While the two games are very different, the AI in the new Hot Pursuit is much improved, you have to admit that. First of all, I can't smoke them by over 1 minute of seperation and yet they never really give the appearance of being cheap. Also, cops don't pull behind your car and follow you for a set amount of time before always trying to slowly creep around your side and pit you. That right there was the biggest thing that killed the fun from HP2...I could manipulate and exploit the problems with cop AI and after a while it became boring. Doesn't happen in the new HP.
I platinum'd it shortly after release as well, but have since still played it frequently. Online races are very fun and offline is still nice to mess around in, which is an attribute that Hot Pursuit games have always had.