The 2018 BMW M2 is the muscular, track-ready alter-ego of the standard 2 Series. Whereas the regular 2 Series is offered as a coupe or convertible, the high-performance M2 is a coupe only. At just over $55,000, it carries a significant premium over a base 2 Series, but on the flip side it’s the least expensive new BMW M model.
You'll Like The 2018 BMW M2 If...
If you yearn for a car from BMW’s high-performance M division, the M2 is an amazing and authentic entry point. Starting in the mid-$50,000 range, it is a little powerhouse that’s dynamite on a track.
You May Not Like The 2018 BMW M2 If...
If you want a convertible, stick to the standard 2 Series or step up to an M4. If you live in a place where real-wheel drive and slippery roads make a bad combination, we’d suggest sacrificing a little power for traction with the BMW M240i xDrive or checking out another small German rocket: the new, all-wheel-drive Audi RS 3.
Changes are minimal for the 2018 M2. Updates include LED headlights swapped for the previous xenon units, and a standard rearview camera. BMW has already announced that the forthcoming 2019 M2 will have a more powerful, 405-horsepower engine and other performance improvements.
Like a standard 2 Series coupe, BMW’s M2 has 4-passenger seating, with the rear seats best thought of as extra storage space or for use in quick trips with small and nimble passengers. The bucket seats up front are highly supportive and up to the task of keeping you in place during spirited driving. Materials like carbon-fiber trim announce quality, and the interior’s overall fit-and-finish is impressive. Above the center dash sits a high-res color screen that displays navigation, audio and other info. BMW's familiar iDrive rotary dial below the gearshift controls the on-screen action, and now features integration with a GoPro app for recording your drives. The gear selector for automatic-transmission models can be confusing to use at first -- just another reason to do it right and go with a manual.
Whereas a standard 2 Series is handsome, the M2 is tough. It’s like a 2 Series that put in quality gym time. Although the two models share the same wheelbase, the M2 is wider, slightly longer and it is meaner-looking with unique front and rear fascias that express this coupe's extra muscle. From behind, an M2 can be positively identified by its wider hips and its quad tailpipes. It's a beautiful little monster, and better proportioned than the M version of the old 1 Series. Standard-issue wheels are 19 inches, wrapped in performance tires. Power-folding mirrors are also a nice touch.
In a word, BMW’s M2 high-performance coupe is a blast. Off the track, where most of its life will be spent, BMW's little beast is a pleasant companion. The cabin is impressively quiet when not at full throttle, and the driver's seat adeptly hugs your body. Also notable is how civilized the M2 is on the highway given its immense capabilities on the track. The BMW M2 is one of the great high-performance coupes of our time. This is truly a sports car with a dual nature, and it's easy to love both personalities. Around town its turbocharged powerband is broad and wide, with a reservoir of grunt, and the standard 6-speed manual transmission remains stellar and is the one we recommend. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is available, but as with the M3 and M4, it's not as refined as the automatics offered by Audi or even Cadillac's V-Series performance cars. On the track, however, the 7-speed shines.
The 2018 BMW M2 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $55,495, including the destination charge. Checking the options boxes for one of the three metallic exterior paint colors, an automatic transmission, moonroof and the main option package can lift the M2's price to over $61,000. The M2's price is roughly $10,000 more than its slightly less powerful 2 Series sibling, the M240i, and about $10,000 less than its more powerful big brother, the M3 sedan. Compared with potential rivals, the M2 is about $4,000 more than a Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, and directly in line with the Audi RS 3. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As a niche, high-performance luxury vehicle, the BMW M2’s resale price is expected to hold up well.
The BMW M2 comes out the gate with a slew of racing-focused hardware and high-performance bits like an Active M rear differential, track-ready cooling system and upgraded brakes. But even if you never track it -- and let’s be honest, will you? -- the M2 is still a German luxury car. In that respect it arrives with amenities like black Dakota leather upholstery, 14-way-power front seats, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 3-stage heated front seats and universal garage remote. The BMW’s infotainment system consists of an 8.8-inch center screen, navigation with real-time traffic, and a 12-speaker harman/kardon premium audio system with AM/FM/USB/HD Radio/CD player and Bluetooth connectivity. Also included is BMW’s Ultimate Service, which includes three years/36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.
Aside from an automatic transmission, most options for the 2018 BMW M2 are bundled into the sole, $1,550 Executive Package. It includes adaptive headlights that swivel as you turn, heated steering wheel, wireless charging cradle and in-car Wi-Fi, and rear parking sensors. It also includes the Active Driving Assistant, a recommendable safety and driver-assist system that bundles lane-departure warning, frontal-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Apple CarPlay is available for an extra $300, and a moonroof is offered at around $1,000. The M Driver’s Package (see Favorite Features) is $2,500.
M DRIVER’S PACKAGE
This package includes an experience you won’t forget: a day of high-performance driving instruction at one of BMW’s tracks in California or South Carolina. In addition, it also raises the M2’s electronically limited top speed from 156 mph to 168 mph.
M LAPTIMER APP
This app developed by BMW records the M2’s speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, rpm, gear, steering angle, accelerator position and fuel consumption. Drivers can analyze their inputs corner by corner, as well as compare their laps with other drivers. They can also easily share the data by e-mail or Facebook.
Under the Hood
The heart of the 2018 BMW M2 is an all-aluminum turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that has direct injection and variable camshaft timing and variable-valve lift control to make a robust 365 horsepower. Torque output is rich at 343 lb-ft, and an overboost function allows it to briefly increase that twist to 369 lb-ft. These figures allow the M2 to hit the 0-60-mph benchmark in as little at 4.1 seconds. All M2s are rear-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual is the standard transmission (and our recommendation), and a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic is optional. An automatic engine start/stop system cuts power at stoplights to save fuel, but can be defeated if you find the start-ups too abrupt. As we already noted, the 2019 M2 has already been previewed, and it will pack a new engine that makes 405 horsepower and enables the new M2 to hit 60 mph in four seconds flat.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
365 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
343 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,560 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (manual), 20/26 mpg (automatic)
The 2018 BMW M2 is the muscular, track-ready alter-ego of the standard 2 Series. Whereas the regular 2 Series is offered as a coupe or convertible, the M2 is a coupe only. At just over $55,000, it carries a significant premium over a base 2 Series, but on the flip side is the least expensive new BMW M model. And this is a real-deal M. Thanks to its tidy portions, 365-horsepower turbo 6-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive and master-class handling, it might just remind you of a modern-day E36 M3 from the 1990s. The more powerful Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and Audi RS 3 are similar in size, but have four doors and all-wheel drive. They lack another motivating factor that attracts enthusiasts to the M2 -- a manual transmission.