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BMW M2 Pure 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
9
Tim Robson road tests and reviews the manual BMW M2, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Tim Robson road tests and reviews the manual BMW M2, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

It's one of the most iconic performance monikers in the world of performance motoring... but there's a school of thought that BMW's M Haus has lost its way.

From the fearsome machismo of the V8-powered E39 M5 to the sublime pace and balance of the straight-six E46 M3, BMW's tuning house has been responsible for some mega machines.

Recently, though, the gloss has come off the badge, with ever-more powerful but less involving cars like the X5 M and the M3 and M4 twins lacking that sense of connection and involvement that has made the brand so beloved of motoring enthusiasts around the world.

Thankfully, the new M2 conjures up the spirit of those great M cars in the best way possible.

Design

Born of the 2-Series Coupe, the M2 has its own distinct personality, thanks to a set of massively pumped wheel arches and a wide, bespoke body kit that's all swoops and cuts and aerodynamic flourishes.

Huge vents in the front bar gulp in cooling air for the large brakes and engine bay, while a tiny bootlid spoiler and bespoke quad-pipe exhaust system sets off the rear.

Despite being a small car, the M2 is easy to live with both on a day-to-day basis and as a long-distance tourer.

A lowered stance, a set of huge 19-inch M-Sport rims and staggered tyres front to rear complete the boy racer look.

Practicality

Despite being a small car, the M2 is easy to live with both on a day-to-day basis and as a long-distance tourer. The Pure version tested here misses out on a set of more heavily bolstered and supportive sports seats as fitted to the top spec car, but the more basic chairs are comfortable and spacious enough for a longer drive, with an extendable seat base helping support the thighs.

A pair of cupholders nestles under the centre console, and the narrow door pockets allow easy storage of bottles, but the small rear accommodations have no cupholders or bottle slots.

A 60/40 split/fold rear seat gives the diminutive M2 a bit more flexibility.

A traditional handbrake and manual gearshifter steal some storage space away from the front of the cabin, but there's a small yet deep centre bin to stash goodies.

A nice touch; a 60/40 split/fold rear seat gives the diminutive M2 a bit more flexibility, while the boot area measures 390 litres with the seats in place.

If you want to give the kids a thrill, there are ISOFIX points for both rear seats. While headroom in the rear is actually pretty good, feet and knee room for anyone but younger passengers is tight.

Price and features

The $89,615 M2 Pure is offered as a six-speed manual only, and eschews only a handful of the top-spec M2's equipment, like a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, heated sport seats, adaptive headlights and keyless entry (which is, strangely, the single most annoying omission).

It still comes standard with automatic lights and wipers, rear view camera and sensors, digital radio, multimedia with satellite navigation and BMW's ConnectedDrive concierge service, which gives access to traffic info and can call emergency services in the case of a crash.

BMW claims the M2 will rip to 100km/h in 4.5sec – only 0.2sec slower than its more expensive M3 sibling.

There are only a handful of options available for the M2, including, an alarm, glass sunroof, window tinting, a 'through-loading' system that turns the rear seat into a 40/20/20 split/folding version and metallic paintwork.

Engine/s and transmission/s

The M2 Pure deploys an updated version of the N55 2979cc turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that was first seen in the M2's spiritual predecessor, the 1-Series M coupe.

It cranks out a healthy 272kW of power and 465Nm of torque, with a throttle-restricted overboost function that can output 500Nm between 1450 and 4750rpm.

It's the same basic motor that can be found in the M3, albeit with a single turbo.

There's a lot of theatrics in the loud, crackling exhaust note and the engine revs on downshifts.

A six-speed manual gearbox and an electronic locking rear diff backs the Pure's powerplant, sending drive to the rear wheels. The manual is equipped with a love-it-or-hate-it rev matching function that matches engine RPM with gear selection, without the need to use the heel-and-toe method of blipping the throttle with the side of your right foot between changes.

It's something that will certainly irritate the purists, and it's a shame that it can't be switched off – like the system in the Nissan 370Z, for example – but it works well enough in practice to be a useful tool.

BMW claims the M2 will rip to 100km/h in 4.5sec – only 0.2sec slower than its more expensive M3 sibling.

Fuel consumption

The combined fuel economy figure for the M2 is quoted at 8.5L/100km for the manual-only Pure. Over a spirited weekend of some 750km, we saw a dash-indicated economy score of an impressively low 10.9L/100km.

The 52-litre tank is happy to take 95RON fuel, as well.

Driving

Some of the most memorable M cars have also tested the nerve and skill of its driver; the first of the V8-powered M3s, for example, was disconcertingly quick to break free in snap-oversteer that was nigh-on uncatchable with the traction control off.

Despite its diminutive size, the 1495kg M2 is much more forgiving and engaging, and its steering, too, is light years ahead in terms of feel and feedback over the M3/M4 pair.

There's a lot of theatrics in the loud, crackling exhaust note and the engine revs on downshifts, and the M2's looks alone ensure that each drive of the small blue beastie is set to be a memorable one.

The hype around the BMW M2 is huge, and the waiting lists are already long – and for good reason.

The large tyre footprint afforded by those giant rims – 245/35 ZR19 Michelins on the front and 265/45 ZR19s out back – and the confident stopping power from a huge set of 380mm rotors and four-piston brakes instills real confidence, while the single-setting spring and damper combo works brilliantly at pace and more than adequately around town.

The power delivery of the engine, while strong, does feel as if there is a bit of torque reduction from the engine and stability control computers going on to keep things on the straight and narrow, even though there is a drive mode switch to sharpen the accelerator's response under your foot as well as tighten up the rear diff.

An individual mode allows you to have, for example, an aggressive engine map and benign diff settings, which is good for damper days where you want to push on a bit.

Safety

AEB and a rear view camera are standard on the M2, along with a set of six airbags, including full-length side curtain bags. There is no ANCAP safety rating on the M2.

Ownership

BMW offers a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty on the M2, as well as a five-year/80,000km Inclusive Service package for $2163.

BMW's service intervals are dictated by the car's onboard system, so as such the company doesn't specify a particular interval. Even so, we'd suggest an annual check-up at the very least.

Verdict

The hype around the BMW M2 is huge, and the waiting lists are already long – and for good reason. This is one of the sharpest, most engaging and most utterly entertaining driver's cars from BMW in recent memory. It's not all the way there in terms of engine response, but it's bloody close.

Is the M2 Pure the driver's car for you, or would you prefer an RS3? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 BMW M2 Pure pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$80,440
Based on 32 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$65,950
Highest Price
$93,985

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M6 4.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $136,900 – 173,140 2016 BMW M Models 2016 M6 Pricing and Specs
M4 Competition 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $72,300 – 91,410 2016 BMW M Models 2016 M4 Competition Pricing and Specs
M2 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $42,700 – 54,560 2016 BMW M Models 2016 M2 Pricing and Specs
M4 Competition 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $67,500 – 85,360 2016 BMW M Models 2016 M4 Competition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$65,950

Lowest price, based on 15 car listings in the last 6 months

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