At the moment, it seems as if BMW struggles to gain widespread critical acclaim. Even when it debuts such monster cars like the BMW M8, there always seems to be a “but” from critics. However, there’s one car that gets far more love than criticism, even if it has its faults — the BMW M2 Competition. The BMW M2 Competition is not a perfect sports car by any means. It’s still too heavy, the seating position is too high, it can get a bit snappy at speed and its engine note still isn’t great. However, there’s so much to love about it, and it has a punchy, brutish character that’s endearing enough to cover up its faults. So let’s take a look at the five main reasons why we love the BMW M2 Competition.
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1. Excellent M-Engineered Six-Cylinder Turbo Engine
When the S55 engine first debuted in the F80-generation BMW M3, it was both universally praised for its performance and panned for its sound. Even with aftermarket exhausts, I’ve yet to hear an F80 M3 that truly sounds beautiful. However, there’s no denying its brilliant performance, which is explosive. That explosive performance is amplified in the shorter wheelbase BMW M2 Competition. The standard M2 the preceded the Comp felt fast but the M2 Comp, despite not having that much more power, feels leagues faster and is the best application of the S55 engine yet.
2. Comes with a Six-Speed Manual
It’s hard to understate the importance of a three-pedal gearbox in a sports car. Rowing your own gears immediately makes a car more engaging, regardless of what it is. In something that’s already engaging, a proper manual sends it over the top. While I personally love modern automatics and dual-clutch gearboxes, there’s still nothing like a proper stick-shift and the BMW M2 Competition offers one. We’ve driven the M2 Comp with both the six-speed manual and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and it’s the former that better suits the car.
3. The DSC Software Config – Inherited from the M3 CS and M4 CS
BMW M says that while no mechanical changes were made to the BMW M2 Competition, the M engineers had the opportunity to improve the three characteristic curves of the electromechanical power steering, the Active M differential and the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control).
The DSC system follows the same philosophy as the one found in the M3 CS and M4 CS, basically a tuned up DSC which previously has been more restrictive, but now, in combination with the limited slip differential, it delivers a different driving experience. The DSC is less intrusive, smoother than before, allowing quite some lean in corners before it intervenes. It is extremely smooth also in MDM mode, allowing for quite some rear play before it kicks in.
4. Great value for the price
Starting at $59,895, it’s not the performance bargain it once was, though it still handily undercuts the Audi TT RS ($65,875) and the 2019 Porsche Cayman S ($70,350) while beating them both in horsepower. Admittedly, it’s not as fast as an Audi TT RS and its engine doesn’t sound as good, it’s the more fun car as a whole. Only the Porsche Cayman can take down the BMW M2 Competition in terms of fun-factor but it’s significantly more expensive and slower. So while the M2 Competition isn’t as cheap as it once was, it’s still a great performance deal.
5. More Fun To Drive On The Track Than An M4 Coupe
As far as daily driver sports cars go, the BMW M4 Coupe is hard to beat. It’s spacious inside, comfortable and very, very fast. But if you want something that’s going to be more fun, the BMW M2 Competition is miles ahead of the M4. The BMW M4 is good but the M2 Competition is great. It steers better, it handles better, it’s more tail-happy and exciting and it’s just the more playful car. The M4 has more powerful models than the M2 Competition, so it’s faster as a whole, especially on track, but the M2 is the one that’s going to put the bigger smile on its driver’s face.
Plus, you don’t give up too much in terms of cabin space or trunk space. So the BMW M2 Competition is the best M Coupe for the money, for sure.