The Straits Times Car of the Year 2016

Bavarian beast

BMW M2
BMW M2PHOTOS: ST FILE

BMW's M2 is a chilli padi of a coupe that is both blindingly quick and seriously fast - which makes it immensely enjoyable to drive in a wide range of conditions.

It is as hardcore as the 1M Coupe it replaces, but more driveable, thanks largely to a remarkably balanced chassis and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Should you be in a mood to do your own gear changes, big paddles do the honours with lightning speed and certainty.

The M2 rides on very firm springs, but their damping action is not harsh. That makes the car easy to live with. Its steering is wonderfully precise and quick without being twitchy in the least. The car being compact and grounded helps.

The M2 is slightly longer than the 1M tip to tip. But it is also noticeably wider and a tad lower. The recipe produces sharper turn-ins, confident cornering and an uncommon degree of connection to the road.

 
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There is some compromise on ride, but as mentioned, the M2 is not uncomfortable.

  • SPECS / BMW M2

  • Price: $303, 800 with COE

    Engine: 2,979cc 24-valve inline-6 turbocharged

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch with paddle shift

    Power: 370bhp at 6,500rpm

    Torque: 465Nm at 1,400-5,560rpm

    0-100kmh: 4.3 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh (governed)

    Fuel consumption: 7.9 litres/100km

    Agent: Munich Automobiles

The car has loads more power than the 1M. Its 3-litre straight-six engine churns out 370bhp and 465Nm of torque from 1,400rpm, allowing the Bavarian beast to hit the century mark in 4.3 seconds - 0.6 seconds quicker than the 1M.

It delivers its lethal acceleration in an almost civil fashion. You see the speedometer needle going clockwise almost as fast as the tachometer's, and the lane markings going past you in a blur.

But you do not turn a whiter shade of pale and you are not strangling the steering wheel. For a car with such a maniacal performance, that is something special.

And precisely because you are not struggling to keep things on an even keel all the time, you can enjoy what this sports car has to offer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Bavarian beast'. Print Edition | Subscribe