2019 BMW M2 Competition – Car Review – Because Racecar
Last year, BMW took home the DriveLife award for the 2018 Driver’s Car of The Year with the BMW M2. BMW New Zealand were honoured to win this award and so they should be, as the M2 is an amazing performance car for a pretty reasonable price.
This year, BMW asked our team if we would like to be the first in New Zealand to review the M2 Competition. Recognition is a great thing, it’s even better when it’s a two way street.
Which is why we couldn’t say no, it would just be rude….
The Range (or the differences)
There are now two versions of the M2 Coupe available in New Zealand; the M2 which starts at $117,050, and the M2 Competition at $127,900.
The M2 Coupe can be spec’d with either the 7-speed M dual-clutch transmission with gearshift paddles, or the 6-speed manual version. There are no additional costs based on your gearbox selection. The M2 Competition however comes with only the option for the 7-speed dual-clutch with Drivelogic.
The M2 Coupe is a rear-wheel drive coupe powered by a BMW M Twin-Power Turbo 6-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 272kW, and 455Nm of torque. The engine also has an overboost function which allows 500Nm of torque.
The M2 Competition is a different beast, as it’s running the same engine as the M3, slightly detuned. This 3.0-litre M Twin-Power Turbo inline six-cylinder petrol engine produces 302kW and 550Nm of torque. It may not seem like a lot more than the Coupe, but a little can make a big difference. This upgraded power unit allows the Competition to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. It also comes with the carbon fibre precision strut bar similar to the M3 and M4.
Standard options now include tyre pressure monitor, digital radio, Driving Assistant, PDC front/rear and Speed Limit Info. On the exterior you get a new front bumper with larger air intakes for additional cooling, two-pass exhaust system with two electrically controlled flaps. On the inside, you get M2 Competition entry sills badge, M seat belts, and the new M sport seats.
There are not a lot of options available on the M2 Competition much like the M2 Coupe. You now have five paint colours to choose from; Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Long Beach Blue and two new colours, Sunset Orange and Hockenheim Silver, which our test car has. For optional equipment you can have the following: Black M light alloy wheels Y spoke $500, Glass Sunroof $2000, Preparation for Apple CarPlay $500, Telephony with wireless charging $400, and M Sport brakes $2500.
I had to ask what the M Sport brakes were, as there was little additional info on them. This is an updated brake package that gives you cross-drilled discs, six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers that are tailored for track work. This list does not include the list of accessories you can get, like Carbon fibre wing mirrors or M Performance Black Kidney grilles.
In an odd series of events, I was travelling to Auckland for business, and BMW suggested an alternative way back to Wellington – which was driving the M2 Competition from Auckland to Wellington. It’s hard not to like how the team at BMW New Zealand think.
On arrival to BMW headquarters in Auckland, there it was, ready and waiting for the road ahead. I wondered to myself, will it be the same as the M2 Coupe I had come to love, or would the change have a deeper significance?
When I tested the BMW M2 Coupe, our review car came in Long Beach Blue. I was in love with that colour – it was the perfect match for that car. I had hoped the M2 Competition would come in the same colour, but no such luck. This M2 Competition was Hockenheim Silver, one of the two new exterior colours option available for the M2 Competition.
I found that most people loved or hated it. No, that’s wrong. They didn’t hate it, they were confused by it. I found myself on the fence at times; was it silver, was it grey, does anyone even know? Thankfully it’s just a colour option, so we can just say, to each his or her own and leave it there.
I stood looking at the M2 Competition, wondering what was different to the M2 Coupe, and not a lot jumped out. The only real changes were to the side mirrors, which are now BMW M mirrors, bit more sporty. The rear has a noticeably larger exhaust system, but again that’s it. A new designed 19-inch forged lightweight alloy wheels are now standard, this car had be optioned with the black variants, which are $500 extra.
On the whole, nothing jumped out at me to say this car is going to be more mental than the standard M2 Coupe.
Inside the M2 Competition is exactly the same as the M2 Coupe. The only real difference were a few additional buttons and the start engine button, which is now red. For those who read the M2 Coupe review, you will know that this was a bugbear of mine. Victory is ours, it’s a small one, but the M2 Competition has a red start button.
The exposed carbon fibre weave trim and inlays are continued through this model, which I really liked. It was something different and had a nice sporty feel to it.
Another point I made about the M2 coupe, was the seats. They were nothing special, and felt like they came from a base model 3 Series. BMW have stepped up to the plate and delivered new M sports seat with really cool backlit M2 badges inlaid under the head rest. These seats were great, they were tested on the road back to Wellington, with many hours behind the wheel. I never had any issues with them, and I was impressed with how well they comforted me for the long journey. The side bolsters have also been improved, which was great to see, as this would probably be a car that you will experience a few G’s in.
No real change to the steering wheel, nothing really exciting or sporty. Maybe I have high expectations, but if I bought this car, I would be straight into the accessories to get the carbon fibre steering wheel. You understand, the carbon steering wheel has led shift lights on it, totally race car. There were two additional buttons that had been blacked out on the coupe. More in-line with the rest of the BMW M range, these buttons were M1 and M2, which allowed quick pre-selection settings of the modes and options.
When the car is starts up it’s default mode is Efficient driving mode and Sport dynamic mode. When you press M1, the default settings changes the engine and Dynamic mode to Sport. M2 will change both of these modes to Sport Plus. These buttons can be configured to set the driver-specific requirements for engine, gearbox, steering and suspension.
This leads to the additional buttons around the gear stick. The M2 Coupe had a more simplistic arrangement, with a traction control on/off button and a driving mode up down button to select the required driving mode. This was as mentioned too simplistic for the Competition, which is why it now has done away with the up down mode selection for individual setting buttons. Below the gear stick there is a button that allows 3 different settings for the gearbox, which alter how fast and how aggressively it changes.
Also worth noticing there are 6 difference settings for this if you dive deeper into iDrive. There is a button for the driving dynamic settings, which changes the steering and suspension feel, going from Comfort to Sport, to Sport Plus. Last but not least there is the engine selection button, which sets the engine and exhaust configuration from Efficient, Sport or Sport plus.
The rest of the interior was much the same, for more detail on this, it’s best to check out the full review of the 2017 BMW M2 Coupe – Car Review – No M Button Required
My first drive in the M2 Competition was around Auckland to a couple of business meetings I had already booked in for that day. So there I was in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds, crawling through traffic on State Highway 1 into Auckland. This however is a pretty good test for a car like this. Many cars that are tuned or geared for very high performance struggle in these conditions. The M2 Competition didn’t struggle at all, it was easy to doddle along with easy throttle control and everything set to Comfort.
I was impressed as this car has been described as a track trained monster. So far so good, it can handle the worst of what daily driving has to offer.
Once the day’s business was out of the way, it was time to turn south and head home to Wellington. I enjoy driving in the late evening into the night, as there is less traffic out and you can keep a much better flow and speed during your trip. It was 5pm and the goal was to get back to Wellington that night. I stuck with State Highway 1, a 648km trip, that should have me into Wellington around midnight with one or two stops along the way. If I was to do this during the day, it would take much longer, but this is the benefit of night driving.
As I left Auckland I planned to use the time and road ahead to test out some of the features of the M2. Starting with the driving aids, cruise control and lane assist. Cruise control can be set from the steering wheel controls. Simple setup, works well, never had a problem during the entire trip. The lane assist was a bit different, as it was a lot more subtle than many other systems. There were times that I thought I was driving over lines I could not see in the road, then to realise it was the lane assist trying to notify me I was getting close to the lines. I guess I would get used to this after a while, but thought a more noticeable system or noise would have been better.
The first part of the drive was just about getting some kilometres behind me. Setting the cruise control, sitting back and just enjoying the drive. The new engine, which is the same engine as the M3 and M4 but detuned, sang away in the background. There was a noticeable drone from the exhaust, nothing annoying, but it was always there.
As it was an M2 Competition I did enjoy the power at every opportunity, motorway onramps or junctions I gave it a good squeeze to feel the surge of power and listen to that exhaust system. This engine was totally different to the M2 Coupe, where there was a bit of lag, a tiny bit, when getting on the power. But when it kicked in, my god did the normal M2 grip and go. The competition did not have overboost like the coupe; it has 550Nm of torque, which is 50Nm more than the coupe at its peak of overboost.
Even though the competition was only 0.3 seconds faster to 100km/h, it felt like it was a rocketship.
Back to that exhaust system, it did sound great. Very grown up, very racecar. It does not have the childish pops and gurgles that the coupe had, which I loved. I did find that you could get more sound and drama out of the coupe in any sort of speed, while the competition required power and speed to get great sound. This highlights some of the basic characteristic differences, the M2 Coupe was more of a toy, and the M2 Competition is a weapon.
After a few hundred kilometres I stopped in Taupo for a quick break, leg stretch, some refreshments and fuel. That’s right, the tank was almost empty as it’s only got a 52-litre tank. The day’s driving around Auckland and trip to Taupo had left it almost dry. I will admit I probably could have driven more efficiently, but who would in this position?
After the pitstop, it was time to hit the road again. The next stage would be a good test for handling, as the road around Taupo is a great one, when it’s empty. As it was already 9pm there was very few cars on the road, I got lucky without seeing a single car around the lake. It was still a public road, so there was no silly stuff. Without any traffic, I was able to keep the car at the speed limit all the way around. I switched between M1 and M2 during this section of road to see how the different sports modes handled. I found that as long as you had a good road that M2 was the prefered selection. Harder suspension setting, faster throttle and gear shift and the loudest exhaust setting. The M2 Competition carved up the lake side road as well as any super car, the steering was so pin point and accurate. Little or no corrections were made thanks to the great feedback. It felt so good to drive.
During this section of road I came across some things that started to frustrate me. For example, if I selected M1 on the steering wheel, it will set all configurable setting to sports mode with automatic gear selection. If I then decided I wanted to change gears via the tiptronic gear stick or steering wheel paddles, the manual gear shift mode would override the M1 or M2 selection mode. It still left all the settings where they had been while allowing me to change gear. However when I pressed M1 or M2 to turn off the Sport setting, it then turned it on as it had been overridden. This meant that I had to press it twice to bring me back to the default driving mode, of Efficient engine and Sport dynamics. It’s not a show stopper for me, but it was annoying, and I could not work out why they had set it up like that.
