By on April 18, 2018

For a long time BMW was being accused of losing its touch when it came to building the “ultimate driving machine.” People would gripe that the company’s tech was overshadowing driving enjoyment. That may be true to some degree but you could usually point them to the M division and tell them not to worry.

However, most people don’t have the kind of money required to facilitate the purchase of an M3 — and if they don’t have the cash for that, then they definitely aren’t going to pick up the superb M5. But that’s okay because BMW eventually built the M2 and it’s probably the best car in its lineup.

That’s why we are somewhat surprised to learn BMW will be giving the fun-loving coupe a dirt nap, replacing it with the more hardcore “M2 Competition.” It’s not a new car in the strictest sense, but it is a slightly different mindset. 

More is more. That’s the theory the M2 Competition works under as it borrows heavily from the M3 and M4, starting with their engine. BMW opted to ditch N55 and replace it with the S55, leaving us with an twin-scroll inline-six of the same displacement and more power. The 3.0-liter now makes 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque — which is an increase of 40 and 63, respectively.

That shaves off roughly a quarter of a second from the M2’s 0-to-60 time, although the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is a touch faster than the manual. According to BMW, DTC-equipped models can hit the mark in four seconds flat but the manual takes an additional 0.2 seconds.

The M2 Competition gets a number of chassis improvements to handle the upgraded power, which also appear to be borrowed from the bigger M cars. A carbon fiber strut helps out with front-end stiffness, while aluminum is the new material of choice for control arms and the front and rear axles.

Steering has been “enhanced” but we’re hoping not in the same way as the M3/M4. Both models offer an unpleasant electronic vagueness that takes some time to become accustomed to and is among their biggest drawbacks. We’d like to have seen BMW talk about feedback but instead the improvements made in regard to steering appear to revolve around how it works with speed. It’s electronically adjustable.

You can actually customize most of the car’s settings and assign them as presets, including the engine and transmission, if you have the dual clutch. A slick-sounding electronic limited-slip differential handles power delivery to the rear wheels and bigger M Sport brakes are said to bring the vehicle down to a stop faster than its predecessor.

Aesthetically, it’s not all that different from the outgoing M2 Coupe. However, we’re not convinced all the changes made were wise ones. First of all the seats, which seem very nice, come with an illuminated M2 logo embedded in the backrest. That’s borderline tacky, but whatever. The new 19-inch wheels, wrapped in 254/35-series front and 265/35-series rear tires, only come in various shades of black. You can either have all black or a bi-color design that is still partially blacked out.

The enlarged kidney grille also ditches its chrome for a shade of midnight crude. Can you guess what color the new exhaust tips are? I bet you can.

While the de-chroming of the M2 does give it sort of a track-car vibe we’re sure many will appreciate, it seems strange they wouldn’t offer it as part of an appearance package. In fact, the whole car has a sort of “special edition” feel about it. However, BMW is doing this kind of stuff on all of the M vehicles so it makes sense in a broader context. I just feel that Competition lacks the broader appeal the coupe has. Fortunately, it’ll probably make up for it in performance. We just pray copying the M3/M4 exhaust setup (flaps and all) and styling doesn’t involve copying fake noises being piped in through the audio system.

The 2019 M2 Competition should arrive at BMW dealerships this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced but expect it to surpass the 2018 M2 coupe’s $54,500 base price.

[Images: BMW Group]



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16 Comments on “BMW Replaces M2 Coupe with ‘M2 Competition’ This Summer...”

  • avatar

    Seems BMW has lost its way. When a cheap Camaro 1ss 1le can embarrass an M3 on the track, something’s is wrong. Yes, the interior won’t be as nice, but it also won’t likely be as unreliable as the bimmer after taking track abuse.

    • 0 avatar

      Cheap is relative…

      But haven’t the American’s always been all about “Cheap Speed”?

      The original Mustang may have purposefully stolen Italian styling cues but nobody cross shopped it with a Ferrari or Maserati.

      • 0 avatar

        I think this is the 1st gen of American cars that outhandle Germans on tracks and not just on the drag strip. BMW should have never ditched the v8 in their M3/M4.

        • 0 avatar

          Meh. When the E90 came out, people said BMW should never have dropped their inline 6. When the F30 gets replaced, I’m sure people will wish it hadn’t been changed. In 20 years, the last ICE M3 will be sold and people will say BMW shouldn’t have gone full BEV. It’s weird how the name stays the same, despite the fact the car that fills that particular market segment evolves with time and technology.

        • 0 avatar

          > I think this is the 1st gen of American cars that outhandle Germans on tracks and not just on the drag strip. BMW should have never ditched the v8 in their M3/M4.

          North American spec cars, maybe. But Germany is a different story where the American muscle cars have to compete with some of those ‘pedestrian econoboxes’:


    • 0 avatar

      The M3 has always been an all rounder. You look at every M3, there was always some cheaper Mustang or Camaro that could hang with them around the track. The M3’s ace was that it didn’t have to be a complete turd of a car to deliver that performance. Even the current M3, with all its dynamic faults, is still a better car than any pony car. Lighter, real back seat, good visibility, more refinement. But you are a troll so I’m already braced for the herp derp.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t mean to come off as trolling. Allow me to clarify. I am merely making the point that perhaps one doesn’t have to pay BMW $70k for a decently equipped car that can hustle around a track when the domestics offer equivalent and even surpassing performance for a lot less and without the reliability headaches. Even a decade ago, there wasn’t much that could replace the M3 but now the market seems to have responded.

        • 0 avatar

          The proof of which is better regarded over the long haul can be found in the used car market. Which vehicle holds it’s value better – in that regard the M3 is far superior to the GT or Camaro.

  • avatar

    I know I’m getting old when I don’t feel especially excited by a car like this. But I’m pretty sure that these changes will just make it even more clear that I’d be better served by a M240i than a M2.

    I’m not going to take a car to the track. Why would I need a harsh ride and a level of power that’s hard to use on the street?

    • 0 avatar

      Oh you are definitely not alone. Performance variants used to be exciting because their performance was outwordly. For all intents and purposes the M240i has all the straight line performance and probably 90% of the handling at a fraction of the cost and none of the pain.

      Not to mention anyone serious about something “track focused” would do better buying something used and built solely for that purpose. Cars like the M2C are the worst of both worlds.

  • avatar
    Chris FOM

    BMW has said the dropping of the original M2 and moving exclusively to the new Competition version was due to new emissions targets in Europe. The M2 was their last car using the N55, all their other I6 cars were on the new B58 except for the M3/M4 which used the S55. Both of these engines were compliant with the new emissions regs but the N5 was not, so it was easier to just drop the original model entirely and make this the only version. Hopefully it’s positioning as the entry-level M will keep the price lower than if it was a rung up over a base M2 (the competition pack on the M3/M4 is $5500 and this is a far more comprehensive overhaul).

  • avatar

    I’d love an M2 if the interior weren’t so depressing to look at. This is the last good BMW they may ever make.

  • avatar

    So now they have gone from the twin kidney grille to a modifies Kia grille?

  • avatar

    Glad the V6 Camaro exists. $26k 330HP.

  • avatar

    Where in the hell are the other 4 cylinders? In the motor picture above I can visualize 2 cylinders under the plastic cover but the other 4 must be buried in the firewall. If a plug change cost $10,000 on this car, I’d believe it! What a shade tree mechanics nightmare.

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