NOT too often would we swap Sydney weather for Melbourne, but on this day, boy was this writer glad to escape Sydney’s rain for the sun-soaked Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, and a date with BMW’s M2 CS.
We wouldn’t have long with the M2 CS, only a handful of laps in total, so we would need to make them count (a full review will come in time, but this story is about what it’s like to push this car to its limits on one of the world’s great race tracks).
Walking out into pit lane, we were greeted with two offerings; one with the M double-clutch automatic gearbox and sticky Michelin Cup 2 tyres, the other with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Yours truly opted to drive the 6-speed manual version first and was pleasantly surprised with the beautifully precise action of the manual shifter, and the lightness of the clutch pedal.
My immediate thought, “this is so easy you could drive this every day, even in Sydney’s traffic”.
Filing out of pit lane onto the front straight and opening the taps of the 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder turbo engine, you feel every bit of the 331kW and 550Nm on offer before grabbing the next gear, and that feeling starts all over again.
Opt for the M DCT automatic and the only thing that changes is the instant change of each gear, which leaves us with immediate and relentless as the first two words to add to our M2 CS vocabulary.
Approach a corner, and whether you heel and toe on the downshift or flick the left-hand paddle, the M2 CS decelerates powerfully with composure, as you eye the next apex.
Start turning the M Alcantara steering wheel and the M2 CS responds accurately and immediately (there’s that word again), offering needle sharp turn-in and mid-corner grip.
This is in part thanks to the optional Michelin Cup 2 tyres, carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) weight optimised exterior parts, and the specifically tuned adaptive M suspension.
Start applying some throttle and you feel just how playful and adjustable the M2 CS is on the limit. Hang the tail out in a lurid smoky slide, or have it dancing either side of the limit of adhesion.
The M2 CS gives you a range of options on how you want to take a corner by letting you put the M2 CS exactly where you want. Add in precise and playful, to that vocabulary. It’s a proper package of driving fun.
And just as quickly as this article has come to an end, so did our brief but eye-opening encounter with the M2 CS. Two 3-lap blasts in each version was enough to leave us salivating for some more time with what is sure to become a highly sought-after machine.
With only 86 2021 BMW M2 CS coming to Australia, and 45 per cent of the allocation being manual, demand will be high. A short wheelbase combined with these levels of power and grip offer a go-kart on steroids type of experience.
It puts a huge smile on your face and gives us our final and most defining word for our M2 CS vocabulary, desire.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia as part of a track-based launch event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. To find out more about the 2021 BMW M2 CS, contact your local BMW dealer.