When I spoke to BMW about this, they said that M button settings allow you to have the options to choose automatic or manual gearshift and the speed of the gearshift. This is in addition to the other customizable settings.
There were a few more kilometres on cruise control until I hit Desert Road, another exciting stretch of road that winds way south. Sadly how utterly disappointed I was, when I came across the Desert Road to find the first section of it was just covered in gravel and it had a 30km/h limit. This is not the most ideal car for heavy gravel roads, when in comfort the ride was rough. No fault of the car, just the crap gravel laid down before they re-tar the road. It was a gruelling 20 minutes of slow driving, as I heard all sorts of stone being picked up my the tyres and flicked up into the arches. But I got through it and it was clear open road for the rest of the trip.
During my trip I had several sections of road without any traffic at all. Which allowed me to stop and try some launches. When you put the foot to the floor in this car, you can feel its excitement yearning to get out. For a split second the rear wheels light up, flicking the car out to the side, before biting down on the road and gripping like its life depended on it.
Wow this car can move, getting me and the car up to 100kmh/h in 4.2 seconds. The sound during these few seconds are amazing, that exhaust loves the power. The more you give it the better it sounds. It sounds just like a performance race car, no deep growl, but a loud high powered roar. Of course I had to do this test a few times, just to make sure it’s consistent, it’s the professional thing to do.
The rest of the trip was driven in comfort mode with the engine set to Efficient and cruise control on. I arrived home just after midnight, stepping out of the car actually feeling pretty relaxed. I was not sore or had any aches or numb limbs. This is a testament to the driveability of the M2 Competition, and that it could be used an everyday car and as a long-distance driver.
The M2 Coupe felt like a race car in Sports Plus mode, while the M2 Competition was a race car in Sports Plus mode. The differences are not subtle, as the Competition is far more aggressive in every way, shape and form. I would give up a lung to have some time on this car on a track, it would be a monster. I would probably benefit from some expert advice too, as I felt from time to time that I was the weak link and my current skill level could never push this car to the limits.
What it’s up against
If I am being honest, it’s only competing against itself. We have not had the chance to test a lot of the other cars on this list. We have tried, but we can’t always get access. As the M2 Coupe was crowned last years driver’s car of the year, the M2 competition just had to live up to or better then that.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||0-100kmh||Fuel Usage|
|Transmission||Price Highest to Lowest|
|Jaguar F-Type Coupe||3.0-litre, V6||280kw/460Nm||4.9||8.6||Auto||$149,000|
|Audi TT RS||2.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||294kw/400Nm||3.7||8.2||7-speed S Tronic||$132,900|
|BMW M2 Competition||3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo||302kW/550Nm||4.2||9.2||DCT||$127,900|
|Porsche 718 Cayman||3.0-litre, 6-cylinder||257kw/420Nm||4.7||6.9||PDK or Manual||$123,900|
|Jaguar F-Type P300||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged||221kW / 400Nm||7.2||5.7||Auto or Manual||$119,900|
|BMW M2 Coupe||3.0-litre, 6-cylinder turbo||272kW/465Nm||4.3||8.5||DCT or Manual||$119,150|
|Alfa Romeo 4c Launch Edition||1.8-litre, 4-cylinder turbo||177Kw/350 Nm||4.5||6.8||ALFA TCT Auto||$99,900|
What do we think?
This was a tough review for me, as I was already in love with the M2 Coupe. It had everything I wanted and more. The M2 Competition was different; it was a race helmet to my driving shades. When I looked at the M2 coupe, it smiles back waiting for the next drive. When I looked at the M2 Competition? No emotion, nothing – it’s all business.
Where the M2 Coupe was the perfect car for someone who wants a fun easy to live with daily driver, the M2 Competition is the perfect track weapon. For the money, it’s as close as you can get to an off-the-shelf racecar. It sounds more aggressive, it moves with purpose and you can spend all day finding those perfect driving settings.
In my opinion, the M2 Coupe is still the one, the sound and the feeling worked well for what I wanted from a performance coupe. The M2 Competition is not a bad car by any means, it’s just another beast altogether.
A pure driving machine, more track focused and serious, and a real road-going race car.
Rating – Chevron rating 4.5 out of 5
2017 BMW M2
|Vehicle Type||Performance Coupe|
|Engine||BMW M Twin-Power turbo 6-cylinder petrol engine, 302kW power and 550Nm torque.|
|Transmission||7-speed dual clutch with Drivelogic, rear-wheel drive.|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1,570|
|Length x Width x Height, mm||4468 x 1984 x 1414|
|Fuel Tank, litres||52|
|Spare Wheel||No spare|
|Fuel Efficiency||Advertised Spec – Combined – 9.2 L / 100km|
Real World Test – Combined – 11.5 L / 100km
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Stars|
|Warranty||5 years or 100,000 kilometres|