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.