Road Trips and Dealer Visits Galore for Our Four Seasons 2017 BMW M2
Miles to go before we sleep
Cold and slush did little to cool our love affair with our Four Seasons 2017 BMW M2, which powered through a Midwestern winter as chariot on several big road trips. Over thousands of miles from Florida, all the way to Toronto, and across Michigan, the M2 proved itself a versatile long-distance companion. For a rubber-roasting sports car of this ilk, it's been a pleasant surprise.
The M2's first big outing was to Canada, where yours truly piled on more than 600 miles of mostly highway driving. My girlfriend Michelle and I loaded the trunk with a pair of suitcases and backpacks, which fit easily without needing to fold down the rear seats. From Ann Arbor, Michigan it's about 4.5 hours to Toronto, not including the requisite stop at Tim Horton's for the all-important Timbits and hot chocolate. The ride is a largely monotonous haul flanked by farmland and windmills, which offered up plenty of time to take note of the M2's interior.
Now nicely broken in, the M2's leather seats were both comfortable and supportive throughout the drive. I was able to dial in the lumbar support and side bolstering to stay nice and snug behind the wheel, repositioning the adjustable thigh-pad periodically to prevent my right leg from cramping up. We even managed to keep all of the wet road grime safely from the carpet, thanks to the WeatherTech mats I was able to reuse from our departed Four Seasons 2014 BMW M235i. The heated seats get toasty right away, and the heated steering wheel is a big help in cold weather if you can find the switch for it hidden on the left side of the steering column.
Although BMW is pushing its tech features more in the 5 and 7 Series than in the 2, our M2 does have a few party tricks beyond smoky burnouts and snappy gearshifts from the dual-clutch. First is the on-board WiFi, which I happily used on the trip in concert with the Pandora app. The interface of BMW's iDrive system is still not as user-friendly as that of the phone, but it's works and lets you keep your eyes somewhat ahead. More importantly, the hotspot helped avoid roaming charges on my phone for international data usage.
The M2 is also equipped with lane-departure warning and a forward collision warning system, both of which come in handy on long road trips. The forward-collision system warns you at first with a red illuminated car icon in the instrument cluster, which is a nice, gentle way of telling you to stop tailgating. The lane-departure warning system alerts you via vibrations on the steering wheel (there's no actual intervention if you veer off), but the warning should be a bit more aggressive - sometimes I wasn't even aware the system was try to alert me until I hit the rumble strip.
Later, the M2 went on its second big adventure, venturing all the way to Amelia Island, Florida to join in on the 2017 Automobile All-Stars festivities, making its way through several climates along the way. On the return trip, the M2 was able to sink its teeth into some twisty roads in the Carolinas, both in the Pisgah Highlands and up the Tail of the Dragon. In 40-degree weather, these winding paths were mostly deserted, leaving plenty of space for the M2 to give its Pirelli winter rubber a workout.
After returning back to Michigan, the M2's service reminder came on at 11,879 miles. In addition to the oil change, filter, and inspection (all covered under warranty), we opted to have a small scrape on the front fascia repaired. Our dealer referred us to Automark Collision in Farmington Hills, MI, which mended and repainted the bumper at the eye-watering cost of $1,112.69, mostly because of the labor-intensive procedure. That's less than an all-new bumper, but certainly not easy on the checkbook, either. We continued the upkeep by remounting the OEM summer tires on the M2's 19-inch wheels to the tune of $100.00 at our local tire shop.
Shortly after receiving its summer shoes, the M2 headed back south to meet its predecessor, the 1M. Then, once the weather finally cleared up, I started getting the itch to hit the track and signed up for SCCA Track Night in America at Gingerman Raceway. Ahead of the event, I took the M2 in for a brake inspection (all fine) and fluid change at the dealer, which tacked on another $139.82.
Thrilled to be back out on a racetrack under the sun, I approached my first session at Gingerman with a smile plastered on my face. Once the tires were warmed up, I booted the throttle and charged the M2 up Turn 2. An immediate downshift from the super-slick transmission was followed by a mild but still immensely enjoyable bit of oversteer coming onto the straight before Turn 3. The torque is fantastic. The brakes are stout and get better throughout my run. The steering is precise. I wonder how much this car would be worth by the end of our 12 months with it. By the end of the first session I'm already working through where I may have braked too late or turned in too early, and I'm listening eagerly for the announcer to call my run group for the second session.
Then, that infuriating light on the dashboard. Two laps into my second session, going 90 mph down the back straight, I see the tire-pressure light pop on along with a warning message on the center screen advising me to slow down and investigate. Part of me thinks it's just the system overreacting to the bit of air I let out of the tires to bring them closer to recommended operating pressure when hot, but the more cautious voice in my head says I better pit and have a look. Parked in the paddock, I hear the faint hiss of air and know my day is likely over just as it was starting to get going. Damn. A shard of metal I must have picked up somewhere in the paddock had wedged itself deeply in the driver's side rear tire.
At least the tire didn't blow while I was on the track. But with just a can of fix-a-flat in the trunk instead of a spare, I was soon on the horn with BMW roadside assistance. To their credit, BMW roadside sent out a truck within an hour or so. Before long, I was taking the ride of shame out of Gingerman's front gate on the back of a flatbed. By then it was almost 8 pm, meaning every local shop was closed, leaving me no option aside from a dealership in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There, I met up with contributing editor Marc Noordeloos, who kindly agreed to handle the tire replacement the next day (in exchange for him keeping the car for several weeks, of course). All told, the damage was $335.87 — $290.87 for a new rear tire from Tire Rack (delivered the next day from nearby South Bend, IN) and $45.00 to get it mounted and balanced.
The M2 has taken these hiccups in stride and come out on the other side none the worse for wear. We'll have much more to report after Noordeloos' month behind the wheel, so stay tuned.
Our 2017 BMW M2
|MILES TO DATE||16,646|
|ENGINE||3.0L DOHC turbocharged 24-valve I-6/365 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 343 lb-ft @ 1,400-5,560 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/26 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph|