2019 BMW M2 Competition Review: Still The Best M Car?

Finally, a car that reminds you why you love driving

2019 BMW M2 Competition
The BMW M2 Competition is a car focused for the track, but how does it stack up on the road?

2019 BMW M2 Competition: Overview

For me, driving the 2019 BMW M2 Competition was a special occasion. Thanks to a recent ankle injury and the following surgeries, I was left unable to drive these past two months. After spending a maddening amount of time out from behind the wheel, I was all too happy to grab the keys to any car now that I’m back in driving shape.

And what a car the M2 Competition was. This model replaces the M2 Coupe, and adds more of just about everything. To create it, BMW didn’t just eke more power out of the old M2’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. Instead, it grabbed the S55 twin-turbo engine straight out of the M4. That move substantially boosts power from the 365 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque found in the previous car. It’s not as powerful as the M4 Competition’s 425 horsepower, but it’s still hilariously quick.

Let’s get this out of the way now — the 2019 BMW M2 Competition is a riot down the straights. Put it in Sport Plus mode, set the gearbox to its most aggressive setting, and it will rocket to 60 mph in a meager 4.75 seconds. Mind you, that is at a mile above sea level, so it should be capable of running around 4.0 seconds flat at lower elevations, as BMW claims.

Under the hood, the 2019 BMW M2 Competition gets the same motor as the BMW M4 (with a bit less power). [Photo: BMW]


When we compared the M2 Competition to the brand new M850i xDrive coupe, it managed to hit 60 just 0.6 seconds slower. Keep in mind, the 8 Series has over 120 more horsepower and nearly 150 lb-ft more torque. The 2019 BMW M2 Competition kicks out 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That dual-clutch unit is a $2,900 option, mind you.

Mercifully, a six-speed manual transmission remains the standard option. BMW states a slightly slower 4.2 second 0-60 time with the manual option. With the $2,500 M Driver’s Package, the top speed is 174 mph.

Put it at a stop light, and that twin-turbocharged inline-six snaps through the gears faster than you can blink. Even better, its exhaust satisfyingly howls up to 7,000 RPM. When you do use the paddles to change up with your foot buried in the loud pedal, this M2 sends out a spine-tingling bark. Two M buttons on the steering wheel let you adjust the traction control, suspension settings and steering to your whim, or individual buttons on the center console let you change the settings in different combinations.

Helping out with all that power is BMW’s Active M differential. The electronically controlled limited-slip differential helps distribute the torque between the rear wheels, no matter how much of a hooligan you act in the corners. The new M Dynamic mode — displayed as “MDM” on the instrument cluster — reins in the traction control.

Most importantly, however, it does keep it engaged in case things get out of hand. You can turn it off entirely if you want to, and it’s fairly easy to spin up the staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with more than 400 horsepower on tap. The tires measure out as 245/35 R19s in the front and 265/35R19 in the rear.

2019 BMW M2 Competition

The brakes

With 15.7-inch cross-drilled rotors up front and 15.0-inch rotors in the rear, the 2019 BMW M2 Competition can bring itself to a halt in a hurry. The six-piston fixed front calipers and four-piston fixed rear calipers certainly do their job on the track. Even after a day spent canyon carving on the roads outside Boulder, Colorado, I never experienced any fade and the pedal remained firm. When you’re stopping from speed, the feeling,

Perhaps a bit too firm. They are usefully effective in spirited driving conditions, as you’d expect. In normal traffic conditions, however, the brakes felt ludicrously touchy. Even when I barely press the pedal, the pads would instantly bite into the rotors and bring the car lurching to a stop. It’s something you could get used to after a little while, but I found it annoying when I just tried to drive the car normally.

Expect a firm ride

The 2019 BMW M2 Competition is a track-focused car, and it has a ride to suit. That’s true of the normal M2 as well, and BMW says the suspension calibration remains unchanged here. It’s not unbearably uncomfortable, and the M Sport seats soaked up the winter-battered Colorado roads well enough.

On the flip side, the suspension hunkers down and hugs the road when you want that tight feel, both on the straights and in the corners. It felt like a small orange missile on straight stretches, while the well-honed chassis was all too eager to devour the corners with gusto. The steering was well-weighted, although it did not provide quite as much feel as I would like from the road surface itself.

2019 BMW M2 Competition
The sport seats in the M2 Competition are supportive, but also reasonably comfortable, even for larger drivers.

Comfort and Convenience

This is an M car through and through — and that means one thing when it comes to the interior. BMW festooned the car with M logos. You get an M2 badge in the instrument cluster. You get more logos on the steering wheel, in the doorsills and on the M Sport seats. The M2 Competition is actually a bit understated from the outside. While M4-styled side mirrors, black kidney grilles, slightly different fascias and a small “Competition” badge distinguish the model, you may be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the old M2 at a glance.

The 2019 BMW M2 Competition comes with a suite of driver assistance systems, as well as standard Apple CarPlay compatibility. Features like Collision Warning with a City Braking function and Lane Departure Warning come as standard equipment. Park Distance Control does help prevent clipping either end of the car when you’re trying to park.

The Harman/Kardon premium sound system and heated power front seats made the car more of a welcoming prospect during my daily commute.

TFLcar’s Take

During my week with the car, I still felt the 2019 BMW M2 Competition is the best driver’s car BMW offers. The rest of the range offers up great heaps of power, and the M2 no exception to that rule. However, thanks to its smaller size and refreshingly straightforward presentation, this would still be my first choice. At $58,900 and up, it is the least expensive full-blooded M car you can currently buy. This particular 2019 BMW M2 Competition, as equipped in Sunset Orange, costs $67,045 including the $995 destination charge.

I only wish the brakes were a less touchy in everyday traffic, and that it had a six-speed manual transmission. Fortunately, you can spec a car without the seven-speed dual-clutch option, and I could learn to live with the brakes. Nevertheless, against the likes of the Porsche 718 Cayman and Audi TT RS, the BMW M2 Competition is the one I most want in my driveway.

Specs: 2019 BMW M2 Competition

Price as tested$67,045
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6
Power405 hp @ 5,230 – 7,000 rpm
Torque406 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch
Drivetrain layout RWD
0 – 60 mph4.75 seconds (at 5,280 feet)
Top Speed174 mph
Curb weight3,600 lbs
Fuel Economy (EPA)17 / 23 / 19 (city/hwy/combined)
Wheelbase106 inches
Length x Width x Height176.2 x 73 x 55.5 inches