There’s life yet in these ‘dinosaurs’

Doctor on the Road: BMW M2

Independent Practitioner Today’s motoring correspondent Dr Tony Rimmer finds BMW’s latest M2 is another great M-car – but fears it may be one of the last of the breed of internal-combustion engined sports-coupés.

I have, in previous articles, referred to the importance of brand image with regard to the clinics we work from and, in some cases, individual practitioners. 

If we can inspire confidence in our clients that is based on high quality and reliable service, then our business will thrive. The car-makers are no different. 

Their sales are influenced heavily by their brand status and this is half the battle when it comes to attracting potential buyers into their showrooms. 

We medics are attracted to the more premium brands and there is one make that stands out when it comes to buying a car with a reputation for sportiness and quality: BMW. 

This long-held reputation was created by BMW’s links to motorsport and the production of well-made road cars with great performance and genuine appeal for the keen driver. 


Clever marketing

Although the vast majority of the cars that BMW sells and makes its profits from are the lower-powered and cheaper models, it is the ‘halo’ low-production M-series cars that grab the performance headlines and attract us to the brand. 

This is clever marketing, but it would not stand up for long if the M-series cars did not continue to deliver real thrills on the road. So, can they still do so? Do the latest M cars continue to fulfil the brief? 

I have been driving the latest M2 coupé to find the answers. Based on a shortened 3-series platform, it uses the same brilliant 3.0litre six-cylinder engine as the M3 saloon and the M4 coupé, so it is compact and powerful. 

With 454bhp on tap and being rear-wheel drive, it actually has slightly larger 20-inch rear wheels to allow greater rubber contact with the road to aid traction.

What makes the M2 special is the availability of a six-speed manual gearbox. It may be a bit slower to 62mph than the standard eight-speed auto model – 4.3 seconds versus 4.1 seconds – but imparts a real analogue feel to the driving experience. 

Call me old-fashioned, but the days of manual gearboxes are severely limited and the real satisfaction you get from slotting the ratios at exactly the right time with smooth pedal work is something to be savoured. 

Well done to BMW for offering this option – even if it is at a £1,200 premium. 

Means business

Visually, the M2 stands out from lesser 2-series coupés with an aggressive stance which, in my eyes, is a little over the top in a boy-racer way. I prefer more subtle styling that doesn’t attract too much of the wrong attention. 

However, it does look like it means business and would look comfortable on a racing track. 

Inside, all the usual BMW attributes abound, with a perfect driving position, plenty of leather trim and full, clear and easy-to-use controls. Front-seat passengers are spoiled by excellent sports seats, but rear space is slightly compromised.

You can fit two adults in the rear for short journeys, but this is not a full four-seat tourer. Boot space is generous for a sporty coupé, although the opening is a bit narrow.

The M2 is designed and built to be driven and as I gripped the lovely and perfectly sized leather steering-wheel, pressed the red start button and engaged first gear, I prepared, hopefully, to be entertained. 

I need not have worried – the steering is sharp with great feedback and power delivery is very strong, smooth and linear. 

The chassis has been tuned with the driver in mind. Along challenging B-roads, the adjustability offered by simple alterations of the throttle through corners is very impressive.

True sports car

This is a true sports car and competes at the same level as the excellent and more expensive Porsche Cayman – praise indeed. 

What I did not anticipate is the superb ride quality that is not expected in a car of such performance capabilities. 

Yes, it is firm, but it absorbs most road imperfections without complaint – a perfectly judged compromise. This helps on the motorway too, where supressed wind and road noise combine to make this a great mile-eater.

We medic petrolheads can breathe a sigh of relief – BMW has done it again. The latest M2 is another great M-car and may be one of the last of the breed of internal-combustion engined sports-coupés. 

I am all for electrification for our future driving needs, but let us hope that it won’t be long before an electric vehicle can impress and excite the driver as much as the M2 did for me.

Dr Tony Rimmer (right) is a former NHS GP practising in Guildford, Surrey