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BMW M2 Competition

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:BMW M2 Competition



What is it like on the road?

It’s a hoot, a real classic. You can take this epic engine to its hammer-and-tongs red-line, and smoke the tyres in big drifts. Or you can take advantage of the turbo torque and use the neatness and precision of the chassis. It’s a car with many ways to be happy.

The new engine isn’t just about power. It has depths of spine-tingling extroversion compared with the original M2’s motor (which was itself pretty darned fine let’s not forget).

Go to the red-line and drop-kick into a new gear and feel this happy savagery redouble itself as it goes back for another bite at the top end.

Lower down the revs you will find a little inevitable turbo lag, but also crashing waves of character and immersion, a whole playlist of different tones and rhythms as you use different throttle openings at different revs.

In short, there’s no finer propulsion in a car anywhere near this price.

It shakes out at a zero-to 62 figure for the manual of 4.4 seconds, or 4.2 for the flappy-paddle twin-clutch because in that one you aren’t pausing to change gear. But we’d say save money and have the manual – this is a car that’s all about driving’s sensations and interactions. The shift is solidly deliberate, so the brief pause to enjoy it is like a pause for lunch. The twin-clutch job is non-stop, but so is being fed via a drip.

At every point between the extremes of a gentle curve and a full-on skid, the chassis is pretty much as sensational as the engine.

It’s always proportional and full of feel. Into a tight bend, you’d never believe a car with a physically large front engine could swivel its nose with such vigour. Everything else just follows. It’s awesomely balanced and biddable, and it aways tells you what it’s up to.

And despite the close relationship, it’s far more friendly and less snappy at the limit than any of today’s M3/M4 generation.

The middle pedal is firm and trustworthy, especially with the optional M Sport brake system. Know it by grey-painted calipers.

Despite the name, the Competition rides pretty well. It’s firm by regular saloon standards, but the damping is progressive. Cornering doesn’t get all messed up by lumpy surfaces, and at normal traffic speeds the M2 is a more suave and smooth companion than some of the extreme hot-hatches. Nor does the exhaust have antisocially loud tailpipes when you’re wanting to be discreet.


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