like and they’re all vintage BMWs from the 1950s and 1960s. Which is why I think the R18 is so damn cool, as it looks like them. That’s no coincidence, as the BMW R18 was designed to look like those vintage bikes and its retro styling works.

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Most people associate BMW bikes with high-speed superbikes but the R18 is not such a bike. Instead, it uses a massive 1.8 liter (1,800 cc) V-twin engine, with a whopping 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque. Not only that but it makes a killer, smooth and sophisticated burble. It’s like a Harley with manners. Lovely.

It’s also a comfortable bike, with an ergonomic seating positing and comfortable seat. Though, its vibrating V-twin engine can cause some bum numbness over time. There’s also a curious lack of options for such an expensive bike. For instance, there’s no fuel gauge, which seems problematic, and no navigation, which is sort of odd for a cruiser. That said, the BMW R18 seems like an excellent, stylish cruising bike. Check it out.


BMW M2 CS — The Best BMW But Not by Much

After driving the BMW M2 CS on some killer roads outside Monticello Motor Club, I knew I needed to drive it again. My two half-hour drives were far too brief for a car as special as a manual-equipped M2 CS. So prior to leaving Monticello, and BMW’s Test Fest, I asked our press fleet contact there if it were possible to get that very M2 CS on a longer-term test, as we usually do. He told me it was possible but scheduling was a bit tricky.

See, that gorgeous Alpine White BMW M2 CS with its delicious manual gearbox was actually scheduled to head out to L.A. only a couple of weeks after that, a time period in which I already had test cars booked. So trying to squeeze the M2 CS in was going to be tricky. However, I knew I had to get it done because it would be the last time I’d ever see that M2 CS again, thus my last chance to test it properly. Considering that specific M2 CS is the only one in BMW’s fleet with a manual transmission, I knew I had to drive it.

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Thankfully, we made it work and I had the chance to pick the car up and keep it for four days, in between other test cars. During those four days, I drove it quite a bit and now that I’ve driven the BMW M2 CS as much as I have — on both road and track, with both manual and DCT — I know exactly what the car’s all about.

Best by a Little is Still the Best

There’s no doubt in my mind — the BMW M2 CS is the very best driving Bavarian product on the market. Forget the BMW M8 Competition, with its world-destroying performance. It’s the M2 CS you want to properly drive.

Though, that’s because the M2 CS is built on an already excellent foundation. This current M2 Competition, the standard M2 in the model range, is already a brilliant daily sports car. So you’d imagine that adding a carbon fiber roof, a carbon fiber hood, more power and all-new adaptive dampers would make it an ever better driver’s car. And you’d be right. But what you might not imagine is that it also make it better to drive on a daily basis.

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Somehow, the wizards in Garching have been able to make the M2 CS both firmer and more comfortable. So its body rolls less, it feels more composed, and it’s quite a bit more capable than the standard M2 Competition and yet it actually rides better over bumpy pavement.

The knee-jerk reaction is to just assume that the reason is why is its adaptive suspension, so you can stick it into Comfort mode, while the normal M2 Comp is stuck with passive dampers. However, the M2 CS’ adaptive shocks are far better tuned than most others from BMW I’ve driven before. Maybe I’m just smitten by the charms of the M2 CS but it rides better than even the previous-gen M3 and M4, by a good margin. Regardless of my feelings, it’s objectively a more comfortable riding car than the standard M2 Competition. I drove them back-to-back and there’s a difference.

On the road, the handling benefits of the BMW M2 CS are negligible, if I’m being honest. That’s because the M2 Competition is already capable of tackling any sort of on-road behavior you can throw at it, unless you plan on spending Christmas in jail. However, when you get it out on track, and can push it past your usual limits, you’re met with a car that’s so shockingly capable, you wonder how it and the M2 Competition are related.

Last I drove an M2 Competition on track, it was in the dry and it was a proper handful. It was getting sideways under power on corner exit without even trying. Yet, I drove the M2 CS on track in the pouring rain and it felt infinitely more confidence-inspiring. I honestly have not idea how BMW has managed that but I wasn’t the only on at Monticello to feel that way, so I know I’m not crazy.

