They say repetition is a great way to make a point. That may be why, shortly after taking silver at Performance Car of the Year, the BMW M2 Competition claimed second at our other annual mega event.
This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2019
We’re not trying to say it could never win PCOTY and BFYB, but that any car needs a lot of talent to finish second in two very different competitions. After all, less credentialled cars have won BFYB before.
You don’t need to be a race engineer to know wet surfaces and a car with rear-drive, lots of boost, and shallow-treaded Michelin Pilot Super Sports don’t usually mix well, but the M2 emphasises these traits in Competition form.
With the old M2’s single-turbo engine nearing its limits of power and efficiency it was replaced with a detuned M3/M4 Competition twin-turbo straight six, lifting outputs by 30kW and 85Nm for a total of 302kW/550Nm. All that, of course, is aimed exclusively at its rear axle.
Accompanying the engine is the same cooling system, carbon-fibre strut brace and side mirrors as its bigger siblings. They join the five-link rear suspension setup, aluminium suspension arms and electronically controlled locking differential originally interbred into the M2’s pugnacious body. Then there’s its price.
Thanks to the M2 Competition now sharing more components than ever with the M3/M4 range, like its ‘lightweight’ seats and software programming (which we’ll come back to), the fully kitted car now costs $104,900 (up from $99K). But settle on more basic wheels, headlights, seats and central locking and you can buy the discounted Pure version.
The six-speed manual costs the same as the seven-speed dual-clutch, so at $99,900 and almost double the average price of this year’s field it just scraped under the price ceiling.
Some might argue that the anomalous 2019 BFYB formula allowed it to achieve the otherwise impossible, but we firmly believe it would have swiped this stunning result, wet or dry. Let us explain.
Back in 2016 the original M2 stormed across Winton’s hotmix to log a 1min 34.8sec lap. In the dry, this Competition Pure could easily improve on that time since it punches out an extra 13kW and 44Nm per tonne. And that would have dominated this event’s second quickest car, the Honda Civic Type R, which did a 1min 35.9sec lap in 2018.
It’s also in its own league for acceleration. We’ve previously launched it from rest to 100km/h in 4.5sec flat and to 400m in 12.52sec. The Ford Mustang GT is the only other car that could match those times.
As for judge’s rankings, even in a downpour the M2 clearly has us enchanted. The depth of pedigree is obvious. Starting with an excellently balanced chassis, you can use the brakes to adjust its stance into a corner, while a wide rear-track equals great drive exiting a corner.
It extracts a good amount of grip from 245mm/265mm tyres that are held down by an expertly judged passive suspension setup. Or, you can use its locking diff and torque-laden engine to channel the spirit of the original 1M without fear of its most haunting flaw, its spooky rear end.
A forceful, flexible and smooth powerband gives your right foot good control over its angle of attack. And the weighting of the retuned electric steering feels more fluid and honest.
Its recalibrated DSC and MDM systems are very similar to the M3/M4 CS and BMW says they intervene later. But because they guide, rather than reprimand, you at the limit, it feels like they’re always working to inspire confidence.
Gripes? Well, the Michelins don’t respond very well in cold conditions and there are better electric steering racks for tactility. The sound is hard-edged and metallic, like the M3 and M4, but hardly musical.
However these things pale in the larger picture. It’s fantastic that the alluring, yet flawed, 1M has been evolved into this car.
Sure, it’s come so close to gold twice now and fallen short, but if what we hear is true, this will not be the M2’s last try for ultimate fame at a MOTOR mega event.
Talk about value for money on Bang For Your Bucks 2019
BMW M2 Competition Pure BFYB 2019 Results - 2nd place
0-400m: 12.52sec @ 182.57km/h
Bang Index: 188.7
Bucks Index: 52.2
BFYB Index: 120.4
Bang For Your Bucks 2019 Judges' Comments
Campbell - 1st
“Perfect in its own way. And that way will appeal to many.”
Cordony - 2nd
“The CS is going to be a riot.”
Morley - =1st
“One day BMW will build a better car than this. But they ain’t yet.”
Scott Newman - 1st
“Should go down as a BMW great. Best car here, but also the dearest.”
Luffy - 1st
“It did a 1:52.14 in patchy conditions and under those circumstances the tyres were the biggest let down. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a sport-focused tyre so in wet weather they were the limiting factor. But it is such a fun car to drive on the limit and it gives lots of driver feedback. In dry conditions it would have been so much better.”
2019 BMW M2 COMPETITION PURE SPECS
BODY: 2-door, 4-seat coupe
ENGINE: 2979cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
BORE/STROKE: 84.0 x 89.6mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.2:1
POWER: 302kW @ 5250-7000rpm
TORQUE: 550Nm @ 2350-5200rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch
SUSPENSION: struts, coils springs, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 380mm ventilated discs, 6-piston calipers (f); 370mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 19.0 x 9.0-inch (f); 19.0 x 10.0-inch (r)
TYRES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport, 245/35 ZR19 93Y (f); 235/35 R19 (r)
Bang For Your Bucks 2019
The Contenders, Judges & Criteria
11 of the hottest new fast cars under $100K roll up to take on our famous value-for-money formula. Which will be number 1?