From £43,7709
Vastly more composed and better-controlled on a challenging road than a regular M2, with a markedly improved power delivery, the M2 Competition is a huge leap forward for BMW M's affordable coupé

Our Verdict

BMW M2

The BMW M2 is the smallest M car in the range, but can it live up to the prodigious name?

  • First Drive

    BMW M2 Competition 2018 UK review

    Vastly more composed and better-controlled on a challenging road than a regular M2, with a markedly improved power delivery, the M2 Competition is a huge leap f
  • First Drive

    BMW M2 Competition 2018 review

    The M2 Competition replaces the ‘plain’ M2 with the promise of better on-the-limit handling and more muscle. And boy, does it deliver
19 October 2018

What is it?

On the evidence of the launch event in Spain, the BMW M2 Competition is the M2 we’ve been waiting for. The original model, which you can no longer buy, was always a charming and entertaining sports coupé, but anybody who drove one with any degree of enthusiasm across a cresting or undulating road will know that it wasn't blessed with brilliant body control. There were times when the M2 would frighten the life out of you by apparently trying to unstick its rear tyres from the road surface entirely whenever you popped up over the top of a sharp brow.

It was a handling trait the larger M3 and M4 that arrived before it were similarly afflicted by, and the reason why the M2 was never quite as rewarding to drive as a Porsche 718 Cayman S. Just as Competition and subsequently CS versions of the M3 and M4 were far better to drive than earlier models, the M2 Competition is a huge step on from the M2.

For this most recent version, the M Division has fitted a front strut brace, retuned the steering map and dropped a handful of rose joints into the rear suspension in a bid to make the car altogether more cohesive and responsive. The spring rates and damper settings (now passive only) have been adjusted too.

Up front, meanwhile, the twin-turbocharged straight six from the M3 and M4 replaces the old single-turbo unit, although it has been detuned to 404bhp and 405lb ft for this installation. The new motor contributes to a 55kg weight increase, which means at 1625kg the M2 Competition is a good deal heavier than its compact dimensions would have you believe. 

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What's it like?

Those revised suspension settings do make for a tighter and more unyielding ride quality at low speed around town, but in every other respect they are a huge step forward. Even on a bumpier road at higher speed, there’s enough sophistication in the damping of this car that the wheels can rise and fall individually over the shape of the road without the body being skipped or jolted about. The M2 Competition is so much more settled and composed than the M2 that it feels like an entirely new car rather than an updated one.

Body control over crests and undulations, meanwhile, has gone through the roof. No longer does it feel as though the car might bounce itself clean off the Tarmac. The steering is keener and more intuitive, too, all of which means you drive along a winding road with a level of confidence that the M2 driver could only dream of.

The old M2 strong points are still very much in evidence, notably a sweet natural chassis balance that allows you drive right up to the car’s limit of grip, as well as a transition from neutral balance to power oversteer that’s as smooth as cream pouring from a jug. The M2 Competition is every bit as happy being driven neatly and with precision as it is playing the tyre-smoking hooligan on circuit.

Combined with a high-quality cabin that offers space for four, plus a more than useful boot, that wide operating window makes the M2 Competition one of the most broadly capable performance cars on sale at this price point today. It is far more usable every day than a 718 Cayman S or an Alpine A110 without being much less enjoyable to drive.

The M2 Competition would be a massive step on from the M2 even if the old engine had been carried over unchanged. The twin-turbo motor is more responsive in the lower reaches and there is good energy towards the top end, but its soundtrack is more monotonous and it doesn’t suddenly make the car feel much more accelerative in a straight line. At least there is still a choice of transmissions, our preference being the six-speed manual rather than the seven-speed DCT. 

Should I buy one?

For existing M2 owners, the answer to that should be blindingly obvious. The new model is far more enjoyable to drive than the old version while giving next to nothing away.

It used to be the case the M2 was the circa-£50,000 sports coupé of choice for people who needed more space than was offered by a mid-engined, two-seater alternative, but the M2 Competition is now so good to drive that it would stand toe-to-toe with its supremely talented rivals even if it didn’t have rear seats. 

BMW M2 Competition specification

Where Anglesey Price £49,805 On sale Now Engine 6 cyls in line, 2963cc, twin-turbo, petrol Power 404bhp at 5250-7000rpm Torque 405lb ft at 2350-5200rpm Gearbox 7-spd twin-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1625kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 4.4sec Fuel economy 30.7mpg CO2 227g/km Rivals Porsche 718 Cayman S, Alpine A110

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Comments
21

19 October 2018
I will be all over one of these in a couple of years, cracking car.

FMS

19 October 2018
Ubberfrancis44 wrote:

I will be all over one of these in a couple of years, cracking car.

 

When it runs you over?.

19 October 2018

Hahaha that made me chuckle

FMS

4 November 2018
clbmw wrote:

Hahaha that made me chuckle

 

My pleasure :).

19 October 2018

 Has to be a consideration, around £50K?, if it’s that good I don’t think it’s going to be worth half it list price, sorry Guys n Gals, but I think it’ll be £35-40K all day two maybe three years time......

Peter Cavellini.

20 October 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Has to be a consideration, around £50K?, if it’s that good I don’t think it’s going to be worth half it list price, sorry Guys n Gals, but I think it’ll be £35-40K all day two maybe three years time......

THis one will lose very little value, just like 1M, unless, of course, there is a lot of mileage on the car, then maybe it drops a little bit in price.

No manual - no fun

19 October 2018

Why didn't Autocat point out these flaws they are now pointing out when they reviewed the M2 originally?

PK

20 October 2018
Prince-Kay wrote:

Why didn't Autocat point out these flaws they are now pointing out when they reviewed the M2 originally?

Just checked the original test and Autocar praised it to the high heavens , can't see any indication of the flaws pointed out in the latest article . Sounds like BMW publicity talk to me . I'm glad actually as I always wanted an M2 a few years down the line (budget noteithstanding) and I still do !

20 October 2018
Prince-Kay wrote:

Why didn't Autocat point out these flaws they are now pointing out when they reviewed the M2 originally?

 

Jeeeez, seriously, you think any of these reviews are OBJECTIVE? 

They have to write it this way and they have to praise the latest and greatest, otherwise soon enough they'll have nothing to write about. The job is a paycheck and a possibility to drive latest and greatest for free. 

No manual - no fun

FMS

4 November 2018
Prince-Kay wrote:

Why didn't Autocat point out these flaws they are now pointing out when they reviewed the M2 originally?

 

Well, let's see...how about the newer car was still to be released, therefore this comparison had yet to be carried out yet?. Do that help you...at all?. The comparison was required for the context then produced. Sigh...

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