BMW M2 vs Shelby GT350

BMW M2 | January 19th, 2016 by 61
ShelbyGT350 28 HR 750x500

Update: To properly compare the two cars, we will have a chance to test them both in the very near future. A new review will …

Update: To properly compare the two cars, we will have a chance to test them both in the very near future. A new review will follow shortly after with an objective point of view.

We’re no strangers to comparing BMWs with other cars of lower value, such as the Shelby GT350. In fact we recently just compared the BMW M2 and Ford Focus RS, the latter of which costs almost $20,000 less. So we understand that many potential customers will find a better performance value elsewhere than at BMW. Another comparison for the BMW M2 has recently cropped up among car enthusiasts against yet another Ford.

Ford recently introduced its Mustang Shelby GT350, based on the brand-new Mustang, and it’s a very impressive performance value. With a 5.2 liter flat-plane crank V8, the Shelby GT350 develops 526 hp and only uses a six-speed manual to shift its gears. All of that power is sent to the rear wheels, as the muscle car gods intended. All of that V8 fury sends the Shelby GT350 from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds. And all of that performance can be had for just $47,795, or the price of a modestly equipped BMW 328i sedan.

ShelbyGT350 18 HR 750x438

So there’s no doubt that the GT350 offers a fantastic value. But is it actually the better car?

The BMW M2 stars life at $51,700, which is almost $4,000 more. Despite costing more, the BMW M2 only uses a six-cylinder engine, albeit with a turbocharger slapped on it, that develops 365 hp. So for more money, you get 161 less horsepower. However, you also lose near 300 lbs from the Shelby, so the M2 actually has a very similar 0-60 mph time. In fact, because of the M2’s better low-range torque, lighter weight and possible DCT gearbox, the M2 is probably a touch faster than the Mustang.

But that’s just straight-line performance, the only thing that the Mustang is really good at. Sure, the Shelby GT350 is designed for the track and is a very capable car, but so is the M2. The BMW M2 will be the better car on the street, through tight corners, on a back canyon road and even on the track. Pretty much anywhere these two cars go, the M2 will be the more fun car.

BMW M2 images 31 750x499

That’s not to say that the Mustang won’t be fun. That V8 will make an incredible noise, the kind that only a flat-plane crank V8 can make, and will have a badass muscle car persona. But when it actually comes to driving hard and fast, the BMW M2 will be the more fun, more precise tool. It will also be more livable on the street and more usable in everyday life. For an extra four thousand dollars, I think the M2 is the obvious choice, as it’s the more well rounded car of the two.


61 responses to “BMW M2 vs Shelby GT350”

  1. Lucky13 says:

    Both the Mustang and Camaro are a lot bigger than the 2 series, 14″ longer and in fact both are bigger than the 4 series. I think most luxury/premium owners cross shop Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Jag etc. and not American brands. Maybe the closest thing to a 2 series would be a 370Z with 2 doors.

  2. Kaisuke971 says:

    Honestly, i feel like the GT350 was an awesome car… Until Chevrolet unveiled the Camaro SS. It’s like 10k cheaper, and performs almost as good while not being a limited run, and more civilized. Honestly, the chevy or the M2 ? I’d spend lots of time thinking about it only because i’m a BMW fan.

    • Jason Hopper says:

      The GT350 will clean the floor with any model Camaro SS. We’ll have to wait and see what the new version of the Z28 can do, as the GT350R mops the floor with the Z28 for 10K+ less.

      • Kaisuke971 says:

        Not only did the GT350R came out 2 years after the Z28, it was also on a next gen platform. Plus i won’t take the 10k as an info, because the carbon wheels propulse the price in another century.
        Don’t underestimate the 2017 SS btw.

        • Jason Hopper says:

          62kish is with the cf wheels. Z28 was 75 k. So yeah numbers are correct there bud. Are we supposed to care the Z28 isn’t ready?

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            Oh ok, but i still stay on my positions. No one was amazed when Ferrari’s mid-engined V8 was faster than Porsche’s previous supercar, because it’s old. Maybe they went “Wow engineering goes fast” but not hyper hyped.

            Only Mustang fans (and simple people) got really hyped for the GT350R being (barely) quicker than the Z28 (same for the Civic Type R mess), because the Z28 was pretty old actually (you have to consider the whole platform.

