Blitzer baby BMW for NZ

BMW’s newly-announced M2 is expected to be a fast mover – sales and performance-wise.


IMMEDIATE Kiwi interest in the next baby BMW M-car is such that the distributor has promised New Zealand will be virtually first in line for the car on its international release.

Paul Sherley, product planning manager for BMW NZ, has confirmed to Motoring Network that the M2, a firecracker flagship successor to the 1 Series M Coupe briefly sold here in 2012, will definitely be available in this market, albeit holding the same limited edition status as its fabulous forebear.

“It launches globally in April next year, so we will have it at the same time,” Sherley said.

He imagined that demand will mirror that experienced for the 1 Series M Coupe, which virtually sold out even before first examples had landed despite the hefty $109,990 price.

“It’s the spiritual successor to a car that had something of a cult following .. It’s an iconic car. There is still a very high demand for that car (1 Series M Coupe). There are, I think, just 35 of them in New Zealand and when once occasionally comes up for sale it gets snapped up really quickly.”

Although the rear-wheel-drive two-door won’t make its full debut until the Detroit motor show in January, BMW has already revealed the basic details.

It is powered by a twin-scroll-turbo 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine whose outputs of 272kW/465Nm place it handily ahead of the 250kW/450Nm 1 Series M Coupe and allows a jaw-dropping 0-100kmh time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of around 270kmh.

That’s right on the money to compete with Mercedes’ four-cylinder AMG 45 models (265kW/450Nm) and the newly-installed five-pot Audi RS3 (270kW/465Nm).

Speaking of dollars … BMW’s existing 2 Series performance champion, the M235i, is at $105,100 already priced at a premium over the other Germans in Australia. With Sherley saying there will need for any price re-alignment for the existing models, it seems the M2 will set a new pricing high for the model type, even if it maintains status as the cheapest M in this market.

It seems probable BMW NZ will trade on the car’s exclusivity and the fact that it will be only marginally less powerful than the 317kW/530Nm M3 in dual clutch form (where the M3 is just 0.2 seconds quicker). The M235i clocks 0-100kmh in 5s.

“M2 is going to be similar to the 1 M in that it will be a relatively restricted production run … there will not be hundreds on the road. Our regional allocation is going to be very small.”

The M2’s engine is reportedly a reworking of the M135i’s 240kW/450Nm unit rather than a version of the twin-turbo six-pot screamer in the M3 and M4. The M2’s peak power is achieved at 6500rpm, while top torque comes in at just 1400rpm. An over boost function during kick-down can blow the torque out to 500Nm.

Fuel economy is claimed at 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the European combined test scale for the manual version, and 7.9L/100km for the DCT.

The M2 takes the lightweight aluminium sports suspension originally developed for the current M3 and M4, along with 19-inch alloy wheels with wider tyres at the rear.

Power is delivered to the rear wheels via an active differential for what BMW calls optimal traction and directional control. A multi-mode ESC system includes a drift-friendly dynamic mode.

Track fun also drives a GoPro app loaded into BMW’s Connected Drive system. This allows the driver to hook up a camera to record fast laps. At the same time, the driver can record lap times, speeds and braking points on the M Lap timer for sharing on social media.

Body wise, the M2 is distinguished from its more pedestrian brethren by a sharp-edged front bumper with bigger air openings and lower splitter, as well as flared guards and a unique rear-end treatment that includes a tiny rear lip pointer and black diffuser incorporating quad exhaust pipes.

M sports seats; sports steering wheel and gearshift lever get leather with blue contrast stitching. Front brake callipers are blue too.