The 2018 BMW M2 Is Still One Of The Best Performance Tools Currently Out There

By October 19, 2018BMW

I could sum up my review of the 2018 BMW M2 in one simple sentence: it’s brilliant, and you should buy one tomorrow.

Obviously, no one will be surprised to read this, because ever since BMW’s baby M car hit the road in 2015, the automotive press has been smothering it with praise, calling it a true return to form for BMW, paying homage to the small and nimble driving machines of the past, what nostalgic automotive enthusiasts constantly nag about on internet forums and Facebook pages.

If you count yourselves among the people who claim BMW has lost its edge in recent years, I strongly recommend you take the M2 for a spin. It’s hands down one of the best performance tools currently out there.

All the Transmissions

2018_bmw_m2You got to give credit to BMW; even though the take rate for manual transmissions was only 3.6% last year among North American consumers, you can still get an M car with a stick. Granted, we recently found out that the upcoming BMW 3 Series will only come with an automatic (yet I wouldn’t be surprised to see a stick option come later), but there’s still hope in Bavaria, because you can get your M2 with three pedals. It actually comes standard on this car.

So when I approached this mean-looking, Black Shadow Edition wide-bodied coupe, adding to an already expensive compact ($65,200) 19-inch blacked-out M Performance wheels, carbon fibre mirror caps, black chrome tailpipes and a carbon fibre rear diffuser, my expectations had automatically defaulted to a stick shift and a clutch.2018_bmw_m2To my astonishment, the press car I picked up was fitted with an automatic gearbox. Immediately, I felt like when I was nine, expecting to receive the super cool Tyco remote control off-road truck for Christmas, to find out that what I had unwrapped was the cheesy, Radio Shack version. Remember the ones that only turned their wheels when going in reverse? That one.

Needless to say, I was disappointed.

But not for long, because the M2 gets a seven-speed, dual-clutch unit. Any automotive enthusiast that enjoys driving will agree that such a gearbox ranks among the best on the market. In some cases, it’s even better than a manual for its willingness to shift fast, downshift in an eye blink and not creep forward at an intersection.2018_bmw_m2When set to manual mode, BMW’s DCT can be manipulated with paddle shifters, or the actual gear lever, which conveniently resembles a manual one. Ironic.

For 2018, the M2 receives slight revisions. The car now gets full LED headlights and taillamps, the dashboard gets new materials, there’s a updated gauge cluster, and the iDrive infotainment system inherits the 6.0 version, which now comes with touchscreen functionality and improved voice recognition. It’s also one of the best systems I’ve sampled in a car, but I don’t get why it’s still not Android Auto compatible.2018_bmw_m2Under the hood, nothing changes, which means the M2 is still powered by BMW’s 3.0-litre, twin-scroll turbo straight six good for a claimed 365 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Rear-wheel drive is the only way to go—because M car—and BMW claims it’ll sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds with the M DCT gearbox.

War Machine

2018_bmw_m2Everything about the M2 was designed to focus on driving. The seats, the cockpit, the way the shifter’s shape slots comfortably inside the palm of your hand, it’s all impeccably thought out to put you in absolute control.

Sure, the 2 Series in general suffers from a spartan interior, where you don’t get the fancy materials and sumptuous feeling of luxury as in the larger BMW models, but it’s still impeccably well put together in there, functional and rock-solid.2018_bmw_m2This car’s best asset really is its almost impossible-to-describe balance between drivetrain and chassis. Set the thing to Sport Plus mode, and the M2 accelerates with unbridled ferocity while your eardrums dance to the beat of a rumbling drum. That engine, obviously, is a masterpiece. Thanks to twin-scroll turbocharging, it responds now—you’d never know it was force-induced—and remains butter-smooth throughout the rev range, providing a linear power delivery, constantly asking to reach its redline.As you enter the next corner during your favourite back-road drive, you blip the shifter upwards to drop a gear, maybe two. The exhaust snarls and crackles as the car’s auto rev match prepares you for the best possible RPM. This is the first time I preferred shifting a dual-clutch gearbox with the actual shifter. It’s just so good, and feels so right.

