The new BMW M2 and 7 Series
"The M2 has to be one of the sweetest performance road cars we’ve seen from the BMW brand"
It could be that future generations will never know what it’s like to enjoy the challenge of mastering the driving of a great car; terms such as handling, driver feel, understeer, oversteer, pitch, and yaw have no relevance to sitting in a pod!
The feeling that excites many of us when accelerating through the gears to an aural symphony of a truly sporting engine, could soon be replaced by solemn faces of depression as we sit in a glass circle at the mercy of driverless technology.
The driving machine
But right now at this very moment we don’t really care, for we are sitting behind the wheel of the new BMW M2 at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, a tool dedicated to the pure business of driving. As we head out to Millbrook’s famous handling circuit, the M2 feels so good that you almost want to take it and lock it away for future generations to be reminded of the true thrill of driving.
This pocket rocket, launched in autumn last year, is powered by a specially developed 3.0 litre straight six engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, generating 370bhp, and hitting the 0-60 mph sprint benchmark in 4.3 seconds. It was honed for exceptional handling ability on the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit and feels it.
The M2 has to be one of the sweetest performance road cars we’ve seen from the BMW brand, arguably exceeding both the M3 and M4 for outright fun. Its compact size, reduced weight, powerful engine, perfectly weighted steering and masses of grip are so engaging that you will spend your whole life looking for excuses to drive it. ‘Ours’ had the seven speed semi-automatic DCT transmission which is brilliant, whilst approx. 25% of buyers are predicted to go for the manual shift. Neither transmission option is the ‘short straw’, the M2 proving one of the most exciting cars on the planet – at any price.
Step into 7 Heaven. Open either the front or rear doors to this ultimate expression of executive luxury. The dilemma is do you drive or choose to be chauffeured? No doubt its owners regularly take advantage of both. We don’t have enough space to list the endless technology, but suffice to say the new 7 Series represents a benchmark in luxury travel and cutting edge in-car technology. Optional highlights are the Ambient Air package (an in car scent programme), a total massage facility even offering the option of a ‘gym’ muscle work-out, BMW gesture control (allowing you to operate some controls with a simple wave of the arm), remote control parking (from the key fob), and a top of the line Bowers and Wilkins sound system which is so good you may well end up sitting in the car to listen to music without actually going anywhere.
At the back there’s enough legroom for even a six footer (like me) to have a good stretch, a centre console with touch-screen for media, sound, privacy blinds, climate control, TV, phone, rear lighting, massage, seat programming and (phew!) music! At night it is even more impressive with red ambient lighting creating an atmosphere of sophisticated elegance. It’s a luxury lounge on wheels really and so quiet, yet its 3.0 litre turbo charged diesel engine can achieve an incredible 1,300 miles on a full tank.
The 7 is equally pleasurable behind the wheel. With three drive setting options the BMW 7 can be ‘whatever you want me to be darling’. Its choice of Economy, Comfort, or Sport settings let you be anything from environmentally friendly to the devil from hell. It’s the Sport setting that surprises most – relentlessly pinning you to the back of the seat on acceleration but with civilised rather than overly aggressive urge. Handling is mighty impressive for a car of its size and bulk; it is hampered only by its size on challenging winding roads. These cars may be chalk and cheese, but we’d have either of them over a pod sandwich any day.
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