“This is the best current BMW “M” car. – Doug DeMuro
“Within the current BMW lineup, the M2 has been the most exciting vehicle from a driver-involvement standpoint, and the Competition version is even more so.” – David Beard | Car & Driver
“It really is simply brilliant, the M2” – Chris Harris | Top Gear
Up: nimble, quick, excited to have you behind the wheel
Down: wireless charging doesn’t fit larger phones
Neutral: Beginner price for expert performance
Nearly every single automotive journalist has gotten behind the wheel of this car before me and nearly every single one of them has given it incredible amounts of praise. Seriously, all of them. If you do a quick YouTube search for “bmw m2 vs”, you’ll scroll through an endless amount of videos pitting BMW’s scrappiest new car against others in its own wheelhouse, some that have double the power, and even some that are double the price. The common denominator? The M2 is consistently the favorite. I’ve been jazzed about this car since it was announced last summer, and I still get excited when I see one on the road, so you can imagine my excitement when Jake Fredrickson from BMW of Sioux Falls called me up and said they got something in I’d probably like to drive. And to add to the excitement was they didn’t just have any old M2, they had the 2019 BMW M2 Competition.
Ever since the departure of the M1, excuse me, 1 Series M Coupe, in 2012, BMW had an unusual void where their “most exciting car” once sat. Of course BMW’s “M” lineup still consisted of incredibly quick and technologically advanced cars, but most exciting just wasn’t there. The M3 continues to overeat, the M4 is somehow even fatter than that, the M5 is too upper-management, and the M6, which is hands down BMW’s best looking car, is solely built for bragging about having an M6. All these changes left wide open the perfect spot for BMW to slide in their new 2-Series and, most importantly, an “M” version of it.
Now I haven’t driven the journalist-favorite 1 Series M Coupe, but I’ve got a hot take for you: it was friggen ugly. That round head, those over-sized wheels, the fat lip…no thank you! The 2019 M2 Competiton, while still not perfect in my eyes, looks infinitely better than its little brother. The proportions are correct, the roundness was replaced with harder angles, the wheels fit the body, and the interior is top notch; all important requirements towards becoming BMW’s most exciting car.
But enough of me ranting and raving with a history lesson. You’re probably wondering what actually makes BMW’s cheapest performance car so desirable and why the Competition package adds more flavor. Well calm down baby birds, I’ll feed you.
First thing’s first: size matters. What do the E30 M3, MK1 GTI, and Audi Quattro all have in common? They’re tiny cars from the 80s! You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t absolutely adore at least one, if not all three, of those iconic cars. Germany nailed the recipe for fun early on: more performance in a smaller package. And the same theory holds true with the 2019 BMW M2. It’s hard to explain exactly why a small car is more fun, especially to an American, but just think back to the last time you were on a go-kart. Did you have a smile on your face the entire time? I bet you did.
So what sort of performance to BMW pack into the M2 Competition? The standard M2 has a turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-six pushing out 365 horsepower and the Competition ramps that up by adding a second turbo to produce 405 horsepower. That means 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, the same as a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS or Boxster GTS which are both $20,000 more. The Competition also has some unique additions such as improved air flow through the grille, twin-stalk mirrors to guide the wind, the carbon fiber strut brace out of the M3, larger brakes, and a new exhaust. It also comes with unique 19″ M wheels and all of the “M” and “Competition” badging you could ask for!
The interior of the BMW M2 Competition is equally as impressive as the performance. The Black Dakota Leather seats have a unique blue pattern in them that sets the M2 apart from other brands and a blue stitching throughout the entire vehicle that looks great when contrasted against the carbon fiber door handles, dash, and the rest of the trim. Tech is high as well as you get all the latest safety and camera functions as you’d expect from a BMW including wireless phone charging and wifi hotspot! The wireless phone charger unfortunately doesn’t fit large phones such as the Pixel 2XL or Galaxy Note but hey, every car company thinks customers only buy iPhones. Despite that, the M2 Competition has a subtle coup de grâce in the form of “M” colors stitched into each seat belt!
Now’s the fun part. After I went through the motions, learned the intricacies of the car, and took all of my photos, it was time to put pedal to metal and see what all the fuss is about. And believe me, the fuss is warranted. Like a frantic dog at the door when you get home from work, the 2019 BMW M2 Competition wants to play right from its burbling cold start. I put the car in Sport Plus, turned the radio off, rolled down the window, and put the 7-speed M-Double Clutch Transmission in “go”. With only five miles to put on this brand new vehicle and I wasn’t going to waste a single one.
The car leaped forward with instantaneous agility and hugged the pavement flat and low. When four seconds had passed, there was no doubt that the M2 competition hit 60 mph in the claimed amount of time. But the straightaways is not where this car shines, it’s the curvy stuff. I was fortunately near a traffic-less stretch of road that had plenty of lefts and rights. I would go down one way at what I thought was a fairly brisk pace, then I’d go back slightly faster, then once again even faster, and finally one more time even faster. The M2 Competition never even broke a sweat. No matter how far I threw the ball, this nimble pup always brought it back; wanting me to throw it again.
Even on normal roads with traffic, the 2019 BMW M2 Competition still makes you feel like a racecar driver. The seats hug you, the steering wheel is perfectly formed for your hands, the digital gauge needles glow red, and you can fine tune the car to your specifications in the infotainment center. And that exhaust note! I’ll always be a champion for 4-cylinder turbos, but this twin-turbod I-6 sings its song very well. I really can’t imagine another car that can take you to work, run errands, get 25 miles to the gallon on long road trips, hit the track, and make you feel this confident all in one package.
I’ve driven mind-blowing machines such as the new Acura NSX, a McLaren 12C, an Alfa Romeo 4C, even a Dodge Demon, but I can’t remember a single one of them that had me running home to my wife and saying, “This is the best car I’ve ever driven,” and, “I need one!” I raved about it. So much so that she rolled her eyes and returned to her game of Covet Fashion while I blabbered on unintelligibly about how I needed a Bluetooth headset and some Oakleys. Maybe this car stands out from the rest because of its relatively obtainable price, starting right around $58,000, maybe it’s because it has cool stitching on the seat belts, or maybe, just maybe, the 2019 BMW M2 Competition really is the ultimate driving machine.
To check out the M2 Competition and other brand new BMW models in person, head on down to Luxury Auto Mall and ask for Jake Fredrickson.