Car reviews - BMW - 2 Series - M2 Competition
Phenomenal performance, price is still attainable, manual version offered, rear-drive fun, sharp handling
Room for improvement
Interior starting to feel dated, limited rear-seat space, M2 Pure grade not available until next year
BMW M3/M4 engine lifts M2 Competition’s performance ceiling to greater heights
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7 Nov 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN
How do you improve on perfection? We imagine that’s a question BMW had to ask itself when the idea of the M2 Competition came up.
Already an incredibly polished package with fun-to-drive dynamics, a communicative chassis, oodles of power and an affordable price, what can you do to make the BMW M2 even better?
Turns out raiding the M parts bin and shoehorning the M3 and M4 Competition’s engine and cooling system is a good place to start.
Replacing the old N55 twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre six cylinder for a twin-turbo unit means outputs go from 272kW/465Nm to supercar-scaring 302kW/550Nm – an increase of 30kW/85Nm.
All the engine bling comes with it too, meaning a gorgeous carbon-fibre front strut brace, beefed-up bulkhead and cooling componentry are added to keep things ticking along like they should.
It should be noted that the M2 Competition still falls short of its siblings by 29kW (torque is the same), after all there has to be some clear air between the them aside from size to justify the near $50,000 price difference.
Speaking of, BMW has upped pricing for the M2 Competition by $5000 to $104,900 plus on-roads, which we believe still puts it in the affordable category – but only just.
A cheaper Pure grade of the M2 Competition will also be made available next year priced at $99,900 – $6600 more expensive than before – for the budget conscious.
With power sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic (again taken from the M3/M4), the M2 Competition can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, only 0.1s quicker than before, while manual versions are a bit slower at 4.4s.
We were only able to sample both confined to a track, so we'll have to reserve final judgement on the shifters once we get them both out on the open road.
You won’t feel that extra power in a straight-line drag race, but with peak power kicking in at 7000rpm (versus 6500rpm) and torque from 2350-5200rpm (versus 1400-5560rpm), the M2 Competition feels more rev-happy than before.
Where you will definitely notice the increase in outputs is coming out of a corner though, as the rear end feels a touch more loose than before, more eager to break away with any overly enthusiastic dab of the throttle.
Luckily though, the M2 Competition still features a three-mode drive selector and dedicated ‘M’ buttons that tweak various levels of ESC, traction control, throttle response and steering settings to fine tune the balance that works for you.
At Sydney Motorsport Park, we found the best setting to be the pre-programmed M1, which allowed just enough slip to feel fun, but never in an overly dangerous or uncontrollable way.
The M2 mode, which turns off all aids, was a little too twitchy for our tastes, but for better drivers than us, the option is there.
Chassis control and steering is as sharp as ever though, with a quick and darty front end that is eager to change direction and enough feedback from the body to communicate what each corner is doing.
Again however, our taste was limited to the track, so we'll have to see how the suspension handles Australia's often unforgiving roads in our full road test.
Inside, things are spruced up with bucket seats from the M3 and M4, offering heaps of well-bolstered support and electronic adjustability.
One letdown to us however, is that the interior is starting to feel its age next to some updated systems found in some newer-generation BMW product.
Infotainment is handled by a fairly large 8.8-inch iDrive6 touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth and digital radio, but cheap plastics can still be spied (and felt) throughout parts of the cabin.
Also conspicuous is a lack of head-up display on the circa-$100,000 sportscar.
Rear seat room is also quite limited in the small coupe, which is expected but also noteworthy for those who might be thinking of buying the M2 Competition as their sole car.
Nit-picks aside, the bottom line is that the BMW M2 Competition still offers supercar-scaring performance and dynamics that rewards good drivers, making it one of the best bang-for-your-buck sportscars on sale today.
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