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Is This the Best Coupe in Singapore? The New BMW M2



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While it’s bigger and heavier than the car it replaces, this second-generation BMW M2 remains one of the most entertaining and engaging premium sports cars in Singapore that money can buy.

Good:

  • Chassis sophistication
  • Quality interior
  • Luxury feel
  • Fun to drive

Less good:

  • Price
  • Few options
  • Little else


What is it?

The 2023 BMW M2 is the second generation of the entry-level of BMW’s authentic M range. There is a cheaper M240i xDrive, which shares some features, but isn’t what a purist would call an M car.

For the latter, look for M2, M3, M4 or M8 badges.

Obviously, there are external differences from the standard 2 Series Coupé.

The M2 has a more muscular stance and a squared-off look, which we think works quite well.

The car is equipped with a carbon-fibre roof that BMW reckons lowers the centre of gravity, but the difference between this and a steel roof is only 6kg, and on a car that weighs 1693kg it is hardly going to make much of a difference.

Still, it is a talking-point.

Under the bonnet is where things get really interesting, with a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre straight six engine producing 460hp and 550Nm of torque. While that’s less than the same engine in the M3, it is quite sufficient.

BMW Claims the M2 will hit 100km/h from a standing start in 4.1 seconds, and on our private test track we confirmed that with a 4.14 second sprint with the 8-speed automatic test car. Given the M2 only drives through the rear wheels, this is very impressive.

Interestingly, there is the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, which is likely to slow that sprint down by a fraction, but which is certain to appeal to enthusiasts. We feel it may be the last time a manual is offered in this car, which is sure to add to the appeal.

We also feel this will be the last M2 that doesn’t feature some sort of hybrid drive, adding to its attraction as a collector’s car.

The M2 comes standard with adaptive damping, which allows you to select just how firm you’d like the ride to be, as well as a suite of features such as a lane-keeping system, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

How does it drive?

Proper M cars share one common attribute, and that’s epic engines.

This one will not disappoint. For a turbo engine it is surprisingly willing to rev, and it races towards its 7,200rpm limiter without running out of puff. There’s loads of punch in the mid-range, and it sounds really good too.

The eight-speed automatic offers lightning-quick shifts, and is a paragon of refinement. It is a torque-converter automatic, rather than an automated manual, which means it doesn’t suffer low-speed drivability issues like so many of those do, and it is set-up to hold the gears you select when used in manual mode.

The M2 marries go-kart agility with a surprisingly civilized ride thanks to its active dampers, which offer a supple and comfortable ride.

Assuming you didn’t need to carry rear seat passengers all the time, it could be happy as a daily drive, albeit one with a playful character.

For a rear-wheel drive vehicle with this much power and a short wheelbase, the M2 could be quite tail-happy, though even in M Dynamic Mode the Electronic Stability Control keeps things within safe limits. It can be deactivated, however.

A 10-stage traction control system lets you select just how quickly those expensive rear tyres go up in smoke.

While it is a fair bit heftier than the old M2, it is a lovely, communicative driver’s car, and one that doesn’t need to be driven hard to be entertaining, which is the sign of a really well-sorted car.

We reckon it is a superstar.

What’s the interior like?

In standard trim the new M2 feels more premium than the car it replaces. The standard front seats are incredibly comfortable, which is more than we can say for the optional carbon-fibre sports seats.

The leather steering wheel has nice contrasting ‘M’ blue and red stitching, and buttons to quickly access the different M driving modes, plus large paddle-shifters (in the automatic model).

There’s a gorgeous curved display that is bright enough to avoid any issues with sun glare.

The centre screen is 14.9-inches, and is operated by touching the screen or with the central iDrive knob, which is nice. The dash is a 12.3-inch item that is part of the same curved unit.

Surprisingly, the two rear seats are adult-sized, though those adults will have to clamber through the front doors to get there.

For a coupé, the bootspace is surprisingly generous at 390 litres, and those rear seats fold 40-20-40, so you can carry four people and still have something long in between.

Conclusion

The new BMW M2 is one of the most entertaining and engaging premium sports cars on the Singapore market. That it is so civilized and easy to live with only increases its desirability.

It is such a good car that we struggled to find any issues with it at all, and the only one we identified was a lack of customization options. The M2 only offers a choice of five different exterior colours, for instance.

That said, even if it were only available in fluorescent pink, we would still think it was one of the most desirable cars available in Singapore.

The video is produced by Chasing Cars, partner of our sister company Budget Direct Australia. Some features or options in the car build and the car’s pricing may not be applicable to the Singapore market (including the availability of car parts). Remember to check with your local dealer for details.

Writer is a motor enthusiast and journalist, Tony Tan.

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