One of the greatest engines ever? It’s hard to think of reasons why not
water pump. Compared to the low and wide Porsche, it feels humorously tall, narrow and upright. The manual gear-action probably won’t be remembered as one of the greatest, either, with its excessively sprung, long-throw, slightly notchy and imprecise action, like stirring a bucket of tightly packed rubber bushes. For many, though, even an average manual trumps a great automatic.
Despite its adaptive dampers, the CS remains a very focused machine with plenty of tyre rumble. Owing as well to all its solid-mounted suspension joints, cat’s eyes thud firmly through the car’s entire superstructure. There is a muted suppleness to the ride we don’t remember of the M2 Competition, but the adaptive dampers’ effect is hardly transformative, the softness not changing much between its Comfort, Sport and Sport
Plus modes. Over a long distance, the M2 CS offers the bare minimum comfort, possibly slightly less. It would be better on more regular performance tyres.
Despite not being the GT4, and on less-aggressive Pirelli P-Zero tyres, the same is true of the GTS 4.0. With plenty of tyre noise, it also offers minimal comfort, though slightly more than the BMW. You wouldn’t want the dampers any firmer or with any less stroke. The Porsche has its own useability quirks, too. The fairly soft plastic front chin spoiler is about as low as that on a GT2 or GT3 RS, but the 4.0 has no front lifting system, requiring extra care around driveways and speed humps. The electric park brake isn’t automatic, so if you park on a hill not in gear and forget to apply it, well, get ready to bolt... On the freeway on part throttle, the GTS can also be heard, and ever-soslightly felt, deactivating from six to three cylinders to save fuel, clearing your green conscious at least a small amount.
There is also a well-judged weightiness to all the Porsche’s controls – be they the meaty clutch, the precise shifter, the syrupy steering – that just makes it satisfying to drive at all times. It’s an easy, pleasant and forgiving manual to use everyday as well.
Entirely redeeming the Porsche for any comfort criticisms is that engine. And then some. It’s a masterpiece of tractability at any rpm, in any situation. Around town, you can drive off from second; you can shift from second to fourth, fourth to six, and it just pulls, no complaints.
Flex the throttle just a little bit and there’s the sensation of a big-capacity atmo engine at your disposal. While it can’t match anything with turbos for mid-range oomph, in isolation the GTS’s 4.0-litre has more than enough torque, pulling cleanly and keenly from anywhere in the revs. A torque graph buried in one of the menus (pictured on p81) reveals that this is an engine built for old-school, big-bore, long-stroke torque. And it’s this wave of crisp muscularity that hurls you into a frenzied powerband on the way to redline. You will absolutely be wanting to chase every last rev, as the entire cabin floods with a clear, melodic, racy flat-six noise that scratches itches you didn’t know you had. And, owing to its dual-mass flywheel, this engine is deliciously free-revving. One of the greatest engines ever? It’s hard to think of reasons why not.
The M2’s twin-turbo straight-six couldn’t be more different in character. Where new turbocharged engines like AMG’s 2.0-litre M139 are now achieving almost zero lag, BMW’s S55 water-toair intercooled unit remains wickedly old-school in its power delivery. Flatten the throttle at 1500rpm and you’re pulling a pin out of two grenades, set to go off at 5000-6000rpm. The