When the BMW M2 debuted, the world started to buzz about BMW finally being back, back to making sports cars that were about the experience and not about the performance figures. It’s about the journey, not the destination. So in a way, the BMW M2 is the exact opposite of its newly released rival, the Audi TT RS.
The Audi TT RS is a car that is packed with incredible technology and performance and is exactly about its bottom line. It’s designed to go very fast, very efficiently and very easily without any loss in traction while being very comfortable doing so. It’s designed to be a car that can be driven fast everyday, all the time. With that as its goal, the TT RS is a massive success, but is it as enjoyable to drive as the M2?
Both cars are very fast and very capable and also designed to be used everyday, but that’s really where their similarities end. The BMW M2 uses a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine that develops 365 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. While the Audi TT RS uses a 2.5 liter turbocharged I5 engine that makes 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Both cars can drive their wheels through seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes, but the M2 is the only one available with a manual, increasing its fun-to-drive factor. Also in the M2’s fun-favor is the fact that it’s rear-wheel drive only, whereas the TT RS is Quattro all-wheel drive only, but it can send the majority of its power to the rear wheels when needed.
In terms of performance figures, the Audi TT RS does have the M2 beat, though. Racing from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, the TT RS is at least four tenths faster than the M2, as that car can do 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds with the DCT but only 4.2 with a manual. It also has much more grip, making it faster in real world driving as well. Plus, having driven both brand’s dual-clutch gearboxes, I’d have to give an ever-so-slight edge to Audi’s S-Tronic unit. BMW’s DCT is truly great, but Audi’s is Porsche PDK-good, maybe even better.
In term of practicality, the two cars are pretty similar. Both are two-door coupes with engines at the front, normal sized trunks and decent backseats for children. The M2 has a bit bigger of a backseat that is more accommodating to adults, but we wouldn’t recommend any long trips in the back of either.
On the inside, though, the Audi TT RS does pack some more luxuries and far more impressive tech. Whereas the M2 is intentionally pretty basic, as BMW was trying to go for a no-frills sports car cabin, the TT RS is filled with diamond-quilted leather, a massive Virtual Cockpit and a Bang & Olufsen stereo. It’s a gorgeous cabin that makes the M2’s driver-focuses sports car interior seem spartan. Not bad, just kinda boring.
However, that boring cabin, with the lack of a sunroof or any other frivolities, the M2 allows the driver to simply drive. It allows the drive to focus on the task of driving which is what the M2 is all about. There’s a beauty to that. Plus, when it actually comes down to driving the M2, it’s a very rewarding car. Its steering is delicate, its chassis is balanced and its engine makes a beautiful straight-six song.
On the other hand, the Audi TT RS is more of an impressive and exciting car to drive. While it doesn’t have the beautifully delicate steering of the M2, as it’s quite numb, it is very accurate. Its chassis balance isn’t as sublime as the M2’s, and its all-wheel drive nature actually causes a bit of understeer at the limit, but its brutal grip allows it to be tenaciously fast. It’s almost like a mini Nissan GT-R, where its performance demands respect and is extremely impressive, while it doesn’t necessarily win over your heart.
Yet despite all of their differences, both cars are designed to be everyday sports cars, cars that have great performance but can be driven to work everyday as well. So which is the better everyday sports car? Is it the BMW M2 that compromises just a bit of comfort and luxury for the thrill of proper driving or is it the Audi TT RS that compromises a bit of that perfect driving thrill for something that can be used in any weather and has tremendous technology? This one might be too tough to call.