The answer to that will come in the driving, for at first sight not much seems to have changed after this mid-life refresh, though BMW says the M2 Competition, which will be the only M2 you will be able to buy from May, represents “a complete reworking”.
That’s a bold move for what was already a successful formula, the two-door coupe winning enthusiasts over for its compactness, chuckabiity and speed. Well, the M2 Competition is still the same trim size and weight, but it promises to be more agile and quicker than ever.
So what’s new? Well, the price has gone up – by around £3000 to a starting price of £49,285 now – but power has gone up too, from 365 to 404bhp (that’s 370 to 410ps). There’s a 37lb ft torque increase and on the track, all this shows in a boost to the already-good performance. The engine is a new version of the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six, with plenty in common with the unit in the M3/M4.
Nought-62mph is now a tenth faster at 4.4 seconds in six-speed manual-gears form, or an even better 4.2 seconds when opted-up with the seven-speed paddle-shift M DCT transmission. With acceleration like that the M2 Competition will need something faster than the Porsche Cayman S to keep it honest. Pay more for the Driver’s Package and the little BMW’s top speed rises to an unrestricted 170mph.
There’s a retuning of the chassis – to make the car, in BMW’s words, handle more sharply – and upgraded steering, brakes and exhaust. A carbon-fibre reinforced plastic strut from the BMW M3/M4 is fitted under the bonnet and is said to “significantly” improve front-end rigidity to the benefit of steering precision. The electronics have been tweaked to ensure drifting the rear-drive baby is easier than before, while also helping in the tyre-shredding department is the now standard fitment of M Dynamic Mode.
How to spot the M2 Competition? Handy badges and kickplates of course, but as well there are minor styling and aerodynamic mods. Outside, look for the new front spoiler design and kidney grille finished in high-gloss black. There are new side gills on the front wings and at the back a redesigned quartet of tailpipes. The double-arm door mirrors are new and said to improve aerodynamics.
Inside there are new M Sport seats, drive mode buttons are now on the steering wheel and there’s a now-standard red engine start button. Opt for the entry-level manual transmission model and you also get a tweak to the manual ‘box that automatically blips the throttle for you on down changes.
For the extra money you also some extra standard kit, including Park Distance Control, Professional Navigation and the iDrive Touch Controller. All good…but as we said, the proof of this particular pudding will be on an interesting road hearing that engine sing to 7000rpm…