The 2019 BMW M2 Competition is a revised version of BMW’s smallest performance car. The updated model uses a detuned version of the S55 turbo inline-six from the BMW M3 and M4. Unlike the old N55, it’s a proper M engine, at least as much as that means today. The S55 makes 405 horsepower between 5,230 and 7,000 rpm and 406 pound-feet of torque between 2,350 rpm and 5,230 rpm. It’s loud and mean and makes all the sounds you want from a M-tuned car. Other updates for the Competition model (the only one available from 2019 onward) include larger front and rear brakes, new M Sport seats and revised bodywork to help with cooling and aero.
With just four options, our tester was fairly lightly equipped. The Hockenheim Silver Metallic paint costs $550, the dual-clutch transmission adds another $2,900 to the price. Our car also had the M Driver’s Package, raising the top speed to 174 mph and giving owners a voucher for training at a BMW Performance Center. The last option was the $1,200 Executive Package. It includes a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, wireless charging and a wifi hotspot.
Its fat, creased fenders bulging from its body, and dark badging that emphasize its seriousness make it one of the most visually striking BMW M cars. It’s also one of the best-sounding BMWs. Firing it up yields a boistrous, blatty exhaust note that only gets more raucous as the revs rise. Shifting up and down can coax out some pops and bangs, too, and the dual-clutch transmission’s fast and smooth shifts mean you’ll be swapping gears at every opportunity.
It’s still a very stiff little car, but it’s tuned to take the edge off so you don’t vibrate into jelly. And when you do get to twisty roads, you’ll find the M2 has shockingly quick steering, and the chassis reacts just as fast to dart into curves. Body lean is nearly non-existent. My only complaint is that the steering is fairly numb.
There’s such a violent immediacy to the engine that the chassis responds to with a gleeful shake of the rear every time you stab the gas. It’s like an excited, small dog with excess power to its hind legs scratching and wanting for grip until it hooks and takes off like a bullet train. I love it when a car has a playful personality, and this M2 brought out my inner child with every stomp of the right pedal. To engineer a chassis that’s this buttoned down and sorted through corners but still allows you to be an absolute hoon is BMW at its finest.
It might be a small car, but every penny of the asking price will feel worth it when that inline-six starts to scream. If I had the means, I’d park this car in my garage for an undue amount of time. That’s about as good as it gets in my book.