New Zeeland-based magazine Stuff spent some time around the race track aboard a slew of BMW M models. From the all-new BMW M5, to the super fun 1M, and the class leader M3, and even the unconventional X6 M, the folks at Stuff put these M badged cars to a real test and shared their impressions.
Here is an excerpt from their review:
“Hampton Downs’ serpentine nadgery is made all the more interesting by the fact that it’s that rare bird in New Zealand: a racetrack with changes of elevation.
Thus what looks like a series of pretty regular curves in plan form requires a seriously three- dimensional understanding while driving.
Having previously driven lighter, ostensibly “sporting” cars into tyre-howling submission at Hampton Downs, the prospect of directing almost two tonnes and four doors of brand-new 552-horsepower German luxury on it gave a certain dryness to the throat and a quickening of the pulse.
Not to worry – it was a BMW M5, after all.
It’s big and its heavy.
Amazingly, that all but disappears on the track. True, the car’s massive 20-inch wheels and tyres (265 front, 295 rear) take great chunks out of the fresh tarmacadam used for Hampton Downs’ heavily repaired infield bends when you turn in, but you’ll find it doesn’t squeal, or resist your intentions.
It goes where it’s pointed and while you can feel the car’s M-Dynamic Stability Control at work, when it’s in dynamic mode, it still allows a nudge of tail-out attitude. And when, a split second later it’s time to bring everything back into line, it’s not a Clarkson- like lurch, but a return to the status quo so smooth you want to shout “I did that!”
I didn’t, of course, but the M5’s chassis made it seem like I did.
Where the M5 really impresses is the way it gathers up ground between the corners. With the car’s “M” button prodded, the way this roomy steel and leather lounge room catapults to the next change of direction is astonishing.
BMW 1-SERIES M COUPE
Engine: 3-litre 24v I-6. 250kW/450Nm $111,200. Performance: 0-100kmh 5.2secs, top speed on Hampton Downs 195kmh.
The smallest, least expensive and slowest M-car, the M Coupe, is also probably the most entertaining, with a delightfully incisive character on the track that belies its easy-to-drive nature on the road. Wonderfully flexible twin- power turbocharged in-line six delivers a very usable power and torque curve. This allows tremendous throttle adjustability of the car’s cornering attitude and remarkable economy when you’re running the car day-to-day on the road. It’s probably the Porsche Cayman’s only rival as a road and track car, but almost $20,000 cheaper.