That said, the adding handling benefits of the M2 CS aren’t as noticeable as you might hope when you’re actually driving it on the road, in the real world. And that’s really what the M2 CS — a road car. Unless you’re a millionaire, you’re not going to take your nearly six-figure, special edition BMW — that’s going to appreciate over time if kept in good condition — and thrash it on a race track. It’s just not realistic. Let’s be real — few M2 CS’ are even going to see the road, never mind a race track. They’re likely going to be bought, locked up for a few years while they appreciate and then sold on Bring-a-Trailer with eleven miles on their odometers for forty percent more than what they were bought for.

So as good as the M2 CS is on track, its impressive capabilities aren’t as important on how it drives on the road.

Special Feelings Matter

Having said that, even though the M2 CS is only marginally better than the M2 Competition on the road, it’s still better. Its steering is a schooch sharper, its more composed suspension not only makes it more comfortable but also makes it feel more stable when pushing it and its added power does make it a bit faster in the real world.

What really makes the M2 CS stand out is how much more special it feels, though. That massive Alcantara wheel (which is still far, far too big — it’s like grabbing a python), its killer sport seats and its carbon fiber transmission tunnel all constantly remind you that you’re in something special. And that’s just while sitting still.


The M2 CS’ exhaust is louder, there’s less sound deadening material on the inside and it seems (to my ears at least) as if BMW either toned down the speaker/exhaust fakery or eliminated it altogether. So it feels like a proper, raw sports car, even while driving slowly. While the exhaust noise is merely good, not great, it still sounds raucous and loud, which makes it more exciting to thrash around.

Looks Matter Too

While this might sound a bit silly, the BMW M2 CS looks fantastic and better that the M2 Competition. Its killer gold wheels, black and carbon fiber accents and its extra aero make the CS look like a proper menace. The M2 Comp is already a butch, angry looking car but the M2 CS looks even more ready for a fight. That matters because walking up to it, and away from it, never got old. Not once during my four days with it did I fail to smile and giggle upon seeing it. I don’t do that with many cars.

Nothing’s Perfect

Like all things in life, the BMW M2 CS isn’t perfect. Far from it, in fact. The interior, while cool looking and special feeling, is frustrating. The steering wheel is just too thick. Does BMW think the average human hand looks like a batch of bananas? It’s absurd. Also, the seats, while great sport seats, are too slender. I’m a little fella, only 5’9″ and 165 lbs, but the seats were snug on me while in their widest setting. So a bigger person will struggle.

More frustrating, though, is the lack of any sort of usable center console. Sure, it has cupholders but no wireless charging and no place to actually put your phone. That sounds trivial but it matters. If you have to charge your phone, you get a little USB port behind the handbrake but once your phone is plugged in, nowhere to actually put it. There’s a little tray just ahead of the cupholders but it’s too small for anything bigger than an iPhone 4 and the material is too slippery, so your phone will go sliding all over the place, all the while the cable is getting wrapped around the shifter you’re trying to use. There’s also no real armrest there, so you have to sink your shoulder to touch your elbow to the Alcantara-covered console. While that’s fine for me, because I’m short and sit as low as possible, it might be uncomfortable for taller drivers.

Now I’m not an idiot (my wife might not agree), I get that the M2 CS is supposed to be lighter, which is why there’s no center console. However, the M2 CS isn’t that much lighter than the Competition. The extra pound two pounds of center console-armrest-cubby weight wouldn’t have made a difference. That’s what’s frustrating, as it seems like the lack of storage was done just to give the M2 CS the illusion of being some ultra-lightweight, stripped out sports car like a 911 GT3 RS, so BMW salespeople can pitch it to customers.

The exhaust should sound better, too. It sounds as good as an S55 engine can sound, I guess, but that’s still a bit disappointing in a car that’s as special to drive as the M2 CS.

