A NEW ICON: BMW brings us arguably its finest M car in a generation with the new M2 plaything.
A NEW ICON: BMW brings us arguably its finest M car in a generation with the new M2 plaything. Mark Bean

M for Marvel: BMW M2 road test and review

SAY hello to a living automotive legend.  

Without doubt, the BMW M2 will be among the marque's story as one of the finest. This compact coupe has all the sporting hallmarks which made the marque revered.   

The modern marvel has buyers queuing for good reason. The M2 is a genuine bargain at just below $100,000.

Many would scoff, but it's a better buy than its M3/M4 brethren, as well as the other performance Europeans which have price-tags about $60k higher.   

BMW had to source a hundred extra M2s for our market following its initial success, and anyone serious about a performance car with lashings of luxury better get in line quickly or miss out.   

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

Comfort

Some styling cues offer hints of the sporting ability. The chunky leather sports steering wheel, door sills wearing the "M" badging, blue stitching on the leather trimmed seats and the carbon fibre cabin trim.

The colour scheme is quite dark, but then it matches the M2's personality.   

Just because it's a performance models doesn't mean it is bereft of life's luxuries. While the ride is firm it's never uncomfortable with the figure-hugging pews offering good all-round support.  

It gains the full gamut of technology via the 8.8-inch colour screen with the various menus controlled by the console-mounted dial. Once you have mastered the shortcuts which surround the dial mastered it's an intuitive process.   

Unlike many coupes, the rear two seats are actually useful and can fit adults - albeit a snug fit - and our two cherubs had no trouble finding enough space.   

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

On the road

Simply raucous. Engaging, raw and fun - everything you'd expect from an M-badged BMW.  

Available partnered with a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual, it's the latter which delivers the most enjoyment.  

We've sampled a derivative of this turbocharged six-pot in other BMWs, including the big 7 Series limo, but engineers have extracted extra power and torque and then shoe-horned it into a compact coupe shell.  

From start-up it pumps out an intoxicating exhaust note. Falling just shy of a V8 sound, the tune is throaty and rewarding as you punch through the rev range.   

Stamp on the right pedal and the acceleration heaves you into the seat.   

The driver has three modes to choose from, comfort, sport and sport+. Often it's hard to differentiate on some modern offerings, but not the M2. Idle along and you can feel how it alters the parameters and gets progressively more hardcore.  

Comfort is perfect on the highway and when cruising, but where you really want to be is the two sport options. Especially impressive is the sport+, which has the little M2 happy to get its tail wagging.   

In the bends powerslides become commonplace. You just want to jump on the power and let the good times roll.    Beautifully direct steering and a firm yet wonderfully balanced chassis and suspension combination complete the package.   

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

What do you get?

The M2 Pure is essentially your bare-bones offering with the manual shift, but still gets Dakota leather trim, sat nav with live traffic updates, digital radio, BMW ConnectedDrive concierge services and internet, seven-speaker stereo with full phone and audio Bluetooth connectivity, lane departure warning, cruise control, dual zone air con, rear camera and back parking sensors.  

Range-topping M2 has the double clutch auto gearbox (manual can be a no-cost option), adaptive headlights, Harman/Kardon surround sound, keyless access and heated, electric, adjustable front sports seats.  

Other options

Finding a direct competitor in terms of body style, ability and price is challenging.   

There's the four-door all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG CLA45 ($89,500) or maybe the Audi TTS Coupe ($99,900).  

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

Practicality

Surprisingly useful for a coupe, a family could live with the M2. Boot space is good enough for a couple of suitcases, and the rear-seats can also fold 60-40 with the pull of levers.  

Storage includes door pockets able to carry larger drink bottles, two front cup holders, centre console with USB, auxiliary jack and 12-volt plug.   

Running costs

Fuel consumption hovered around 10 litres… outstanding given our willingness to prod the throttle. On the highway it dropped below eight.   

It's great to see BMW has gone with 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, and not run flats. That means goop is required for temporary repair of flat tyres, but it's better than the expensive alternatives because there's a fair chance you'll go through some rubber with this beast.  

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

Funky factor

Sitting squat and muscular, it lives up to the aggressive stance. Bulging wheel arches mean it's 80mm fatter than a 220i, and throw in the massive front air intakes along with huge brakes behind the 19-inch alloys and it looks meaner than Paul Gallen.   

Buyers will have to shell out an extra $1485 to get any colour other than white.   

The lowdown

During recent times BMW has been off the pace.   

Certainly not struggling, but battling against the unyielding growth of Mercedes-Benz and Audi.   Yet the M2 is a shining beacon for the marque. It's the best thing we've driven wearing the propeller badge in recent years, and would be the number one performance pick across any brand with $100k to spend.   

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

What matters most

What we liked: Everything, ability to sprint and corner, soundtrack, muscular good looks.   

What we'd like to see: Some extra dash excitement, alarm system standard.   

Warranty and servicing: Three year/100,000km warranty, with conditioned-based servicing.    

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

Vital statistics

Model: BMW M2.  

Details: Two-door, four-seat, rear-wheel drive compact sports coupe.

Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder generating maximum power of 272kW @ 6500rpm and peak torque of 465Nm @ 1400-5560rpm (overboost function boosts to 500Nm).  

Transmission: Six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch auto.  

Consumption: 8.5-litres/100km (manual); 7.9-litres/100km (auto).  

Performance 0-100kmh: 4.5 seconds (manual); 4.3 seconds (auto).  

Bottom line plus on-roads: $89,900 (M2 Pure); $98,900 (M2).    

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

The verdict

Driving experience  19/20  

Features and equipment  18/20  

Functionality and comfort  18/20  

Value for money  20/20  

Style and design  19/20  

Total  94/100      

2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean
2016 BMW M2. Photo: Mark Bean Mark Bean

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