            To be fair, it would be a complete shame if the GT350R wasn’t quicker.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Please, GM isn’t going to do anything new with the z28 except maybe try to stuff that old tech corvette motor. When do they plan on some innovation?

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            At least they seriously improved their cars by giving a concrete aluminium treatment. That’s why for around te same price, the Camaro SS rapes the Mustang GT.
            Plus i’d like to see the GT350R without its magnetic ride :)

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Well I could use your same silly argument….”well duh…I should hope so…the mustang chassis is almost 2 years old now… Blah blah insert excuse. ” The fabled z06 couldn’t even win the Road and Track shootout.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            It would still be better than the eyesore z28 without its magnetic ;). And 12k cheaper.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Are they trying to copy what Ford did with the f150. You know what they say about flattery. At least they are learning. Maybe they won’t have to discontinue the Camaro for another 10 years?

          • Jason Hopper says:

            You’ve clearly never ridden in a Z28. Its a brash, rough riding, cheap and tacky ride that goes fast on smooth pavement. So yeah…its little more than “goes a bit faster”. Its a far better built, better road car, better everything than the z28. Oh..and all for far less cost. Mike drop.

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            So what ? Every one knows the Cayman GT4 is the real performance car of the year, maybe the decade. The only american car that can touch it is the Viper ACR, otherwise nothing comes close.

            It still has it though, seems like Ford couldn’t miss it. The Z28 is a piece of art next to the GT350R, in terms of look. I’d personally prefer to have this badass machine over the Shelby. Plus i don’t like how it sounds at all.. it seems synthetic.

            No they tried to copy what European brands do actually… BMW was using CFRP in a regular hybrid hatch before F150 even used ALuminium haha. And don’t act like the Mustang wasn’t a giant mess at one moment: the second gen is a crap.

            Oh what, you’re eating journalist’s vomit now ? Let’s keep it real for a second: who is gonna buy an RWD car, with a 500hp 7.0l NA V8, Semi slick 305 tires, a manual gearbox, carbon ceramics and no air conditioning to complain about the ride ? That’s non sense.

            I don’t know why you got butthurt, i was just expressing my opinion. And at the end of the day, i’d take the M2, or an M235i with the LSD over them. Because i’m a BMW fan.

            PS: learn how to use a comment section

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Thank you for validating your complete lack of intelligence regarding performance autos. What a hoot. No really… Hahaha!

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            From the guy that flooded the article with his comments while he could’ve used the edit function ^^
            Go back to your Ford forums dude. I’m not even american, i’ll more likely never see the cars you’ve talked about. That’s why i said SS, at least i can have it without importing :)

          • Jason Hopper says:

            I alsonown a Pontia GXP…which is far better than any Crapmaro ever built, even 7 years later. Took the Australians to build a proper GT for GM ;)

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Here’s your precious 134k BMW M4 gts fresh off…just barely beating the 62k R in the real world. Wow…soooo impressive. Oh and I guess it’s not fair because now the mustang chassis is old. You give whole new meaning to ….well, never mind chief. Lol Run Forest, run!


          • Kaisuke971 says:

            Barely ? 5 seconds dude, that’s not barely (yes i’m aware it was the gap with the way older Z/28). The GT350R is not a competitor to the GTS… Let this glorified mustang fight the 991.2 Carrera S while the GTS goes on GT3 and GT3 RS :)

            Btw the M4 is older than the GT. Plus i’m not sure the GTS lapped with the new carbon fier wheels, it could gain another second who knows ? Rotating mass are even more crucial.

            Dude let it go the GT will obviously be raped by every version of the 6th gen Camaro, it’s not my fault. They do the best AWD Hot hatch, they can’t get everything right.

            PS: comparing a Ford to a BMW is like comparing a Casio to a Tag Heuer. Yes, they both give time. One might even come with a fancy calculator. But at the end of the day, gold covered/looking plastic is still plastic hehe

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Have you been sniffing vw fumes or do they just not teach math in your country, Forest?

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Got any more excuses why your 134k “fastest ring timed BMW in existence (a 2016 model too lol) ” can’t seem to finish faster than about 3 seconds than a 62k pos 2015 mustang on a track where the fastest 100 times average around 7 and a half minutes? Lol

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Oh Boohoo its not fair your 62k car comes with carbon fiber wheels stock… when my overpriced 134k yuppiemobile is too cheap to innovate lol. Boo hoo…not fair!!!!

