GOOD things come in small packages and one of the best examples of this has to be the BMW M2 Coupe. The M2 fills the compact performance coupe niche once again after the 1 Series M Coupe was discontinued in 2012. It also becomes the most affordable M car. But since it is tuned by the M high-performance division, don't expect entry level to mean boring.
Based on the 2 Series Coupe, the M2 is souped-up with wider wheel arches for its beautifully balanced body and a beefy 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine. The latter has a single twin-scroll turbo, like the one in the M235i, and not the bi-turbo of the M4. So it comes as no surprise that the M2's power output slots nicely between the M235i's 326 hp and the M4's 431 hp.
Its features are also appropriately middle-of-road. Unlike the M235i, the M2 has M equipment such as the sport suspension, differential, seven-speed DCT double clutch transmission and manhole-sized brake discs.
But inside, there is no M button for that one-touch activation of preset driver settings. Of course the usual M touches like the dials and logos are all over the cabin. But there is also easier access to the driving modes with the familiar Comfort, Sport and Sport+ rocker switch on the lower centre console.
Sport+ is the most extreme, with heavier steering, faster throttle response and partially disabled DSC or dynamic stability control. There are no variable dampers.
There is something special though, akin to the M Dynamic Mode in other M models - press the DSC button once, even in Comfort mode, and it will partially reduce traction and stability, making the rear-wheel-driven M2 more tail-happy while still enjoying lighter steering and comfortable gear changes.
With robust torque (465 Nm from just 1,400 rpm) and a relatively low kerb weight (1,520 kg), the M2 Coupe is the epitome of driving fun. The steering is sharp and the small BMW nimble, with the electronically controlled limited slip differential enhancing turn-in as well as acceleration out of a bend.
But because it is not too stiffly sprung, ride comfort is rather good. And it is relatively subtle. The M2's deep exhaust growl is not raucous. Even the automatic throttle blip on downshifts is muted. This little coupe is the perfect package.
BMW M2 Coupe
Engine 2,979cc inline-6 turbocharged
Transmission 7-speed M DCT double clutch
Max power 370 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Max torque 465 Nm @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
0-100 kmh 4.3 secs
Top speed 250 kmh
CO2 emissions 185 g/km
Average OMV S$47,500
Price S$276,800 (with COE)
Distributor Munich Automobiles