BMW M2 2021 review

Find out more about the BMW M2 in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Enormous fun to drive
  • Superb performance
  • High-quality interior


  • Slightly notchy manual gearbox
  • Interior isn’t quite so plush as rivals
  • Not quite as roomy as a hot hatch
Model review

BMW has a fantastic reputation with its ‘M’ variants, though in recent years it’s had more of a focus on larger models – the M5, M6 and M8. 

 But the firm saw a return to smaller M models with the M2, which arrived in 2016 as a new compact sports car, with BMW saying it’s derived from the brand’s iconic models like the 2002 Turbo, E30 M3 and 1M Coupe, arguably being the successor to that latter model. 

 Underpinned by a new 3.0-litre straight-six engine producing 365bhp, and coming with the option of a manual or automatic gearbox, it quickly became one of 2016’s must-have performance cars, with a near-guaranteed future classic status. 

 It was followed in 2018 with a more aggressive Competition version, which would become the sole derivative available. Described by BMW as a ‘complete reworking’, it got an additional 40bhp, as well as a number of changes to the steering, braking system, exhaust and suspension. Design changes also included a modified front end with a new air intake, a larger kidney grille painted in black and new 19-inch alloy wheels.

Latest model

Though the Competition might have seemed extreme to many, that wouldn’t be where the M2 would end. No, BMW would launch an even more extreme ‘CS’ version. It would see power go up a further 40bhp to a significant 444bhp, while gaining a range of lightweight parts – including a carbon-fibre bonnet and roof – that would help to save vital pounds from the M2. 

 Other changes included the addition of standard-fit adaptive suspension and an upgraded braking system, both taking inspiration from the brand’s racing models. Unlike the other two M2 models, the CS would also be produced in ‘limited numbers’, though BMW has never said quite how many. 

Value for money

Though the M2 might be BMW’s ‘entry-level’ M car, it’s still far from cheap, especially if you’re looking for a new model, with the Competition – the only new version on sale at the time of writing – available from £52,000. That said, standard equipment is still comprehensive, including 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and leather sports seats to name but a few features. 

 That said, used M2s are beginning to represent great value for money, with the original M2 available from around £27,000, and newer Competitions on offer from around a further £10,000. The CS models remain for the collectors, though, with prices for these costing a steep £80,000 when ‘used’ – the same as their list price. 

Looks and image

Based on the BMW 2 Series Coupe, the M2 managed to add a whole lot more aggression into the mix with its styling. Those large alloy wheels, large grille and broad wheel arches certainly mean you won’t get it muddled up with a diesel 2 Series, especially when you notice the quad exhaust system, too. 

 Inside, things are equally sporting, with the M2 getting chunky sports seats as standard, as well as an array of ‘M2’ logos, Alcantara and carbon-fibre. It certainly ticks every box required for a sports car’s interior, while clear dials and strong ergonomics mean it could be easy to live with too. Though with the M2 now being around for several years, the design is starting to look a bit dated – especially next to BMW’s more modern cars. 

 But one area there will be no disappointment is behind the wheel, with the M2 being one of the best driving sports cars of modern years. The steering is communicative and direct, while the whole car is perfectly balanced. The engine is also stunning and delivers strong performance even lower down the rev range. But perhaps the most impressive thing about the M2 is its ride, which managed to be firm and composed, yet never sharp and overly uncomfortable like many of its rivals. 

Space and practicality

As far as sports cars go, the M2 is about as practical as they get, if lacking the space and versatility of a hot hatchback or performance saloon.

 But as the 2 Series Coupe is already one of the roomiest cars in its segment, it bodes well for the M2, which offers seating for four. There’s even a decent amount of rear legroom for adults, though a sloping roofline does mean that headroom is a touch compromised. 

 The 390-litre boot is a good size, though does have a narrow opening – much like any car in this class. Folding rear seats were also an option when new, so if you’re looking at a used option it’s worth checking to see if it has this. 


All M2 models use the same fundamental 3.0-litre in-line six engine, though there’s a change in power and performance depending on version. All also get the choice of a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Power is always delivered to the rear wheels, too. 

 Let’s start with the regular M2, which produces 365bhp and 465Nm of torque. That allows for a 0-60mph time of just 4.1 seconds with the automatic (the manual is ever so slightly slower) and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.

 The Competition takes things up to 404bhp and 550Nm of torque, while reducing the 0-60mph time to four seconds. Though the same 155mph top speed applies, the speed limiter was raised to 170mph for models fitted with the M Driver’s Package. 

 At the top of the tree, the CS raises the power to 444bhp, with torque remaining the same at 550Nm. With the additional weight saving, the 0-60mph time drops to 3.8 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 174mph.  

Running costs

Though the M2 won’t be a cheap car to run – especially if it’s used as intended – it won’t be quite as costly as other performance cars. BMW claims 29.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of 220g/km. 

 It’s important to be aware that the M2 will also have to pay a ‘premium’ level of road tax, due to its list price being above the £40,000 threshold. This means you’ll pay £450 to tax it between the second and sixth year of registration. 

Things to look out for

Despite its performance status, the M2 has actually proven to be a rather dependable choice, with its engine being seen as one of the most reliable fitted in a modern BMW M model. As with any sports model, you should check for signs of neglect, while full service history and regular maintenance is a must on a car like this.


 The M2 has few real-world rivals in terms of practical performance coupes, so it’s best to split it down into more conventional sports cars and hot hatches. With the former, you should look at the excellent Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110, while Audi’s TTS and TT RS could also be considered. 

 As for hot hatches, it’s only really the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45 that can get close when it comes to performance.


Values for the M2 have held up pretty well, with less depreciation than many of its competitors, especially considering decent early cars can still be worth around £30,000. 

 Though values will likely continue to fall slightly, we reckon it won’t be too long before prices plateau, and will likely one day be on the up again. 

Trims explained

Three versions of the M2 have been on offer, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.


Launching in 2016, the M2 came as standard with Xenon headlights, a large media system with satellite navigation and enhanced connected services, as well as dual-zone climate control with extended interior lighting. A quad exhaust system was also included, along with 19-inch lightweight alloy wheels.

From £27,000 (used)

M2 Competition

Launching in 2018 and remaining on sale today, the Competition gained an extra 40bhp on top of the standard M2, and benefitted from revisions to the steering, braking system, exhaust and suspension. It also boasted a gloss black styling kit, as well as upgraded bucket seats trimmed in perforated black leather, front and rear parking sensors and an upgraded media system.

From £37,000 (used) / £51,860 (new)


Only available as a special-edition in 2020, the CS gains a further 40bhp on top of the Competition, while featuring adaptive M suspension and an upgraded brake system with red callipers. Revised lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres were also included, along with a carbon-fibre roof and bonnet. Inside it comes with Alcantara and leather bucket seats, as well as a black Alcantara sports steering wheel.

From £80,000 (used)


  1. BMW’s most compact sports car
  2. Thrilling to drive…
  3. But still comfortable and easy to live with
  4. Standard M2, Competition and limited-run CS models available
  5. Surprisingly practical interior
  6. Not cheap to buy…
  7. But doesn’t depreciate too heavily
  8. Well-built interior
  9. Decent reliability reputation
  10. A truly superb sports car, one of BMW’s finest moments