THE NUMBERS ENGINE: 3-litre, 6-cylinder turbo POWER: 370bhp at 6,500rpm TORQUE: 465 Nm from 1,400 to 5,560rpm 0-100KMH: 4.3 sec TOP SPEED: 250 kmh (governed).
Meet the new BMW M2. The car that the M3 should have been.
Okay, that is perhaps a tad harsh. The M3 (and the related two-door M4) still reigns as BMW’s quintessential hot rod, but it was born in a different era. Over its 30-odd-year lifespan, while it has grown indisputably more capable, it has also become bigger, more complex and very, very pricey in the process. Usher in the M2, the spiritual successor to the original E30-series M3.
It deploys a decidedly less sophisticated suspension, steering and engine than those of its contemporary bigger brother, but within these constraints, one gets the solid impression that the engineers have wrung every last drop of performance out of them. This, oddly, makes for a purer and arguably better car. And it shows over and over again, during the two days I spend with the M2.
The weather has been miserable and the roads congested with right-lanecamping nancies, but, in comfort mode, the car gamely glides along. Sure, the suspension (not adjustable) is hard, but on the smooth roads here, it is not something that overly jars. But, when the small hours frees up empty pockets of road heaven, the M2 unleashes its mettle.
Steering is wonderfully communicative and reassuringly precise, and works in tandem with the stiff springs for pin-sharp cornering. Even bumps or potholes encountered mid-turn do not faze this composure. The shorter wheelbase and lighter mass both help, but whatever it is, I run out of courage before the car ran out of grip.
Couple this with the cracker of a motor, a sixcylinder unit shared with the M235i, with additional uprated bits borrowed from the M3 parts bin. Paired with a seven-speed M DCT – essentially a proper manual shifter without the third pedal – the powertrain delivers effortless, and sometimesbrutal torque, especially in sport and sport plus mode, where the transmission does away with the civility of smooth gear changes, in exchange for unbridled power.
The surprise is that a performance car so raw as this also functions reasonably well as a daily driver, with ample space for passengers and luggage, although, for readers of this magazine, I suspect this would be a second or third vehicle. Nonetheless, at $282,800, this is a bargain. Munich Automobiles. 30 Teban Gardens Crescent. www.munichauto.com.sg.