IT’S HARDLY ‘ECONOMY’ CLASS, BUT BMW’S RIPPING M2 LINEUP INCLUDES THE STRIPPED ‘PURE’ VERSION. It deletes a few of the frills to concentrate on the thrills... and saves you some coin in the process.
In fact, at $89,900 (plus on-road charges), the M2 Pure is the lowest-price BMW to wear the iconic ‘M’ badge.
Vehicle Style: Two-door performance coupe
Price: $89,900 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 272kW/465Nm 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol | 6sp manual
Fuel Economy Claimed: 8.5l/100kms | Tested: 11.1l/100kms
This is the BMW M2 Pure; it is $9,000 less than the upscale M2. That latter model scores a better infotainment system including the clever GoPro integration, lap timer app and 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio plus heated, electronically-adjustable front seats and adaptive headlights.
No problem! We’ll ‘make-do’ with this M2 Pure currently in our garage thanks very much - we even love its colour - Long Beach Blue metallic, a cool $1485 option (and recall our times surfing the breaks at America’s most famous stretch of sand).
Oh, you mean we can’t keep it? We have to give it back after a week? Bugger!
Yep, the ‘entry-level’ M2 is an alluring gem - a genuine high-performance German coupe which bristles with the magic of the M Division.
And it’s no ‘stickers-n-stripes’ job - this is the complete package with massive wheel-arch flares to accommodate the wider track and brilliant black 19-inch M alloy wheels, M sports suspension, Active M differential, front aero package almost as complex as an F1 car, boot-lip spoiler and black diffuser.
Sure the six-speed self-shifter knocks two-tenths off the zero to 100k/h compared to the seven-speed DCT auto (4.5-seconds for the M2 Pure, but we’re not going to sob over that stat.
Standard Features: Leather trimmed sports seats, M leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, carbon-fibre highlights
Infotainment: Seven-speaker audio with 8.8-inch colour screen, DAB+ radio, Bluetooth compatible, Professional satellite navigation
Boot volume: 390-litres
Lots of ‘M’ goodies inside will have you feeling good about that $90,000+ outlay for the BMW M2 Pure - this thing is all hi-po class.
There are gorgeous leather-trimmed M sports seats (manual adjustment in this model) which look good and perform even better in the twisty stuff.
Also great is the hallmark thick leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel (the latest design). Meanwhile, to remind you that you’re seated in a sporting ‘Bavarian’, there are splashes of Alcantara for the gear lever and door trims, a bit of carbon fibre here and there, and ‘M’ badges on the brushed aluminium scuff plates.
With rake/reach adjustment for the wheel and some finessing of the seat, no trouble dialling-in a perfect race car-like driving position.
Gauges are housed in the familiar BMW binnacle and have the usual BMW colours/graphics (no head-up display in the Pure) and to the left atop the centre stack is the 8.8-inch iDrive screen for navigation and audio.
Not a lot of space in the rear seat (best for youngsters) but, once you settle in there is good support, albeit with precious little leg-room.
ON THE ROAD
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six-cylinder, 272kW at 6500rpm/465Nm between 1450-4750rpm (500Nm between 1450-4750rpm on overboost)
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear wheel drive
Suspension: Macpherson strut front/five-link independent rear
Brakes: Four-wheel ventilated discs (380mm front/370mm rear)
Steering: Electrically-assisted rack & pinion
Like say the Nissan GT-R or anything wearing an AMG badge, the BMW M2 Pure gets a bit cranky when asked to be an everyday city commuter car.
The steering is a bit heavy and while it’s not ‘keep-the-chiropractor-on-speed-dial’ firm, even in Comfort mode, with this suspension/wheel and tyre package speed-bumps are a chore and cat’s-eyes become bothersome.
Incidentally, there’s no change in the wheel/tyre package between the two BMW M2 models - excellent Michelin Pilot Super Sports rubber (245/35 ZR19 front/265/35 ZR19 rear).