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            Okay fanboy, we get it you like Ford. It’s the only thing you can afford anyway (pun intended) :)
            I won’t keep on arguing with you otherwise the site won’t handle both your stupidity, insane level of fanboy-ism, and 9210 comments per minute.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Waaaah. Mommmmyyyy!!!!

          • Jason Hopper says:

            Its OK you like BeatMyWeiner mobiles. The biggest problem I have is the vast majority of BeatMyWeiner autos is the clueless owners, like you, who peruse the net claiming the ultimate this or that. Keep gunning that old smoke bomb 90’s bimmer with the various parts from later model years tacked on in a nefarious attempt to kid yourself ;) At least it works on yourself…evidently.

          • fzr niko says:

            and I’d take a gt350 or 350r any day over the slower m4 or m2 or cayman gt4. all really fast cars, but the numbers don’t lie. and don’t get started on mods. throw about 10-15k into the 350 in power adders and upgraded bracing and it’ll probably take the 160k gts. it was only 4 secs slower at the ring. another 200 hp from a power adder alone would probably go a long way to closing that 4 sec gap and you’d still have enough money left over for an M4. seriously, where’s the argument?

          • Jason Hopper says:

            I guess I should have said for 12k+ less. I know someone with a z28. Great on the track but a rough riding, tacky looking, nightmare to sit in piece.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            I’d even go so far to say…you’d have to be pretty dumb to consider the plasticrap camaro z28 for 75k when you can get the vastly superior z06 in the same neighborhood.

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            I talked about the SS, you came out with the Z28.

          • bawbmaloooga says:

            The GT350R beats the base Corvette my friend. Forget the SS. I think it was Car and Driver that compared them. Anyways, the Ford won.

  3. tim. says:

    But what is about the V8? The main thing why you buy a Mustang. The sound of it lets you forget about that you are not as fast as in the BMW.

  4. Jason says:

    Uh… this isn’t biased at all. The BMW… in no way will be faster, despite being 300lbs lighter. How about an objective test. What homerism.

  5. Jason says:

    “But that’s just straight-line performance, the only thing that the Mustang is really good at.” How clueless can you be.

  6. Jason says:

    Just go ahead and line up that M3. I dare you.

  7. Jason Hopper says:

    Let’s see which BMW it would take to hang with this crowd. Some objective material:

  8. Gary Schechner says:

    Nico- On behalf of Shelby American, I’d like to invite you to come to Las Vegas and take a few of our new cars out on the track for a hands-on with 750+hp of the Shelby Super Snake. We’d also be happy to let you bring an M2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and put it up against our cars on a twisty-road-course at Spring Mountain Motorsports (Pahrump, NV). Flight and hotel on me/Shelby American.

    • Jason Hopper says:

      Good luck. This shill comparison is obviously based on homerism and not any kind of measured performance data.

    • Horatiu says:


      Thanks for the reply. Admittedly, there might have been a little bias, but we always try to steer away from that and be objective as much as we can, sometimes without having all the tools in hand, in this case, the two cars back to back.

      With that being said, shoot me an email at and we can continue the conversation and see what we can do to properly test the Shelby.

    • fzr niko says:

      Drop the effing mic! an M2 vs. a shelby gt350r? so stupid. the 350r murders it. m2 ring time is 7:58. 7:58! that is some 25 secs slower than the 350r. So stupid and butthurt.

  9. Car Enthusiast says:

    Very biased article. The author has obviously never driven either car.

  10. Aileron says:

    I’m really trying to find an actual point to this article

  11. bally says:

    I have a 1 series Beemer and I wanted the GT350 but I may have to go with the M2. This article did not clarify that you cannot get the GT350 for MSRP,
    All dealers are charging 15k to 30k (some even more) above resale value so technically that pricing comes into M4 (even base M5) territory.
    47k plus a few options would be worth buying… but above MSRP forget it….
    The M2 is a full production run so no price hike…..

    • Jason Hopper says:

      It’s true. The gt350 is in very high demand…especially the R. But they have been bought for msrp…if you are willing to look

      • bally says:

        I am looking east, central, west coast the dealers that do have it are marking them up….
        As for the ones that do not have it they just said to call back in 2 weeks, no pricing was given on those so I will have to see.
        If I do not find one before the M2 is released then I may just get the M2….Ford better keep those machines running 24*7 and get more out there before buyers move on to other cars.

