In the world of high-performance sports cars, BMW has carved out a special place with its legendary M series. And even though it all started with the M3 and M5, it’s the compact M2 that holds a special place in the enthusiast’s hearts. Therefore, in this thrilling showdown, we bring together the 2023 BMW M2, the predecessor F87 M2 CS, the M3 Competition rear-wheel drive, and the iconic BMW 1M to determine which of these rear-wheel-drive powerhouses reigns supreme.

Specs: The Competitors

With the M2, M2 CS, and 1M boasting a six-speed manual transmission and the M3 Competition equipped with an 8-speed automatic, we put them through their paces at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina. Let’s dive into the exhilarating track and autocross experiences and find out if the 2023 BMW M2 lives up to its “mini-M4” aspirations.

First, let’s look at the specs of the four cars. The 2023 BMW M2 is a rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual model producing 453 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The F87 M2 CS also came with a RWD setup and the six-speed manual, but less power: 444 horsepower. The torque stays the same, but the weight drops significantly: 300 lbs lighter than the G87 M2. Next on the list is the iconic BMW 1M with 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Of course, it has a similar six-speed manual. Last on our list was a G80 BMW M3.

Track Testing: The M2 vs. the M2 CS vs. the 1M

Why the M3 and not the M4? Unfortunately BMW of North America couldn’t source for us an M4 Coupe so we had to settle for the four-door sedan. Furthermore, this M3 was a Competition model with an 8-speed automatic delivering 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. While it’s evident that this particular car would excel in terms of straight-line speed and track performance, our focus was primarily on experiencing the driving dynamics and overall feel of the vehicle, rather than solely prioritizing drag times.

One burning question on everyone’s mind was whether the new 2023 BMW M2 could live up to its “mini-M4” expectations. With the M3/M4 being a benchmark for performance and driving dynamics, the M2 had some big shoes to fill. We won’t spoil the outcome so feel free to watch this exclusive showdown between some formidable cars. Also, please subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos!