BMW M2 Competition: A case of buyer’s remorse?

The BMW M2 Competition landed last week and represents a big upgrade over the original M2 that launched in 2016. On the surface, we have a refreshed fascia with the new BMW angular kidney grills, which to some eyes look a little too similar to Kia's corporate snout. There is new aerodynamic trickery at the front and back of the car along with large brakes to ensure it stops better than before. Finally, the interior gets newer digital instruments. The biggest change, however, is under the hood. Lift the bonnet and you will see the S55 motorsport engine from the M3/M4 duo sitting snuggly in the engine bay secured by a carbon fibre strut brace.

This twin turbo charged engine transforms the M2. It is a de-tuned version and in this application, you get 405bhp which is a large increase above the older N55 engine used in the original car. But this is not about speed, rather credibility. The old M2, like the 1M before it was not seen to be a true M car because they used tuned six cylinder engines that could be found in the rest of BMW's range.

The 1M used the N54S30 and the original M2 the N55S30 respectively. They were good engines but not M division engines. Now the M2 Competition can take its place among the current M cars and this is a great thing for BMW. The M2 Competition is the closest thing to a pure BMW driving experience you can get in 2018; a small saloon with a straight six engine sending power to the rear axle. This car does away with variable dampers and switchable four-wheel drive used in larger M cars. Where the M3 and M4 have a reputation for being both brutal and skittish, the M2 is an overall more balanced package.

So why has BMW taken this drastic action of swapping out the original engine? It is thanks to Volkswagen, or more specifically the cheating emission devices in their cars. A new engine emission testing system comes into force next month called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test procedure or WLTP test. The aim is to provide more realistic emission measures from cars and it has already caused the death of some much-loved cars. The VW Golf GTI in standard tune has ended production as its engine doesn't meet new standards. BMWs N55 and S55 didn't meet the standard either. As a result, the N55 is now gone as is the BMW M3. This model is due to be replaced by the new G20 generation 3-sereis later this year. All of this upheaval presumably left BMW in a bit of a bind. They chose to modify the S55 engine and keep producing it in the M4 and also put them in the M2 Competition.

Everyone wins? Right? I am not so sure. Personally, I can't help but think about all those owners who bought the original M2. What are their cars worth as they have to be seen as a lesser model now? What will they be worth in a year's time when the warranty expires? I would be very annoyed with this situation even if it isn't technically BMWs fault. The 1M is a collectable due to being a limited edition and will always hold its value, but the M2 was a production model. This was a 50 to 60 thousand-dollar car when new. Not a small amount of money. Granted, I could be totally wrong here as BMW sold the Z3 M coupe with the older S52 and newer S54 engines back in the day. Currently, many owners seem to be on the fence. The S55 does not make the best noise in the world and you can modify the original car to match the performance of the M2 Competition. Regardless, I'd be fighting a nasty case of buyer's remorse as I'd always want the newer and more powerful engine in my car without having to modify it.

Only time will tell if I am right or wrong. Until then, I hope all M2 owners, regardless of specification, enjoy their cars to the maximum. The fact that BMW has committed to the M2 shows that they are serious about the place it occupies as the smallest, and now, possibly the best M car currently in production.



M2 Photos sourced from