The BMW M2 is certainly one of the most anticipated cars to come out of 2016. With only 60-odd units available for customers, these 60 were snapped up before the launch date as quickly as a new Apple product in the US.
To the welcoming relief of willing buyers though, more units will be available for ordering from the beginning of 2017. But this relief could be short lived as we have learned that there is already a waiting period on this new, youngest and smallest rendition of the BMW M-cars’ line-up.
The hype and demand of the M2 is due to a combination of things that makes this little sports-coupe special.
Starting with the letter ///M - immediately gives us a sense that precision engineering has gone into the production of this car. Standard BMW cars are meticulously balanced in their average form and that gives the M division a pretty good base to enhance the driving experience. M-Powered cars always stand out from the rest of the crowd. They excite all in its presence, even too - the ‘non-BMW’ fans. An expirement case in point - Just hand over the keys of any M car to a person that is not a fan of BMW cars and see if they refuse to jump in and go for a spin.
With BMW M always looking back at their heritage, they keep on moving forward. This shows in the newer M cars. They hold true to the power of balance in a car, evident when you drive them.
The second point helping with the demand factor of the M2, is the number allocated to this series - ‘2’.
With the 3 series all grown up, the 2 series fills a gap that was left open by the original 3-series, and even before that - by the 2002. Offering a small compact power-rocket to delight young executives and their driving experience.
BMW did a magnificent job with the E82 1M that this M2 replaces and they keep getting better and better at creating new experiences yet remaining with that un-aged sense of Joy.
The M2 is at the top of the list of cars that are in its segment, The next step from here would be sports car territory.
So for its exclusivity, and with Joy at the heart of its builders, you have to have one.
BMW South Africa with its Communications Manager, Edward Makwana put together a real splendid day for the Media Launch of the new M2. A day which surely captured the hype and sensation that this car is to BMW.
Waiting for us and other media personnel at Cape Town International airport, were the BMWSA Drivers team with an array of new M cars for us to drive 70km to the Franschhoek Motor Museum where the rest of our day would be spent.
Edward took us thorugh an informative presentation of the M2 specs as well as some of the new highlights regarding the brand especially in South Africa.
After his presentation we were off to the private racetrack housed on the same estate that the musem is on.
We jumped in our cars as the track was a good drive away from the museum.
This track is built and owned by the owner of this vineyard estate.
At the track was a hospitality tent where they served lunch and drinks, and the Drivers briefing thereafter.
BMWSA had also brought down ///M people from Germany including BMW Motorsport DTM Champion Bruno Spengler
We were each given a chance to drive the M2, as well as the other M cars around the circuit for 3 laps per person.
A BMW driver instructor had to be with us in the cars to ensure no one went sideways into something.
The M2 is an exciting car to drive….even before you’ve actually driven it. The flared out rear wings remind you that there are a few extra centimetres added to the rear axle to make room for broader tires. And broader tires mean more grip at high speed. And high speeds for us car-nutters spell Fun!
With the newer turbo engines going smaller and quieter with time, you miss the old sweet exhaust tones of performance Beemers that we’ve grown up with - From the symphonic straight sixes of the M20s, and more meatier M30s, and then the screaming V8s and V10s which followed later on.
The exhaust tone on the M2 or the new M cars however is not bad at all, its just a new era - the sensation makes up for it.
BMW have done a good job eliminating turbo lag with all their later models though, and the M2 is no exception. The power just surges on effortlessly. I have a habit of testing 3rd gear on any BMW that i drive, especially the Performance models. This trend is a mark i picked up since the 333i days. - Find an open stretch of road, drive the car rapidly off the line, and when you hit 3rd gear, floor the throttle till just before the red line on the rev counter then change up into 4th. Its a great test of torque on a car and it can either leave you delighted, disappointed, and in some cases - frightened. With the M2 though, the feeling was delightful.
Steering feel is spot-on on the racetrack and the ride is quite good considering its a sports car with a regular size boot.
I have to admit that i would like another drive in the M2 but this time in a standard manual version for obvious reasons.
The other cars that i drove on the same day were the M235i, M4, Pure Metal F10 M5, and the X5M.
All of these cars, yet so different, are very capable of putting a smile on your driving face. The M5 was magical on the track, and so was the M4. The M235i is a thorough-bred BMW delivering fun wherever you take it. The X5M - i'm sure with a little more grunt and some wings - that SUV would become a plane .
The M2 fits comfortably in this line-up of extremely splendid machinery. Lucky are those that have managed to get their hands on one.
Special thanks to Edward Makwana and his team for our invite and a truly wonderful day.
The day ended with a journey back to Cape Town International airport, and the car i chose to drive from Franschhoek was this M4... A truly remarkable car
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