Feisty compact sports BMW now gets full M Sport engine
For many enthusiasts, the BMW M2 is the spiritual successor to iconic cars like the original E30 model M3 and, even further back, the 2002. With its compact size and powerful engine, the M2 has earned a reputation as a rewarding and agile drivers’ machine. Now BMW has taken a further step towards automotive nirvana by giving the M2 Competition a full M Sport engine.
The M2 Competition is a compact two-door coupé with the trademark BMW short front overhang, swept-back cabin and long bonnet, denoting the classic front engine, rear drive layout. For the M2 Competition, the design and engineering team have taken those cues and turned the dial up to 11. The dramatic new front-end treatment, for instance, features large air inlets with what BMW terms ‘M Gills’ flanking a new high-gloss black M kidney grille. Wheels are 19in forged alloys shod with 245/35-profile (front) and 265/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. Other changes include new S-style exterior mirror caps, a new rear bumper and lightly reworked tail lights. Open the bonnet and you’ll also see a large carbonfibre strut brace spanning the engine bay.
Inside the driver-focused cockpit you’ll find new M Sport front seats, M instruments, M seatbelts and a red start/stop button. Upholstery is in Black Dakota leather.
Here’s the biggest difference from the outgoing M2 model. The new M2 Competition now shares a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with its big brothers the M3 and M4. It’s not in quite the same state of tune, but it develops 404bhp and 550Nm of torque, good for 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds with the optional DCT transmission. Compared with its predecessor, the M2 Competition has altered steering mapping, different spring and damper tuning and a recalibrated DSC [Dynamic Stability Control] system. An electronic limited-slip Active M Differential provides a locking effect to the rear wheels of between 0% and 100% depending on the prevailing traction, yaw rate and steering angle. According to BMW, all these changes mean that the M2 Competition is still the class benchmark for response, but now also slides with greater progressiveness and enthusiasm. Sounds like they know their target audience very well…
You probably wouldn’t want a BMW M2 Competition if you were interested in autonomous systems to take over the chore of driving for you, but you will be interested to know that it now has the M Drive manager function from the M3 and M4, allowing you to programme your ideal blend of chassis, engine and steering response. You can even adapt the sound of the M Sport exhaust system to specific driving modes at the touch of a button. Standard features include the BMW Professional Media package with navigation and colour touchscreen. Harman/kardon loudspeakers are among the options, as are BMW Icon Adaptive LED headlights.
Cruise control with braking function comes as standard on the M2 Competition, and you can opt for Driving Assistant, which includes alertness monitor, lane departure warning, pedestrian protection, forward collision warning and city collision mitigation. Six airbags provide targeted protection: these include driver and front passenger airbags, airbags for the entire window surface on the side, and side airbags integrated into the front seat backrests.
Verdict: The M2 Competition is BMW’s pocket rocket, single-mindedly designed for the joy of driving a fast, wieldy and agile sports coupé. For many this is the BMW that sums up the appeal of the M Sport division. It’s destined for cult status and the great thing about it is that BMW build quality and reliability come as standard.