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BMW M2 Competition

Is 2 the new 3? BMW’s M Division has drawn its smallest weapon and it brings to life the age-old petrolhead wish ― small car, big engine, rear-wheel drive. We take the new BMW M2 Competition outside to see what it’s truly made of.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Downsizing. That’s been a buzzword for a while now and, for many a car enthusiast, it’s been a downward spiral with big V12 engines replaced by smaller turbocharged V8s or big V8s replaced by smaller turbo V6s or, worse, turbo fours. While they may match power output and reduce fuel consumption and some gas problems, they tend to take away from the car in some cases. Take away how? Well, some cars are legends and some are new names. The new names are not a problem because many car folk tend to accept some cars for what they are. However, the problem begins when a revered name loses something characteristic ― one aspect that played a huge role in making it a revered name in the first place. Most of the time, it’s the engine. Other times, it’s a specific driveline combination or even the way the engine is laid out. BMW have a few such revered names and one of them is, and has been for a while, the M3.

The M3 is essentially a family saloon with a powerful in-line six-cylinder engine that makes for smooth acceleration, augmented by fantastic driving dynamics, nimble handling characteristics, and a ride quality that works every day ― and not just on the autobahn or racetrack. It’s come a long way. A long way that’s seen the automobile world rocked by fuel crises, sky-rocketing fuel prices, climate change and consequent emission control, and, of course, with a growing number of road users, automotive safety. Add all of that in over the years and it adds more than a few pounds. The present-day M3, then, is progressively much larger than its predecessors, not to mention it has four doors. The much-loved M3 Coupé never made it to this present and we got the equally long M4; not quite how many imagined it would pan out eventually. However, BMW pulled a new card from their deck we didn’t quite see coming then ― the 2 Series Coupé. Then they made an M2.

Diminutive it may have seemed but the M2 was practical downsizing with none of the associated downfalls. The car was small but the engine, power, torque, and the all-important fun factor were much, much larger. Many wished they would see it in India, but it never did. Shortly thereafter, they did this, the BMW M2 Competition. It got an engine almost straight out of the old M3, with the compact size of the 2 Series Coupé and a lot more power, too. When you look at it, it pretty much marks itself out as arguably the best real-world driver’s car yet. And, again arguably, not just from BMW!

BMW M2 Competition

The BMW M2 Competition is less than 4.5 metres long, has two doors, two M Sport front seats, two rear seats (let’s say that), and some important bits ― a signature BMW M straight-six engine mounted longitudinally with M turbos, an M DCT twin-clutch gearbox (there’s a six-speed manual but we don’t get that here), and rear-wheel drive with an Active M Differential. That’s a mouthful and a half but does it feel that way? In one word, yes. But there’s a lot more to it, too.

Compact it is; there’s no two ways about it. A sub-2.7-metre wheelbase stretches between two pairs of 19-inch wheels wrapped in mixed 35-profile rubber: 245s front and 265s rear. The ride height of 117 millimetres may not seem like much, but the BMW M2 Competition can pretty much handle anything you throw at it ― save for a couple of outrageously high speed-humps. It looks sharp and as lean as an athlete with a low single-digit percentage body fat. There’s nothing that doesn’t need to be there and everything serves a purpose or two. LED headlamps and tail-lamp clusters look rather menacing; more so in rear-view mirrors. The smooth bodywork is far from plain and the curvature is evident at all times, whether daylight or after dark, when city lights catch its doors and panels.

Inside the BMW M2 Competition, the cabin gets dashes of leather, alcantara, and an interplay of smooth matte chrome and piano-black trim details. The soft leather steering wheel feels straight out of the M5 and the all-digital info console behind the wheels has a pleasing old-school display of red needles and white text on black dials. The BMW iDrive controller sits ahead of the centre arm-rest and ahead of that, an M3-style compact round gear-lever. There are no real drive modes, it’s pretty much always in Sport and moving it to the right enables the equivalent of Sport Plus manual mode. A little button allows for three modes as well. The steering feel, too, can be switched among Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus via a dedicated button. There are reasonably large side windows to go with the two doors, no sun-roof, and good enough visibility out the back. Seems like an everyday car, this.

BMW M2 Competition

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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