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Driven: BMW levels ups M2 to Competition spec

BMW Australia prepared for high demand of new M2 Competition performance coupe

7 Nov 2018

THE runaway success of the first-ever M2 compact coupe that launched two-and-a-half years ago has given BMW Group Australia a stronger voice back in Germany with allocation of the potent new 302kW Competition version of the 2 Series performance flagship that arrives this month.
Initially, Australia was only given access to 300 units of the first M2, but its allocation quickly more than doubled to 700 examples by mid-2017.
In total, about 1500 M2s were made available here – all of which have now been sold – and, according to BMW Australia’s 2 Series product manager Tom Verrocchi, the company is ready for the expected high demand for the blistering new M2 Competition.
“From the very start we’ve always been a high M market, and we anticipated that would continue with M2 Competition as well,” he said. “Allocation is healthy, without being specific.
“We’re not seeing a backlog of customers in dealerships not being able to buy or order an M2 (Competition), so the customer is being satisfied.”
While Mr Verrocchi would not specify exactly how many M2 Competitions the Australian subsidiary has secured, he said they are selling fast and availability would be dealer-specific.
“We had the first allocation and we asked the dealers to fill customer orders, and they were snapped up in 24 hours, which is really healthy with the anticipation with that car,” he said.
With the M3 now out of production and the M4 expected to follow soon, the new M2 Competition, which shares some componentry with its larger siblings, is expected to account for an even larger slice of overall M sales as it fills the void until the new-generation mid-size performance cars materialise.
The outgoing M2 made up roughly 40 per cent of all local M-car sales, and the higher prices brought with the move to Competition spec for both the M2 Pure arriving early next year – starting at $99,900 plus on-road costs (+$6600) – and the standard grade now entering showrooms – at $104,900 (+$5000) – are not expected to deter buyers, including those who might otherwise have purchased an M3 or M4. 
“I do expect it personally (M3/M4 buyers moving to M2), I think it’s a great car, it’s quite new, it’s very hot at the moment, highly anticipated leading up to it,” Mr Verrocchi said.
“I think there is a bit of a gap there, an M4 buyer who might want something fresher would definitely go there, but there will always be those purists who will always go to the M4 or above.
“We’re still looking at two different cars in the M hierarchy, and I think, yeah, we could definitely have some buyers come down, and then some buyers going up as well.
“(Up from M140i) and from other competitors – not necessarily direct competitors – it’s an achievable price for a whole lot of car and it is the entry into the M world of BMW.”
The move to Competition spec sees the M2 swap out the previous 3.0-litre single-turbo ‘N55’ six-cylinder engine for the twin-turbocharged ‘S55’ version found in the M3 and M4 Competition, complete with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic strut brace.
Output increases from 272kW/465Nm to a peak power figure of 302kW from 5250-7000rpm and maximum torque of 550Nm available from 2350-5200rpm.
Sending drive to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or (no-cost) six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching translates to a 0-100km/h dash in 4.2 and 4.4 seconds respectively – one-tenth quicker than before.
However, the increased performance comes at the cost of fuel economy, which rises to 9.1 and 9.9 litres per 100km in auto and manual form respectively on the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), up from 7.9 and 8.5L/100km on the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
Aside from the engine, the cooling system – including three radiators, an extra oil cooler and a transmission cooler – is also lifted from the M3 and M4 Competition, while the M2 Competition’s redesigned front bumper also sports larger air intakes for increased airflow into the engine.
From the outside, the new 2 Series flagship is readily identified by its gloss-black front grille and side gills, adaptive LED headlights and quad exhaust outlets finished in black chrome, as well as the same aerodynamically optimised wing mirrors as found on the M3/M4 Competition.
Further mechanical upgrades extend to an Active M Differential, reworked stability control systems to accommodate the extra grunt, a bespoke bimodal exhaust system and extra bulkhead reinforcement.
Bringing the M2 Competition to a halt are four-piston front brakes grabbing 380mm rotors and two-pot rears with 370mm discs with blue-painted callipers.
Buyers wanting extra braking performance can spend a further $3000 for M Sport brakes with six-pot callipers and 400mm discs up front, and four-piston grippers and 380mm rotors at the rear.
Standard wheels measure 19 inches front and rear wrapped in stagged 245/35 and 265/35 Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.
Two new colours – Hockenheim Silver and Sunset Orange – have been added to the M2’s palette that join Black Sapphire and Long Beach Blue as a $1547 metallic option. As standard, the M2 Competition is finished in Alpine White.
Bespoke, grade-specific, black-finished badging is also fitted on the boot to denote the M2’s Competition status.
Inside, the M2 Competition gains the M3/M4 Competition’s sports bucket seats with illuminated logos and electronic adjustment, variant-specific instrumentation start-up screen and side sills, and front and rear parking sensors, while infotainment is handled by an iDrive6 8.8-inch colour touchscreen.
The M2 Competition also has three driving modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) and pre-set, reprogrammable M1 and M2 buttons that will dial-up performance and ease electronic nannies accordingly. 
Standard safety equipment includes autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, speed-limit recognition, a reversing camera and Park Distance Control. 
In Pure guise, the M2 Competition loses electric seat adjustment, keyless entry, the premium sound system, adaptive LED headlights and Y-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels.
Options extend to an alarm system ($850), heated steering wheel ($400), sunroof ($2600), smoker’s package ($60), heated front seats ($650), Apple CarPlay functionality ($623) and wireless phone charger ($200).

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