It’s also too expensive. At around $83,000, it’s pushing entry-level Porsche 911 money and the 911 is faster (even in base spec), more luxurious on the inside and arguably an even better driver’s car. It’s also more than $20,000 more expensive than the M2 Competition and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t drive twenty-grand better.

Is It Worth Buying Over the M2 Competition?

Nope. It’s a definitive answer — no, the BMW M2 CS is not worth buying over the M2 Competition. That’s not to say I don’t love the car because I do. But I also love the M2 Competition and it’s a helluva lot cheaper. Unless you earn your living with race winnings, there’s no point in getting the M2 CS over the already brilliant M2 Competition.

Sure, it rides better and it looks better but $5,000 worth of mods and you can make an M2 Competition look and drive every bit as good as the M2 CS. New adjustable coilovers from a brand like KW or Bilstein and a Comp will handle and ride just as well as a CS, if not better. Hell, splurge and spend $10,000 and you’re still $12,000 in the black, versus an M2 CS. Take that extra money and go on a road trip with your kick-ass new M2 Competition.


The BMW M2 CS is a brilliant driver’s car, it truly is. Because it’s ever-so-slightly better to drive on the road than the M2 Competition, it’s technically the best driving BMW on the market. But that’s only because its starting point is already so fantastic. So it’s just not worth spending all of that extra money on something that’s a bit better. That said, I’m genuinely thrilled I had the chance to spend a few days with it.

Exterior Appeal – 9

Interior Quality – 8

Steering Feedback – 8

Performance – 8

Handling – 9

BMWness/Ultimate Driving Machine – 9

Price Point – 6


The BMW M2 CS is the best driving BMW on sale at the moment but only by a bit. Its high price tag makes it an tough sell over the already excellent BMW M2 Competition.


How does a 30-year old BMW 325is handle on track today?

BMW 325i 1987 1280 01

The guys from Cars.co.za down in South Africa have been on a bit of a nostalgic trip lately. They started things off with a closer look at two of the most iconic cars of South Africa from the late 1980s, early 1990s: the BMW 325is and the Opel Kadett Superboss. These two used to trade blows in the local racing championships and were incredibly close in terms of performance, despite being very difference machines; the Kadett being front-drive and turbocharged while the Bimmer was rear-drive and naturally-aspirated. So they had their distinct fanbases.

It’s easy to see why too, as they offered great level of power, performance and even looks. But how do they shape up today? Would driving a BMW 325is Evo 1 be as rewarding as one would hope, on the track?  There is the classic phrase: never meet your heroes. In this video, we get to find out if that phrase rings true for the iconic BMW 325is.

BMW 3 Series Coupe E30 763 16 830x623

Just as the presenter points out, compared to modern-day cars, older beauties like the E30 3 Series tend to feel slow, woefully slow in some cases. Since modern engines are now turbocharged for the most part, the main differentiator is the torque but also horsepower in some cases. Engines like the S14 unit, for example, need to revved really high to get the most out of them, whereas newer units have all their resources available from down low. That’s why older cars, with naturally aspirated mills, tend to feel slower.

Nevertheless, there are advantages as well, such as the instant throttle response or the sound. Either way, analogue cars definitely aren’t for everyone and younger drivers might feel a bit weird in such a car. It’s still worth experiencing though, as these cars are a testimony as to how things used to be done back in the day.


MINI Vision Urbanaut Concept Brings Your Living Room to the Road

Back in the 1950s, when the original Mini first debuted, it was a masterclass in packaging. Somehow, Sir Alec Issigonis was able to carve out a cavernous interior from a car with the same footprint as most shoes. So it’s only fitting that MINI has now developed a concept car that prioritizes and maximizes interior space for the upcoming autonomous future — the MINI Vision Urbanaut.

“The MINI brand has always stood for ‘Clever Use of Space’. In the MINI Vision Urbanaut, we extend private space far into the public realm, creating completely new and enriching experiences,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.

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The Mini Urbanaut ditches the brand’s typical go-kart racing shoes and replaces them with hemp sandals. There are three different “Moments” that the car provides; “Chill”, “Wanderlust”, and “Vibe.” These moments are essentially comprehensive driving modes that are designed to put passengers into different moods.

