The BMW M2 Competition may have a similar name to most mid-lifecycle M car refreshes but there’s a lot more under the skin with this one. For the better part of a decade pretty much every M car has had a Competition model follow its launch. The idea was that BMW M would continue to develop an M car even after release. Righting some wrongs and/or further developing various bits, the Competition car would be the pinnacle of the normal releases (and the one you waited for). But this M2 Competition looks to be much more than a slight sharpening of the knife.
The M2 Competition is the first time since M introduced it’s small car offering with the 1M that they’ve put a proper M engine in one. As we know about M engines, it’s not just about the output. The S55 (coming from the M3 and M4) is an engine that revs quicker and higher than the modified N55 it replaces. One area of critique we had with the original M2 is that it didn’t feel as if the engine could react as quick as the 1M’s thanks to the extraordinarily lightened flywheel on the modified N54 in that car (read more in our full review of the M2 vs the 1M).
The S55’s mid-range torque (not something the N55 doesn’t have a problem with on paper) will be a noticeable improvement given how it feels in the heavier M4. While the 0-60 time is only .1 faster, we’d bet a fair amount that this M2 will feel decidedly faster.
Then there’s the suspension improvements. One area that the M2 excelled at from launch was its grip and ability to be predicable at the limit (ironically one area that makes it for better or worse different from the 1M). Having drifted (not completely on purpose) an M2 down the corkscrew of Laguna Seca I can speak to the limits and the general ease of use of the current M2. According to BMW this is now significantly improved thanks to altered steering mapping, spring and damper tuning and recalibrated DSC.
While a few of us look at the race to predicability and grip perfection as contrary to what makes a sporty car enjoyable, there’s little question that these motorsport driven improvements will create a faster and more capable car. So good in fact that BMW is taking away the option of the standard car entirely and just offering the M2 Competition going forward.
For the enthusiast the M2 Competition these are all promising developments. It’s a small BMW with a true M engine being offered in both manual and DCT forms. With seemingly no stone now left unturned by modification, it takes an already excellent product to the next level. In so many ways this is exactly what BMW M has done since the E30 M3. It’s nice to know they can still nail it.
The M2 Competition will likely be priced just under $60,000 in the US and will hit showrooms late this summer.