        • Jason Hopper says:

          I really want an R. But if you haven’t already secured one at MSRP, I sounds like it will be 15-30k markup…no thanks. I have a dealer who has promised me first dibs a 2017 allocation when they become orderable, but only the biggest dealers get Rs and they aren’t big enough. Sounds like I will have to settle for standard + track pack if I want one in 2017 .

    • Nick H says:

      I paid MSRP – but you’re right it’s almost impossible right now (I ordered built to spec 6 months ago). My dealer as of 15Jan stated he had a handful of offers from other dealers at 9k+ over list.

      • Jason Hopper says:

        Did you get an R? Man…I’d so kill for an at MSRP. I’ve about given up. I’m promised a 17 allocation of the standard, to which I’ll add the track pack. I really want that R though.

        • Nick H says:

          Jason, I went with a GT350 Track Pack – R wasn’t for me – I needed A/C and backseats.

          • Jason Hopper says:

            My plan was to get R and add the AC back with the available package. I refuse in principal to pay any kind of ADM. The small dealer I have the agreement for the gt350 doesn’t do enough volume to get an R allocation. As such, who knows when I might see delivery of a 2017, you can’t yet order them. I’m willing to wait for this beast.

  12. Eric Wang says:

    Do more research before you post your opinion. The M2 did 7:58 on the Ring, while the Shelby GT350R did 7:32.19 on the Ring. The the non-R GT350 is only a little bit slower than the R, no more than a few seconds, which is still A LOT faster than the M2 on the ring. Even faster than the M4 which did 7:52. The Shelby GT350 is aimed to beat the BMW M series… Just so you know, I am a big fan of the BMW M3/M4. However, I bought the Shelby GT350 because of the price and the performance.

  13. Nick H says:

    I own a Shelby GT350 Track Pack and a Porsche 997S that I daily drive. I’m a Porsche fanatic, but also I love all great cars. Over the last 10 months I have test driven potential cars looking for my weekend/track toy. They include the Porsche 997.2 Turbo PDK, Porsche 997.2 GTS PDK, Porsche 911 Turbo 6 speed, Ferrari 360 Modena 6speed, and the new Corvette Stingray Z51. All were fantastic. Then I drove the new GT350. Blows all of those cars I tested out of the water – no comparison. Handling, poise, sound, interior, are all on another level. The M2 looks like a great package (I love the 1M Coupe – reminds me of that) – but honestly the GT350 is a totally separate league – a more comparable match to the Shelby would be the Porsche 991 GT3. Also I noticed in your article you begin with an incorrect statement “the Shelby is lower value.” The Shelby is actually fetching up to twice the msrp price – often over 100k – especially the R – it’s much more valuable than an M2 both to collectors and track enthusiasts. Another interesting point you seem to sort of dismiss a 6 speed Tremec. Realize 6 speed cars including the F430 6 speed (which nets twice the price of the F1 paddle shift) is highly coveted with everyone turning to auto- (just look at the new Porsche 911 R). There really isn’t a BMW in production that comes close to the Shelby GT350. To get this experience you will have to spend upwards of $160k (991 GT3). So I think you’re sort of doing the M2 a disservice comparing it to a GT350 – a better match up to the BMW M2 is maybe the CLA45AMG. If you drive a Shelby GT350 you will probably want to delete this article and figure out a way to own one immediately.

    • Horatiu B. says:


      Thanks for the extensive comment.

      We’re actually going to test the Shelby next month on the track. They were kind enough to extend an invite to us so we can first-hand experience the car.

  14. Gapper says:

    Wow. This article is some of the worst garbage I’ve ever read. Seriously. You know, you really could have saved time and edited this essay down to two sentences…” BMW is better than Ford. Just saying yo.” That’s kind of the impression that I got.

  15. Robert Dollar Van Dell says:

    How can you just claim that shit? Back it up. What a shitty blog post.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Ok Robert, late to the party. We got the message and already acknowledged that it wasn’t the most fortunate choice of words. So therefore, we will drive both cars soon and give an objective review.

  16. […] back, we did a speculative comparison of the Shelby GT350 and the BMW M2. Many felt that the comparison wasn’t the fairest, which was a valid concern considering we […]

  17. […] let’s back track a couple of months, to an article in which I wrote, in a nutshell, that most Shelbys couldn’t actually live up to most BMW M cars and that the […]

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