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Driven: M2 Coupe a big drawcard for BMW

Top seller: The smallest model in BMW M line-up, the M2, is now the biggest seller, thanks to improved supplies from Europe.

BMW launches M2 Coupe but demand, limited stock pushes buyers to other M cars

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BMW logo26 Apr 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

BMW Australia has put a positive spin on the lengthy delays facing buyers of its long-awaited but supply-restricted M2 Coupe, claiming the situation is having a beneficial effect on sales of the larger M3 and M4 performance cars.

The M2 was launched to the media in Melbourne last week, however first deliveries are not expected until December – strong early demand after pricing was announced last December is also now pushing arrival dates out into 2017 – and the local subsidiary has requested from the factory a bigger allocation than the 300 examples earmarked for Australia this year.

BMW Group Australia product and market planning manager Shaun Ticehurst told GoAuto that prospective buyers might enter a BMW showroom looking for an M2, only to find other M-division cars match their requirements better after comparing them side-by-side.

The fact that delivery times for the larger M cars are quoted in a matter of weeks, rather than months, also clearly helps.

“What we’re seeing is while the M2 is having an impact on sales of the M3 and M4, it is in a positive way,” Mr Ticehurst said.

“Customers are coming to the (dealer) launch event for M2 and then walking away either saying, firstly, ‘You know what, I do maybe want the bigger car or four-door M3’ – or that ‘I like the fact I can adapt all the suspension and steering and the whole interior and more powerful engine of the M3 and M4 … and so you know what, that car is more for me.’“The other one is, ‘You know, I can probably get an M3 in two months rather than being quoted a ‘wait ’til the end of the year’. And that’s good. If M2 does that job to bring people in to create interest in BMW, and they end up driving out in an M3 or M4, then that’s great for us.”

The waiting period is a result of limited global supply for the M2 Coupe, although there is no production cap as with the preceding E82 1 Series M Coupe of 2011, of which 6309 units were produced.

The original figure was meant to be just 2700 until demand worldwide far outstripped supply.

“At this stage we’re confident that we’ll get the 300 stock this year,” Mr Ticehurst said. “We should get a bit more than that. It’s basically a weekly request to Munich right now to get more.”

Helping BMW Australia’s cause is the fact that this market is second behind South Africa for the highest proportion of M vehicle sales in the world.

“It does help, and even now our 300 units is probably pretty good compared to what some other countries are getting as a proportion of total sales,” Mr Ticehurst said. “We’ll keep playing that card to help get more cars.” Part of the M2 appeal is the Australian-driven development of the manual-only Pure, satiating local demand for more track-based models with fewer high-level features that serve to reduce weight (the manual tips the scales at 1495kg, 25kg less than the auto), increase the “pure” driving experience and, not least of all, lower the price – in this case, by $9000.

BMW expects a 15 per cent take-up for the M2 Pure, as most buyers in the high-performance sphere are now gravitating towards automatic or dual/multi-clutch transmissions.

The M2 Pure Coupe kicks off from $89,900 plus on-road costs, which is $12,400 more than the previous performance flagship, the M235i, but $50,000 less than the M3 sedan – or $60,000 less than the M4 Coupe.

While this makes it the least expensive BMW M-car ever offered in Australia, the newcomer is still undercut to the tune of up to $11,000 by the $79,900 Mercedes-AMG A45 and $78,900 Audi RS3 Sportback – though both of these are transverse-engined front-to-AWD propositions against the M2 Coupe’s rear-drive configuration.

Some 36mm longer and 80mm wider than a current 220i Coupe, the newcomer’s tracks have been pushed out to the tune of 58mm up front and 45mm at the rear.

Wearing the M division’s aggressive body-widening treatment, the M2 features bulging mudguards to house the larger M3’s rear axle and 19-inch wheels. The nose includes a revised kidney grille, bumper and air intake design, while out back a quad exhaust system, restyled diffuser and bootlid spoiler give the game away.

Under the bonnet, both M2 varieties are motivated by a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder single-turbo engine. Dubbed N55, this M powertrain delivers 272kW of power at 6500rpm and 465Nm of torque to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual in the Pure or a seven-speed M DCT with six driving programs – three in auto and three in manual, working on shift dynamics, timing and intensity of gearshifts.

Benefiting from launch control (as part of the Drive Logic system also providing “creep on demand” and “slight rear-wheel slip function”), the M DCT is faster, sprinting from zero to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds rather than the manual’s 4.5s, on the way to an electronically limited 250km/h V-max.

Similarly, the DCT version uses less fuel on the official combined cycle – 7.9 litres per 100km compared to 8.5L/100km for the manual.

On the other hand, taking the traditional route ushers in a gearbox with carbon-fibre friction lining and a throttle blip function for smoother/faster downchanges, as well as reduced engine revs on upshifts.

Speaking of which, among the mechanical changes are high-performance cooling components, with an extra water cooler in the radiator and M DCT BMW M also fits an extra oil return pump from the M3/M4 to boost lubrication, while the turbo uses the Twin Power exhaust charge system that is channelled into two inlet ports.

Based on a highly modified 3 Series platform, the M2 Coupe has struts up front and a five-link M Sport rear suspension set-up. Servotronic dual-mode electric power steering, an Active M differential and M compound brakes are also to be found.

The 19-inch alloys have Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/35ZR19 tyres up front and 265/35ZR19s on the rear.

No adaptive dampers are offered.

The Pure misses out on features such as an alarm, adaptive headlights, the keyless ‘comfort access system’, Harman Kardon audio system and electric heated front sports seats.

Both M2 variants are fitted with Dakota leather upholstery, Alcantara and carbon-fibre trim inlays, climate-control air-conditioning, satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, lane-departure warning, city autonomous braking, pedestrian warning, a tyre pressure monitor, rear-parking assistant with rearview camera and bi-Xenon headlights.

Additionally, a BMW ‘ConnectedDrive’ GoPro and M Laptimer app allows viewing and recording of driving performance directly through the car’s iDrive controller.

2016 BMW M2 pricing*
M2 Pure$89,900
M2 (a)$98,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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