**2013 Cessna Citation M2
The Cessna Citation M2 flown for this report was a factory test article with conforming avionics (with a few minor exceptions) but without a production interior. The airplane was outfitted with the Garmin G3000 integrated avionics suite with digital autopilot, dual GTC 570 touch-screen controllers, datalink, ADS-B, Garmin digital color weather radar, a satellite phone, TCAS II, domestic and international internet, integrated charts and runway safety utility, automatic maintenance data uplink, and more.
Honda Aircraft HondaJet
One of the key competitors to M2, the in-development HondaJet is remarkably close to many of the key specifications that help guide buyers’ purchase decisions, including range, speed and payload. Still, the HondaJet, built in North Carolina, has not yet earned FAA type certification, something Honda expects to happen by the end of 2014. It’s a different looking jet, with engines mounted on the wing instead of the fuselage. The big brag for Honda is the speed of its jet: 420 knots, making it the fastest entry-level performer.
Embraer Phenom 100
Like the HondaJet, the Garmin-equipped Phenom 100 is a very close competitor to M2 in terms of speed, range, climbing ability and payload, as well as in terms of comfort and style. If anything, the Phenom’s cabin is better than M2’s, though not by a lot. With Embraer’s ever improving support network, its reputation for building reliable, airline-level products and its growing status in the market, the Brazilian light jet, now assembled in Florida, is one of the airplanes just about every M2 prospect will be looking at too.
Cessna Citation Mustang
In many ways the Citation Mustang is an excellent competitor to M2 for entry-level owner-pilots. It’s a 340-knot, six-place airplane that for many pilots is the perfect transition from piston singles to the flight levels. It’s also an extremely economical performer, with operating costs significantly better than M2’s. It suffers in comparison when it comes to performance, however. It’s 60 knots slower, takes longer to climb to altitude and can’t carry nearly as good a payload as the Citation M2.
While the single-pilot Eclipse 550, resurrected and improved by its new owners and doing well these days, seems at first glance a bit of a stretch as an M2 competitor, it is very good at doing what it does. It is relatively fast (up to 375 knots) with a 41,000-foot ceiling and a capable, if atypical, avionics package. It’s also the most economical jet you can buy. That advantage is thanks to its very small cabin and cockpit size, which is a marked disadvantage when it comes to competing against its rival entry-level jets.
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