In the wake of the BMW M2’s official reveal, Ben Griffin gives the lowdown on the most affordable M car on sale – and one that could give the mighty 1M Coupe a run for its money.
The BMW M2 is the closest successor to the legendary 1M, which means it has some gigantic shoes to fill. Think oversized clogs. After all, the 1M was an immensely fun pocket rocket and one that went up in value before production ceased. How many cars have managed that feat?
It is, therefore, a really important car for BMW, especially when some critics (us included) have decided there’s something missing from the current crop of M cars. Is the M2 a ‘proper M’?
Until we drive the thing, we haven’t the foggiest but we live in hope. In the meantime here’s (virtually) all the facts for your perusal.
It’s more than a match for the 1-Series M Coupe
The 1M was one of the first turbo M cars and the M2 continues that trend with a 3.0-litre straight-six M TwinPower Turbo engine. It has 370hp at 6,500rpm (500rpm shy of its rev limit), making it 30hp more powerful than the 1M. Meanwhile torque is 465Nm, an improvement on the 1M’s 450Nm, although both cars claim the exact same 500Nm with overboost enabled. Even so, the M2 (or should that be the 2M?) wins comfortably in terms of horsepower.
Acceleration is a strong-suit
Those extra ponies must be working overtime because the M2 can blast from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds with the optional seven-speed M DCT gearbox and in 4.5 seconds with the manual. Not only is that 0.6 seconds faster than the 1M, it’s the same as the 431hp M4 Coupe with the six-speed manual and just two-tenths slower with the M DCT. As for the top speed, the M2 is limited to 155mph like the rest of the M range so it’s just as fast, unless you pay extra for the M Driver’s package, which takes it to 168mph.
Corners should be a doddle
BMW has given the M2 plenty of tricks to utilise in the bends. For starters, an electronically controlled Active M Differential is able to lock a wheel between 0 and 100 per cent depending on the situation, which includes factoring in the steering angle, accelerator position, brake pressure, engine torque and more. In other words, it will reign in your stupidity by ensuring you can make it round a corner and not into a tree unless you really overestimated your entry speed.
Stopping should be no problem, either
When it’s time to come to a halt, the M2’s four-piston brake calipers and 380mm discs on the front and two-piston and 370mm discs on the rear are more than up for the job. They look the part, too, thanks to the blue metallic calipers with an M logo on the front axle. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres on 19-inch forged alloy wheels are also going to help stop you pronto.
It’s meatier than a M235i (but not quite M4 meaty)
We rather liked the wolf in sheep’s clothing approach to the M235i and found the M4 to be a little OTT in places. Sitting somewhere in between is the M2, complete with M bodystyling, a quad-exit exhaust and wide arches. It’s aggressive, don’t get us wrong, not to mention physically bigger than the M235i (63mm wider at the front and 69mm wider at the back) but it’s still quite elegant. As for the inside, let’s just say those who love the M badge will be well catered for.
It can help you with the gears
Ignore the aforementioned M DCT automatic with flappy paddles, which takes out the fun of changing gear. The six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard in the M2 will blip the throttle on downshifts and drop the revs on the upshifts with the sort of rev-matching capabilities your right heel and toe wish they had.
It cuts through the air…
A few clever tweaks here and there, the addition of a new front apron and ‘Air Curtains’ inspired by the 3.0 CSL touring car creates five per cent less drag compared with the 2 Series Coupe, even though it does a better job of keeping the engine cool. The same air-conquering measures have also reduced lift by 35 per cent, which BMW says improves balance at higher speeds.
It will only melt the ice caps a bit
Drive with impeccable efficiency and BMW claims the M2 can manage 35.8mpg when fitted with the M DCT, making it only marginally less efficient than some hatchbacks. CO2 emissions comes in at 185g/km. The six-speed manual is only slightly less efficient, at 33.2mpg and 199g/km of CO2.
It’s pro smoking
Burnouts are childish but oh so fun. So who can blame BMW for adding a feature called Smokey Burnout? Yes, as the name implies, this will help you ‘indulge in a degree of wheelspin while the car is moving at low speeds’. And people stereotype the Germans as boring.
Navigation is free (and it plays nice with a GoPro)
Every new BMW gets navigation for free. No exceptions. So rather than having to chuck a few quid at BMW to get from A to B without a paper map, you can use those pennies saved to chuck at other extras. Like maybe a GoPro, because the infotainment system plays with video cameras so you can start and stop recording your driving escapades using the iDrive wheel.
You can forget about personalisation
Worried about spending hours choosing what extras you want? Well, don’t because the M2 comes in one of four exterior colours and it’s either 19-inch alloy wheels or 19-inch alloys. The interior? It’s black. Basically you’ll have what you’re given and like it.
Did we mention it’s the cheapest M car?
It really is and by some margin. The M3 Saloon and M4 Coupe both cost £12,120 more than the £44,070 M2. As for the M235i, which is a great car but 44hp less powerful, that costs £6,360 less. That’s a far cry from the £39,990 1M when it came out, but remember navigation was never standard. On the flip-side, the 1M was built in limited numbers and it is unclear if the M2 will follow suit. If so, it could be quite the investment, especially as there’s a chance the 1M will devalue the moment the M2 goes on sale.
Update: A BMW spokesperson told Recombu Cars the M2 will not be built in limited numbers like the 1M, but was ‘not too sure on the numbers as yet’.