The BMW M2 is the brand's purest performance model, its compact size and light weight recalling early versions of the M3, before that better-known car grew up and away from its roots as an entry-level sports car.
For 2019, BMW has made the M2's Competition package standard, which means this car now makes 405 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque in its most basic form. That doesn't come free, however: the change means this year's M2 starts at close to $72,000, up from about $65,000 in 2018.
The other update to the 2019 BMW M2 is darkened taillight lenses.
The M2 Competition derives its power from a 3.0L turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. Notably, the M2 is the only 2 Series variant that cannot be optioned with AWD, like the 230i and M240i (covered in a separate buyer's guide entry) can be. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If you want to be fast, BMW says the automatic is the way to go: it will do 0-100 km/h in a claimed 4.2 seconds, versus 4.4 with the manual transmission.
All M2s come standard with 19-inch wheels and staggered tires; that means the rear tires are wider than the fronts to better lay down the engine's big power. While BMW doesn't offer tires larger than 19s on the M2's spec sheet, you can choose from three styles.
Performance-enhancing tricks include lightweight suspension components to cut unsprung weight, big brakes for strong stopping and an active differential for efficient power delivery.
The M2's German competition is varied. The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and Audi RS 3 are AWD four-doors with turbocharged four-cylinders, and the Porsche Cayman GTS is a rear-drive two-seater, also with a turbo four. Cadillac was in on this game briefly with the ATS-V, powered by a twin-turbo V6. It went out of production after the 2018 model year, though, so you'll have to settle for last year's leftovers. For a much different sports car experience, we might also suggest the Chevrolet Corvette as a competitor, as its base model boasts a 460-hp V8 at a mid-$60,000 starting price.
While the M2's focus is performance over all else, BMW does fit the car with niceties like a digital gauge cluster and the latest version of the iDrive infotainment system with tablet-like swipe and pinch functionality. Active safety features include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking.
BMW's fuel consumption estimates for the M2 Competition are 13.4/9.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the six-speed manual, and 14.3/10.4 with the seven-speed dual-clutch auto.