2019 BMW M2 Competition: No Competition

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 4 months ago

    BMW M2 Competition: No Competition

    In days past, BMW was branded as The Ultimate Driving Machine. The company no longer uses the slogan in their advertising but it’s remained strongly connected with the brand, even to this day. Some purists will argue vehicles like the X2 (reviewed here) only serve to take away from the sporting heritage and driving experience BMW built its reputation on. But the reality is, markets, consumer demands, priorities and needs change with time and if a business is to succeed, it has to reflect the needs of what its buyers want.

    It’s not like the X2 is a terrible car. In fact, we quite liked it. But you can almost see where the naysayers are coming from. An entry level luxury crossover – at a glance at least – doesn’t seem like it can trace much heritage to the race track. It might be easy to think BMW has gone soft. But then the mad scientists at BMW M go and release something like this – the BMW M2 Competition -- and any doubt in your mind will immediately be eradicated.


    The most pertinent question in our minds initially is – what’s the difference between the outgoing ‘standard’ M2 and an M2 competition? What exactly did BMW do to justify the over $6,000 price difference? Well, the most important change is a big one. The M2 Competition loses the M2’s old engine, increasing power from 365 horsepower all the way up to 405. Torque also gets a significant boost, from 343 lb-ft to 406 lb-ft.

    You’ll also get a resculpted front spoiler with larger grills, bigger brakes, the M-sport mirrors from the M3, carbon fibre trim, the steering wheel from the M3, M-sport seats with illuminated M2 badging, improved engine cooling, a new exhaust with electronic valves, and most importantly, M2 Competition badging. The changes are clearly far more than just the name. And there are even still, much more changes to list. We think it’s worth the upcharge just for the engine alone. Everything else is a much welcomed bonus.

    But moving from the $60-thousand bracket to the $70’s puts it ever closer to the $77,550 M3 and $78,350 M4 models. At that point, you need to decide if having usable rear seats is worth the over $6,000 difference it takes to bridge the financial gap between the M2 Competition and the M3. But also bear in mind, the M2 Competition is smaller and lighter than the M3. It’s kind of like a 400hp go kart compared to the much larger M3 and M4 – which is an accurate way of describing it. The M2 Competition is a visceral experience. Even with all the electronic aids on, you still feel very involved in driving – if you want to. The car can be driven calmly in everyday commuting and traffic without a hitch. But the real magic happens when you give it some gas. It’s even better if you open the exhaust valves and hear the engine in all its glory – even if some of it simulated with BMW’s ‘Active Sound Design,’ which pipes engine notes through the speakers into the cabin.

    The non-adaptive suspension is firm, but forgiving. It’s a little harsh on rough city streets, but take it on a winding road, an aggressive corner, or ideally, a track, and you’ll really be glad it’s set up the way it is. With the kind of power this little car delivers, the suspension is set up so incredibly well. It’s a little slice of intoxicating driving perfection that keeps you wanting more. If you need some more comfort with your power, consider putting in the extra money and moving up to the M3 or M4, which is available with M Adaptive suspension. But our belief is as firm as the suspension on the M2 that this car does not need it. This car is all about tickling those selfish desires behind the wheel with little thought to practicality. But that’s not to say you couldn’t daily drive it. Just don’t expect a family hauler with a volcano under the hood.

    And speaking of the engine – BMW did right by the M2 competition. We’ve drawn a lot of comparisons to the M3/M4, and this is yet another. BMW plucked the powerplant from the big brothers and transplanted it into the Competition – albeit slightly detuned. It’s a little less power than the M3/M4, but given the compact nature of the M2 Competition, we seriously doubt you’d even notice. You’ll even get a carbon fibre engine strut brace, also plucked from the M4, as beautiful as it is functional. The competition had to be made a bit wider in order for the heart transplant to be successful, and that’s okay. When has anyone ever complained a performance car had too many flares? You won’t even notice it though. It’s still a very compact vehicle compared to the sea of crossovers it’ll share the road with.

    Much to driving enthusiasts’ delight, the M2 competition comes standard with a 6-speed manual. Our tester was fitted with the optional $3,900 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. We love a good manual here, but have to admit, the dual-clutch is smooth, slick and actually satisfying to use. Given the low take rate for manual transmissions in North America, we’d expect the majority of Competitions will be purchased with the DCT option checked. As great as a 6-speed would be, the M2 Competition is still every bit as fun with paddles. It does kick a bit harder than we’d like at lower speeds if you’re in manual shifting mode, but you don’t buy a car like this for comfort.

    In the snowy conditions we drove the M2 in, traction control became a very familiar light on the dashboard. BMW’s engineers did a good job making the car usable in slick conditions. If you’re looking to have more fun without spinning out, you can tap the traction control button once to put the car in M-Dynamic (MDM) traction mode. With this, you’ll get a less intrusive traction control system that’ll still keep you on the road facing the right way in the end. We were not brave (or foolish) enough to completely disable it with ice and snow on the ground. But if you feel like something’s going wrong, you can rest assured the car will stop on a dime. The massive brakes, 400mm in the front and 380mm in the back, nearly fill up the entire 19-inch wheels. The calipers are as impressive, with a six-piston setup in the front and four-piston in the rear. We like the subtler silver finish on the calipers too. It’s probably the only thing subtle about this car – and we wouldn’t change a thing.

    It’s easy to think with the rise of crossovers, even brands like BMW that were once lauded for the sporting nature of even their base models have sold out and cater to the masses. Granted, there are much more mass market vehicles in the company’s lineup than ever before, but to suggest BMW has forgotten its roots is ludicrous. It’s a far cry from a cheap thrill, but cars like the M2 Competition prove BMW still has what it takes to be the Ultimate Driving Machine.

    Tags:
    BMW, BMW M2, M2, M2 Competition, BMW M

    Latest Articles

    See All
    • How to Build a High Horsepower 1999-2004 Mustang GT
      How to Build a High Horsepower 1999-2004 Mustang G...

      September 16, 2019 - When building a high horsepower 99 -04 Mustang GT, the right combination of engine accessories and supporting modifications can go a long way in keeping your engine running happily and in one piece.

    • 3 Bad Driving Habits To Break Right Now
      3 Bad Driving Habits To Break Right Now

      September 16, 2019 - You may not realize that you have done this, but over time your driving style may have changed. When you started driving, you will have needed to pass a test to ensure that you are safe to drive. But could you honestly say that you would pass that sa

    • BMW X5 xDrive40i: What a sporty SUV should be
      BMW X5 xDrive40i: What a sporty SUV should be

      September 15, 2019 - Canadians and Americans have a love affair with crossovers and SUVs and it’s not slowing down. As much as auto enthusiasts begrudge the lack of wagons and hatchbacks, which can certainly be as practical as a crossover, the market demand just isn’t th

    • 2019 Mustang GT Convertible: Iconic American
      2019 Mustang GT Convertible: Iconic American

      September 7, 2019 - Mustang. Is there a more iconic sports car? Well…yes, there are many. But the Mustang created a class of its own that continues to this day. It has history. It has a legacy. And it has a lot of buyers. Each new iteration of the coupe is a crucial inv

    • Four Ways You Can Make Your Old Car Feel Brand New
      Four Ways You Can Make Your Old Car Feel Brand New

      August 31, 2019 - Maybe it has sentimental value attached to it, or perhaps your bank account simply won’t stretch to a new vehicle right now. If that sounds like you, then luckily there are a few ways that you can make your old car feel like a brand new vehicle.

    • The Not-So-Ideal Side Of Buying A Second-Hand Nissan 350z
      The Not-So-Ideal Side Of Buying A Second-Hand Niss...

      August 28, 2019 - This is especially important considering many of these problems develop over time, and could thus be prevalent in many a used 350z. But, what are these issues, and what can you do about them?

    • 2019 BMW 330i xDrive: Bringing the sport back to sport sedan
      2019 BMW 330i xDrive: Bringing the sport back to s...

      August 25, 2019 - BMW’s 3-series is possibly the brand’s most marketable car. It can be tame, as in the base model. It can be a family hauler, with the touring model. It can be sporty, like the one we’re reviewing. Or it can be a monster, like the M3. With a wide vari

    • Why You Should Always Park In The Empty Corner Of The Lot
      Why You Should Always Park In The Empty Corner Of ...

      August 22, 2019 - As such, you won’t get to enjoy the security you get on your drive or in your garage. If you have a shiny new vehicle, then you may be reluctant to take that chance.

    • Ways To Make Your 2nd Hand Runner Feel Like A Luxury Car
      Ways To Make Your 2nd Hand Runner Feel Like A Luxu...

      August 22, 2019 - It could be that the brakes are too squishy, or the dashboard is messy. Some electricals aren’t 100%, or the upholstery has had too much wear and tear. There might be this rattling sound when you are taking a turn, or this squeaky sound when you are

    • 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF: Potent Pocket Rocket
      2019 Mazda MX-5 RF: Potent Pocket Rocket

      August 13, 2019 - Short of the mid-cycle refresh, the yearly tweaks and updates to a vehicle during its production years are typically quite minor. A slightly retuned ECU here, perhaps a softer touch material around the shift boot there. The small stuff, as it were. B

    Share This!

    or