When you want to build your own compact track monster.
The just-unveiled 2019 BMW M2 Competition, the warmed over version of the already pretty spicy baby M car, trades out the current M2’s N55 six-pot for a detuned version of the big brother’s powerplant, the S55 unit from the BMW M3. Performance figures are impressive, with the M2 Competition delivering 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, sent to the tarmac via either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT, 0-62 mph comes in at 4 seconds with the latter, and there are some big, big brakes to handle the stopping power.
Weight has been bumped up by the new hardware, but with the extra power it’ll be hardly noticeable. However, the M2 Competition is going to be pricey, and there may be those who feel the need to get similar thrills elsewhere. When it comes to performance vehicles in a similar segment, most are underpowered, but through the joy of aftermarket development, here are five alternatives to the M2 Competition that might well be just as much fun, if not more.
The M2 Competition might be a fine sports coupe, but at its heart it’s merely a BMW 2 Series with some advanced work. Dinantronics knows this, so has given the public the ability to get M4 Competition levels of power out of their standard M240i. The M240i’s endearing six cylinder engine makes it a prime candidate for more power, and with the Dinan Stage 1 tune equipped, there’s up to 414 hp and 478 lb-ft of torque available.
Suspension upgrades are more than freely available, so with a little work, a Dinan Stage 1 M240i will develop more power and torque, and equally as adept handling as the M2 Competition. Like all things aftermarket, there are innumerable ways to customize and tweak things to your liking, and with a range of exhausts, body kits, and wheel designs available, the M240i can look and sound the part too.
Unlike the M240i above, this one takes a little more work to get to M2 Competition levels of power. The Subaru WRX STI in its latest incarnation is a platform ripe for performance – it’s an incredibly adept handling machine, and has a driver focus that few modern vehicles can match. It’s the kind of vehicle that flows with the road and melds driver and machine into one singular being. But, the EJ257 Boxer engine at the heart of the WRX STI is known to be problematic – the endless forum posts on the matter prove this.
Tuners and owners willing to put in the effort, money, and uprated parts have been able to fairly reliably generate in excess of 400 hp though – and when combined with the additional boost and the hearty Boxer burble, the character factor is hard to resist. It may require effort, but a 400-hp WRX STI is a trackday weapon ready to take the M2 Competition head on.
In this day and age, if you’re looking for 400 hp+ thrills the easiest way to get it is through the magic of boost. But certain enjoyments are compromised by the addition of turbos and superchargers – the feeling of naturally aspirated torque building, the thrill of an engine running to its rev limiter, and the sound – you can’t match the sound of a naturally aspirated engine. Z1 Motorsports have taken this to heart, and the Nissan 370Z has been the focus of its work for the VQ37VHR 400-hp Package.
New intake and exhaust systems developed by Z1 Motorsports result in a power bump to 400 horsepower from the 370Z’s 3.7-liter V6. Z1 Motorsports also offers a range of other equipment to give your 370Z the handling ability, sound, and look a high performance 370Z should have.
Mountune has a history of working with Ford – both in the United Kingdom and here in the USA. But it’s not just any Fords they work with, it’s the cream of the crop performance models that get a helping hand from Mountune to turn them into full on rally-spec machines. The $2,500 Focus RS B7 Package from Mountune comprises a COBB Accessport V3, Mountune high flow intake, uprated air recirculation valve, intercooler upgrade, charge pipe upgrade, roll restrictor, and custom calibration. The system boosts outputs at the wheels to 350 hp and 442 lb-ft, which gives it roughly the same power at the crankshaft as the M2 Competition.
Additionally, the tune gives drivers a range of interchangeable performance maps to choose from on the fly: launch control, flat foot shifting, and adjustment of the maps to suit high octane fuel for track day excursions. The extra power, paired with all-wheel drive and of course drift mode, means the Mountune Focus RS is a surefire way to take on the M2 Competition and run it pretty damn close.
This one is a bit of overkill, at least in the power stakes. The stage 2 Roush Mustang bumps power outputs from the 5.0-liter V8 to 460 horsepower, 50 more than the M2 Performance. But unlike many other tuner packages, the Roush Stage 2 Mustang gets a range of handling and visual upgrades to match the extra ponies under the hood. Roush designed wheels are shod in Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires, able to withstand cornering forces of up to 1.07 lateral Gs.
The Stage 2 also gets a fully upgraded suspension system, including height adjustable coilovers, Roush-tuned valving, and an optional 3-way suspension that offers jounce and rebound adjustment. The Roush R8 aero package also features as standard that improves aerodynamic efficiency, downforce, and styling to give the Roush Stage 2 an identity all of its own. The Roush Active Exhaust System completes the package and allows the driver to tune the tone and flow of the exhaust from their smartphone.