2019 BMW M2 Competition – Pocket Rocket

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Last year, BMW updated the M2. They made some minor visual changes, along with some software updates – but that’s not the big story with this new model! The big change comes from under the hood.

By Nauman Farooq

The BMW 2 series has been around since 2014, and in the last 5 years, I have tested a few of its variants. However, while I liked all of them, I didn’t fall in love with any of them!

My one common complaint was that the 228i and M235i (which were replaced by the 230i and M240i models) just felt far softer than they should have been, and they didn’t feel as engaging to drive as I expected them to be.

Then, in 2016, BMW launched the M2 version of the 2 series (model code: F87), and many of those who tested one, said that this was finally the 2 series they were waiting for! I never got to do a proper test of this ‘pocket rocket’ M2 – as in, I never got to bring one home for a week – but I have driven a few of them on short drives. Again, while I liked this pumped up 2 series, I didn’t really fall in love with it.

Last year, BMW updated the M2. They made some minor visual changes, along with some software updates – but that’s not the big story with this new model! The big change comes from under the hood.

To a casual observer, it is still a turbocharged inline-six cylinder motor that displaces 3.0L. But whereas the M2 had a single twin-scroll turbocharger (N55 engine), the new M2 Competition gets two single-scroll turbochargers (S55 engine). This is the same motor you’ll find in the M3 and M4 models, and is quite different in character to the previous engine in the M2.

So, does it finally help make the 2 series into the driver’s car I always wanted it to be? Let’s look at the 2019 M2 Competition in detail!

Styling: Stylistic changes between the M2 and M2 Competition are very minimal, in fact, I can only make out that the front grille is different – used to be two separate kidney grilles, now its one big conjoined kidney grille. Personally, I prefer the look of the new grille, it might be a minor change, but it makes the car look a little more sinister – and I like that!

I also like the differences between the M2 Competition and its less potent siblings (230i and M240i), such as its wider wheel arches and quad exhaust tips.

I wouldn’t call this car to be breathtakingly beautiful, but it does look purposeful and athletic – like a training shoe.

Interior: Step inside, and it is pretty much exactly like any other 2 series I have been in over the last 5 years. On the plus side, you get a very good infotainment system, and the seats are comfortable. On the down side, it isn’t as spacious as some of you might want it to be – but if you want more space, and still want a coupe, BMW does offer the 4 series and 8 series currently.

The biggest noticeable change in the interior between a regular 2 series and the M2 Competition, is that if you opt for the automatic option in the M2 Competition, you actually get a dual-clutch transmission, which means the shifter is different – which is much preferred.

Powertrain: As mentioned earlier, under the hood of the M2 Competition lies a 3.0L straight-six motor, that features two turbochargers. These are the old fashioned, single-scroll turbochargers, but don’t think that’s a negative, because the older style turbo’s produce quite a punch – the power delivery is savage and extremely entertaining.

Speaking of power, you get 405 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque in the M2 Competition – that’s about a 10% improvement over the previous M2 model. All that power is fed to just the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox – as in my tester.

Performance: Hook up its 265/35/R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport rear tires properly, and it’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. If you were on the Autobahn or a deserted runway, it’ll max out at an electronically limited 250 km/h – so yeah, it’s fast!

Driving Dynamics: Numbers are one thing, but they don’t tell you the full story. How a car feels can often tell a completely different story to performance data – as, sometimes a faster car is actually less enjoyable to drive than something a bit slower.

No one should call the M2 Competition slow, it isn’t; but it also isn’t the fastest car on the planet. Spend some time with it, and you’ll come to the conclusion that BMW engineers wanted to create a car that puts driving joy ahead of everything else. So, while it’ll be plenty fast on a race track, it certainly isn’t the ultimate time attack machine.

The tail end of the vehicle is quite playful, and would step out when being pushed – so, you have to be very alert! For me, it just adds to the fun of driving; the M2 Competition is engaging to drive – with its steering and throttle giving you constant feedback – and honestly, that is exactly what I look for from a performance car.

I liked driving it so much, I’d award it a very rare 10/10 in terms of driver’s satisfaction.

Fuel Economy: As you’d imagine, a car like the M2 Competition isn’t designed for optimal fuel economy. However, despite all the fun I was having, I still managed to average 10.5 L/100 km during my test cycle (170 km of highway driving + 130 km of city driving). That is surprisingly good for a sports car. However, as you’d expect, it prefers to only drink premium fuel, and given fuel prices nowadays, you will have to budget for that.

Pricing: The 2019 BMW M2 Competition has a base price of $71,250 + options + dealer fees + HST. So, it certainly isn’t cheap, but trust me, the size of the thrills it provides are even bigger than the price tag!

Verdict: The sports car segment is quite competitive, and there are quite a few offerings in it. While most are good, very few tug at your heart strings and refuse to let go!

The M2 Competition managed to do just that – it honestly was a joy to drive every single kilometer I covered in it, and turned even gloomy days into happy ones! Is it absolutely the greatest car you can buy for under $100,000? That’s up for debate, but I will say this – if I could, I would sign the dotted line for the M2 Competition.

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