If I had to do a one line review of the TaylorMade M2 driver then it would probably go along the lines of it's the same as the TaylorMade M1, but without the two sliding weights and as a result costs £100 less.
Obviously there is a bit more to it than that, but the price point is one of the main reasons why this club exists, as the M1 offers as much adjustability as anything out there to enable you to fine tune your driver performance to match your swing.
However the M1 is expensive and nowadays a lot of drivers that just have an adjustable hosel have head designs that are so forgiving that they can suit an ever widening range of golfers without having to resort to moving weights around the sole.
This is where the M2 comes in and is the first multi-material driver TaylorMade has created in their lower price point range.
It replaces the AeroBurner driver and in that respect the looks could not be more different. Out goes the white crown, red paint, AeroHosel fin and raised crown and in comes the white titanium front section combined with the black carbon composite crown that makes the M2 look as great as the M1.
The carbon composite crown weighs 12g less than a titanium crown and means that they can move this weight lower in the head to drop the Centre of Gravity (CG) 35% lower and 46% further back than it was in the AeroBurner. Once they make allowances for the bonding required to join the two pieces, this leaves around 6g that can be moved to the sole, which is a lot in club heads.
Like the M1, the top of the crown is higher than the top of the face and this would normally mean that the CG would be higher. This is a good thing for aerodynamics as the smoother gradient to the back of the crown holds the airflow closer to the head for longer. This in turn reduces turbulence and makes the head go through the air faster, which means more ball speed and therefore more distance.
However a taller head usually means a higher CG, but with the lighter carbon composite crown, TaylorMade is able to keep the crown height and also lower the CG and get the best of both worlds.
The other main difference is the re-introduction of the standard TaylorMade aluminium Loft Sleeve adjustable hosel that enables you to change the loft across three settings by up to +/- 2° in an upright or standard lie.
This is one reason why you may see more adjustable M2 drivers on tour than fixed hosel AeroBurners as elite players can now de-loft the face by opening it to create more of an anti-left club than before.
That is enough of the AeroBurner comparisons as TaylorMade are keen to point out that the M2 is not a replacement for AeroBurner, but a bona-fide member of the M family that has moved into the TaylorMade house this year.
So compared to M1 how does the M2 fare?
Given that the sliding weight tracks are now enclosed it gives a solid and more muted sound than the M1 at impact. I probably prefer the M1 acoustics as the looks almost demand a premium sound that announces you are on the tee and have just obliterated the ball.
The sound of both models is excellent in their own way and this is where there are a lot of differences in the construction on the inside, as TaylorMade use fins located all around the inside of the head to improve how it sounds.
Speaking to their design team at the launch in the USA, this required a lot of work, because as you make the speed pocket bigger it increases performances, but significantly changes the sound. Therefore there is a balance between sound and size, which is then refined by the layout of the fin structures on the inside of the head and the work TaylorMade has done here is very impressive when you see it.
The feel is still very good from the Inverted Cone variable thickness face on the M2, even if the head seems does not seem to feel as light through the swing, probably due to the different CG location.
The look at address is almost identical to the M1 apart from the gold lettering of 'Tuned Performance' on the inside of the crown, which seemed to catch my eye more than it should.
Turn the club over and the sole reveals the absence of the weights that gave the M1 such a dramatic look, although the enclosed slot at the front has the same shape as previous TaylorMade weight tracks.
Given that it is still called a Speed Pocket, I was expecting something looking more like the slot on the AeroBurner (sorry, comparison again) as this would have given the M2 a little more character, rather than looking like its weightless brother.
On the range against the other two drivers on a SkyTrak launch monitor the M2 revealed itself to be that forgiving driver for the mass market.
Personally I did not get on with the stock FujiKura Pro 60 stock shaft, particularly as it is longer than the M1's at 45.75 inches.
To make it a fair comparison I swapped in the 0.25 inch shorter Mitsubishi KuroKage shaft I got fitted into with the M1 in both and used the adjustable hosel to match the lofts. This will be an option for you too as TaylorMade say they are offering a choice of shafts at no extra cost through their custom fitting centres.
The result between the two M drivers was very close and certainly ahead of TaylorMade’s previous driver that shall not be compared to. The M1 probably had the edge for me, although the longest drive with each club was the same. Launch, spin, ball speed and most other numbers were also pretty similar from the centre of the face and that is to be expected.
Where the M2 will have an advantage for most golfers is that it is more forgiving on off centre hits, which means that it will suffer less drop off in ball speed for these types of shots, which will make it generally play longer for more golfers than M1.
When I reviewed the M1 driver I was fitted to maximise the performance of that head by sliding the weights around, something you cannot do with the M2. Whilst I prefer the sound and feel of the M1, I also think that because it was more dialled in to my swing then it probably had the edge on average for me, but not by much.
So to add to my one line review I would say that the choice comes down to asking yourself this question: Does the M1 significantly outperform the M2 when you are fitted for both and if so, is this worth investing another £100 to get it?
For some, the feeling of the M1 hi-tech sole and having a premium product will be what they want regardless. For others the extra adjustability of M1 will deliver a performance advantage.
I would suspect that for most the M2 performance will be very similar to M1, or possibly better due to the extra forgiveness, so then it comes down to personal preference and personal finance.
With the looks being so similar you could buy the M2 and get the looks and performance of the M1 and at a glance no-one will know the difference.