A drifter's review of the best small M-Car on sale.
Top Gear UK may be on a hiatus until next year, but the team is still busy at work behind the scenes and co-host Chris Harris has just spent a day at the Circuit De Charade in France testing the recently released BMW M2 Competition. The Competition-spec M-Cars tend to feature a few minor visual changes along with a stiffer suspension setup and a dollop more power.
The M2 Competition is something quite different and we have stricter emissions regulations to thank for it. The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six of the standard M2 had to go, making way for a slightly detuned version of the current M3's twin-turbo S55 motor. That still means a hike of 40 horsepower to 404 hp although weight is up by around 100 pounds, so the power-to-weight ratio is not massively different.
Chris' Alpine White example came fitted with a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a six-speed manual is still available, but Chris was very impressed with the DCT and it seems very well-suited for track driving. He felt that the engine felt very strong but not quite as ferocious as it is in the M3.
He prefers the character of the M2 over its bigger brother though, primarily because its shorter wheelbase gives it a quicker and edgier response during direction changes. Judging from the video, it does help to know what you are doing behind the wheel to extract the best out of the little sports coupe.
So, what is his final analysis after a number of quick laps around the tight and winding circuit? While it still isn't as sharp as a Porsche Cayman, it is a big step up from the standard M2 on the track while still making for a superb daily driver. At $58,990 before options, the M2 Competition is only $7,600 less than the slightly quicker and larger M3 sedan, and Chris reckons that a used one of these is its most logical competitor.
Which one would he choose? The M2 Competition takes the top spot thanks to its more fun personality and edgier feel. We would like ours in Long Beach Blue Metallic with a six-speed manual please.