It’s a fearsome competitor, especially so if your decklid says AMG45 or RS3
Words by: Adam Allen
A new version of the M2 already? That was quick…not that there was anything wrong with it in the first place.
We’re not going to complain if BMW chooses to gift us a newer, better version of one of its M cars. And it is quick, thanks to an engine transplant courtesy of the M3/M4. The last time we flogged an M2, complaints about lack of power were nowhere to be found, but jumping from 365 to 405 horsepower is like finding a stack of hundred dollar bills in your couch cushions. Same thing with the brakes- the already effective stoppers have been enlarged front and rear and are clamped by calipers that have more pistons. The steering rack and electronic differential have been fettled with as well, and cooling has been beefed up to tame the hotter temperatures typically seen when you stuff a monster of an engine into the engine bay of a small car. It’s kind of a riff on a ’64 Pontiac GTO, albeit a thoroughly modern (and German) one. It will also excel at giving Mercedes Benz CLA45 and Audi RS3 owners an inferiority complex.
So you’re saying it’s better than the M2 sans Competition bits.
That is exactly what we’re saying. While the M2 Competition’s price tag commands a $6,050 premium over the regular M2, it’s worth every penny. The upgraded engine and brakes alone would make the extra shekels for this model acceptable, but the end result is much more than the sum of its parts. This is a bold statement, but here it is: The M2 Competition just might be the best M car ever made. That’s right folks; amongst such heady company as the E39 M5 and the E30 M3, the M2 delivers the joys of driving like its ancestors do but is much more capable on a squiggly bit of tarmac or on a race track.
High praise indeed.
It is, and it’s the most effective way to sum up the M2 Competition. Slide behind the wheel and after only minutes futzing with the seat and steering column adjustments, you find the perfect driving position. Thumb the red starter button and the S55 barks to life and idles loudly through its four exhausts. If the situation is right, select the car’s most aggressive settings for the throttle, steering and dual clutch gearbox- but if you’re setting off to pick up some milk at the corner store, the M2 will feel way too hair-trigger and frenetic. Yet if you find yourself alone on your favorite segment of back road, you will have taken the necessary steps to unlock its magic. Stomp the floor hinged throttle and the M2 reacts like a scalded cat, sprinting off the line with zero turbo lag, its new engine gathering rpm ferociously. Click the shift paddle to upshift at the 7,600 redline, and you’ll well on your way to gathering serious speed. Show it some corners and the suspension bites with resolute tenacity and the steering puts the car exactly where you want it to be, although more feel couldn’t hurt. When it’s time to turn kinetic energy into heat, the massive rotors and calipers stop this car with almost no effort, and they will never fade no matter the punishment you dish out. All this is overlaid on the classic BMW inline six soundtrack which somehow sounds better in this application that it does in the donor cars. We definitely miss the old naturally aspirated stuff but you can’t argue that this isn’t a truly special car.
It would appear that the interior did not receive the same love as the dirty bits….
That’s because it didn’t. The M2 Competition is pretty much the same inside as its less well-endowed predecessor, and that isn’t a bad thing, especially if you favor a cockpit that is all business and eschews a laundry list of creature comforts for a more spartan vibe. The only real flourish is the illuminated M logos on the driver and passenger seats. Some might complain that the interior doesn’t add up to the M2’s nearly $80,000 price tag, but those folks are missing the point and thus are not a good fit for this machine.
What might go wrong?
The M DCT gearbox is an excellent piece of transmission hardware and it has become much better behaved when you’re just commuting and not shredding apexes. With that said, we’d spec the manual any day of the week and twice on Sunday- this car begs to have a more intimate relationship with the controls. And while part of the M2’s charms is its diminutive size, we do pine for more room both in the rear seat area as well as the trunk. The last gripe we have leaves us somewhat conflicted because part of what makes the M2 Competition such a hoot to drive is that it feels as taut as piano wire 100% of the time. The downside to that is a car that never feels relaxed, jiggling your flabby bits at every opportunity. Such is the price you pay for having a car this responsive to your inputs.
Should I buy an M2 Competition?
Those that can’t handle living with a high performance car should look elsewhere. If while reading this the M2 Competition sounds too good to miss, you most certainly need one in your life. Current M2 owners will wonder if it’s worth upgrading to the Competition, and while their cars are no shrinking violets, we can’t argue with the experience imparted by all the hardware upgrades. So, yes, you should buy an M2 Competition so that many years down the road when M car faithful look back on it with that nostalgic look in their eyes, you won’t have any regret that a car this cool passed you by.
2019 BMW M2 Competition– Specifications
- Price as tested: $78,895
- Body Type: 2-door, 2+2 passenger Coupe
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/rear-wheel drive
- Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic
- Engine: 3.0 litre twin-turbo inline six, DOHC, 24 valves
- Horsepower: 405 @ 5,230 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 406 @ 2,350 rpm
- Curb weight: 1,646 kg (3,628 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 12.6L/100km (19 mpg)