BMW’s motto is the ultimate driving machine. And that’s a lofty thing to put out there amongst a lot of vehicles that are also fun to drive. This week, I got behind the wheel of the 2019 BMW M2 Competition Coupe to see if it lives up to that claim to fame.
I absolutely adore small cars with some performance chops to them, so it won’t take much to sway my opinion. The best thing about this model year is that the M2 Competition trim gets even more power.
The Competition trim now comes with a 3.0-liter twin turbo inline six-cylinder engine that, thanks to special Competition-trim exclusive tuning, achieves more than 400 horsepower. This is an increase of more than 40 horses from last year. It’s hard to believe that a small, squatty coupe that weighs less than 3,500 pounds can get 405 hp. Well, I might just call that the ultimate driving machine after all. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission does an admirable job, and there’s little to no turbo lag with this engine.
BMW gives the driver full control with a selector knob that lets you choose how you want the car to perform, including Sport, Sport+, Comfort and ECO. The Sport and Sport+ modes lived up to their name, offering enthusiastic handling and steering. I enjoyed the Comfort mode a lot more than I expected as it seemed to dampen the road a bit more, without pulling away from the sporty performance. For a car with a squatty posture, this mode felt ideal. The rear-wheel drive still kept the car fun, but I think if I were building the ultimate driving machine, I’d give it all-wheel drive with all of the above build.
For the record, BMW’s xDrive (AWD) is available on the other trims of the 2-series, just not at the M2 Competition Coupe. And honestly, for a “Competition” trim, rear-wheel drive is what is needed.
On looks, the M2 walks the line between aggressive and timeless styling. There are sporty, aggressive elements to it, including the front end, which has a lower fascia with a lot of sporty design elements to it. The standard BMW grille rests over the top of that. Wide, horizontal LED headlights flank the grille and complete the look. The indentations on the hood show off the streamlined look of the M2. The profile is equally attractive, but a little more elegant and a little less sporty. Similarly, the back loses some its aggressiveness, with a modern, but refined look. A spoiler might’ve added to the overall nature of this beast. I did really like the lower fascia on the back, just as I thought the lower fascia on the front completed the look.
The M2 seems to have a youthful vibe. Being that I’m middle-aged, perhaps the youthfulness wore thin on me a little. The angled front seats made it tougher to find a comfortable seat. My driving angle, however, was outstanding.
This coupe is rated for four passengers, but that back seat is tiny, and tough to get in and out of. It’s great for you and your plus one, but anything more than that, and they won’t care how fast you’re driving, because they will be cramped and uncomfortable.
Black leather seats with blue stitching were stunning. The all-black interior, along with creature comforts like heated steering wheel and rain-sensing windshield wipers, gave a luxurious feel.
It seems I have the same criticism of all German-engineered vehicles. The infotainment systems are a little complicated, even though they give me all I want and then some. That’s certainly applicable here with the M2. The 8.8-inch touchscreen has a nice blend of knobs and the touchscreen is reactive. It does a lot of great things, and I can get past the over-engineering. There’s just a small learning curve involved.
The existence of Apple CarPlay helped overcome some of the learning curve needed on the infotainment system. Certainly the Harmon-Kardon premium sound system was outstanding.
The MSRP of the M2 is $58,900, which is a fair price for something that is billed to be so much fun to drive. My tester came with the Executive Package, the aforementioned automatic transmission (a manual is standard) and the M Driver’s Package. As such, my tester had a final price tag of $67,045. For a little coupe, that’s a big price to pay. But boy, oh boy, is it fun to drive.
The fuel economy will snag you too, with the Competition trim as it’s rated at only 17 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of very heavy-footed driving, I averaged only 19 mpg.
Is the BMW M2 Competition Coupe the Ultimate Driving Machine? That’s a lofty expectation, but it certainly was driver-focused and was so much to fun to drive.
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