Compact cars with big engines, a stiff chassis, fat tyres and spruced up suspension have been a trend among enthusiasts for ages now. And all of this results in a car that is a hoot to drive and more than anything, is funnily fast. And that’s exactly what the BMW M2 is. It gets its engine from the M3. And this being BMW, you expect it to be a perfect recipe. We take it for a spin.
M for Muscle
The BMW M2 looks properly angry, especially from the front. It’s not big, it’s compact and has the right amount of muscle in the right places; the fenders and haunches give it a masculine stance. The front bumper, we think, is overdone by BMW Cars, but there’s more aerodynamics to it. The large intakes improve airflow and it features a wing at the bottom with L-shaped air blades above. The rear of the BMW M2 is our favourite bit; those wide rear wheel arches mean business, so do the quad exhaust pipes.
The big engine is a twin-turbo straight-six unit, and it looks rather huge under that tight-fitting bonnet. It produces 404bhp and 550Nm of torque, with power sent to the rear wheels through a twin-clutch transmission and the BMW M2 features an Active M differential. The U-shaped carbon-fibre strut brace helps enhance grip and the rear gets a rose-jointed suspension, which is said to result in good road feel. We find the ride quality to be on the stiff side the moment we set out; it’s not uncomfortable, but there is some movement when you’re dealing with rough stretches of tarmac.
Up the pace a little and that’s when the suspension seem to soak in the bumps well. Thank fully, the M2 does not feel like the wheels are losing contact with the asphalt. The car warms up a little at 4000rpm, and the moment you put your foot down, the M2 darts ahead with immense vim and the snarl from the engine only betters the experience. Throttle response is fantastic. The steering too, responds well and is very precise during turn-in.
Over big speed breakers, all it takes is being slow and you should be able to clear them well. Once we hit the highway, the power under the right foot feels unbelievable. Torque is full and plenty and that means it’s always wanting to be pushed hard. Thanks to the motor being a straight-six, it likes to rev. After 2500rpm, it simply catapults itself forward like most other M division models from BMW Cars. Keep your foot on the accelerator and the car just pulls and pulls as the revs climb, taking you to the 7000rpm territory.
In a straight line, the M2 feels very stable, which is amazing for a car with a short wheelbase. Even the brakes impress with their sharp bite. We go searching for some curvy hill sections and start to take note of the steering’s characteristics. It feels accurate and the car turns in with immense poise. What is lacking to a small extent is feel from the wheel, because feel goes a long way in terms of confidence. It’s an out-and-out grin-inducing machine and understeer becomes apparent the moment you find your way through a fast corner. But it straightens itself up, allowing you to use the brand’s MDM or ESP. The active differential locks up, making you push and dart out of corners. The M2 is an absolute thriller around tight bends but it changes directions quite aggressively; you’ll have to learn how to keep the car within its limits; once you’ve mastered the art, you’ll be doing it pretty often.