The BMW M2 Competition is just about the best driver's car in production from BMW right now. Yes I said it. And that is because I truly believe it is. That is how good this little pocket sized car is. Its performance will leave you very satisfied for two primary reasons. The 3 litre M TwinPower turbo engine which belts out 397 bhp, and the sense of control you get as a driver - in an almost old world mechanical way, despite all the modern electronics on board. A true driver's delight, this coupé will go where you want it to, with utmost precision. A precision laced with a small dose of madness! And that is certainly something the Germans don't always give us now do they?
So what makes the most recent addition to the BMW M car family so potent? And how different is it to the 'regular' BMW M2? Well I drove the M2 Competition out from the city limits of Los Angeles, California at the crack of dawn, to try and find out.
As the sun came up, and the morning light fell of the hood of my test car, I knew I was on to something special. Coincidentally, I was out of the city limits and taking the exit to the Angeles Crest mountain road. The colour ironically is called Sunset Orange Metallic, but it gave off the same hues of tangerine mired in gold as the rising sun before me.
I had the car set to Sport Mode and had already heard the engine fire angry bursts on the short highway run getting out of the city. Instead of uprating the previous car's N55 six cylinder engine, BMW has plonked in the M3/M4's S55 twin turbo in-line six. But it's been down tuned to offer a tad less power, unlike the extra 20 horses you get on the M4. Torque remains the same at 550 Nm. Also borrowed from the M3/M4 twins is the carbon fibre v-brace around the engine, which gives the front end more rigidity.
If you were lucky to have driven the previous M2, you would already likely be a fan of the badge. The twin turbo engine takes that experience to goosebump-inducing, white-knuckling excellence! 0-100 kmph in 4.2 seconds flat, thanks to the ridiculously fast changes from the 7-Speed DCT gearbox. The paddle shifters are responsive too, though I have seen the 6-Speed manual version of this car with my instructor at the Portimao track in Portugal (where I was driving the upcoming new BMW 3 Series sedan). And now I am lusting after that! I am sure if the DCT is a hoot, that manual must be an absolute howler! There is a very slight touch of lag only when you downshift. Otherwise the ample supply of power and generous doses of torque keep you well engaged. The new exhaust system keeps up, barking and growling every chance it gets. The car will take to straight bursts with ease, and to corners with aplomb.
The whole operation gets plenty of assistance from the new limited-slip active M rear diff. This is electronically controlled and when the car is in M Dynamic mode. It limits the intrusion from the ESC or stability control system. You can slam the car into a slide with ease, and yet power straight out of it like a bat out of hell. It's the chassis - or the brilliance of its engineering - that you will marvel at. The car feels pure, mechanical and true. Just like the sports sedans of yore. And yet there are plenty of electronics to keep things sane, and keep you planted on the road. The steering on the 2 Competition is another feature to be celebrated. Stiff, precise, and easy to manoeuvre. The car will go where you want it to, snap around a bend, or hit the apex at just the right point.
The sports seats on the BMW M2 hold you well, as you careen into and blast out of corners too
The M2 Competition's perforated leather eats - with excellent bolstering as I just said - are complemented by an all-black and eta treatment of the cabin. The M2 logo is rather generously splashed about literally everywhere your eye will go. Throw in a touchscreen with connectivity (read Apple CarPlay) and navigation, and you're all set. My test car also had satellite radio, and so after listening to the twin turbo symphony for a while, I did switch to the latest country music tunes too! The rear seats can be accessed by flipping the front ones forward. Space is cramped, and it's best used by kids at best.
India never had the previous M2 and the updated M2 Competition has also only just been launched at the end of November at Rs 79.90 lakh. Yes that's competitive for this segment. There is no manual on offer in India of course - just like all other BMWs. The M2 Competition though is a better built, better executed car than its rivals and will keep a wide grin plastered on your face permanently.