The BMW M2 is a time machine. It’s a sports car that harks back to M-cars of old, when they were smaller, lighter and less expensive than today’s counterparts. Perhaps it became a hit precisely because of this.
Its predecessor, the limited-run 1M, had certainly confirmed buyer interest in the concept. The M2 simply picked up where that car had left off – albeit on a larger scale. While BMW only built 450 1Ms for the UK, it upped that figure to 2000 for the original M2. We say ‘original’ due to the later arrival of the Competition and CS, but we’ll save those for later on.
For 2016 to 2018, the M2 received a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six with 365bhp. It’s essentially an uprated version of the lesser BMW M135i’s unit; and it allows for 0-62mph in 4.2sec with the dual-clutch automatic gearbox, or 4.4sec for the six-speed manual version.
Peak torque of 369lb ft is available from just 1400rpm, so it pulls like a train everywhere and, if provoked, is happy to unstick its rear end and slide around. It isn’t just a smoke machine, though; an M2 can be driven with poise and precision, and it’s incredibly rapid when you do so.
In fact, around the Hockenheim racetrack in Germany, it could out-pace its BMW M3 and BMW M4 siblings of the time. Turns out that lessening weight and decreasing size pays off. Who’d have thought it, eh?
And then the M2 Competition rocked up in 2018 to replace it, in doing so adding even more punch – as if the model was desperate for it. The Competition gained not only the twin-turbo 3.0-litre from its bigger M siblings, for a total of 404bhp, but also the carbonfibre front strut brace and bulkhead brace, increasing rigidity for more precise and accurate steering. It rides on larger 19in rims and gets lowered suspension, too.
Compared to the original, this version is shaper and more polished in every way. It’s a more honed performance car, but some might miss the more unruly and thrilling nature of the M2’s first iteration.