BMW and M is historic within the motor industry. To add to the nostalgia, 2016 is even BMW’s Centenary year, celebrating 100 years of auto mobile goodness. To kick off such celebrations in style, they have launched the much anticipated BMW M2. A madcap lovechild of the M3 and M4, it really should be the one. Shouldn’t it?
The current crop of M3 / 4 are very much the best M has ever been. We reviewed the M4 back on launch and it was a truly magnificent best, majestic in every form and the drive was well. Pretty much as on point as one could ever be. The BMW M2 is of course smaller in foot print, but you know what they say, size isn’t everything.
At first glance the M2 sits similar in stance and looks to the M4, of course it does. But this is the younger and perhaps less outrageous brother. It isn’t perhaps as brash as other M which makes it sit unassumingly like a cat ready to pounce. But everything is there, and in the flesh it is a very likeable thing indeed. The rear end may be slightly boxy and a little, even, out of place. But some love it. It is all just down to that personal taste.
As you step in-side and slide in behind the wheel, everything is very much current crop BMW. The central infotainment screen dominates, and once you get used to the iWheel everything works just as you would expect. It doesn’t wow, but this is German, it just seems to work. The added small M touches with additional contrast stitching, splashes of carbon fibre and sports seats make this a solid interior. Nothing fancy, but there is something about the M2 which doesn’t say ‘fancy’ like its predecessors.
Whilst the real joy should come when you press ‘Start’. It stupidly actually disappoints. There is no forced rev of the engine like an RS3 or Focus. It is actually a little cumbersome. It just starts, like any other BMW. You could be forgiven for thinking you just stepped into a tepid X1. Thankfully that is where the cumbersome stops and real M comes into full force.
The M2 is point, shoot and play. Its wide stance for such a small car means it sticks to the road (when you want it to). And the 365 horses make short work of any acceleration. The only thing beating it to 60 miles per hour is the corners of your mouth rising into a wry smile as you push on further. It’s a nimble thing, it doesn’t go into depths or customising set-up. It’s already out to grab the maximum traction and track type fun that you need. And it shows. The M2 is never more fun and truly awesome than when driving, and it really does want to be driven.
Available with both a 7 speed dual clutch box and of course the very purist manual. Surely the auto is the only way to go. Right? Slightly quicker, better MPG and of course the option of lazy driving. And yes, if you were going to buy you would need to choose the auto box option. Of course paddles and quick shift are there for your enjoyment as well, a must to get the most from the turbo charged engine. Add to that launch control AND ‘smokey burnout mode’ (yes, seriously). The auto is first choice. HOWEVER.
So far pre-orders have 25% seeing manual options and I can see why. The BMW M2 in manual actually much more fun. It’s a truly playful thing, it was wants to move and shake it’s little arse all over the road, especially in Sport+ where you can move yourself like a snake slithering across the desert in 1st, 2nd or 3rd with the safety of stability control in the background. It makes this feel like a car, a real driver’s car. But yet, the dual clutch is still the way to go. But only just.
It’s simple. The BMW M2 is a no-nonsense point and shoot play thing. It’s a boy’s toy and it is one of the best. Fully blown M fun just became incredibly accessible to the Average Joe. And we couldn’t be happier about it.
It is premium, coming in at £40K, and when compared to something like the new RS, it could be a difficult choice giving the savings. But this is BMW. This is M.