Shootout: BMW M2 vs. Alfa Romeo 4C SpiderIs the BMW M2 a pure enough driver to take on the Alfa Romeo 4C?
[MUSIC] These two legendary brands have something to prove. That they still care about driving enthusiasts. BMW, because they've gotten a little too preoccupied with SUVs and electric city cars lately. And Alfa Romeo because, well, they've been gone since '95. There's a huge swath of car buffs out there who haven't even seen an Alfa in person. And even fewer know why they should still care about the brand today. Yes we know these coupes are every different, but they're both blue-blooded, four wheeled love letters to winding roads and track days. The question is, which one is best? [MUSIC] This is the 2016 M2 And it's something new for BMW, a driver's car. Lately, the brand known for the ultimate driving machine, gotten a little softer on the middle, kind of like me. It's a little bit more comfort oriented, not quite as hard core as it used to be. But not this M2. [SOUND] So this M2, it's what the Brits would call a basic car. Lot of two series in it obviously, but it's an M3, M4 little bit or three series. BUt that doesn't mean it doesn't drive with a single minded purpose and frankly it's got more soul, more oomph, than anything that's been in BMW's show room in quite some time. At under 3,500 pounds, this car is what passes for Days. And with 365 horsepower, it's plenty quick. It's stiffer, it's more connected, and it's rawer. All kidding aside, this M2, it's got just enough tech in it. They start at around 52 grand, mine is 57. And that includes a lighting quick dual clutch gear box and every M2, it's got an active sports differential and a multi drive selector that lets you put it in sports plus for the twisty bits. So listen, there's no active here, you won't find all wheel drive, you won't even find an adjustable suspension. It's all about you getting it done behind the wheel. Feel. The one thing I don't like, this open carbon fiber trim looks like it came off team Golden Girls racing, it's more retan than anything else. So compared to Jonny's car, this has a fair amount of creature comforts, it's got duel zone climate control. It's got a navigation system that actually works Just enough to make this a useable everyday vehicle. You don't have to be a part of team masochist over there. Ha, you think that's raw? No, this is raw. [MUSIC] I'm in an Alfa Romeo 4C, which starts at around 56,000. I'm not [UNKNOWN] of the coupe. I am in the Spider, which is a little more expensive, but it still has a carbon fiber chassis, kinda like a McLaren and a LaFerrari but at a fraction of the cost. There's also a 237 horse power turbo force cylinder sitting mid-shift. A dual clutch transmission. Composite body panels. Carbon seats and void of anything that's unnecessary, like navigation, heated seats, and sound insulation. The result is a beautiful fast and balanced 2400 pound machine. That's built to tear through bends, in and around racetracks, with grips and composure. The downside to such a performance Machine is that it's brutal on the street. It's really loud. There's not much give in suspension. It's difficult to maneuver in parking lots with the unassisted steering. Inside there's hardly any cubbies to hold things and there's not much of a trunk in the back. Clearly comfort, practicality and creature comforts definitely aren't high on the 4C's to do list. There are, however, some basic features like power windows, mirrors, a [UNKNOWN] stereo system with Bluetooth and a USB input. The techiest item in here is a 7-inch TSP gauge display. Other than that, it's bare bones which is fine for hard core enthusiasts. But I'm guessing not good enough for coddled BMW drivers. As good as the 4C is on twisty back roads, it's even better on track here at Chuchuman Raceway. What makes the 4C so good on track? For one, it's the steering. It's manual so feedback and response is instant. Number two, a light curb weight. It's only 2400 pounds. So throwing this thing around the track, into corners, and diving deep into brake zones is really easy. Another thing would be the brakes. The pedal feedback is super firm And, after doing lap after lap this morning it never went away. The drive train is crude. There's a lot of whirling and whooshing. But, there's really good power in the middle of the road range. After we do a close transmission a while it's not the best gear box that I have used. It does respond fairly well to upshift and downshift. Some dislikes that I have about the 4C is that for a mid-engine car, there's more understeer in corners than you would expect. And as for something that a lot of people may not like about the 4C is that you can't jump into it and just drive the wheels off of it and expect to have good lap times. It's actually a car that you have to learn and And paying attention to and actually focus behind the wheel when it comes to steering and your braking and how hard you jump on the accelerator. And once you spend a lot of time on track with it, you learn the nuances of the car, and it's really good. [BLANK_AUDIO] So it's no surprise that after coming out of the Alfa, this M2 feels a little bit like a tank. You know that there's not enough weight to the steering, the breaks are a little bit spongy, but those are just sins by extreme comparison. And that's because the 4C is so uncompromising. Complaining that the M2 is too soft, it's like saying that John Cena is fat and slobby because he's standing next to Hussain Bolt. On the track, this is still a far more entertaining car to drive than most everything else at its price point. I just came out of an Audi TTS, I would much rather be in this car here. And frankly, I'd rather drive this car than an M4. The M2 has gobs of grip from its Michelin tires, and, turning is really keen, it's ultra quick. It's actually better than the alpha, maybe something you wouldn't expect. [SOUND] If I have any complaints about this car's steering, it's that there's no feel. Especially compared to something like the 4C that's unassisted. Oddly enough, the back end is more talkative than the front. You've got 343 foot-pounds of torque back there, plus, an electronic limited slip differential. And it really enables you at adjusting the corners. Compared to the Porsche this M2 is a really forgiving car but, that doesn't make it boring. There's still plenty here to master. And besides, if you want more soul, you can save a couple of thousand dollars and get the manual gear box. That something you can't get in the Alpha at all. [BLANK_AUDIO] Well, that was a fun day at GingerMan Raceway. I went through two tanks of gas in the Alfa Romeo 4C. But I have to say, that M2 is a pretty good car itself. Good engine, great turn in. I think it looks fantastic, too. The brakes need a little work. They're starting to go away. The steering's a little overly light. I'm not actually bothered by how light the steering is. What I don't like is the lack of feel. But I tell you what, it does have sensational turning. I love the three reader, and it's just has so much power and poise you can adjust the back in with the throttle, it's just a lot of fun. And of course, the foresee, what a gorgeous little super model of a car, it is fantastic car out from back into this market let alone with such a pure product. It's all about driving enjoyment, and nothing else. I've had that M2 all week long, it's been breaking necks everywhere we go. But next to you, I'm driving a tan Camry over here. It's true, it is gorgeous. I've had tons of people come up to me as well, and giving me thumbs up on the expressway and whatnot, but Like you said raw. This car is super raw, super pure, and great on the track and for Alfa to come out and build a car like that and sell it to the public, when they know they're probably not going to sell that many I have to respect them for that. So this car is so much fun on the track, it's got that awesome steering feel and it's something that you really need to spend a lot of time with to get your arms around. Well we're at the end of our show, I hear. So that means one thing. We have to pick a winner. And it's a really tough one. These are two very different approaches to solving the $60,000 sport coupe problem. And I have to be honest with you, I think the BMW is just a better balanced car. Something I'm gonna want to drive every day but I can still have a great time with out here on the track. And I have to agree with you. The 4C is great on track. But if i had to buy one car with $60,000. And it could only one car. I've probably the M2. Again the offer is gorgeous. But if I'm gonna buy a car this focus, this single minded, this once a week kinda car. I'm gonna get something even more crazy like an aerial atom So I think we're both in an agreement, the winner of this Road Show shootout is the BMW M2. [SOUND]