The 2020 BMW M2 is the hot version of the premium subcompact 2 Series. The M signifies that BMW’s department of motoring magic has been at work, endowing this car with plenty of power — along with the suspension, steering, brakes and snug seats that allow drivers to make the most of the engine’s muscle. The M2 is available only in coupe form. Regular versions of the 2 Series offer a convertible body style and now a 4-door Gran Coupe variant.
Some sporty cars have a civilized side with an adjustable suspension, but the M2 is an out-and-out enthusiast’s machine. The fenders are flared to accommodate wide tires, while bulges on the hood advertise the power beneath.
As other BMW vehicles have grown larger and heavier, including their M counterparts, the M2 serves as a reminder of what the original (almost legendary) M3 was like — the car that started the whole M approach. It was small, had two doors and was relatively light and honed for handling. The M2 follows that formula.
It’s the smallest BMW to have the full M treatment and the Competition version is the least expensive M car. But the 2020 M2 quickens the pulse of anyone who has a combustion engine beating where their heart is supposed to be. Admittedly, it’s a niche product, but what a niche and what a product.
What’s New for 2020?
The taillights receive a new, darker look. But the big story is the introduction of an M2 CS variant. BMW says this model is only for the 2020 model year, with 2,200 units being made for sale around the world. It comes with more power as well as extra track-worthy components, and is a road-going version of a car that BMW is selling to customer racing teams. Available summer 2020. See the 2020 BMW M2 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Relatively reasonable entry level price
What We Don’t
- Passengers might find it noisy, stiff and cramped
- No Android Auto smartphone integration
$59,895 to $84,595
A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine develops 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual. A 7-speed, dual-clutch automated manual (with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles) is the 2-pedal alternative, known as DCT. Power goes solely to the rear wheels.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption as 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving (manual transmission), or 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined (DCT).
The same configuration of engine is in the new-for-2020 M2 CS, but here the output is 444 hp — torque stays at 406 lb-ft. Transmission choices are also the same. There were no M2 CS EPA figures at the time of compiling this review, but they shouldn’t be too different from those of the M2 Competition.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 BMW M2 high-performance premium subcompact coupe is available as the regular M2 Competition model or the limited-run M2 CS variant.
The M2 Competition ($59,895) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, Active M rear differential, M-grade brakes, LED headlights, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated/14-way power-adjustable front sport seats with driver’s-side memory, keyless entry/ignition, carbon fiber interior trim, ambient cabin lighting, M Sport multifunction steering wheel, self-dimming rearview mirror and driver’s-side door mirror, rain-sensing wipers, dynamic cruise control, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, front/rear parking sensors, navigation, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, 8.8-in touchscreen for the iDrive infotainment system, a CD/MP3 player, AM/FM/HD/satellite radio and a Harman Kardon 360-watt/12-speaker audio setup.
The optional M Driver’s bundle consists of a day’s high-performance driving tuition and raises the top speed from 155 mph to 174 mph. The Executive package brings adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, heated steering wheel, wireless charging and Wi-Fi. A moonroof is also optional.
The 2020 M2 CS ($84,595) has a roof, hood and various aerodynamic additions made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The lightweight roof helps to lower the center of gravity, which benefits handling. Driving dynamics are also enhanced by an adaptive M suspension fitted as standard. This has never been even an option in other M2 cars. The M steering wheel is also wrapped in Alcantara, a suede-like material often used in the cabins of racing cars.
Options for the M2 CS are few. Buyers may choose alloy wheels with a matte gold finish, the 7-speed automated transmission, high-performance Michelin Cup 2 tires and fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes — a smart choice if planning to drive the car on a track.
Trunk space is 13.8 cu ft., which is pretty good — enough for three golf bags.
There’s the mandatory stuff, such as an anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction/stability control and several airbags, but one thing to mention is that M cars have excellent brakes, bigger than those in the regular counterpart. They’re strong and confidence-inspiring. One downside is that blind spot monitoring is not available in the M2.
The M2 hasn’t been subjected to crash tests of its own, but the 2 Series range has received the accolade of Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after scoring well in every major category.
Behind the Wheel
This is why the M2 exists, to be driven and driven hard. Get on a track and even the oil system is designed to work efficiently under lateral loads. It’s possible to adjust the threshold for when the traction control kicks in, allowing for some tail slides, if that’s your thing. Sure, there’s a bit of tire noise, but drown that out with engine noise and problem solved.
It’s great having a manual transmission (with rev-matching throttle blips on the downshifts) to get really involved, but there’s nothing wrong with the DCT. It’s actually quicker: 4.0 seconds in the sprint from 0-to-60 mph. The manual is 0.2 of a second slower.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Audi TT RS Coupe — No real rear seats to speak of, only 394 hp and more expensive ($68,495) than the M2 Competition, but all-wheel drive (AWD) and lots of tech come as standard. Pretty cute as well.
2020 Audi RS 3 — A compact sedan with AWD and 394 hp. From $57,195.
2020 BMW M240i — The idea of a small yet powerful premium car is undoubtedly appealing, but some people might prefer a convertible and/or AWD. For around $13,000 less than an M2 Competition, yet still with a robust 355 hp, the M240i would still be a ton of fun.
2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 — A 4-door alternative with 382 hp and AWD. A new generation comes in for 2020.
To anyone fortunate enough to have the funds for an M2 CS and the urge to buy one, we say go ahead. It might well become a collector’s car some day. And to those thinking about buying their first car from BMW’s high-performance division, the M2 Competition would be a fine introduction. Find a BMW M2 for sale