2019 BMW M2 Competition quick spin review and rating

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The 2019 BMW M2 Competition is a revised version of BMW’s smallest performance car. The updated model uses a detuned version of the S55 turbo inline-six from the BMW M3 and M4. Unlike the old N55, it’s a proper M engine, at least as much as that means today. The S55 makes 405 horsepower between 5,230 and 7,000 rpm and 406 pound-feet of torque between 2,350 rpm and 5,230 rpm. It’s loud and mean and makes all the sounds you want from a M-tuned car. Other updates for the model (the only one available from onward) include larger front and rear brakes, new M Sport seats and revised bodywork to help with cooling and aero.

With just four options, our tester was fairly lightly equipped. The Hockenheim Silver Metallic paint costs $550, the dual-clutch transmission adds another $2,900 to the price. Our car also had the M Driver’s Package, raising the top speed to 174 mph and giving owners a voucher for training at a Performance Center. The last option was the $1,200 Executive Package. It includes a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, wireless charging and a wifi hotspot.

Road Test Editor Reese Counts: I could go on about the dated, ergonomically-challenged interior or the small backseat or the annoying BMW M shifter that lacks a parking setting (I just turn the car off while the parking brake is on), but none of that really matters. If you care about those things (and you still need that blue and white roundel on the nose), you’re better off saving up some money while you wait for the next-gen BMW M4.

I had the M2 the weekend of the first real snowfall in southeastern Michigan. As soon as there was a fine layer of the fluffy stuff on the pavement (but before the snow plows were out in full force), I took the winter-tire-equipped out to screw around. The is short and nimble and (relatively) light, and it doesn’t take much to get the ass end loose in the snow. It’s easy to reel back in, but I was out to have fun. Pull the left shift paddle, crank the wheel and keep your right foot planted. If you have traction and stability control off, you’ll get the rear end to kick out in a predictable and controllable manner. It’s a hoot.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect hopping into the BMW M2 Competition, but I didn’t have the highest of hopes. The last BMW M car I was in was the M4, which was pretty fun, but also fairly brutal on metro Detroit streets. Before that, I’d also had some time in the fast but soulless M5. The non-M 2 Series I’d driven was a similarly soulless. Thankfully, the M2 Competition seems to be a different, better beast than all those other Bimmers.

Its fat, creased fenders bulging from its body, and dark badging that emphasize its seriousness make it one of the most visually striking BMW M cars. It’s also one of the best-sounding BMWs. Firing it up yields a boistrous, blatty exhaust note that only gets more raucous as the revs rise. Shifting up and down can coax out some pops and bangs, too, and the dual-clutch transmission’s fast and smooth shifts mean you’ll be swapping gears at every opportunity.

It’s still a very stiff little car, but it’s tuned to take the edge off so you don’t vibrate into jelly. And when you do get to twisty roads, you’ll find the M2 has shockingly steering, and the chassis reacts just as fast to dart into curves. Body lean is nearly non-existent. My only complaint is that the steering is fairly numb.

I had a blast roaming around in the M2 and hope I get to do so again in the near future.

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: On rare occasions, I will scramble out of a car and straight to a manufacturer’s website configurator. By rare, I mean I’ve done it twice. The first was for the Shelby GT350, and the second for this BMW. The M2 Competition is hands-down the best BMW I’ve ever driven.

Our tester is equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but that didn’t hinder me from having an absolute riot. I’m sure that slamming through the gears with a manual would be even more satisfying, but the DCT’s quick-changing cogs offered up its own kind of fun. Vehicles like this are the reason why I imagine I’ll never give up my gas engine performance car for an electric one. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six’s aural experience at 7,500 rpm is not one I’ll soon forget. It’s a beautiful assault on your ears to stand behind the big muffler and quad exhaust pipes.

There’s such a violent immediacy to the engine that the chassis responds to with a gleeful shake of the rear every time you stab the gas. It’s like an excited, small dog with excess power to its hind legs scratching and wanting for grip until it hooks and takes off like a bullet train. I love it when a car has a playful personality, and this M2 brought out my inner child with every stomp of the right pedal. To engineer a chassis that’s this buttoned down and sorted through corners but still allows you to be an absolute hoon is BMW at its finest.

It might be a small car, but every penny of the asking price will feel worth it when that inline-six starts to scream. If I had the means, I’d park this car in my garage for an undue amount of time. That’s about as good as it gets in my book.

Manager, Production, Eddie Sabatini: For this amazing coupe I’m going to borrow a quote from a fellow auto-enthusiast: “I love driving it. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” — Ferris Bueller

Only the 911 GT3 we had a few months back rivals the driving enjoyment. Sure, this one doesn’t have a manual, but the BMW DCT is really, really, really good. Three “reallys!” … it doesn’t get much more technical than that. It has balance, power, tech, comfort, and looks amazing. The M2 is certainly on my “would buy” list.

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