- We here at Edmunds are taking a look at everything we drove in 2022.
- As part of a series, each of our writers is picking a personal favorite.
- Brent Romans goes with a controversial choice: his (personal) 2019 BMW M2 Competition.
The Best Car I Drove in 2022: BMW M2 Competition
A sports car and muscle coupe combined into one
A 3-year-old used car from a discontinued generation is the best thing I drove in 2022. And I own it. How can this be? I'll make my case.
Admittedly, nominating my own 2019 M2 Competition feels like a form of nepotism, or if I somehow managed to get myself onto the cover of People's annual Sexiest Man Alive issue. Look at these abs, ladies! But here we are.
Consider this: The definition of "best" for our series is subjective. And when I mentally went through all of the cars that I drove in 2022, the answer to "which one was best?" came up M2. It turns out that the Miata is not always the answer. Sorry, Chris.
I bought my M2 Competition on December 26, 2021. I desperately wanted an M2 ever since the Competition version came out for the 2019 model year. This is when BMW gave its M2 a midlife update that included: 1) a slightly detuned version of the motor from the M3/M4, thereby giving the M2 the proper M division engine it needed; 2) new higher-performance brakes; 3) a carbon-fiber front strut brace for improved rigidity and steering response; and 4) more supportive front seats and a few other feature upgrades. People can debate the merits of the 2016-2018 M2 or 2019-2021 Competition cars but the second-half run is where it's at for me.
Back in 2019, my plan was to wait a few years and then snatch one up as a less expensive used car. I got the "wait a few years" part right. But with today's used car market pricing that seemingly demon-spawned from Stranger Things' The Upside Down, I ended up buying it for around the same price as a new one in 2019. Oops.
Still, I do love the thing. Here's my biased criteria for why it's the best:
Just-right power. The M2 Comp's turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine makes 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. According to me, anyway, this is an ideal amount of power for a road car weighing a touch under 3,600 pounds. Less than that and I'll always be thinking, "This thing needs more power." More than that and I'm increasingly inclined to use it to do dumb things that get me in trouble.
Rarity. There aren't many of them on the road, and I find that cool. Most people don't even know what it is. Ford Mustangs have a lot of conceptual similarity to the M2, but there are so many more of them that they might as well be listed on a commodity trade exchange.
Style. There's not a wrong look to this car anywhere.* I love the M2-specific wide fenders, aggressive shark-like front end and compact profile. The overall design has just the right amount of understated automotive muscle. (*OK, the stock exhaust muffler is an unsightly thing. It hangs down as if the car grew a metallic cow udder. Thankfully, my car's previous owner dumped it in favor of an aftermarket exhaust.)
Practical. A practical car is one that I'm going to want to drive more often, and the M2 obliges. It has a surprisingly roomy rear seat and trunk for its size. This allows me to take my family of four on trips. It's also easy to see out of and park. Fuel economy is, well, not terrible.
Fun! Get it out on an open road and this thing sizzles like applewood bacon on a Sunday morning. It willingly dives into turns, kicks out its tail when asked, and revs strong to its heck-yeah 7,600-rpm redline. Oh, and my M2 has the six-speed manual transmission, too. It's a sports car and muscle coupe mixed up in equal measure.
The next-generation 2023 BMW M2 isn't out yet. But is more power, more weight and a more aesthetically challenged design really what the M2 needed? The first-generation M2 could very well be a future classic.