BMW M2: the 272kW baby M4



BMW readies rear-drive pocket rocket for 2016

A COMPACT coupe with four seats and rear-wheel drive – it’s synonymous with BMW like Autobahns are with Germany. Get the red, white and blue wand of the M Division waving magic over that recipe and you have the BMW M2.

BMW pitches the M2 as a successor to the 1985 E30 M3, a (kinda) concession that versions since have departed the compact formula. There’s then a big gap to the 1M from 2010, though that car was a mere limited edition. This one isn’t.

Watch out Audi RS3 and Mercedes- AMG A45, because the M2 doesn’t need front driveshafts to deliver a 4.3-second 0-100km/h time (a tenth behind the AMG and two-tenths behind the M3 and M4).

The M2 requires six cylinders to achieve a similar 272kW and 465Nm (500Nm on overboost) to its four- and five-pot rivals, though M fans want it that way. Likewise a standard manual; a seven-speed dual-clutch is optional.

The wand has been hard at work on the petite 2 Series coupe to widen its body by 80mm and stretch the front and rear tracks (63mm/67mm). Fatter guards and an aggressive front bar hide ‘air curtains’ that cool the brakes and reduce lift by 35 per cent.

The 19.0-inch alloy wheels are shod with sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sports (245mm front/265mm rear), while the brakes are ventilated allround.

Up front are 380mm discs clamped by four pistons, down back sit 370mm discs with two pistons.

The wand brings over parts from the M3/M4, too, and we aren’t talking supermarket theft. The whole lightweight aluminium front and rear axles with forged alloy control arms and wheel carriers are taken from the larger M car. It helps contain weight to 1495kg, a scant 25kg more than the

M235i, though that's only 2kg less than an M4 manual.

BMW’s familiar Active M Differential, an electronicallycontrolled mechanical LSD that can vary lock from zero to 100 per cent in just 150 milliseconds, is standard.

It teams with a less restrictive M Dynamics Mode (MDM) stability control, while electrically controlled flaps inside the quad exhausts can turn rasp up and down. In all three cases it follows the M3/M4.

Also stolen from its larger siblings, is a ‘smoky burnout’ function that, according to poker-faced BMW marketers, “invites the driver to indulge in a degree of rear-wheel spin at low speeds”.

The 3.0-litre single-turbo sixcylinder engine is closely related to the donk in the 245kW/450Nm M235i, with parts taken from – you guessed it – the 317kW/550Nm M3/ M4, including its forged pistons and crankshaft bearings.

The M2 engine doesn’t rev as hard (7000rpm cut-out versus 7700rpm) but peak torque from 1400rpm to 5560rpm and peak power at 6500rpm is a lush spread.

Will the M2 be magical to drive?

There’s every chance we’ll be singing its praises when this fast compact coupe lands here early-to-mid next year. As a bonus it’s expected to fetch around $100,000, which is a third less than what BMW asks for an M4.