Driven: 2016 BMW M2 Review
We had a bit of time to test out the all new BMW M2, and here are our thoughts on it.
What is the 2016 BMW M2 all About?
If I was to teach someone about BMW, there would be one and only one car that I’d tell them about, and that’s the legendary BMW M3. It’s incredibly rare for a mainstream manufacturer to create and design a car that achieves a cult following, much less one that manages to cultivate such a strong fan base like the M3 managed to. In fact, the M3 was always crowned as one of the best sports cars ever created.
But, so was the M5, which is praised by many, and even conceived as the best car ever. None of the M5s made so far can be argued to be bad, and that is why BMW gathered such a large fanbase over the M division, most notably around the E60 M5, which had the legendary S85 5.0 litre V10 that sounds as good as it goes.
Basically, my point is that BMW’s standard for the M performance cars are set very high, and of course that means this year’s entries, the BMW M2 and M4, have a lot to step up to, in order to keep the fans happy and satisfied. So I was ever so glad to be able to appraise the M2 personally myself.
The 2 Series line, is technically speaking, the successor of the 1 Series, which were rear-wheel drive hatchbacks with some of them having a lot of power, ergo, the M135i.
The closest comparison I can think of is probably the 1M coupe, which looks quite similar to the M2 in terms of body shape. While I don’t really agree with BMW’s really extravagant front grilles, the body lines of the BMW M2 is quite good looking, with all the right proportions, and even reminding me of the classic BMW 2002 in a modern shell.
It’s a really sleek body profile with a sharp front and rear end design. In fact, you can probably think of it as a shortened 3 Series with two doors torn off, it really is an introduction to the M world. There are plenty of cues to give away the M2 as well, quite unlike BMW’s previous tradition of subtle aggression in the old M vehicles.
But then, what’s so important about a proper M car has to be the parts where you can’t see: the power train. The M2’s engine is actually a model that is available in many of BMW’s current generation cars, but further tuned and improved to put out more power.
The twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0 litre straight-six found in the M2 is good for an ample 365 hp and 369 Nm of torque, it’s not the most powerful car in the world, but remember, the Ms were never all about the power, it’s all about the delivery, the smoothness, and all the drama that comes from the exhaust while you slide around a corner sideways, making plenty of tyre smoke while you’re at it.
Incidentally, you’ll find that the M2 actually reaches 62 mph from a standstill at the same pace as the bigger brother, the M4, taking an officially stated 4.5 seconds, in fact, the both of them perform rather similarly in almost all fields of performance measurements, from braking to the skidpads, although this is to be expected, since the M2 borrows parts from the M4.
While fuel consumption and emissions are probably not their customer’s main worry while thinking about an M2, it is not exactly an eco-mentalist’s worst nightmare too. It runs a healthy 33 mpg and outputs 199 g/km in CO2 emissions, no doubt thanks to the turbocharger.
Also worth noting is that the M2 comes with two transmission options. One that might surprise many, but is no doubt a good move, is a 6-speed manual, and BMW’s modern 7-speed dual clutch automatic, with the latter being the faster variant, as expected, but the former being the more engaging variant.
How Does it Drive?
To start the car, you simply keep the key in your pocket, open the door and press the stop/start button to go.
The BMW M2 is a car that no doubt many owners will bring to the track to have a good time with, driving at a rapid pace and going around corners, whether by sliding or properly sticking to the road. This is also going to double as a Sunday’s cruiser, so carrying luggage and providing a good ride experience is imperative for the M2.
One thing that is immediately apparent in the M2 is definitely the amount of effort that BMW has put into fine tuning the suspension and overall driving characteristics. The engine doesn’t feel rushed at all, in fact, it’s very smooth for a turbocharged engine.
If you don’t tell anyone what kind of engine is in this car, no one will even notice the engine has a turbocharger on it, that’s how smooth it is. The power delivery is very linear, and that is actually a very desirable personality to have in your car. Of course, all petrolheads love big power bursts that superglue you to the seat, but that tends to get overwhelming on the streets.
When you depress the pedal, the car pulls nicely, thanks to peak torque being achieved at just 1450 rpm, incredible for a turbo engine, and the horsepower figure goes up and up until it peaks at 6500 rpm. This is a car that, if driven properly, can actually threaten many sports cars.
When you go into a corner and push the brakes, you immediately notice another thing; the amount of stopping power provided by the brakes is astounding. Those huge brake calipers and massive vented and cross-drilled rotors are no joke, they inspire a load of driver confidence, and I’m certain that they can sustain massive stress from amateurs and professionals alike.
Then, you turn into the corner, and this is where the M2 really shines. The steering wheel gives a lot of feedback while also being both quick and responsive, and then you’ll appreciate the amount of time the M division has undoubtedly spent tuning the suspension to perfection.
Most videos you see of the M2 are most likely filled with plenty of oversteers and drifts, and the reason why is the amount of control you get over the M2, even in a slide, you can correct the car easily and look like Keiichi Tsuchiya while you’re at it. The best way to put it, oversteering is actually addictive in the M2.
BMW has got it perfectly dialled in with the BMW M2, and to be honest, I can’t expect any less from a magnate company with one of the most well known in-house tuning division churning out great cars upon great cars.
What’s it Like Inside?
While everyone would expect BMW to spend the most amount of effort in places that we can’t see, BMW didn’t skimp on the interior either. Sit inside, and you get hugged tight by the bucket seats that’ll wrap around you nicely so that you won’t be busy moving around while driving spiritedly.
Once inside, there’s actually a distinction between the M2’s interior from other BMW interiors, and it’s the fact that the centre console is actually driver focused, everything is ever so slightly weighted towards the driver, which is different from the usual neutrally centred consoles in pretty much all other BMWs.
The steering wheel has three spokes and is bulky with a good grip, it is also perfectly rounded. The interior trimmings are mild but well sought out and there are hints of carbon fibre all over the interior, parts that aren’t carbon are leather as well.
Overall, the interior is nicely decorated and somewhere that people won’t mind sitting in for extended periods of time.
The M2 is probably one of the most anticipated car of the year, driving in it, you still attract looks from people. However, at the same time, it blends in well with the crowd, with enough hints for those that are vigilant to notice that it’s different from all the BMWs we see on the road.
The M2 offers a great driving experience, it handles extraordinary and when pushed, oversteers in a controlled manner. Its engine is perfectly tuned for the masses, and it provides enough practicality for the more well-endowed petrolheads as a daily driver. It’s the jack of all trades.
To conclude, the M2 will actually be the perfect car, and probably one of the most popular M car of the year… if it wasn’t for one of its biggest competition: the BMW M4. It’s an odd move from BMW to borrow parts from the M4, and they are even based on the same family of engine, while the M4 is a more elegant and large version of the M2.
The M2 then, is in an awkward situation, it’s just like how Aston Martin designated their lineup of cars, they’re all roughly the same, but different, and no doubt buyers of the M2 will regret when an M4 rolls up beside them on the traffic light. Despite all that, it does not deviate the M2 from just how good it really is.
2016 BMW M2
- Price: £44,070
- Engine: 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged inline-6
- Power: 365 bhp
- Torque: 369 Nm
- Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission
- 0-62mph: 4.5 Seconds
- Top speed: 155 mph
- Weight: 1,564 kg
- Economy combined: 33 mpg
- CO2: 199 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley