hotly anticipated BMW M2 has arrived at the Sandal Wakefield BMW showroom!
Coming with 453bhp from its twin-turbo 3.0-litre in-line six, fitted
with the new curved central information and
display and burdened with the incredible popularity and legacy
of the previous generation M2 to live up to, you can see why there is such
a buzz around the new M2.
And here at the dealership, we are only human too. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on our new M2 and check out everything about it. With BMW giving the option of a manual gearbox, the new M2 is one of the few performance cars around these days that is putting driver engagement at the forefront of the reason for making the car. It is made for people who get in their car because they want to drive it, not just to get to a destination.
This is why we decided that we had to take our new manual M2 out for spin on a road that is equally as engaging. Let’s just call it an initiation.
Only one road came to mind - Buttertubs Pass. A stretch of tarmac draped over picturesque moors in the Yorkshire Dales. Now, if you haven't heard of this road before then this probably sounds like the LEAST exciting road you could possibly imagine. An image of a milk float driving through a breezy meadow probably comes to mind. But it is often voted as one of the UK’s best driving roads, with killer drops and flowing corners.
To give the M2 a thorough workout, we decided to do a popular route that takes you around the surrounding area of the pass. We kicked things off at Castle Bolton, a 14th-century, semi-derelict castle. A fitting start to a road trip.
From there we headed over to the small village of Askrigg and then on to Hawes with the M2 soaking up the bumps of the rural tarmac as we cruised in ‘Road’ mode, which puts everything on the M2 into its softest setting, providing an excellent level of ride comfort. Surprising given this is such a performance orientated car!
While we were taking it easy, we had a play around with the new infotainment of the M2 which is a HUGE leap from the previous model. Now running operating system 8 on the large, curved display, the cabin has a cleaner design to it with fewer buttons. But if you’re like me, who is a big fan of a good old physical button and thinks that now it’s nearly exclusively touch screen, everything is going to be hidden in a menu within a menu, don’t worry. Everything is laid out exactly how you would think, it’s very intuitive, with key actions like the climate control fixed to the bottom of the screen regardless of the page you are on for quick access. The advanced voice control that comes with operating system 8 also helps with this as it allows you to do pretty much anything now by simply asking. Want your heated seat turned on? Ask the car. Don’t know how to turn traffic information off? Ask the car. Want to make your passenger think they are about to get ejected out of your car? Ask the car. (That last one is honestly brilliant, say “activate ejector seat” and… well I’ll let you find out what happens!)
When we made it to Hawes (one of the biggest villages on the route) we had built up quite the appetite, so we stopped for some fish and chips, where the M2 got lots of admiring looks, before setting off for the next stop, Buttertubs Pass itself.
The first thing that hit (smacked) us in the face when we made it onto the pass is that the view in any direction is like a picture. Rolling moors, purple heather and sheep roaming freely. Beautiful!
Immediately after that initial hit though, our attention quickly changed to the road stretched out in front of us. The elevation changes, the sweeping bends and the quietness makes for such an involving drive in any car. Pair this with the new M2 however, and it heightens that even further.
With 9bhp more than the hardcore M2 CS of the previous generation (the F87 for anyone interested) the in-line six-cylinder engine in the new M2 provides ample power to allow you to have great fun when the mood takes you. And even despite all the latest noise and emission regulations that cars must meet, the new M2 sounds incredible! BMW have done a great job of still making it pop and bang, and I actually think the M2 sounds better than the M3 and M4, with which it shares its engine, as you can hear more of the turbo when you lift off.
Inside, our M2 is fitted with the sports seats which, on the long drive to get to Buttertubs Pass were comfortable and forgiving, and then when we made it to the Pass made us feel properly secure when cornering. If you want even more support, you can opt for the M Carbon Bucket seats (maybe just bring a cushion if you’re going on a long drive). On the steering wheel, there are the obligatory M1 and M2 buttons that allow you to set up the steering, gearbox, suspension, engine, traction control and engine loudness to your heart’s content. I set up M1 as a cruising, chilling mode with everything at its softest and then M2 as gnarly mode for a bit more fun. Down on the central console, the selection of the manual gearbox means that you will notice more of the road and surroundings you are in, as you have to make sure that you are in the right gear for a steep hill or a tight corner, as the car's not going to do it for you!
Regardless of whether you opt for the manual or the automatic however (the latter actually being even faster at 4.1 seconds to 60mph compared to 4.3 seconds for the manual), you get to enjoy the brilliant set-up of the M2 chassis, which again, is shared with the bigger M3 and M4. When I dialled into M2 mode on the steering wheel, I could feel that on a great British B-Road such as Buttertubs Pass the new M2 is unbelievably supple and agile and with the rear-wheel-drive drivetrain is up on its toes and ready to go. But after we'd blasted over the Pass a few more times we decided it was time to head off to complete the circuit.
The roads through and to the next few villages of Thwaite, Muker and Gunnerside weren't really the best driving roads, having to negotiate closed roads and cow crossings, but even just taking it easy in the M2 feels special and the views out of the window never disappointed.
Heading through the last village of Reeth on the way back to Castle Bolton you could tell that this area is a popular place among the petrolhead community. Lotus after Lotus, Caterhams and Superbikes were parked up and driving through, on their way to Buttertubs Pass. We fitted in very nicely with people giving the M2 plenty of attention.
But a short drive later, it was the end of our road trip. We had made it back to Castle Bolton.
If you are a fan of driving, I would highly recommend driving Buttertubs Pass. If you're a fan of the new M2 or M cars in general, we would love to see you at the Sandal Wakefield BMW showroom (an M certified BMW dealership) to show you around our high-performance stock… even if you just want us to rev it.
Article by Jacob Stanbridge