BMW M2: Balance of power and agility

The BMW M2 may be the entry-level M model, but it is titillating to drive.
The BMW M2 may be the entry-level M model, but it is titillating to drive. PHOTOS: BMW
The BMW M2 may be the entry-level M model, but it is titillating to drive.
The BMW M2 may be the entry-level M model, but it is titillating to drive.

BMW's new M2 has the ability to rule both road and track

When I first drove the 2-series Coupe, I was impressed by its balance and agility. The 220i I tested had more than enough power for Singapore roads. "Who needs an M235i?" I declared.

I had to eat my own words the moment I drove an M235i. I had thought it would be too much for local roads but was duly swayed by its linear power delivery.

I concluded then that this should be it. If BMW created an M2, it would simply be too powerful. The output would overwhelm the compact coupe and render it undriveable.

Now, having put the M2 through its paces at the Laguna Seca circuit and driven it up and down the scenic and winding Pacific Coast Highway, I realised that I was wrong again.

The M2 might be the entry-level M model, but it is by far the most titillating and involving one to drive.

  • SPECS/BMW M2

  • Price: To be announced

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

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch with manual select

    Power: 370bhp at 6,500rpm

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

    0-100kmh: 4.3 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh (governed)

    Fuel consumption: 7.9 litres/100km

    Agent: Munich Automobiles

It is the successor to the 1-series M Coupe (or 1M), a limited- production model that was only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Although it is special, it cannot escape the fact that it is a "last hurrah" model, which was launched five years after the 1-series Coupe made its debut and three years before it ended production.

The M2, on the other hand, arrives just two years after the introduction of the 2-series Coupe. One look and you know that it packs serious heat. Enormous air intakes, blistered wheel arches and quad-exhaust pipes - this coupe means business.

Beneath the M2's bonnet is a turbocharged 3-litre inline-six that is tuned to produce 370bhp and 465Nm. The torque figure has a wide and useful spread - from 1,400rpm to 5,560rpm.

The M2's engine, however, is not a detuned version of the twin-turbo inline-six powering the M3 and M4. Instead, it is an up-rated version of the straight-six motor in the M235i, which has a single turbocharger.

Despite that, the M2's power plant has some special components. The crankshaft, pistons and spark plugs, for instance, are identical to those in the M3/M4.

The M2 also has a modified oil sump and extra oil suction pump to help ensure that the oil supply remains stable, even when the engine is subjected to high g-forces.

The M2's engine responds in an immediate, crisp and linear manner. Its character is almost similar to that of a naturally aspirated motor.

In Sport+ mode, its responses are heightened, its exhaust growls louder and the traction control allows a bit more slip before reining you in.

I was slightly worried as I charged into Laguna Seca's first corner, a long left hairpin. Following the pace car driven by former F1 racer Timo Glock, every instinct screamed that we were coming in too hot. But the M2 held, and held. The grip provided by its 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres was tremendous.

The M2's aluminium front and rear axles are carried over from the M4 Coupe's, but with revised spring rates and anti-roll bars. The well-tuned suspension and grippy tyres enabled me to carve through each of the track's 11 corners faster than expected.

On open roads, the M2 does not disappoint. There is more than enough muscle to overtake meandering vehicles.

And its agility makes quick work of the Pacific Coast Highway's numerous bends.

But its ride quality suffered because the roads here are not perfectly paved.

"Deuce Almighty" is due to arrive in Singapore in the second quarter of the year and will be priced at under $300,000.


• The writer is with Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2016, with the headline 'Balance of power and agility'. Print Edition | Subscribe