In “Chill”, the car becomes a relaxing pod, so that its driver can work peacefully or just sit and have a cup of kombucha tea on the way to work, as the car drives itself entirely autonomously. “Vibe” is designed to focus on passengers and letting them hang out with each other in the living room-like environment, presumably while playing banjos. “Wanderlust” mode is the only mode in which the MINI Urbanaut is actually driven by the driver, though it can still use automated driver aids to assist the driver.

These different Moments are selected by placing the MINI Token, which is roughly the same size as a “worry stone” (that’s seriously what the press release said), into one of the designated slots on the dashboard. Because, ya know, buttons weren’t complicated enough. You can even customize your own MINI Moment, in which everything from the ambient lighting, seat position, driver aids, and music can be personalized.

MINI Vision Urbanaut Concept 12 of 96 830x438

Speaking of its interior, there are a few different configurations for the four seats inside the MINI Vision Urbanaut. The front seat can not only swivel around to allow the “driver” to converse with other passengers but, while stationary, the entire dashboard actually lowers to become a little bench. MINI calls this the “Daybed”. Adding to the Daybed, the entire windshield pops open, upwards like a canopy, to create what MINI calls the “Street Balcony”. But wait, it gets better. In the back, there’s a little bed-like seat that’s apparently called the “Cozy Corner”. Said Cozy Corner also features a textile-covered “Loop”, which is essentially an LED backlit arch that extends over the seat, for reading about how to DIY sustainably-sourced beaded seat covers.

If you think the BMW iX is too far of a departure from its traditional brand values, the MINI Vision Urbanaut is going to give you heart palpitations. Nothing about the exterior, interior or driving dynamics of the Vision Urbanaut even semi-resemble the MINI brand. Honestly, you could slap KIA badges on this and it would look completely normal. It looks nothing like a MINI, except for some vague headlight similarity, nor does its interior have any resemblance to a MINI, either.

Of three driving modes, only one allows a human being to drive and, even then, it’s not going to be fun. The MINI Vision Urbanaut, if put into production, would be the tallest MINI ever made and the first MINI van (pun unintended). So it’s not going to have that traditional go-kart MINI feel.

Despite rolling my eyes so hard I was able to examine my cerebral cortex at least four times while reading the Urbanaut’s press release, it’s actually a genuinely interesting design study in the future of the automobile. However, it’s the most un-MINI-like concept car we’ve seen from the brand thus far.


Modified BMW E30 M3 still rakes in $53,000 on BAT

As we’re all aware by now, prices for BMW E30 M3 models have gone through the roof lately. Mint models fetch in excess of $100,000 and now we’re even seeing modified cars bring in some pretty high amounts, like the one that was just sold on Bring-A-Trailer this week for a bit under $53,000. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big price for an M3 but that would only apply for a car that was in stock (or as close to as possible) condition. This isn’t the case.

This 1988 was rather heavily modified, I would say, with a long list of changes done to it, that would make it a bit more enjoyable by today’s standards. The ad says the car got Bilstein shocks, Eibach lowering springs, reproduction Startec smoked tail lights, European-market headlights with wipers, a Garagistic front strut bar, a Turner Motorsport performance chip, red Motorsport seat belts, a Dinan muffler, and an AC Schnitzer steering wheel and 17″ multi-piece wheels.

E30 BMW M3 test drive 36 830x553
Not the actual car at auction

As if that wasn’t enough, this pretty little silver M3 also has a staggering 176,000 miles on the clock, not that you could tell by the way it looks, though. The interior is absolutely gorgeous and so is the exterior as well. However, in the classic car world, models are worth the extra penny if they have a certain amount of miles (preferably as low as possible) and if they are as bone stock as the day they left the production line.

Now, considering all that’s been done to this car and the $53,000 price tag it comes with, do you think this was a fair price? Somebody definitely did, since the car was sold on BAT, but what about you? Would you get one of these or a new BMW 4 Series? Yes, I said it, I did compare the two, because the truth is, for that kind of money, you can get a new BMW today.