DRIVEN| 2019 BMW M2 Competition

The real reason BMW's M2 Competition spawned to life is because its engine, the N55, had no place in the Munich-based automaker's line-up. 

In an effort to streamline the engine range and curb emissions and consumption. Not that we're complaining. 

The M2 Competition is the entry-level M-car from BMW and boy does it look good on paper: Powered by the 3.0-litre turbocharged engine in the M3/M4 but has been de-tuned to produce only 302kW and 550Nm. 

Top speed, as per the German gentleman's agreement, is 250km/h. With the M Drivers package (R29 200), that number increases to 280km/h. 

All that power is channeled exclusively to the rear wheels (like a proper BMW performance car) via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox which our test unit was fitted with. And it rides on new 19" wheels shod with fat rubber. 

Price? For the six-speed manual version costs R972 029 and the M-DCT version retails for R1 026 505. 

It has all the ingredients of a proper M-car

To the eye, the Competition is differentiated by its predecessor by a newly-designed front spoiler and black kidney grille, the four exhaust tips have also been the redesigned for the tailpipes in the twin exhaust system.

A black M Competition badge is takes pride and place on the M2's booty. 

Under the skin, M engineers have included a carbon-fibre V-brace also pinched the M3 in the engine bay, this has been done to improve front section rigidity and according to BMW, it increases steering precision.

Image: Supplied 

Right, enough about the technical bits, what's the Competition like to drive?

The S55 engine is potent and pulls hard from low down in the rev range. The increased power is there for sure, but that 550Nm urges the car forward with lithe ease. 

And then the noise...oh that noise from a straight six-cylinder engine starts from a low base and ends in a spine-chilling thrill at over 7500r/min before I tug the paddle shift to change gears. 

This car is devastatingly fast and punches a hole in the air before you can say: "Damn, that's @#$% fast."

BMW reckons it'll do the 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.2 seconds and believe me, it feels that rapid. 

You'll floor the throttle on a straight piece of tarmac and watch the traction light flicker as the rear squirms akin to rand trying to fight for value against the dollar. 

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres have great grip but it's the very nature of this beast that excites the driver. The feeling of pushing through some serious corners brings that sweaty palm feeling of the rear's liveliness. 

It has great qualities that should be found in any sports car: Nimbleness, balance and supreme power. The Competition ticks all those boxes and then some. 

Its electronically-assisted steering can be mapped depending on which setting you choose, comfort mode is best for day to day driving with sport plus applied when a twisty road appears. 

The engine-mapping has three settings: Sport plus being the most aggressive and addictive. 

This car feels exciting, alive and most importantly playful. Stomp on the uprated brakes and it conveys firmness and confidence in scrubbing off the the stratospheric speed you've just climbed up to. 

It's a proper driving machine that admittedly can suffer from a harsh ride on bad local roads, but that's about the only criticism I can think of. 

In isolation (ie without considering the less-practical Porsche Cayman), the Competition is easily a future classic, but if you plan on storing and not driving, forget about it.

This is one of the best driver's cars on sale. And that's a fact. 

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Image: Supplied