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.
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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.
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.
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.