BMW smallest coupé is one of those rare cars that makes life brilliant every time you slide in behind the wheel, it’s basically the automotive equivalent of an antidepressant. The M2 is dead set a genuine M car, the way BMW always intended. Late last year saw an update, or as BMW coin it Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) renovation to the popular pocket rocket. Enhanced styling and technology updates should see the M2 remain a crowd favourite, at least until the next clean-sheet design. Chris Bowen took the M2 coupé away from the EFTM garage for a few days of sheer driving pleasure, as they say.
Despite our test car being plain white, it still had a significant presence to it. Much of that is largely due to the inflated mudguards and aggressive bumper design. It would be easy to see this as a BMW 230i with a M badged slapped on, but underneath it’s so much more.
Simply igniting the engine immediately reminds you this is no standard 2, the exhaust barks to life and frankly can alert the neighbours, in fact the whole block. A turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder is crammed into the front-end pushing out 272kW / 475Nm or for brief periods 500Nm during an over-boost function.
I tested the $99,900 M2 Coupé as opposed to the manual M2 Pure that comes in at $93,300 before on roads and the inevitable options. As a result, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission was fitted. The combo is simply a screamer, a screamer that will propel you from a stop to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds, that’s bloody quick every day of the week.
But aside from straight line speed it’s the typical BMW handling finesse that blows my mind. The steering performs like it’s just in a constant purple patch. So predictable, so easy, so on point. The rear-wheel coupé does like to wag the tail when pushed, sports mode or even sports+ mode will really give you room to play before intervening. But the excellent brakes with superb pedal feel, very grippy Michelin tyres and rear sports differential, make the car always feels controllable, even at the edge.
Technology wise the BMW M2 scores the latest iDrive 6 interface showcased via an 8.8-inch colour centre console top mounted display. I actually think it’s a pretty decent setup, iDrive has had its detractors since it debuted on the 7 series in the early 2000’s, but it’s come a long way. The update sees floating menus that you can flick through almost like monopoly cards. This is all done via a rotary dial, wheel buttons or even voice recognition. Take your pick.
The lack of standard Apple CarPlay is one serious omission, it’s not a big deal for me personally but the fact BMW is the only ones that offer it wirelessly seems at odds with common sense. They also refuse to even consider Android Auto connectivity. So, at the very least expect to pay for it or simply make do with the capable iDrive system if you’re an Android person.
Via BMW ConnectedDrive Services and Apps you can keep track remotely of key stats for your vehicle, such as range and fuel use. You can even pre-ventilate the cabin on super hot days, a feature our makeup wearing Lifestyle Editor Geoff loved.
Some of the mid-life BMW’s are really starting to age when it comes to interior presentation, the M2 is no exception. While the cabin is certainly well put together it just lacks flair and the sophistication Audi and Mercedes have on offer in their vehicles currently.
But hey, you do score a flat-bottomed steering wheel, nice leather and bits and pieces of carbon fibre inlays. I love the ultra-bright auto adaptive LED headlights, standard 19-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry. You can add plenty of options, if you go for CarPlay the wireless charging pad would be a must. If you’d like to drown out the soaring exhaust note, a 12-speaker Harmon / Kardon system stereo does a decent job.
Don’t expect the ability to cover vast distances on one tank, it’s just 52-litres and if you can manage under 10L/100km you aren’t driving the M2 as it was intended. The claim is 7.8L/100km but that simply will never happen. Also, don’t expect friends and family to jump at the idea of squeezing in the 2 + 2 seating configuration. Leg room is just ok, headroom not so much. I did attempt and in fact fit a rearward facing child seat in the rear. But simply loading an infant into the rear requires near contortionist abilities.
The EFTM Rubber Stamp
This is a car for the selfish buyer, not overly practical but the ultimate mood enhancer. If you can ignore the price, the sizable range of very capable hot-hatches and the dated interior then the BMW M2 is about as much fun as you can have in a two-door coupé, period. I award it the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp of Approval.