It may not be as powerful but we'd argue it's better.
When it launched, no one expected the BMW 1 Series M to be a cult classic. But the car quickly appreciated and used examples with low mileage are worth more now than when they were new. Obviously, BMW had to create a successor that carried on the 1 Series M's legacy but didn't step on the toes of the M3 and M4. The BMW M2 was born in 2016 but only lasted three model years before being replaced by the more powerful M2 Competition. Even though the M2 Competition was much more powerful than the standard M2, we think the original car is the better value on the used market right now.
Much like its predecessor, the 1 Series M, the M2 was praised because it harked back to a time when the M3 was genuinely small and well balanced. The M2 offers more of a connection to the driver compared to its larger siblings, which is why it ranks among our favorite modern M cars from BMW. When the M2 first arrived on the market, it wasn't easy to obtain an allocation for one. But now that a few years have passed and more powerful variants like the Competition and CS exist, the market has softened on the original M2, meaning it is a great time to scoop one up.
When it was brand-new in 2016, the M2 carried an MSRP of $53,000. For an M car, this was a fairly attractive price but on the used market, they are now much more affordable. We've seen used M2 examples starting in the low to mid $30,000 range with medium mileage (around 50,000 miles). These examples are both manual and dual-clutch cars that are now out of warranty but are still in like-new condition. Certified pre-owned examples are also available starting at just under $40,000 and include BMW's one-year/unlimited-mile warranty from the expiration of the original four-year/50,000-mile new car warranty.
The M2 suffered from the same criticism as the 1 Series M - it didn't have an 'S' motor. Under the hood of the original M2, you'll find a 3.0-liter turbocharged N55 inline-six producing 365 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. Power went out to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT. Manual models could hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds while the DCT could do the deed in four seconds flat (we still prefer the manual).
BMW finally gave the M2 Competition an 'S' engine in the form of a detuned version of the M3's S55 twin-turbocharged inline-six. Power increased to 405 hp with 406 lb-ft of torque but the 0-60 mph didn't improve at all. BMW also made the Competition stiffer for the race track, meaning it is less comfortable for everyday driving. You may be tempted by the additional power and tuning capability of the M2 Competition but trust us, the standard M2 is a more compliant daily driver.
Inside, the M2's cabin is a typical BMW fair with nice materials and no flashy bits. You get two analog gauges, a form-fitting steering wheel, and an iDrive infotainment system with plenty of physical controls for multimedia. We do wish the original M2 had the M seats out of the Competition model, as they would dress up the otherwise drab cabin. Some blue stitching on the seats reminds you this is an M car but it certainly doesn't stand out from a standard 2 Series. There's not much to hate about the original M2's interior, although it did come at a time before BMW offered Apple CarPlay.
While the BMW M2 will never have the cult status and collectibility of the 1 Series M, it is still one of the best modern M cars available for an affordable price. With the arrival of the M2 Competition and M2 CS, enthusiasts have moved off of the original M2, leaving prices to fall within an affordable level. You can now get an early M2 for less than the price of a brand-new 2 Series Gran Coupe, which only comes with a 228 hp four-cylinder. Don't sleep on the original M2 because it is still a fantastic car.