Such is the demand for the new BMW M2 that we’ve been waiting with barely baited breath for a spin on home turf. It goes well. To begin with…
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|Inline 6cyl, turbo, 2979cc||365bhp @ 6500rpm||500Nm (369lb ft) @ 1450-4750rpm||4.5secs||250kph||1495kg (248bhp/ton)||$62,200|
Through the windscreen, dusk has settled firmly into night, the only light – save the beam from my headlamps – being the slightly off-neon blue of the infotainment system, and THAT orange light on screen in front of me. As the wheels finally crawl to a halt, it’s burning so brightly, I swear it’s mocking me.
I thumb the hazard warning light, more out of instinct than actual necessity before deciding against pushing it. I seriously doubt there’s anybody on this road at this time. We haven’t seen another car, or another person for that matter, for well over two hours.
I’m finding it difficult to contain my frustration. I’ve waited semi-patiently for several months for this car and this road, contenting myself with reviews and glowing articles about the new BMW M2’s handling, engine performance and all-round sense of character across both South California’s bustling B-roads and highways, and, naturally, Laguna Seca during the car’s official launch.
Laguna. Freaking. Seca. A personal favourite of mine after innumerable IndyCar races and Playstation 2 laps. Added to that is the homage being paid by BMW’s latest track weapon to the original E30 M3 from 1986, arguably M-division’s greatest achievement and another personal favourite. It’s a heady mix of contemporary tech and design with just enough old school clout to make the new M2, easily, one of the most highly awaited and sought after M-cars in recent memory.
Seriously. The model I’m sitting in is the only example BMW Middle East itself could source so soon after the California launch, so quickly have regional customers scrabbled for the 1M Coupe’s successor. After all, it’s an M car many predicted would, or even ‘should’, be better than the M4 that came before it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. And it’s all come to this.
Through the partial darkness, there’s a crackle over the radio by my right elbow. It’s the guys in the camera car, now well out of sight up ahead:
“You think you can make it?”
“…nah, I’d say it’s game over…”
Those last words resonate as I switch the headlamps off. Fortunately there’s less cloud and more light from the half-moon than I previously thought. Anybody who might happen by should at least be able to see the car. It does make the rock faces around me rather eery though, the shadows bouncing off them at perfect angles to play tricks with my mind. I could swear there’s a face looking at me over there…
“Here is an M car, inspired by the original E30, that many predicted would, or should, be better than the M4”
In truth, my frustration is aimed squarely at the berk staring back at me in the rear-view mirror. The tank isn’t quite dry yet, but there’s 40km to go before the next petrol station, and there’s no way even the M2’s (claimed) 6.4L/100km stands a chance against that. We have no jerry can either, meaning the guys will have to do the 80km round trip while I stay with the BMW, memories of the drive playing back in my head.
It seems glibly funny now that the isolation of this road on the outskirts of Fujairah is one of the main reasons we chose it for today’s test drive and photoshoot. That, plus a spectacular combination of low speed uphill corners that twist their way around the rocky outcrop and further into the mountain range, beyond which lie several dozen kilometres of fast sweeping turns and throttle testing straight-line stretches. On both sides, jutting into the sky, are ever-more auburn rock faces ready to rebound high-pitched engine notes back towards us. In short, perfect M-car terrain.
And while it did take a while to drag my eyes away from that admittedly beautiful bodywork, it had been the turbocharged six-cylinder that first struck. Don’t let that TwinPower nomenclature fool you, since this is actually the single turbocharged 3-litre ‘N55’ six-cylinder lifted straight from the M 235i (or X4 m40i if you’re a frequent wearer of cardigans). Granted the new heart has been given some Steve Austin treatment courtesy of cranks, pistons – see what we did there…? – Ed. – and turbo nous from the M4. That does technically make this a non-M specific engine powerplant – calm yourselves chaps – but there’s nothing even remotely entry level about the performance. Zero to the ton is taken care of in a Cayman S-rivalling 4.5 seconds courtesy of 365bhp and 343lb ft of torque, the limited 250kph top speed a Germanic hallmark.
Injections from the M4 continue across the board, the lightweight aluminium axles, Active M differential and stouter brakes having also been lifted straight from big brother. And while the M2 shares the M235i’s short-wheelbase chassis, there’s additional bracing at the front for better structural rigidity, and larger 19in alloys clad with grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sports. That, plus a wider rear track with yet beefier bodywork that heaves over those gorgeous twin spokes for a more squat stance. Ideal, hopefully, for perfect balance through the corners. But more on that shortly. Back to the engine.
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