Think back to the iconic M cars that have graced South Africa, after the locally developed e30, 333i and 325i is our first taste of attainable M power. After the e28 and e34 M5s was the e36 M3, followed by the e39 M5, e46 M3, e90/e92 M3 and several fast M coupe models, V10 M5s and M6s and even the vehicle I’m concerned with at the moment’s predecessor - the 1M coupe.
I’m speaking about the BMW M2 of course, a car that has had a massive amount of hype surrounding it over the past year or so. I travelled to the Western Cape to drive the most affordable M car currently on sale and also sampled the rest of the M range for good measure.
Tell us about the exterior
The M2 has been so widely spoken about that many of you will already know what it’s all about and will have formed your own opinion on its styling, interior and the performance claims. What I can tell you though is that the car looks sublime in the metal; the wide stance, M3/M4-borrowed 19-inch wheels, blistered arches and overly aggressive front and rear bumper treatments really make this car look substantially more aggressive than its M235i sibling.
Interior M car
The interior is perhaps where the doting M car owner will find the M2 lacking somewhat; it is quite plain inside. There are hints of its M credentials stitched on the seats, in the instrument cluster and on the door sill but for most, it will be very similar to a sporty 2 or 1 Series inside. There are a few cool options though, such as a Bluetooth-activated exhaust system, which allows owners to control their exhaust volume for their smartphone or the GoPro compatibility, which allows the user to record their laps at a racetrack while also providing telemetry such as lap times.
The M2, like its 1M father, shares bits from bigger M cars; for example the front and rear axles, the 19-inch wheels, large diameter steel brakes and the M-differential are from the M3/M4 as well as some of the internals of the engine such as the pistons and crank bearings. The single turbo N55 motor produces some 272kW/465Nm (500Nm on overboost). That makes the baby M car good for some serious performance figures; expect it to get from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and go on to a limited top speed of 250km/h. Owners can also tell their buddies down at the pub that the car completed the Nürburgring in seven minutes, 58 seconds, which is impressive.
So what’s it like?
I would be lying to you if I said that I had enough time to experience the M2 in its entirety; three laps around a circuit is what I had to play with. Luckily I had a chance to drive an M235i around the track before the M2 and then went on to an M4 straight afterwards. I can report that the M2 feels like a real M car; it is keener to turn in than the M235i, yet not quite as intimidating as an M4. The power delivery and overall balance is very likely what performance purists are looking for. Where the M4 can feel overwhelming and the M235i a bit numb, the M2 comes through with the sort of M driving experience the brand is renowned for.
Where do I sign?
Sadly if you want one, the sixty or so units allocated to South Africa for this year are sold so if you’re interested, try get onto the list for 2017 or look to the used market, where you’re likely to pay a premium.
|M2 coupe||six-speed manual||R791 00|
|M2 coupe||seven-speed M-DCT||R841 000|