But we’ll happily put-up with that ‘stiff-ish’ ride because get the BMW M2 Pure onto your favourite stretch of windy road and it’s pure "wooh-hoo!"
So you come rushing down a hill in sixth gear, with that glorious turbocharged six-cylinder engine bellowing, jump on the massive ‘M’ brakes and start going down through the gears and, just listen, perfect throttle-blipping downchanges in the six-speed manual.
While those who drive in string-back gloves will lament losing the challenge of heel-toeing through the gears, we’ll take the BMW M2’s pitch-perfect rev-matching every time. That means if you go direct from say sixth to second there is a big re, but if you prefer the Niki Lauda style of going through each individual gear... 6-5-4-3-2... the transmission cleverly gives you less revs on each shift - brilliant!
In Sport mode (weightier steering and crisper throttle calibration), the BMW M2 Pure could well be the best car we’ll drive this year over our mountain road test loop.
It’s as simple as that.
This thing is just so direct with its steering feedback, planted mid-turn and beautifully balanced even with deliberate stomping on the throttle (which got the driver assistance technologies excited, but that’s all).
Fancy a little oversteer on wet roads... easy just select M Dynamic mode.
But, as always with cars like this, the smoothest and fastest way from Point A to Point B is actually to dial-up all of the available technology and let the car’s sensors and computers do the hard yakka for you. That’s what F1 drivers do and, on public roads, it’s the safest plan.
More mundane things?
Well, we loaded a TMR junior and a mate (both aged 13) into the rear seat of the BMW M2 Pure for a three-hour round-trip to beautiful Portsea on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsular and had no complaints. Sure, full-size adults won’t be enamored with a long journey in the rear… but this is not that sort of car.
And the 390-litre boot while surprisingly spacious didn’t quite pass the MGB (multiple golf bags test) - “well boo-bloody-hoo,” we hear the performance car fans screaming (but just sayin’).
On the downside…
Well in baseball terms, BMW has definitely hit a ‘foul ball’ by failing to include rear cross-traffic alert in the M2 Pure – not good in a car with this price tag.
And tyre noise on coarse chip bitumen has you reaching to increase the volume in the audio system.
ANCAP rating: Not yet tested by ANCAP
Safety Features: Six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes with Dynamic Brake Control and Cornering Brake Control, lane departure warning
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 Years/unlimited kilometres
Servicing: Nominally 12 months (varies according to the on-board Condition Based Servicing System)
Capped Price Service: Yes, BMW Service Inclusive – an up-front $2163 fee covers basic servicing for up to 5 years/80,000kms (whichever comes first)
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
As always, it’s Mercedes-Benz, in this case the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 which is listed at $89,500 (plus on-roads) that muscles up to the M2 Pure. The four-door pocket-rocket trumps the M2's outputs with 280kW/475Nm (except when the M2 draws on its overboost reserves) and boasts an armada of Merc’s driver assistance technologies to help you go… well… fast actually.
Definitely worth a look is the ripping Audi RS3 ($78,900 plus on-road charges). With a 270kW/465Nm punch, plus its well-known soundtrack, Audi’s 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder is a pearler. All-wheel-drive handling definitely garners some votes as does Audi’s hallmark gorgeous interior.
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 45
- Audi RS 3
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The BMW M2 Pure is sheer brute, right to its core – buffed, muscular, and wickedly fast to drive, it is all about indulging the driver in you.
You’d hardly call it ‘family-friendly’, there is precious little leg-room in the rear seat.
Hurl it over your favourite road, and it will have your neck-hairs tingling. We’re left marvelling at that six-speed manual transmission – it is impossible to tire of those perfectly pitched throttle-blipping downchanges (even when just ducking to the corner store for some milk).
Thing is, after a week in the BMW M2 Pure, we do have a question mark over the value of shelling-out an extra $9-large for the more upscale model.
This car, the M2 Pure, is BMW’s ‘M’ Division maestros at their very best. It’s almost a bargain.
- Interested in buying BMW M2? Visit our BMW M2 showroom for more information.