Select a year
- Highs Clairvoyant chassis, gleefully violent thrust, standard stick-shift transmission.
- Lows Masochistic ride, sedate interior lacks quality materials, M240i is cheaper and comfier.
- Verdict The mighty M2 confirms that BMW can still build an ultimate driving machine.
The M2 Competition is a two-door thrill ride that reaffirms BMW's ability to build the ultimate driving machine, and it joins our 10Best Cars list for 2019. Based on the beloved 2-series, it has a wide-body appearance and high-performance upgrades. Its ballistic turbocharged engine teams up with a clairvoyant chassis that rewards time spent on the racetrack, but the M2's stiff suspension is abusive on regular roads. Those seeking a precision instrument for high-speed shenanigans, however, should skedaddle to the nearest BMW dealership and sign the papers for this amazing M car.
What's New for 2019?
While the M2 receives several updates for 2019, the most notable is its engine transplant. BMW swaps the coupe's old 369-hp inline-six for a 405-hp version derived from the larger M3 and M4 models. Likewise, the M2 (now officially called the M2 Competition) has a stiffer front suspension—also courtesy of the bigger M cars—and its steering, stability-control system, and rear differential have been revised. A set of more powerful brakes and new 19-inch wheels are pretty nice performance upgrades. Its shell also has a wider kidney grille and bigger front air intakes to maximize cooling. New exterior mirrors and two paint colors (Hockenheim Silver and Sunset Orange) bolster the exterior changes. Inside, the coupe adds a red engine-start button and customizable M drive-mode switches, improved trim quality, and an optional pair of slick-looking M Sport seats.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Find your perfect ride!
We're partnering with Carvana because we want to make it easy for you to find the exact vehicle you're looking for.
Our preferred M2 would include these options: Executive package with adaptive headlights, wireless charging, 4G LTE hotspot, heated steering wheel, and all of the available driver-assistance features. We'd skip paying extra for the sunroof, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the M Driver's package, which are the only other options available.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Tidal wave of thrust, satisfying stick shift, point-and-shoot handling.
Dislikes: Accepting that the automatic gearbox is quicker than the manual version, S&M ride quality.
While BMW has strayed from its driver-first philosophy, it continues to build brilliant engines such as the M2's snorty turbocharged mill. (BMW does stand for Bavarian Motor Works, after all.) For 2019, it inherits an engine from the BMW M3 and the M4, but maximum horsepower is detuned from 444 to 405 horsepower in this application. That's an extra 40 horses and 37 lb-ft of torque versus the previous M2. That combination still reaches the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. We tested the Competition with the automatic, and it ripped from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat (0.1 quicker than before) and was 0.2 ticks quicker from 50 mph to 70. However, in reality, the stronger engine feels transformative. It moves the M2 with even more unbridled ferocity than before and creates stomach butterflies all the way up to its new 7600-rpm redline.
Like an explicit scene from Fifty Shades of Grey, the M2's punishing ride needs a safe word. But there isn't one. Those willing to accept the abuse on regular roads will be rewarded with pure ecstasy on the track. There, the M2 handles like an extension of its driver, with gleefully violent thrust and a clairvoyant chassis. Harsh ride aside, the M2 is a phenomenal driver's car. Namby-pamby drivers who complain will find solace in the softer BMW M240i. Instead of the adaptive dampers available on most rivals, the BMW uses conventional passive shocks tuned the old-fashioned way. Too bad the electrically assisted power steering spoils some of the fun. Its effort increases in the higher-performance drive modes, but the all-important feedback that telegraphs what the front tires are doing as you push hard is faint. The M2 inherited its beefy brakes from bigger, more powerful BMW M cars. Its massive rotors and powerful binders provide excellent pedal feedback that never fades.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The automatic and manual M2 share an EPA-rated 26 mpg highway. However, those who choose the manual will lose 2 mpg around town—so says the government. We've yet to test the more powerful M2 Competition on our highway fuel-economy test.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: More back-seat space than some four-door rivals, optional mobile hotspot, larger trunk than most rivals.
Dislikes: Android Auto fans are out of luck, BMW build quality, where art thou?
The M2 Competition excites the senses behind the wheel and commands attention on the street, but its low-quality interior fails to do either. It's littered with racy carbon-fiber and faux-suede trim, but the panel fit and finish is disappointing at this price. Not all the cars we test get to join our long-term fleet for 40,000 miles of scrutiny, but the M2 is one example that has. As such, we noted an increasing number of squeaks and rattles within the interior during the first 25,000 miles of our test. We do like the driver's seating position and the logical layout of the controls.
The Bimmer's standard iDrive infotainment system works through an 8.8-inch touchscreen that has a clean interface and above-average response times. Although Android Auto is unavailable, Apple CarPlay is standard. The M2's infotainment screen is angled toward the driver atop the dash, which preserves peripheral vision. Along with anticipated standard features such as Bluetooth and voice recognition, the Bimmer has a premium Harman/Kardon stereo and a one-year subscription to SiriusXM All Access. The M2 also has dual USB ports and three 12-volt outlets throughout.
The M2 is a four-seater, but for extended travel, it is best suited to two passengers, their luggage, and a handful of sundries. While none of these compact sports cars are ideal travel companions, the BMW held fewer carry-ons than most rivals and suffered from a particularly small center-console storage bin.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have not crash-tested this high-performance coupe. Even though the M2 Competition is a super track-focused car, it has several driver assists that are available. Key safety features include:
- Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning
- Available automatic high-beams
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The BMW has equal or better warranty coverage compared with all of its direct competitors. Specifically, it has an unrivaled complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles