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Driven: BMW M2 Competition. Image by BMW.

Driven: BMW M2 Competition
A brilliant week with a brilliant car… so why are we feeling a little bit glum?

 



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BMW M2 Competition

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: an absolutely brilliant M BMW, perhaps one of the best ever made

Not so good: does it mark the end of a glittering era?

Key Facts

Model tested: BMW M2 Competition
Price: from £51,150
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed DCT dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive with M limited-slip differential
Body style: two-door coupe
CO2 emissions: 206g/km (VED Band 191-225: £1,280 in year one, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 31.4mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited; 174mph with optional M Driver's Package)
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 410hp at 5,250-7,000rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 2,350-5,200rpm
Boot space: 390 litres

Our view:

I'm not going to beat around the bush, here: having spent a week in its company in the UK, the BMW M2 Competition has, if anything, convinced me it's one of M Division's most phenomenal products yet made, even more so than when I drove it for our international first test on a race circuit and also some of the best roads Spain has to offer.

It's about as perfect as a compact, big-front-engined, rear-drive coupe could be. Every little detail change BMW made to it in the transition from its blinding 370hp incarnation to this black-badged Competition only enhanced the brilliance that was already there. The exterior is just a little more special to behold. The steering is exceptional. The engine kicks harder, sounds rawer, feels like a proper S-coded M unit (as it actually is). The DCT gearbox, while perhaps not the purists' choice, is nevertheless a superb ally to that brutal straight-six biturbo lump. The fixed rear subframe, such a spiky proposition on early turbocharged M4s, is a lot more pliant on the shorter-wheelbase M2.

So there's no need to go into great detail on the driving experience here, because more than 250 miles spent at the M2 Comp's wheel were an unmitigated pleasure, every single one. It was a decent enough cruiser on the motorways, maintaining that classic M coupe usability (33.6mpg was my best economy figure; not bad for something that'll run 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, eh?), and yet it was a thrilling, engaging, mesmerising sports car on the quieter roads; a car where you never once wished you were in something else to tackle the road unfurling in front of you. It was everything you'd expect of one of the more compact BMW Ms, a vehicle that felt like the ultimate evolution of the best M3 so far, the legendary E46. It has all of that car's charm and character, only with more power, more speed, more balance, better brakes, sharper steering and improved looks (yes, really).

So why am I sitting here, feeling sad? Well, I've got a sneaking suspicion that this is the end of rear-driven, straight-six BMW M coupes as we know it. The next M3/M4 is almost certainly going to have xDrive, just like the larger M5, while the latest 1 Series has gone front-wheel drive, so hot versions will not be weird RWD curios like the old M140i.

And if the 1 Series is now FWD, or xDrive at best, that means the next 2 Series will go the same way. Which means there will not be another M2 like this astonishing Competition model. There's even every chance that a fast 2 Series of the future would have to be a hybrid of some type, although if any company can do an enticing performance hybrid with a small engine, it's the one which has already given us the superb i8. Nevertheless, the impending death of the RWD six-pot muscle machine from Bavaria makes me, and no doubt a lot of BMW M aficionados, very sad. So take a good, hard look at this thoroughly exceptional car, because it feels like a poignant goodbye for a type of BMW performance machine that will be sorely missed in the future.

Alternatives:

Audi RS 3 Saloon: has been quietened down by the fitment of a petrol particulate filter and its particular brand of 'all grip, all go' handling doesn't please everyone. A great car with a stonking engine, though.

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS: although the incredible GT4 has returned with a flat-six, the GTS is more the M2's price analogue. Has a gorgeous chassis, with an engine that's not quite as exceptional as the package surrounding it.

Toyota Supra: we know that making a link between BMW and Toyota will annoy the keyboard warriors, but the Japanese coupe is a straight-up rival for the M2 Competition. A stunning thing, if not quite as focused as the Beemer.


Matt Robinson - 3 Apr 2019









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2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.

2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.2019 BMW M2 Competition UK test. Image by BMW.








 

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