The car grabs the tarmac as it plunges into the bend, as if those massive tires up front were arms extending to each side, anchoring you to the road. You pass the apex, you dig the throttle. The rear end acts up, not in a scary uncontrollable manner, but in an adrenaline-inducing, properly balanced and efficient dance that somehow still manages to propel you forward with angst, slight tire chirps along the way.2018_bmw_m2The M2 is always telling you what it’s doing. Its rear wiggles and the entire car jiggers left and right on rough tarmac, revealing a short, stubby and overpowered platform. Steering is good, turn-in is sharp, but there’s less feedback than I would have liked. The ride is stiff all the time, and the sheer fact that BMW will sell you an M240i with almost as much performance for nearly 20 grand less makes you think twice about getting the full-on M car.

Trust me though, this car gets it right. It’s worth every penny.2018_bmw_m2It’s rare that I base my review on driving dynamics alone. Most people don’t care, don’t understand, or won’t even actually drive their automobile that way. We live in a world where the car is constantly bashed for being loud, dirty and cumbersome. People buy EVs now. Use Uber to go places, grab the bus or the subway. Because cars have become evil.

The BMW M2 is a rare animal built for individuals that still yearn sensations behind the wheel of a powerful thing, seeking the freedom of driving far without owing anyone apologies, making one with the machine, getting the adrenaline rush of testing the limits and hearing the sounds of what is arguably the best driving machine BMW has ever conceived.

Clavey's Verdict

Review of the 2018 BMW M2 by William Clavey
Sport Coupes

  • Impeccable chassis tuning.
  • Furious forward thrust.
  • Still comes with a stick!
  • Stiff ride.
  • Gets expensive, fast.
  • The more affordable M240i exists.

9.5 / 10

Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.

Special thanks: BMW Canada

Photography: Caleb Gingras

Contact the author: [email protected]

William Clavey

About William Clavey

Automotive Journalist from Canada. Active collaborator at mainstream media outlets across Canada.


  • John Harrah says:

    I have to agree whole heartedly in your assessment of the M2.,I pichased my first one December of 2016 (a 2017 model), drove it for a couple thousand miles and then started an awesome transformation of a car built for SEMA. I have an extensive racing background and built the car with suspension upgrades, big brakes, exhaust, wheels and tires engine performance upgrades, car on hood, trunk and top, deleted the rear seat and added a BMW team roll bar, and added GTS bucket seats and belts. The car is now 500+ hp and in all of this I managed to keep the drivetrain warranty. The car has won a few best of show awards and was a hit at SEMA. Unfortunately, it’s now a show car for the most part and led to my purchase of my 2018 M2. I love my M2 in every way, and have figured out the rough ride scenario that you experienced. I’d like to share some photos of both cars if you’d like to see them. Also, if you have interest in driving the 2017 SEMA car, I think we can arrange that experience.

    My background is as a mechanical engineer, machinist and fabricator. Also a professional racer of many years. I also started and ran an arrive and drive program and ran with the Lucas oil offroad series for a few years. That program was the Superlite truck series. I designed and built the trucks and produced about 50 in total. With that experience, I decided to focus more on the consumer market in my builds and have done quite a few to date. The business name is Auto Artistry and Performance. In our builds, we design all composite parts and manufacture them on site. We also design all hard parts and exhausts, machine and fabricate them on site too.

    Anyway, thank you for the great artical and your time to read this long note and comment.
    The AAP website will be up and running soon, as I was on my own for a while in the builds and focused on work and not on media. If I can share anything more with you, just email of give me a call. (775) 848-5646….. [email protected]

    • Rebecca Mills says:

      I’ve had my 2018 M2 since July 31, 2018. Everything you said, William, has been exactly my experience as an owner. She is a masterpiece of engineering and more—she has the heart and soul of what makes BMW cars great and truly lives up to the rep of the ultimate driving machine. Damn, but I love this car!

  • Hey, thanks for this comment man! And sorry for only seeing it now. I’ll email you, so we can chat. Thanks!

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