This is the smallest M car, the so-called ‘entry level’ model into M car ownership. A pure and simple drivers car: no theatrics, no all-wheel drive or other complications, straight-six at the front, drive to the rear, huge power, equals a pure unadulterated M car.
Based on the 2-series coupe body shell but featuring a widened track of a massive additional 80mm to fit the suspension lifted straight from its siblings the M3 and M4. The motor is based on the 335bhp unit found in the M240i but it again borrows parts from its sibling the M3 and M4, namely the pistons and forged crankshaft, combine this with a larger intercooler to feed the single twin-scroll turbocharger, you get a power output of 360bhp which puts it firmly in the middle of the M240i with 335bhp and the M3/M4 with 425bhp.
The M2 is alleged to be sold out already for the 2016 production year in the UK, part of that reason aside from the super-aggressive styling and the fact that it’s an M car, the price, starting at £44,080 on the road (without options) it’s around £15k less that its more powerful M car siblings, after BMW’s M division appeared to have lost their way by giving us M versions of the X5 and X6 they are now clearly (and thankfully!) back on track with the M2.
The M2 features flared arch work to accommodate the 80mm widened track of the car, this combined with the super deep front bumper and the massive 19-inch M wheels just makes the M2 look super-aggressive from every angle.
Park the M2 next to the standard 2-series and it's difficult to tell they are even related, the wide arches are the trademark of the current generation of M cars: add to this the quad tailpipes at the rear, the massive diamond cut wheels and it looks utterly every inch a proper M car.
On The Inside
For those of you already familiar with the current BMW 2-series coupe, the interior of the M2 is no real departure from the standard car. This is not a bad thing at all, as the current 2-series is a good place to be; everything is functional and well thought out in terms of placement for the driver, it's well screwed together as well, typically BMW you may say, the materials are of strong quality and all feel well made.
BMW have added a few extras to the M2’s cabin to ensure you know you’re driving a proper M car, you get M tricolour stitching on the now familiar M sports steering wheel, the seats feature an embossed M logo just in case you forget what car you're driving. The dashboard, gearbox surround and door inserts feature carbon fibre, this has a raw finish so looks understated when compared to the usual gloss finish found in some cars.
In addition to this you get BMW’s usual widescreen sat-nav with the now familiar iDrive control system, everything feels well made and is simple to use even for the most ham-fisted amongst us.
All this driver input is finished by the now traditional BMW dial set-up, to me, these are instantly recognisable regardless of if you’re driving a decade old M5 or one of the current M cars.
Firstly, the driving, let me get straight to the point, the M2 is utterly magnificent to drive, a huge amount of fun from start to finish, simple as.
The chassis is just beautifully balanced offering huge levels of grip and tons of feedback to the driver, dare I say that the M2 is a car that will allow you to realise its limits on the road without the need for you to enlist the expensive help of a solicitor, obviously those limits can be fully realised and overrun within the confines of a racetrack but on the road, you can have some proper fun with the M2. The steering is full of feeling and feedback, the whole set-up feels almost neutral, easily countering unwanted understeer and easily capable of oversteering at the drivers request via a quick dab of throttle when exiting a sharp corner.
The straight-six turbo motor is a magnificent piece of engineering, the soundtrack is a growling six-sound that regardless of digital enhancement just sounds epic, the M2 revs cleanly to the 7,000rpm redline when driving it’s a simple choice of how high pitched you want the accompanying soundtrack to be. This motor is near as makes no difference turbo lag free, featuring a strong mid-range coming alive above 3,000rpm all the way to the 7,000rpm redline. Peak torque is 343lb ft at 1400-5560rpm, although an over boost function makes 369lb ft over a slightly shorter range (1450-4750rpm).
The suspension is stiff, as expected, this is a BMW and it’s an M car so expect nothing less, on British B-roads the ride doesn’t crash too much and the car just stays truly stable during cornering and is more than able to deal with mid-corner bumps or camber changes with ease. The brakes of some M cars have been defined as lacking a bit of feeling, in the M2 thankfully this is not the case, the brakes are strong and capable, giving the driver a ton of feedback and feel as to what’s going on.
Lastly, a confession, I have only driven the six-speed manual version of the M2 and not the DCT version, the six-speed is totally involving and offers a strong precise change, the change just feels spot on as you work your way through the gears, given how good the six-speed box is, my view is that don’t even consider the DCT version, save the cash and just change gear for yourself as it just adds to the quality of the drive of the M2.
The M2 is one of the most rewarding cars I have driven in 2016, in fact, I would go as far to say as its one of the most involving, rewarding and dynamically pleasing cars I have ever driven.
In fact, the M2 is so good that I think that for the base cost of £44,080 that you could quite easily order it as it stands for this price, forget about the extras, just press the order button and you be getting one of the best drivers cars ever made.
My prediction is that the M2 will become a future M car classic in years to come, it is utterly involving and huge fun to drive, this coupled with the hugely entertaining handling and driving dynamics just make the M2 a proper driver’s car, overall it is a proper true out and out M car worthy of the badge.
Engine: 6-cylinder, 3.0 litre turbocharged
Power and Torque: 360bhp, 343ib-ft (369ib-ft overboost function)
Gearbox: 6-speed manual (DCT 7-speed optional)
Kerb weight: 1,570kg (DCT 1,595kg)
Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds (6-speed manual, 7-speed DCT 4.3 seconds)
Economy: 33.2mpg (DCT 35.8mpg)
CO2:199g/km (DCT 185g/km)
Price: £44,080 (As tested £48,260)