It can sprint to 100kmh in just 4.3 seconds but is BMW's M2 mini-powerhouse worth €80,000?
First Irish Drive: BMW M2
The really serious question to be asked about BMW's new M2 Coupé powerhouse is how you separate performance from price.
Isn't that always the case with hot-hot motors, especially from a prestige maker?
I came to a conclusion on that after several searing runs in this little 3dr with the rpm needle pushed way up.
The M2, as you probably know, continues from where the 1-series M Coupé left off.
It's part of BMW's naming policy that coupé versions of saloons and estates etc are given even numbers ('2' and '4' and '6').
This '2' is small but it packs a big punch. It is, as someone said previously, a proper M-car.
There is a straight-six petrol turbo engine under the bonnet which pumps out a considerable 370bhp. And technically you can 'overboost' to 500nM of torque for 30 seconds.
It says a lot for the basic chassis that it can withstand the rigours and demands of a car with such power and thrust - though the aluminium suspension (front and rear) is derived from the M3.
Obviously they had to tweak and modify bits and pieces to cater for all the extra demands that arise from a car with this much propulsion. To help cool things down a bit, there are special channels in the front bumper, for example.
Other than a few relatively obvious giveaways the outstanding visual for me was the colour - stunning Long Beach blue.
The interior hasn't much show-off bling and I thought it a bit dark and less-than-sporty (though I have to say there was more room in it than I expected). No, I'll go further and say it was downright dull.
That, however, is how they tend to do things - they like to let the performance do the talking.
Part of me agrees; part would want the world to know I was driving a cracker of a car that cost me a fortune.
The part of me that agrees wanted it to be nearly all about the engine and the suspension.
Putting a 3-litre in this is asking a lot but I have to say that apart from one early wiggle when I plunged the right foot to the floor, it channelled the power-flow with reassuring capability and relayed great energy through bends and on the straight.
Obviously I had it in Sport+ mode (Comfort and Sport too) most of the time. You'd have to. A sin not to and all that. But you've got to be careful, too; 120kmh motorway limits could be easily breached.
It was far more fun at lower speeds on byroads where the intrinsic elasticity of chassis and engine could shine. This is a real M car when you look at, and feel, the ingredients.
The 2,979cc - with all that power - squirts from a standing start to 100kmh in 4.3 seconds. The automatic shift (7spd double-clutch) was seamless but slow to kick down sometimes. I wanted more aggression. Sports cars do that to you.
So, of course, I had to mess around with the steering-wheel paddles to extract every possible rpm I could from the lower gears.
With fuel consumption of 7.9litres/100km or 35.8mpg (claimed official figures) and emissions of 185g/km propelling it into €750 road tax territory, it is not a car for the frugally minded by any means. This is an expensive, if rewarding, motoring prize.
On top of a fair old spread of equipment, seen and unseen, my test car had optional extras which included adaptive headlights, windscreen with grey shade band, reversing assist camera, heated front seats and Harman Kardon system.
Which brought the total price to €83,360.58. Let's say you don't need some of the additional frills and you end up paying €80,000.
How would you feel about that?
Which is where we started out isn't it? Trying to separate performance from price. It was easy for me - I had it on test.
But I would not pay that sort of money. It's an excellent little machine and I enjoyed it for what it was but I reckon I'd be looking for a lot more for that sort of outlay.