Unveiled to the world in 2014, the BMW 2 Series quickly became a formidable car to be reckoned with. Its short wheelbase, coupled with a small and light stature, made it one of the best handling vehicles in its segment.
Two years later, when BMW M GmbH got their hands on the F22 chassis, a thorough rework resulted in the BMW M2. Finally, there was a compact high-performance sportscar that was both accessible and affordable.
Major changes from the onset were an 80mm larger body width with blistering arches to accommodate the 265 section rear tyres.
In addition, M division squeezed a 370hp straight-six under the bonnet. Coupled with new aluminium suspension all around, the transformation gave enthusiasts a package reminiscent of unadulterated sportscars that they all sought.
The successes of the base M2 pushed the engineers in BMW’s tuning house to deliver an improved mid-life update and stuck the “Competition” name to its badge.
While the changes were subtle, from the sum of its parts emerged an even mightier car. Interestingly, BMW has decided to make this a replacement for the now defunct M2.
The M2 Competition still has the straight-six. That said, strict and ever-improving emissions regulations necessitated that the M3/M4’s S55 twin-turbo straight six had to be dropped into it. Though slightly detuned to 410hp, this engine meant that owners would be exposed to a full works M engine.
Having the twin-scroll, twin-turbo set-up means that the M2 Competition delivers its power in a far more linear and useable manner. This has upped the ante in real-world drivability, which is ironic given that the name would suggest something more unconventional.
Aesthetically, BMW has put into effect small but incremental change. The cabin has a redesigned instrument panel and new M Sport seats. Moving outside, a new front fascia includes a larger front bumper with bigger air intakes, a remodelled wing mirror, and in keeping with BMW tradition, a reworked kidney grille in gloss black.
With all this extra grunt, BMW has also given the M2 Competition bigger brakes in a grey finish. Overall, the Competition model does not look like a complete overhaul when compared to the M2 but it does drive like a different, albeit better, car altogether.
As a final hurray to the F22 M2 platform, BMW has created an uber special rendition, the CS (which stands for Club Sport).
A carbonfibre-rich vehicle (more of this later), the M2 CS has been given even more power over and above the Competition model. Power is now up to 450hp and a new cooling system has been put in place to keep this in check. This is derived directly from the M4 Competition Package and consists of a central and two side radiators, and an additional engine oil cooler.
Both variants of the M2 come standard (in Singapore) with the 7-speed M double-clutch transmission (DCT). As an option, the 6-speed manual can be optioned for a different flavour. Regardless of the gearbox type chosen, however, an Active M Differential will be precisely calculating the power distribution to the two rear driven wheels.
For the first time, the M2 CS comes equipped with Adaptive M suspension. This enables the driver to have full control over the type of damping they prefer to suit the driving conditions. These may be selected through the iDrive system or via one of two preset “M” buttons on the steering wheel. The decision to have a dynamic suspension is testament to the confidence that the M tuners have in the chassis.
Aesthetically, the M2 CS looks like something straight out from a one-make race series; which makes sense considering that this is the platform upon which BMW M Motorsport will be creating a new one-make amateur race series. Entrants will be using the M2 CS Racing.
BMW has gone to town with the extensive use of carbonfibre. For starters, the bonnet is now made exclusively from carbonfibre and is half the weight of its aluminium counterpart on the Competition model. The roof, front splitter and wing mirrors also come in this strong but lightweight material. At the rear, a carbonfibre boot spoiler and a mighty rear diffuser make a loud statement as the CS inevitably leaves others in its dust.
The carbonfibre theme continues inside the cabin. The door grab handles are finished in carbonfibre trim along with a new lightened centre console. Complementing these sporty elements is the use of Alcantara on the steering wheel, seats and doors. Finally, with the striking Misano Blue metallic paint finish on the M2 CS, the sense of occasion with this baby M is truly visceral.
In just four short years, BMW M division has brought numerous updates to the M2 model line-up to keep it relevant and sharp. While the changes to the various models have occurred in such a short space of time, one could say the M2 has undergone more a revolution than an evolution.