Friday 22 September 2017

The BMW M2 pocket rocket that brings a smile to your face (until you see the price)

King's ransom: BMW M2
King's ransom: BMW M2
BMW M2
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The danger lies, you see, in how easy it is to glorify speed in a car like this.

No, I'm not going to go the righteous route but I'm making the point from the outset that this car is so quick, so powerful you have to treat it - and consequently other road users - with the utmost respect.

But to extract anything like its potential, you've got to take it on track. If you can afford the car, you can afford to release some of its awesome power, legally and safely.

Even allowing for my moderate on-road drives, I couldn't mask the ear-to-ear grin I wore for most of the time I was behind the wheel of this 365bhp 6-cyl powerpack. If only we could bottle that fun.

BMW M2
BMW M2

And if only we could afford the car. My test version cost more than €83,000. A king's ransoms for a small car on steroids.

And yet, if I had that sort of money to spend on a smile, sorry, car, it would have to be one on a (long) shortlist.

It just has something about it that lifts and cheers.

It was extraordinarily powerful and quick, yet all that energy surge (in my case in lower gears and within speed limits) failed to unseat or unsettle it.

Making that all the more noteworthy is the fact the chassis is broadly based on your standard 2-series. The difference is that the aluminium suspension (front and rear) comes from the M3. And that makes a hell of a difference.

All the sort of modifications you'd expect - quad exhaust pipes, cooling channels in the new front bumper, boot-lid spoiler, rear diffuser etc - would count for nothing if this didn't really do the business. Or, more correctly, hint at its potential to do so.

Adding to the sense of dynamics is its low-slung body; you sense you feel (not uncomfortably) every bit of the road. The great feedback was in how the body sat so upright and taut on sharp bends. Of course, the inside isn't spacious (excellent sports seats).

And, of course, it was mad hard on the juice - don't let anyone tell you this can be driven like a conventional small car. I take BMW's claim of 7.9litres/100km with a large pinch of salt.

You will, I promise you, find yourself sticking in lower gears so you can shove on the pedal and get a bit of acceleration on roads with 100km/120kmh limits.

I could criticise it on a number of fronts other than price and fuel consumption. It still looks a bit bulbous, it can be a dark cabin, headroom for me wasn't great, the boot is small, there's little or no room at the back, you really feel overpowered by other vehicles, especially lorries and large 4x4s, in motorway and town traffic. But I do feel all that would be churlish.

This is a car to be savoured and favoured for its brilliance. Most of us could never countenance owning one. But this gave me a sniff of what that would be like. Now and again it is no harm to dream or smile, for that matter, as this memorable M2 made me realise. CHECK SPEC: BMW M2 Coupé, 2dr, 3-litre 6cyl, 2,979cc, 365hp, automatic, 0-100kmh in 4.3 secs, 185g/km (€750 road tax).

Spec and options on test car included: black Dakota leather, 19ins M double-spoke 437M alloys, (Thatcham 1 alarm system (makes sense), front sport seats, rear Park Distance Control (PDC), rain sensor with auto xenon headlights, auto air con, cruise control, 12v power sockets, sat nav, DAB radio, single CD, online/concierge services. Price: €73,697.

Other spec options on the test car included visibility package €644.23 (adaptive headlights, high-beam assist); sun protection package €4,369.26 (windscreen grey shade band, sun protection glass); 7spd double clutch transmission (M DCT) with Drivelogic €408.33; comfort access €578.17; reversing camera €545.13; electric/fold mirrors, €454.27; electric front seats, Harmon Kardon hi-fi etc.

TOTAL PRICE: €83,451.

Indo Motoring

Also in Life