While the lure of a performance car will vary from individual to individual, there are cars that can be driven very very quickly and cars that are a real joy to drive.
For owners inclined towards car of the latter category, the all-new BMW M2 Coupe is a car that can be compared to your favourite expression of Scotch—a dram that never fails to hit the spot anytime, any day. Similarly, the M2 will not be the most ostentatious or flashiest ride in a high street carpark, nor will it be the most expensive car on the block, but the five letters comprising its name will marks the promise of engagement and excitement every single time you ease yourself into the cockpit.
Built from the ground up with BMW’s 2 Series coupe body, the compact M2 has been given the full BMW M GmbH factory racing treatment to turn what was a very enjoyable road-car into one that’ll be heaps of fun to drive on the racetrack, and comfortable enough to drive on the road every day.
Aesthetically, the M2’s time in the gym has resulted in a car that’s chiselled like a cross-fit champion. Immediately distinctive is the large front apron with trapezoidal blades and gaping ‘air curtains’ to draw air into the engine bay and divert it around the car for greater aerodynamic efficiency.
Regarded from the rear, one will notice just how balanced the car’s muscular form is, with the same racy proportions one sees at the front end and accentuated by a classic M feature that sees the diffuser and quartet of exhaust tailpipes integrated into the rear apron. At various points around the car, the racing aficionado will notice similarities to BMW icons such as the 3.0 CSL Touring Car Racer and 2002 turbo.
But the real magic in the car isn’t in how sporty it looks, the race car inspired carbon fibre accentuated interior trim or the cool M tricolour stitching on the steering wheel or seats.
It’s in how the M2 has been worked to perfection as a car that’s optimised for performance. If the M3 and M4 felt overpowered and a little wanting in the tripartite relationship between driver, performance and control, the M2 has got it all figured out.
Power for the car comes from a newly developed 3-litre straight six engine with BMW’s M TwinPower Turbo technology. Paired with a 7-speed M Double Clutch gearbox, the M2 is capable of dealing out 370bhp with 465Nm of torque at its peak.
The excitement behind the wheel comes from how smoothly and linearly power is delivered from the engine straight to the rear wheels before its boost kicks in midway through the rev range. The buttery-smooth gear shifts and the car’s nimble size make power delivery seem almost intuitive, with power coming in when you need it most, such as when changing lanes or overtaking.
However, with yet more speed traps being deployed on our swelteringly sunny island, chances are we won’t get many opportunities to harness the car’s ability to make 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds.
Speed may be something the M2 has in fair abundance, but its ability to engage the driver really distinguishes its class. Equipped with the same suspension found in the M3 and M4, but calibrated for its shorter wheelbase, the M2 is a peach to handle on the road, and makes the driver feel 10/10 in the process. It’s not something that’s immediately perceptible, but piloting the car feels instinctively natural, as if one was telepathically connected to it. The steering feel is razor sharp, and its blend of power and control, is progressive.
Nimbleness for such a small car is a given, but it’s the car’s ability to be so balanced, and neutral that really makes it standout; and one need not even have to drive it hard or fast to savour the experience. While it’ll corner neatly by default, the drive won’t have to ask twice to get it to dance, as long as the stability and dynamic settings are set up right. Put the car on the racetrack, and one can only revel in its potential for tearing it up and having the driver whooping with glee.
At this point, one would do well to note that the car isn’t as plush as your standard issue BMW, but luxury isn’t what owners are looking for. Rather, it’s a fine mixture of stiffness in the chassis that yields performance and an equal dose of comfort to make it comfortable enough for the daily commute. Sincerely, this is a car that’s built for the discerning driver who knows exactly what’s in store, and is willing the ignore the fact that the published 7.9L per 100km fuel return will only show up on the specification sheet.
Look past all these minor niggles, and the BMW M2 will be a joy to drive, every single time.
BMW M2 Coupe
Engine: 2,979CC, six-cylinder twin-turbo
Torque: 465NM @ 1,400-5,560RPM (500Nm overboost @ 1,450 to 4,750RPM)
Gearbox: 7-speed dual-clutch
Top Speed: 250KM/H
0-100KM/H: 4.3 SECONDS
Fuel Efficiency: 7.9L/100KM