After the brief but lauded appearance of the 1M Coupe, 2015 saw BMW introduce the M2 – a compact sports car with aggressive styling and impressive performance.
There were a few tweaks to be made though, so with this – the M2 Competition – BMW hopes to have hit the nail on the head after making a series of setup tweaks.
Although there wasn’t too much that needed changing, the M2 Competition comes with an uprated engine, new steering settings and a revised active differential to make one of the best performance cars on the market.
We get behind the wheel to see whether the changes BMW has made have had the desired effect and improved the already good M2.
The original M2 featured a single-turbocharged, 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine that developed 365bhp – so for the Competition, BMW decided to upgrade the power unit. Now sitting under the bonnet is a twin-turbocharged version borrowed from the M4 that develops 39bhp more – 404bhp – along with 550Nm of torque, with all that oomph being sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch auto is also available, but we don’t think the £2,125 expense is worth it.
With the additional turbo, the unit itself is heavier than before – meaning performance doesn’t change that much. The 0-60mph time is just 0.1 seconds quicker, taking 4.2 seconds – with the top speed limited to 155mph.
Ride & Handling
It’s safe to say that the M2 Competition is great to drive. The ride manages to be firm and composed when you needed it to be – while attacking a series of bends for example – but is then able to soak up the bumps on British roads enough unlike many sportier models on sale. You can’t adjust it either, so it offers to best of both worlds at all speeds and in all modes, and you settling down to cruise won’t be difficult.
Handling-wise, the M2 feels direct and very responsive – with the steering offering lots of feedback so you can place the Competition easily on the road. You’re allowed to change the steering setup and Sport mode feels the best suited to the car’s chassis setup, as it’s well-weighted. The exhaust is theatrical too, as it’s very crackly and amplifies the engine perfectly.
Interior & Equipment
The interior as well as other BMW's is well-built and a nice place to be, the seats are comfortable in the front although rear seats are quite cramped which is to be expected. You can’t fold down the rear seats either, so the 390-litre boot is the only designated storage space – which is the same space on offer in a Volkswagen Golf.
The performance on its own is worth the near-£51,000 asking price, but the equipment offering only adds to that. As standard, the Competition comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, aerodynamic body styling, digital instrument dials, leather upholstery with contrast stitching twin chromed exhaust pipes, LED headlights, leather multifunction steering wheel and a colour touchscreen with satellite navigation and infotainment system. There are additional options you can fit, but it’s fair to say the standard offering is more than adequate for most.
Prices for the M2 Competition start from £50,975 which comes with the manual transmission, while the automatic option starts from £53,100 – although we’d recommend the cheaper alternative due to how it feels to drive. Our version of the Competition also came with a couple of extras, which drove the price up to £53,155 – although none of them were necessary.
With the twin-turbocharged engine under the bonnet, the M2 Competition can achieve a claimed 30.7mpg and 227g/km CO2.
However good the previous version of the M2 was, the Competition update only enhances it – making it one of the best and well-rounded cars available. With an excellent driving setup and impressive twin-turbo unit under the bonnet, the Competition also comes with excellent build quality and high specification to make the overall product even better. This may be a relative dinosaur compared to the upcoming electrified models, but the M2 Competition shows how petrol power can still be king.