Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

BMW M2 review - BMW's most exciting car?

"The BMW M2 is fast, lots of fun to drive and better value than other BMW M cars too"

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review

Pros

  • Fantastic to drive
  • Very fast and powerful
  • Appropriate size for UK roads

Cons

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Divisive looks
  • Uncomfortable over bumps

Verdict - Is the BMW M2 a good car?

Despite being a riot to drive, the latest BMW M2 is a surprisingly easy car to live with. Unlike some of its rivals, it offers a pair of occasional rear seats, plus the boot is a decent size if you want to carry suitcases or take the car shopping. We don’t think 30mpg is too bad either. But few will buy the BMW for these reasons alone; the way it handles and that punchy 3.0-litre turbocharged engine make it a performance car bargain. That it might be the last-ever petrol-powered M car only adds to its overall appeal. 

BMW M2 models, specs and alternatives

The BMW M2 has been completely renewed and it’s said that this could be the last M-car model not to feature some kind of electric motor. It’s aimed directly at driving enthusiasts who love the feel and sound of a petrol engine, plus those who want something that’s fun to drive and fast as well as usable every day.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Like the previous version, the BMW M2 uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It’s been improved for this latest model and now has 453bhp and 550Nm of torque. These are some serious numbers considering the M2 is the smallest, least expensive BMW M model in the range. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The original M2 launched less than a decade ago with around 360bhp, meaning this latest car has almost 100bhp more. As a result, it can go from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds, which means it’s able to keep up with many dedicated sports cars and even supercars.

In typical fast BMW fashion, the M2 is rear-wheel drive and is available with either an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s one of few cars aimed at enthusiasts that is still offered with a manual gearbox, which could be a big selling point, although BMW expects the vast majority of buyers to choose the auto gearbox anyway.

The new BMW M2 looks radically different from before, and it also appears quite far removed from the normal 2 Series model it’s based on. The square sections and air intakes on the front grille are like nothing we’ve seen on a modern BMW, and the rear features pumped-up styling with four huge exhaust pipes – if only to emphasise that this could be one of the last petrol performance BMWs.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The interior is much more down-to-earth and is similar to the normal 2 Series coupe, which is a good thing. It features a large curved display screen that incorporates the infotainment system as well as the driving information in place of a conventional set of dials, plus special sports seats and carbon trim unique to the M2. Other equipment only on this model includes the body kit, 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, a limited-slip differential (a device that helps improve cornering) and better brakes.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Rivals for the BMW M2 include the Porsche 718 Cayman, Audi TT RS, Alpine A110 and Toyota GR Supra – although of those, only the TT has rear seats like the BMW. 

BMW says the 3.0-litre engine will return about 29mpg and emit 220g/km of CO2, so don’t expect the M2 to be cheap to run. It’s also not hugely practical – its rear seats are quite small and the 390-litre boot is a little awkward to access. However it’s still useable every day for people who don’t mind the cost and don’t have to carry a family with them at all times. 

It’s the cheapest car in BMW’s M range and is more fun than pricier models such as the M4, so the M2 is still a fantastic sports car that even looks relatively good value. 

Trim levels

Power options

  • M2 coupe
  • 3.0-litre (453bhp)

BMW M2 coupe alternatives

MPG, running costs & CO2

“The performance-focused M2 won’t be cheap to run, but those who can afford it shouldn’t be put off”

The BMW M2 uses a turbocharged 3.0-litre engine with six cylinders, so don’t expect low running costs. Official figures suggest fuel economy will be about 29mpg (28.8mpg to 29.1mpg depending on spec, to be exact), while 219-220g/km of CO2 will mean high tax costs for company car drivers as well. The M2 sits in the highest bracket of 37 per cent for business customers, although we’d expect this BMW to be mainly chosen by private buyers, perhaps as a second or third car.

However, for a car with over 450bhp, we reckon just under 30mpg is a pretty impressive figure and means those with deep pockets won’t feel too bad about using one for daily driving. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Maintenance costs will be higher than for normal versions of the 2 Series Coupe the M2 is based on, as there are specialist parts that cost more to replace. However you can buy fixed-price service packs from BMW to mitigate that cost, and you can extend the three-year warranty if needed as well.

Model 

Fuel economy

CO2 emissions

BMW M2 coupe

28.8-29.1mpg

219-220g/km

Insurance

Expect insurance costs to be high, as the powerful engine and high list price mean the M2 sits in group 42 for both the manual and automatic versions.

Engines, drive & performance

“The engine is a delight and offers impressive performance, plus the M2 is loads of fun in the corners”

The BMW M2 is currently only available in one form – there’s no Competition, CS or CSL version yet, although these may arrive in the future. The normal M2 uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with two turbochargers that produces a mighty 453bhp and 550Nm of torque. That’s far more than the previous version of the M2 and only about 100bhp less than the BMW M4.

In fact, it’s more than the first-generation M4 as well, and anyone who has driven one of those will realise that this amount of power means performance is so strong that it can feel almost too fast on normal roads. Certainly, full-throttle bursts will see you breaking the speed limit very quickly indeed, so this has to be saved for track days.

