At last BMW’s M2 driven.
“The most anticipated BMW this year” is the term thrown around for Bavaria’s latest introduction to the family. As glossy as that phrase is, it’s true, an entry level M model is exactly what BMW has needed since their current offerings in the M stable have been slightly out of reach for many. Leveraging off of the popularity and cult culture around the 1M, BMW’s new M2 has big shoes to fill and new shoes to fill too. Maintaining the excitement of the current M cars whilst trying to create an “affordable” one aimed at new clients is a tough ask indeed. Have they succeeded in doing this? Have they created a future classic?
Frankenstein’s four wheels:
The M2 is basically a hybrid creature made up of majority M235i mixed with stolen body parts from the BMW M3/M4. Items such as the pistons, braking system and most importantly the M-Differential have all been morphed into this car to create a faster and more focused vehicle. To add to this a new exhaust system has been fitted, that adds both power and decibels to the beefy bruiser. The result is a 272kW/465Nm car with an over-boost function that spikes the torque figure to 500Nm when needed. A sonorous in line 3.0 litre six cylinder engine is welcome, especially in a segment that is primarily dominated by four pot’s making the same GTI-esque sound.
Bag of chips?
Let it be known that the new BMW M2 is not an M4 rival, it’s disposition is not the same as its older brother. Whilst it shares some components with the M3/M4, it’s a car that you can really enjoy without the fear of being punched in the face by its brutish attitude, something the M4 does. That being said, the new BMW M2 is powerful, exciting and manageable behind the wheel. It’s the right combination of a non-intimidating yet highly intuitive compact sports coupe aimed at a new audience of M car drivers.
This car comes at the right time because the M4 has progressed from a car that could be somewhat “disrespected” to a car that can be lethal in the wrong hands and that’s not necessarily a good thing if you’re a younger buyer lacking experience. Interestingly the M3 (before the confusing name changes happened) was the car aimed at younger to middle-aged executives. Ever since the new generation of M3/M4’s came into production that changed, creating a gap for BMW in that segment, a gap that the Mercedes Benz A45 and Audi RS3 operate in. So to claw those clients back, this new M2 was created and from that perspective, BMW has succeeded in creating a car for that market.
Purist car or not?
Another big question is if the new M2 is a true successor to the first BMW Frankenstein creation, the 1M? It must be noted that BMW’s focus has shifted between creating these cars. The 1M was a limited edition once off, manual only, enthusiast orientated car. Whereas the M2 is not a limited edition hardcore car, it’s a full production model that gives the buyer much more options than the 1M did. As a result the car may not have the same future appeal that the 1M has due to its limited numbers, but it may be remembered by many as their first M car instead.
If the M2 is remembered in such a manner, those will be good memories indeed. Memories of how exciting the car is to drive and how rev happy the engine is. Memories of how much grip the car has through tight corners and how controllable it is at high speed. Lastly for those really enthusiastic drivers, those memories will be documented through video shot by the GoPro app that allows you to film your lap time and share it with your friends. Yes the M2 may not be as wild as all the current M’s available, but it sure is wild enough for its potential target market. Visually, it forces onlookers to look twice and take in its wide stance, large intakes and quad exhausts, something young successful people will enjoy.
At a starting price of R791 000 some may complain that this price is still too high, but looking at what you pay for super hatches such as the Mercedes A45 and the Audi RS3, you soon realise that the M2 is priced very similarly. If you are a purist, the manual version of the M2 would be something to consider as it’s the only car in this league to offer a third pedal. For everyday use and for incredibly fast gear changes, the M-DCT gearbox is the best option. Whatever guise you buy an M2 in though, guaranteed will be the smile on your face each time you open the garage and each time you get behind the wheel.