Ban­tam brawler

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - CRAIG DUFF

SOFT­WARE-gov­erned launches, drifts and burnouts are among the party tricks from the light­est, lithest BMW M car to date.

The long-awaited M2 should ar­rive here early next year to take the per­for­mance bat­tle up to the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG baby sportscars.

BMW’s com­pact coupe is pow­ered by an in-line 3.0-litre six-cylin­der tur­bocharged en­gine and — when matched to the seven-speed dual-clutch auto ex­pected to be the stan­dard trans­mis­sion in Aus­tralia — is good for a 4.3sec­ond run to 100km/h.

That puts it on an ac­cel­er­a­tion par with the just­launched RS3 and only 0.1 sec be­hind the up­dated A45 AMG due here in De­cem­ber.

M cars have al­ways had a ca­pac­ity to shred rub­ber but BMW has taken that to ex­tremes with its new baby su­per­car. The M2’s sta­bil­ity con­trol now has an M Dy­namic Mode to al­low “mod­er­ate con­trolled” drifts be­fore rein­ing in the rear end. The auto has a “Smokey Burnout” func­tion, sim­i­lar to that found in the Ford Mus­tang, “which in­vites the driver to in­dulge in a de­gree of rear wheel spin while the car is mov­ing at low speeds” and the launch con­trol guar­an­tees re­peat­able 0-100km/h times.

Be­yond the the­atrics are the ex­pected M go-fast fun­da­men­tals. An elec­tronic ac­tive dif­fer­en­tial helps put the power down through the turns, helped by us­ing the same front and rear axles as found on the mid-sized M3 sedan.

Com­pound brakes are used with 380mm discs and fourpis­ton calipers up front and 370mm rear discs with twin­pis­ton calipers.

BMW Aus­tralia won’t com­ment on lo­cal pric­ing this far out from launch but spokes­woman Lenore Fletcher says the car is a pri­or­ity.

“We will do what­ever it takes to make it (M2) hap­pen,” Fletcher says. “With de­mand for M mod­els up across the range, it’s never go­ing to hurt to have a more af­ford­able model, es­pe­cially one with these lev­els of per­for­mance and driv­ing en­gage­ment.”

Peak power of 272kW ar­rives at 6500rpm but the turbo en­sures max­i­mum torque of 465Nm is de­liv­ered from 14005560rpm. Claimed fuel con­sump­tion is 7.9 litres/100km, though not if you’re hit­ting the gov­erned 250km/h limit. To put the M2 in con­text, the $139,900 M3 hits 100km/h just 0.2secs quicker.

The M2 will ride on 19-inch al­loy wheels fit­ted with Miche­lin Pi­lot Su­per Sport rub­ber and the Con­nected-Drive in­fo­tain­ment and telem­at­ics sys­tem lets own­ers down­load a lap­ti­mer app and an app to con­trol a GoPro via the iDrive con­troller and screen.

Given its main ri­vals are both priced at about $80,000, ex­pect the new M2 to be only slightly north of that fig­ure, given it is the only one with a stan­dard auto.

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