BMW aficionados tend to spend countless hours researching classified ads for their next purchase. In general, we’re always on the hunt for something fast, fun, and affordable. Or even a BMW that will be the next classic. The F13 M6 or F82 M4 are prime examples, but there is one BMW that might rule them all: The F87 M2. Introduced in 2016, the BMW M2 was immediately crowned, by numerous car journalists, as one of the best performance cars you can get at any price.

BMW borrowed the recipe from the muscle car history book by putting the largest engine in the lightest body and got inspired by its own iconic 2002 Turbo and 1M. However, those two Bavarian legends were limited production cars and sort of an experiment. On the other hand, the BMW M2 F87 was mass-produced, available in several variants. The production of the F87 generation has ceased in expectation of an all-new model, so it is technically a used car. With a large number of deals available on the second-hand market and somewhat still affordable prices, the F87 M2 is the smartest investment at the moment. Here is what you need to know before parking one in your garage.

Know Your M2

2016 BMW M2 NAIAS 5 750x563

In short, there are three distinct variants of this model. The standard M2 was powered by an N55 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder with 365 hp on tap, a choice of 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT gearbox. In late 2018, BMW introduced the M2 Competition with the S55 twin-turbo six-cylinder engine from M3/M4 models, improved suspension and braking, and 405 hp delivered to the rear wheels.

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A year later, BMW presented an ultimate M2 in the form of M2 CS, which had an even more powerful S55 engine, rated at 444 hp. The M2 CS also came with a more aggressive design package, different trim, and was produced in precisely 2200 examples. BMW didn’t make a convertible M2, and all cars were RWD only. Only four colors were offered, with several wheel designs and interior trim options. BMW designed the M2 as a pure driver’s car without overly emphasizing comfort, equipment, and gadget options.

Which One To Get?

This decision should be based on what you plan to do with the car. The limited-run M2 Competition or M2 CS would fit nicely if you are looking for an investment piece. Look for cars for minimal mileage and in as-new condition. However, if you are buying an M2 for the sake of driving and enjoying, then the standard model will be a perfect choice. The M2 is made for being driven well and driven far, and we feel that this is how those cars should be treated.

Modified M2s – Yes or No?

BMW M2 CSL Turbomeister Custom

As any enthusiast car out there, the M2 has its share of owners that modified their rides. In most cases, those modifications were pretty light – blacked-out grilles, wheel spacers, wheels, splitters, better brakes, and more. However, some decided to take it to the next level with serious performance upgrades, roll bars, body kits, and straight-pipe exhausts. We advise staying away from heavily modified cars and concentrating on stock or lightly modified examples.

Many BMW M2 models have performance chips installed which is probably unnecessary since the car is very powerful in standard form. BMW offered a factory M2 Performance Parts kit which included a splitter, side skirts, fenders, bonnet, boot, and a spoiler. Some owners installed adjustable coilover kits for M2, and even though it is a welcome modification, it suggests that the car has been heavily used on the track.

Nürburgring Syndrome

That leads us to the next point: how are the M2s used? Nobody bought this car to be a garage queen. In fact, plenty of M2 owners use it as a weekend track car. And that is perfectly fine since the M2’s mechanics and suspension are well up to the task. However, heavily tracked cars show signs of wear and tear and possible scars from crashing. Such examples should be avoided since they are tired and eventually will start breaking.

That is why a thorough mechanical check by a BMW specialist is a must before purchasing. If you are buying an M2 privately, it is good to search for the owner on social media. You might find photos or videos from his adventures on Instagram and see just how many times they visited Nürburgring.

Known Problems

Since the M2 didn’t feature any radically new technology or components, the mechanical combo has proven to be pretty bulletproof. There are no major mechanical issues that plagued this model. Of course, as with any car, it has a few things you should check. First of all, coolant and oil leaks. Coolant can be dripping from an electric coolant pump, and oil is known to leak from valve cover, oil slump, and oil filter housing. All of those things are quickly sorted. Some cars are known to have problems with coils, and you can only see that from the test drive. If the car has a rough idle, hesitates to accelerate, and is not smooth and responsive, it might need a new set of coils. It usually happens with high mileage examples.

As we said before, the BMW M2 F87 comes with a 6-speed manual and 7-speed DCT. The manuals are pretty straightforward and have no problems except the juddering of the clutch pedal on heavily-used examples. If you sense the vibrations of the clutch, especially under hard acceleration, it means you are up for a new clutch kit. The DCTs are reliable in stock examples and normal use. If the gearbox has problems staying in gear, overheats, and produces strange sounds, walk away. It means that the car has probably been abused, and the automatic gearbox is on its last legs.

Some M2 owners reported problems with failing crank hub. It is not a common issue but is often connected with engines delivering more power than stock. So, cars with performance chips, cold air intakes, or other modifications installed might experience such issues.

Of course, before buying, you should inspect all the vehicle’s features, audio system, iDrive functions, and speakers (they have been known to fail). It should work without any problems, strange noises, or lagging. You should also consider purchasing a BMW Extended Warranty, for extra piece of mind.

The stock suspension on the BMW M2 is more than capable of keeping up with the car’s performance, although many owners upgraded the brakes for additional stopping power. Control arms and bushings are long-lasting, but if the vehicle were abused or crashed, you would notice unusual sounds when you go over bumps.

Documentation

The oldest BMW M2 models are now six years old, making them reasonably priced and irresistible. Cars with complete documentation and service history are always more desirable and worth the premium. Our advice is to look for examples that have been under a lease deal since those cars are obligated to be serviced in official BMW centers, and mileage can be proven. That being said, we wish you good luck in your search for the perfect F87 BMW M2 and will see you on the next track day!