This review of the 2018 BMW M2 Competition has been done in a pseudo interview style. I'm aware in this time crazy world people skim to the salient bits, e.g. "blah-blah-blah 0-100 in 4.2 seconds blah-blah-blah power is 302kW blah-blah."
So What Car Are You Reviewing?
A 2018 BMW M2 Competition. Rolfe Classic BMW kindly let me drive it, although less for this review and possibly more as a purchasing prospect. So consider this review a form of multi-tasking. Many thanks to them.
Is It Fast?
Do ducks quack?
Although the M2 is the entry level M car (since the demise of the 1M), it's a quick, sharp car. The numbers are 0-100km in 4.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 255km/h, although unlimited I'd guess you'd be looking at 280km/h or so. But numbers hardly do it justice. I did a few moderately sharp take-offs and my first reaction was the acceleration felt "visceral".
A gut feeling where my organs squished closer to my backbone.
What's the Specs?
It's a twin turbo inline 6 taken from the current M3/4 series, although slightly de-tuned. Nevertheless, this little powerhouse makes 302kW of power and 550 Nm of torque. It's linked to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission (M-DCT). The one I tested had the M sport brakes, which were excellent although difficult to test "fade" outside of a track.
Oh yeah, there are other bits, like dual zone air conditioning; electric heated seats; and cruise control.
What Were the Good Bits?
Where do I start? First, this feels like the true successor to my old E92 M3. It feels like the next, logical car. The F90 M5 I drove some months ago was quicker, faster and better in all respects; but this car felt like the next dot in the series from the E9x M3.
The handling is sharp, visibility is good, and the seats firm. The electronic steering has improved and, as sacrilegious as it may sound, comes close to being as good as the E9x M3's hydraulic rack. It's definitely better than the game console steering feel I get from my F25 X3.
The package comes with the option of a manual gear box and M-DCT. I know diehards will opt for manual, but the DCT's so quick and responsive it makes a strong case.
The DCT's Better?
My old E92 M3 had a Getrag 7 speed M-DCT transmission. It was quick at speed, but clunky in day-to-day driving. The M2's M-DCT is faster, but driving around town it's a smooth as my X3's 8 speed ZF automatic. Indeed, an irony is the F90 M5 uses an automatic box that changes as rapidly as a DCT; and the F87 M2 uses a M-DCT that drives (in traffic) as smoothly as a torque converter. My take -- except for small things -- if you drove both the M5 and M2 back-to-back you'd be hard pressed to know if either was an automatic or DCT.
Other Good Bits?
Well, the mirrors are from the M4, so they look a bit more special, and there's more 20% cooling than the old model (according to BMW).
What Wasn't So Good?
In terms of driving, nothing.
However, what's not so good is what's missing from the specifications. These are things that you can't even option. For me, what I missed most is a heads-up display - this would've been useful. Once you've used them it's hard to go back. Other items are things a good driver doesn't need, but which make a car feel more special. These are a movable red-line as the oil temperature increases, damper control and shift lights -- again, a good driver would use the oil temperature display and work the engine to figure out the sweet spots, but my E92 M3 had all of these, so why not the M2?
I'm guessing some, such as the HUD and dynamic damper control, are to allow BMW to differentiate the M2 against its larger siblings, particularly the current M3/4. There are other items which, for me, are more cosmetic. A blind spot warning indicator (just adjust your mirrors!) and a front facing camera (plus cameras in the mirrors) to give the 360 degree view when parking (particularly when it's the dealer's car!). The lack of cameras puzzled me, particularly in a car nudging six figures.
Finally, no carbon fibre roof -- even as an option. Most people will not miss this slight weight saving, although I enjoy the aesthetics. But returning to the main point of this car: driving and, in this respect, it really hits the M-sweet spot.
The M-Sweet Spot?
When you consider the superb, nay... "visceral", driving experience you get for the low price (relative to other M cars), this baby M is the Daddy.
Could You Use It as a Daily?
You could, although the suspension is a tad firm -- even in efficient mode -- and with Australia's woeful roads this may become jarring. My E92 M3 was like that. My wife and I took it on a road trip and come away with sore backs, despite having super comfortable seats. The seats in the M2, by the way, are electronically adjustable, including bolsters, and snug!
The M2 has a 2 series boot, which is practical enough, and the back seats are good enough only for young teens or small children.
Would You Buy It?
In a heart beat! It is that good.
Well, that's with no other considerations. But given I've a stable of cars, a finite garage and an equally finite income, these things have to be balanced. Let's just say, the car makes a powerful argument for ownership, but certain life choices have to weighed.
So What's the Wrap?
The M2 Competition is an exceptional M car and the closest successor to that old-time M experience. It has it all in wonderful balance. Speed, but without one breaking out into a sweat each time you touch the throttle; precise handling, yet with the ability drive in daily traffic; looks, but without being in your face; and sound...
You Haven't Mentioned The Sound.
Oops. Well, at first I was concerned because I am/was not a fan of the current M3/4 -- at least in the early cars. They sounded too tinny and, with this M2 having the same engine, my fear was that the exhaust would disappoint. This is not the case. The exhaust note is low and roars. BMW have listened to their customers and made a worthwhile change.
So The Bottom Line?
If you're in the market for a sports car in this price range, then the M2 Competition must be on the list. It is that good.