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It's time to say goodbye to the BMW M2. But dry your eyes, as it's being replaced by the stonking new BMW M2 Competition, which gets a visual makeover to go along with a substantial increase in power. Thankfully, BMW M left well enough alone and didn't drastically alter the core recipe that has made the M2 one of our favourite performance cars of the past few years.
The BMW M2 Coupe silhouette is unchanged, but the M2 Competition gets a few new bits to set it apart. The forged 19-inch alloy wheels stand out and, if you pay a little more, there'll be enlarged M Sport brake discs behind, signified by grey brake callipers. Up front, the kidney grille is wider and finished in high-gloss black, while the new bumper has enlarged air intakes below that to feed an extra engine oil cooler. Adaptive LED headlights, with their distinctive half-hexagon-like outline, are now standard, too. More black can be found in the side gills and the four exhaust outlets, while more aerodynamic door mirrors have also been fitted. Finally, there's a new paint colour, exclusive to the M2 Competition, called Hockenheim Silver metallic.
On entering the M2 Competition, you'll be greeted by door sills emblazoned with the model's name. Optional new M Sport bucket seats feature integrated headrests and an illuminated 'M2' logo. The leather and Alcantara upholstery is black, but can be specified with blue or orange highlights and stitching. Indeed, orange stitching is available now instead of blue even if you don't go for these new seats. Meanwhile, the BMW M stripes are found on the seat belts and on the steering wheel rim.
There has been a subtle restyling of the dashboard to include the latest BMW 2 Series upgrades and the M2's instruments now use 'black panel' technology to give them a more contemporary look. The steering wheel features M1 and M2 mode buttons now, complemented by new buttons to directly alter the steering and throttle settings on the centre console. There's also a bright red engine start button, as first seen in the BMW M5.
The devil is in the detail here. The BMW M2 has always had a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six petrol engine and so does the new M2 Competition, but the new car's engine is based on that of the BMW M3/M4 and has two turbochargers. Power outputs jump from the first-gen M2's 370hp and 465Nm, to 410hp at 5,250-7,000rpm and 550Nm of torque, accessible at 2,350-5,200rpm. As before, the standard transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox, with a throttle blipping function. With this it's supposedly possible to do 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds (0.1 seconds quicker than before), while the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (M DCT) drops that to 4.2 seconds. Both versions top out at a limited 250km/h, unless you pay for the M Drivers Package, which allows it run to 280km/h.
The new engine has necessitated the rethinking of its cooling, so it's based on that of the BMW M4 with Competition Package, which uses one central radiator, two side radiators and an additional engine oil cooler, plus a transmission oil cooler for the M DCT unit if fitted. At the other end of the car, the exhaust is all new and now has two electrically-controlled flaps that open at different times, depending on the mode selected.
No mechanical changes to the chassis have been announced.
Swipe through the image gallery and you'll spot a rather gorgeous new carbon fibre 'strut' under the bonnet, borrowed from the BMW M3/M4. This is said to increase the rigidity of the front axle, to the benefit of steering precision. Using that as an excuse, BMW M's engineers have tweaked the electromechanical power steering, Dynamic Stability Control, and Active M Differential.
The BMW M2 Competition replaces the M2 Coupe, makes its world debut at the Beijing motor show and goes on sale in Ireland this summer. The on-the-road price is €87,315.