If you believe all the hype about BMW M’s latest model, it may just be the spiritual successor to the brilliant E30 M3 of the 1980’s. We borrowed one from Eastern BMW to find out what the new car is like. Spoiler: it’s as good as you think it is!
It’ll be no surprise to hear that cars have steadily been getting bigger over the last number of years. Just take a look at the original BMW E30 M3 versus the latest M3 / M4. The recent introduction of the M2 positions BMW back in the market for high-performance, small coupes. This particular example was presented in the launch colour of Long Beach Blue (although it could be argued it’s almost green). It’s important to note that it was also fitted with the optional seven speed DCT gearbox (at a cost of £2,645). The car has lovely proportions and looks at its best from the front quarter or side profile.
First impressions are good. This wasn’t the first time i’d seen this particular example in the flesh owning to it being in the showroom when i’d visited just days earlier. Jumping in, everything felt instantly right and very similar to my F80 M3. The engine started with a bark and off I went. The DCT gearbox is exactly what you want if you want the ultimate performance, or something easy to live with on the twice daily grind. I can’t help but thinking that a manual (which I haven’t had the opportunity to try) would be even more engaging to drive if you were buying one to use as a toy. It’s not shy. The turbocharged, 3 litre, six cylinder motor packs 365bhp and 369lbft meaning a 0-62mph sprint in 4.3 seconds with the optional DCT transmission; the manual is 0.2s slower. This is all channelled through the rear wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
Driving around town and traffic, it’s perfectly well behaved. There’s an impressive torque band starting from circa 1,500rpm and this is really noticeable when pottering about town or pick up on motorways; very little effort is needed to make progress. The DCT gearbox behaves well with little jerking or lunging. The car has a lovely balance and the handling inspires confidence. Entering fast turns on a trailing throttle especially satisfying. There’s a good deal of lateral grip in the tighter turns too; you’d probably need a track to explore the limits of adhesion.
Like all 2 series BMW’s, there’s decent space within the cabin although it should be noted there are only 2 seats at the rear and if you have a tall driver and front seat passenger, the legroom is a little tight. Boot space is typical of a car of this type. As always; BMW M Performance already have a wide selection of aftermarket goodies to choose from including a valved performance exhaust that can be opened and closed via a bluetooth remote! Visual changes are also covered by the usual smatterings of piano black and carbon fibre trims – lovely! In summary, the M2 is superb and it may just be the sweet spot in Europe both for it’s size and performance. It would be an easy decision to have one. The harder decision would be whether to get a manual or DCT transmission! Thanks to once again to Eastern BMW (www.easternmpower.co.uk) for letting us borrow the M2 and to Anthony Davidson (not of the F1 / WEC fame) for making the arrangements. Al