He’s becoming so much of a regular we’re going to have to think about upgrading him to a regular contributor! Ned Jasper is back, with all the details on BMW’s new compact performance coupé.
If you’re in the market for a small, shockingly fast, RWD fun coupè then look no further. This is the BMW M2, and it’s been on the cards for a while. Now though, the wait is finally over, and it’s time to see if the specs live up to the long-lived hype. Although the M2 is a first for BM, – it’s about time that the M department got their hands on the F22 platform – The M2 certainly has sporting pedigree. BMW’s cocktail of short chassis, RWD layout, and straight six upfront will never grow old.
From first impressions, the M2 undoubtedly lives up to the rumours. The way it’s muscles bulge out of the wheel arches, and the way it manages to interweave the perfect amount of sharp creases and flowing curves signal that this car is something special. You’ve got to admire the designers at M, the way they manage to give the car a violent muscular stance, whilst maintaining the charming and elegant styling of the 2 Series. Not swayed yet? Let me get to the specs.
The new M2 utilises the same N55 engine block found in the old, yet utterly fabulous, 1 Series M coupè. The difference being that this time the engine steals the pistons, crankshaft bearing shells, and most of the exhaust system, from its bigger brother the S55 – found in the M3/4.
The biggest difference between the M2 and its higher-powered siblings is the turbo, or should I say turbos. Whereas the entire M range consists of a twin charged system, the M2 makes do with only a single blower. It is, at least, twin scroll though. All in all, the baby M has a 60bhp deficit to the M3, but when you consider that it weighs just 1495kg, I think you’ll find that they come out fairly even.
Whereas the M2 may ever so slightly lack in outright power, the way it’s delivered should be a different story. The car activates an over boost function during kick down. Although it doesn’t gain any more power over its 365bhp it does, however, get a hike in torque from 343lb-ft to 369lb ft. That, combined with the twin scroll turbo and BMW’s infamous Vanos setup, should make this turbo tearaway a riot to drive.
Although power is important, as any BMW fan will know, going sideways is the priority – haha! Luckily BMW has got us covered for this too. The M2 gets an electronically limited slip diff, with a variable locking effect as standard. Plus, if you require yet more tyre smoke, there’s a so-called ‘smokey burnout’ function in the launch control.
To aid all of the excess power, the M2 has a largely bespoke chassis. It gets a larger track; an increase of 64mm at the front and 71mm at the rear over the semi-skimmed M235i. As well as that, the M2 gets a whole new host of suspension and bracing upgrades. The chaps at M have added additional bracing to strengthen the steel body, bolted the rear subframe directly to the structure, brought in MacPherson struts for the front, and added a fancy five-link arrangement at the rear. Plus, all other suspension parts have been up rated and uniquely tuned to the M2. Nice.
While the performance upgrades are the biggest difference between this and the standard car, the M2 also gets a number of aesthetic modifications too. They’ve given the car unique dial and instrument graphics, new leather sports seats with adjustable bolsters, a new M-branded steering wheel and a center console mounted kneepad for the driver.
When looking at the specs of the baby M it’s clear to see that this car was designed with driver enjoyment in mind. The fact that it has a manual for a start – DCT is available – suggests it is aimed at keen drivers. Only time will tell if the newest addition to the M range is up to standards, but judging on looks and specs, it should be pretty good.