Upon seeing a BMW M2 CS, most BMW enthusiasts’ salivary glands get to work. At the moment, the M2 CS is the M car to have, due to its incredible driving dynamics, pure (or as close to pure as is possible anymore) driving feel, and sensational performance. It’s so good that it even beat the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 in a recent comparison test. However, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. In fact, with the M2 CS, there are two; it’s incredibly expensive and relatively exclusive.
With options, the BMW M2 CS borders, quite dangerously, on six-figure territory, which is a lot for a car that starts life as a four-cylinder diesel. And that’s even if you can manage to get allocation for one, as they’re relatively limited and not all dealerships can get hold of one. So if you can’t get an M2 CS, for whatever reason; budget or exclusivity; fret not, there’s an easier way to get very, very close to the same driving experience as the M2 CS for less money.
After driving the M2 CS quite a bit, and back-to-back with the BMW M2 Competition, I came away with the impression that the standard M2 Comp isn’t actually too far off the CS’ driving experience. Not because the M2 CS isn’t a great car but because the Competition is already so good. And since the M2 Competition is significantly cheaper, far easier to find at a dealer, and can be found even cheaper on the second-hand market, we decided to tell you how to get an M2 Comp and make it as close as possible to an M2 CS.
There are a few key advantages the M2 CS has over its little sibling. Thankfully, most of them are replicable. For starters, the ride. The BMW M2 Competition doesn’t come with adaptive dampers but the M2 CS does and they’re easily the CS’ biggest and most noticeable advantage.
Not only is the M2 CS more stable at speed and sharper through twisty bends but it’s also more comfortable. So the first thing you do to the M2 Competition is rip out its suspension and replace it with a good set of adjustable coilovers. My personal recommendation is a set of KW V3s, as they’re brilliant coilovers and don’t break the bank too badly. Sure, manually-adjustable coilovers aren’t as convenient as adaptive dampers that can be controlled by a button on the console but once you manually set your coilovers up the way you like ’em, you need not touch them again. Plus, the V3s are height adjustable, so you can get your ride height just right, too.
The next thing to do to your M2 Competition to CS-ify it is to raid BMW’s M Performance Parts catalog. You know the really cool carbon fiber hood, trunk lid, and aero the M2 CS comes with? All of them can be bought from the M Performance Parts catalog for an M2 Competition and the dealer can install them. So you can get the kick-ass looks, the lightweight carbon fiber hood, and the added aero with a few clicks of a mouse (and several thousands of dollars, of course).
Another very important aspect of the BMW M2 CS is its wheel and tire package. Not only do its wheels look fantastic but they’re wrapped in ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The wheels can be had from the M Performance Parts catalog and the tires can be bought from TireRack or wherever. Though, it must be said that the specific tire compound for the M2 CS might not be able to be had on the aftermarket, unless the dealer will get M2 CS-specific Michelins for you without owning a CS. They’re going to be pricey, though.
Those three modifications will transform a BMW M2 Competition into a sports car that’s damn close to an M2 CS, in terms of on-road driving experience. You can continue to take it further, though. An aftermarket exhaust from Akrapovic, or an equally reputable exhaust company, will make your M2 Comp sound as good as the M2 CS, if not better. You can also upgrade your brakes, though I don’t know if it’s necessary. Sportier seats inside would be cool, too.
Admittedly, on track, the BMW M2 CS is still going to be superior, as BMW made changes to things like the steering and rear differential that make it sharper and more stable than its other M2 siblings. However, on the road, the aforementioned modifications will get a BMW M2 Competition to about eight or nine-tenths of the way to an M2 CS driving experience. Doing so will likely be cheaper, especially if the M2 Competition was bought second-hand, and it might also be the only way for many enthusiasts to get such an experience. Plus, your budget can dictate how close to the M2 CS experience you want or need and you can prioritize the attributes you want to replicate.
So if you want a BMW M2 CS and have an itch you just can’t scratch, getting your hands on an M2 Competition and then modifying it a bit should do the trick. You won’t have the full CS experience on track but you’ll be close enough to have an absolute blast.