BMW says the new BMW M2 Coupe is not only the direct heir to the successful BMW 1 Series M Coupe, but also – in its underlying philosophy – a descendant of the original E30 BMW M3 and the BMW 2002 turbo.
So since the coupe body style is the way to go, I guess – and this really is only a guess, as things change fast in the motor industry – that we won’t be seeing a 1 Series hatch M car anytime soon. All this really means is that the likes of Mercedes-AMG and Audi will have to continue to battle another Bavarian M Coupe with their hatchback offerings and that is the end of the story.
So while you are not really comparing the same cars, you actually are when it comes to street cred and performance. They are basically set up 100% against each other in terms of the battle they will have on the street, the dragstrip and even the track, and of course in their bid for your premium performance hatch/ coupe money, but that is about it.
I am not going to get into a detailed shoot-out, as in my opinion they are not the same, as a coupe is not a five-door hatch and vice versa. For everyday convenience the all-wheel drive five-door offerings will win and for pure inyour-face tyre-smoking adrenalin you would have to opt for the rear wheel driven BMW.
In saying that, the BMW M2 Coupe M-DCT does shade the A 45 AMG and RS 3 in performance number terms, but it is ridiculously close. And to be completely honest, if it wasn’t for the M-DCT launch control and being on a decent surface at Gerotek, where I do all my testing, the other two Germans would take the M2 out.
This was a lesson I learnt when we had the long-term BMW M4 Coupe on test. Get the grip right on new rubber and the car launched as fast as anything you have ever driven, but once that car started to wheelspin when the grip was not good, it simply left long smoky black lines down the road.
And you all know, as cool as it looks, if you are spinning wheels, you are wasting launch time. In fact this brings me to my only real gripe with the M2, as fast as it is, and it is with a 0-100km/h of just 4.44 seconds, a quarter mile of 12.79 seconds, a 1km speed of 223.79km/h and a top speed of 275.84km/h thanks to the optional M Driver’s Pack fitted to the car, it is only quicker off the line thanks to the already mentioned launch control, but no faster than the 60kg lighter, manual M235i I tested two years ago.
Although there is a newly developed, three-litre six-cylinder in-line engine in the car that sees 272kW of power at 6500rpm along with 465Nm of torque that jumps to 500Nm for short periods during overboost conditions, the M2 does not run a detuned version of the M3/M4 engine.
The M2 runs a variation of the N55 single turbo 235i engine and to be blunt, it sometimes feels this way when you are hammering the car, whereas the S55 twin turbo M3/M4 engine never seems to run out of urge. And this mostly because the M3/M4 punches way above its weight, and standard car dyno figures suggest that a figure closer to 380kW is more realistic for these cars versus the M2 that makes pretty much what is claimed.
Like I said earlier, the M2 is not a slow car; perhaps I just expected a bit too much. I am not going to get into too much fuel consumption detail either, as this figure is largely dependent on your mood when you wake up in the morning, as is the case with all performance cars. Behave and take it easy and you can almost get near the 7.9 litres/ 100km claimed, but take it out to play and you go beyond 16.0 litres /100km easily.
I averaged 10.9 litres /100km for the few days I had the car and this is what most owners could hope to get on average. Where this car delivers in spades is in the handling and agility stakes. It is razor-sharp and feels somewhat more nimble than the M3/M4.
Most of this is because they took the good stuff off under the M3/M4, like the lightweight aluminium front and rear axles, and put them on big forged 19-inch wheels with sticky Michelin mixed-size tyres.
Add to this an M Servotronic steering with two settings and suitably effective M compound brakes, along with an electronically controlled Active M Differential, which optimises traction and directional stability, and you have a car that will be very hard to beat dynamically.
Also very much in the positive column is the fact that M2 immediately stands out as a member of the BMW M family. Inspired by models from the history of BMW in motor racing, the M2 Coupe makes no secret of its massive performance potential.
The low front apron with large air intakes, muscular flanks with characteristic M gills and low, wide rear with M-specific twin-tailpipe exhaust system all play impressive roles here. The Alcantara of the door cards and centre console together with porous carbon fibre creates a sporty but classy ambiance, with its sporty ambition further underlined by blue contrast stitching and M embossing on selected details.
Sports seats, an M sports steering wheel and an M gearshift lever complete the M experience. Not to be forgotten, a wide selection of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive is also available.
The ConnectedDrive Services provide the basis for extensive vehicle connectivity, and this option also enables the use of innovative apps, which are integrated seamlessly into the car using BMW ConnectedDrive technology.
Meanwhile, the driver’s individual style at the wheel can be analysed as desired with the M Laptimer app. Information on speeds and braking points can be shared easily via e-mail or Facebook, for example. So is it the complete or ultimate M package? Depends what you are chasing, ultimate handling over ultimate power. But it is sure the only choice you can make if you like your compact motoring a touch on the exclusive side with a big dose of adrenalin