Luckily, the turbocharged engine means there’s loads of power and performance at low revs and you can rely on the engine’s torque to keep you entertained most of the time. The 0-62mph sprint takes 4.1 seconds with the standard-fit eight-speed automatic gearbox, or 4.3 seconds with the optional six-speed manual.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The manual gearbox being a little slower as well as being more expensive might seem odd, but some enthusiasts will love to see that BMW continues to offer a manual gearbox at all. For some, manual means more fun, but unless you’re steadfast about that rule, the automatic is the gearbox to have – we actually found it crisper to use, and don’t recommend spending extra on the manual option. The auto makes accessing the M2’s performance easier and more readily available, and the carbon-fibre paddle shifters feel good to use.

The fun of the M2 isn’t all about the performance, although the engine is fantastic to use as it’s really smooth and sounds great, though the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS arguably sounds more exciting. It’s more about the car’s handling and enjoying corners – this is where the M2 shines most. The previous M2 was fantastic fun but this new version is even better – there’s loads of grip when you want it, but not so much that it never excites. Keen drivers will love its rear-wheel drive layout as it allows you to corner not just with the steering wheel but with the accelerator pedal, too.

When you’re not hooning it in the M2, it’s actually quite civilised around town. We were impressed with how smooth the ride felt compared to an M4, and its smaller size means it feels easy to manoeuvre and live with day to day.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

There are two red configurable ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ buttons on the steering wheel, which allow you to tweak a variety of settings including suspension stiffness, throttle response, stability control and its exhaust note. Otherwise, you can pick from various pre-programmed drive modes through a button on the centre console. These are all easy to use on the move.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

BMW M2 Coupe automatic

453bhp

4.1s

177mph (M Race Track Pack)

Interior & comfort

“The M2 has all the kit from a high-spec 2 Series Coupe plus some special sports seats that elevate the interior feel”

The BMW M2’s cabin is relatively similar to a normal 2 Series Coupe, which is good news as it’s well put together. There’s M Sport three-colour stitching and some carbon-fibre touches that give it a sportier look, plus a big red start button. One big difference here is the M sports seats offered as part of the M Race Track Package  – these are carbon-backed, which looks very racy, and have a contoured shape for your legs as well. While the M2 comes with black leather as standard, tan leather is also available as a no-cost option.

All M2s get a staggered wheel setup, so the front wheels are 19 inches in diameter, while the rear gets 20-inch alloys. The black finish on these wheels can be swapped for silver at no extra cost, to suit the owner’s taste.

Infotainment and navigation

The rest is the same as a high-spec 2 Series, so quality is good and it all feels well-built and upmarket. The centrepiece is the large curved display in front of the driver that incorporates both the normal infotainment features, as well as driver info instead of normal dials. This latest system is called BMW Live Cockpit Plus (with iDrive 8) and uses a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen together as one mega-display, and it works really well aside from some of the climate controls being a bit fiddly, as they are on all touchscreens. Everything is quick to load and logically laid out on the infotainment screen which is superior to the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS’, although we prefer the clarity of the Porsche’s analogue dials compared to the BMW’s digital approach.

Exclusive to the M2 are features like a drift analyser function, which scores how long you can skid the tail of the car around a corner, based on slide duration, speed and angle when you perform them – bear in mind this is only to be used in safe closed circuit environments, and you should not attempt drifting on public roads.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth are all included, plus sat-nav and three-zone climate control. Other standard kit includes a carbon roof, LED lights, ambient interior lighting, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and 40/20/40 folding rear seats. The M2 also comes with equipment that helps make it better to drive including upgraded brakes, suspension with different modes, and lightweight alloy wheels.

Optional extras include the Comfort Package, which adds a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and wireless phone charging, and the M Driver’s Pack, which removes the 155mph top speed limiter and raises it to 180mph. It costs several thousand pounds to do this, so is incredibly poor value for money unless you happen to own a private runway or live near a German autobahn.

Practicality & boot space

“There’s enough room for passengers in the back, but the M2 isn’t ideal as a family car”

The BMW M2 is more of a sports car than a family car, but it still scores really well for practicality because most of its rivals don’t even have rear seats. The Toyota GR Supra and Porsche 718 Cayman are two-seater sports cars you might also consider, while the more practical Audi TT RS is less engaging than the BMW. The M2 sits in a happy medium.

