BMW M2

The BMW 2-Series is available in two trim levels, 230i and M240i. Both come as 2-door coupes or convertibles. Both cars are rear-wheel drive, though xDrive all-wheel drive is available on both trims. The 230i is powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 248 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. The M240i features a turbocharged 3.0L straight-six powerplant that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. Both cars come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option on either model.

A big part of the mission of the 2-Series is to be fun to drive. BMW has accomplished this through an all-independent suspension with a 5-link rear suspension setup, a fairly unique feature in this class. The 2-Series is thus able to out-handle most of its competitors in addition to being quite quick in a straight line. Body roll, dive and squat are all nicely controlled without compromising the car's ride quality.

The BMW 230i is the more pedestrian of the two models but still comes reasonably well equipped. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, an 8-way adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for the stereo and Bluetooth setup, a 6.5-inch full-color display, a USB port, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and a memory system that remembers the driver's favorite settings for everything. The 230i can be equipped with either Sport Line or M Sport upgrades, which add features like larger wheels, rear spoiler, improved suspension calibration and more.

The M240i comes better equipped, starting of course with the stronger engine. Other features on the M240i include bigger brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power adjustable front seats, a sports instrument cluster and dynamic cruise control.

Optional items on the 2-Series include leather seating surfaces, satellite radio, heated seats, a moonroof, a Harman/Kardon premium sound system and concierge services. Packages include a driver assistance package with parking sensors and a rear-facing camera, as well as a technology package, which includes a navigation system with real-time traffic updates and access to BMW apps. A Track Handling Package adds Adaptive M Suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

The 2-Series convertibles in both 230i and M240i guise are equipped similarly to their coupe counterparts, with a power-operated top that takes just 20 seconds to raise or lower.

Safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability/traction control and several airbags. The BMW 2-Series also comes standard with an emergency request system that will activate in the event of an accident. The system comes with a 10-year subscription.

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Editors' First Take

As a rule I'm not really a gold person; silver is more my sort of color. But when it comes to the rims wrapped in rubber sitting in the arches of cars, well, I find myself drawn to the more precious of the two metals. Perhaps it's a Colin McRae/Subaru Impreza thing. And since they're a no-cost option on the US-spec BMW M2 CS, you'd be foolish not to get them.

The rest of the M2 CS is very attractive, too, but it spawned from what was already a pretty fantastic box-arched shape. If you spec Black Sapphire Metallic then the additions for the CS are subtle, as the naked carbon fiber bits blend in. However, look closely and you will spot the splitter, the Gurney spoiler on the trunk lid and the carbon fiber roof. Inspect it even more assiduously and you'll see the vents in the hood, which is now made of carbon fiber, and is half the weight of the standard item.

While you're lifting the hood to inspect the carbon and feel the difference in weight, you'll no doubt glance at what's underneath. Wreathed by the familiar horseshoe of a carbon fiber brace is BMW's S55 twin-turbo straight-six -- the one from the M2 Competition -- but with 39 horsepower more, taking it up to the level of the M3 and M4 Competition. Torque remains the same at an ample 406 pound-feet.

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