I drove this BMW and it shows why electric cars won’t stand the test of time

The internal combustion engine, for all intents and purposes, is on its way out.

Barring a sudden explosion of interest and investment, synthetic and biofuels will be the preserve of those who can afford them, and electric cars will soon rule the roost.

Which is why this BMW M2 Coupe is just that little bit special, not just because of its looks or handling, but for the beating heart of metal and fire that lies beneath the bonnet.

That heart is a twin-turbocharged straight-six engine pumping out over 450bhp and sending it all to the rear wheels.

Although that number is dwarfed by any number of electric cars, that’s not the point because beneath the thin veneer of performance figures is something deeper.

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Since the invention of the motor car, engines have always formed part of their character, part of what defines them.

Ferraris of the 20th century were defined by their soulful V12s and V6s which pumped out high-pitched baritones both on and off the racetrack.

On the other hand, Porsche road cars are synonymous with their rear-mounted flat sixes which act as aural calling cards as they rise over the horizon while Audis will always in some way be associated with a five-cylinder Quattro leaping through a Finnish wood.

For this reason and for all its good intentions, the electric renaissance is seeing the removal of one of the best things about cars, their sound.

This isn’t to say I am against electric cars (I’m not), or that their lack of sound is a reason to campaign against them (it isn’t), but as the world hits silent on the automobile, cars like the M2 became more special.

And this BMW M2 coupe is unlike any other. Not only is it more powerful than the cars it succeeds it’s bigger too. It is both wider and longer than the car it replaces.

This wider stance and general increase in girth mean the character has changed. This is less B-road sports car and more Bavarian muscle car.

In essence, the M2 Coupe is a reimagining of the great American muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s, soulful two-door leviathans that still capture the imagination.

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Where the BMW succeeds is bringing this formula forward into the 21st Century with modern driving dynamics wrapped around a contemporary cabin.

What’s more, those same dynamics can be changed with the swipe of a finger in the central control system inside the touch screen.

For example, you can have the engine in sport, but the suspension in comfort to absorb the bumps but still have the instant throttle response. It’s also possible to tune both the steering and the brakes too and lock those settings through the configurator.

For those who don’t want to use the touch screen use a more tactile system, there are still a series of buttons and dials which allow you to switch from radio to navigation to music. This is a muscle car for the modern era, a vinyl record on Spotify.

And like those Challengers, Camaros, Mustangs, and Firebirds of the 1970s I believe the M2 Coupe will still be remembered, used and cherished in 50 years’ time.

It may be powered by a carbon-neutral fuel – something which I genuinely hope makes it into the hands of regular motorists – but it will still be taken out and still be loved, a process which has already begun based on what I’ve seen.

Since I started writing car reviews I have driven several cars and no car has had as many people wind down their windows as this one. People waved, commented on the colour, and turned as it rumbled past.

If this car is an example of anything it is that when the petrol car dies people will be able to smile that it happened as well as cry that it’s over.

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