The rear seats aren’t that big, but adults can settle in occasionally when needed and there should be enough space for kids. You won’t want to be getting in and out of the back seats a lot, as access isn’t ideal, but there’s enough room there for occasional use. The rear bench seat folds down in a 40/20/40 split as standard, which is really useful – it means you can get longer items into the car and it’s usable for trips to the dump or the hardware store too.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

BMW M2 Coupe

4,580mm

1,887mm

1,403mm

Porsche 718 Cayman

4,456mm

1,822mm

1,295mm

Toyota GR Supra

4,379mm

1,854mm

1,294mm

Audi TT RS

4,201mm

1,832mm

1,346mm

Boot space

The boot is 390 litres, which is the same as the previous M2 and about the same as a Volksagwen Golf, but of course the coupe body shape means that access is nowhere near as good as in the VW. The opening is quite small and there’s a large loading lip. It’s pretty good for a sports car with this kind of performance, though. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Although it’s the smallest M car available, the BMW M2 is still 4,580mm long and 1,887mm wide, so it’s bigger than you might expect. It’s larger than many 3 Series models from BMW’s past, so if you’re upgrading from an old M3, for example, you might be surprised about how much space the new model takes up.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

BMW M2 Coupe

390 litres

Porsche 718 Cayman

405 litres (combined)

Toyota GR Supra

290 litres

Audi TT RS

305 litres

Reliability & safety

“The BMW M2 should be reliable and comes with plenty of safety kit”

In our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, BMW came in a disappointing 21st place, down from 16th place the year before. Reliability itself was fairly average, with 22% of owners reporting an issue with their BMW in the first year of ownership. The M2 and 2 Series Coupe on which it’s based didn’t feature in the survey, though we have yet to hear of any reliability horror stories just yet.

BMW offers a fixed-price maintenance plan for £36 a month (over three years) that keeps the finances tidy for that process. It’s quite expensive, but M models have many special parts that need more careful maintenance, so buyers shouldn’t mind spending a little more to keep everything at its best.

Safety

Safety is good here and all M2 models come with adaptive LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, pre-crash assist tech called Active Guard, and bigger brakes than the normal 2 Series as well. 

Driving Assistant is available for about £1,100 and this package adds traffic sign recognition,  lane change warning, lane keep assist, rear collision prevention and rear cross-traffic warning. Adaptive cruise control is included with this package as well.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise
Audi RS e-tron GT front quarter
News
17 Jun 2024

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise

New BMW 2 Series updates: coupe gets small cabin tweaks and big power boost for the BMW M2
New BMW 2 Series front quarter
News
12 Jun 2024

New BMW 2 Series updates: coupe gets small cabin tweaks and big power boost for the BMW M2

Porsche Taycan review – one of the best EV driver’s cars
Porsche Taycan UK
In-depth reviews
29 May 2024

Porsche Taycan review – one of the best EV driver’s cars

Top 10 best four-door sports cars 2024
Best four door sports cars
Best cars
29 May 2024

Top 10 best four-door sports cars 2024

Have You Considered

BMW M4 Coupe review
BMW M4 Coupe front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
7 May 2024

BMW M4 Coupe review

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV review
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio front quarter dynamic
In-depth reviews
22 Mar 2024

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV review

Most Popular

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

More on M2 coupe

New BMW 2 Series updates: coupe gets small cabin tweaks and big power boost for the BMW M2
New BMW 2 Series front quarter
News
12 Jun 2024

New BMW 2 Series updates: coupe gets small cabin tweaks and big power boost for the BMW M2

A mid-life spruce-up for the BMW 2 Series brings interior updates, while its M2 twin gets a performance boost
Top 10 best driver's cars 2024
Best drivers cars
Best cars
21 Feb 2024

Top 10 best driver's cars 2024

You don’t need a supercar to enjoy a twisty road – these driver’s cars offer just as much fun
Top 10 best sports cars 2024
The best sports cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best sports cars 2024

If you’re looking for a car with driving pleasure in mind, our list of the best sports cars is a must-read
New BMW M2 gets six-cylinder M4 engine and a manual gearbox
2022 BMW M2 - driving front
News
11 Oct 2022

New BMW M2 gets six-cylinder M4 engine and a manual gearbox

German marque has revealed the high-performance version of the 2 Series sports coupe will get the same engine as the BMW M4
Top 3 used performance cars for under £40,000
Hero
Tips and advice
30 Mar 2022

Top 3 used performance cars for under £40,000

Dear Carbuyer, I have £40,000 to spend on a fun and fast performance car. What are my options?
BMW M2 coupe review (2016-2021)
Orange BMW M2 driving
In-depth reviews
3 Jun 2021

BMW M2 coupe review (2016-2021)

"The BMW M2 has all the virtues of the 2 Series coupe, but with added performance from a fantastic 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and pumped-up …
Hardcore BMW M2 CS revealed with 444bhp
BMW M2 CS driving on racetrack
News
5 Nov 2019

Hardcore BMW M2 CS revealed with 444bhp

The track-focused, limited-edition BMW M2 CS starts at £75,320
New BMW M2 Competition on sale in May 2018
News
17 Apr 2018

New BMW M2 Competition on sale in May 2018

BMW M2 Competition upgrade pack adds a sharper edge to the smallest BMW 'M' car
Skip advert
Advertisement
BMW M2 Competition: images and details of hotter M2 leak
BMW M2 Competition leaked image
News
9 Apr 2018

BMW M2 Competition: images and details of hotter M2 leak

Uprated BMW M2 breaks cover ahead of official launch

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024