BMW’s M Division is known for producing some of the finest performance cars on the market. The BMW M4 is considered by some reviewers to be the ultimate two-door, four-seat performance car. Can the newer, smaller M2, however, serve up greater thrills at a much cheaper price?
We’re comparing these two fantastic sports coupes side-by-side to help you decide which is the perfect car for you. If you’re after a car that’s both comfortable and quick, read our list of the 10 best luxury sports cars and GTs on sale.
BMW M2 vs M4 styling
The M2’s front bumper with its three gaping air intakes adds plenty of menace to the familiar 2 Series body while, at the rear, four exhausts give obvious clues that this is no ordinary compact coupe. The whole car sits lower to the ground and boasts a set of large 19-inch alloy wheels.
You’ll find a similar formula applied to the M4. Quad exhaust tips and a low rear bumper are among the most obvious changes, while the 10-spoke alloy wheels are similar in design to those fitted to the M2. The M4 also sports an aggressive bulge in the bonnet.
Whether you prefer the M2 or M4’s styling will come down to personal preference – the M2 looks stocky and compact, while the M4 is longer and sleeker, but no less imposing.
BMW M2 vs M4 interior
Anyone familiar with the regular 2 Series Coupe will find themselves instantly at home in the M2. It shares the same basic design and materials as the standard car, which, although stylish, don’t always feel up to scratch.
Subtle M-Sport details aim to add a touch of exclusivity – most notably the three-spoke steering wheel that features triple contrast stitching and the sports seats. These leather-trimmed items are wonderfully supportive and feature adjustable side bolsters to hold the driver firmly in place during hard cornering.
The M4 interior is subject to similar upgrades to differentiate it from the standard 4 Series. It does, however, boast higher quality plastics and a boot 90 litres larger than the M2. Both cars claim to have enough space for four occupants, but the M2 is a tight squeeze for taller passengers in the back.
BMW M2 vs M4 driving
Both the M2 and M4 are among the most capable and engaging four-seat performance coupes available today but there are differences between the two. Both cars have been subjected to a diet but the M4 has taken the weight loss more seriously. A carbon fibre roof not only saves 6kg compared to the 4 Series’ steel one, but lowers the car’s centre of gravity to improve handling.
The M2 has been stripped down too, losing 10kg of sound deadening material alone – although despite these measures, the M2 is just 2kg lighter than the M4. Its shorter wheelbase should help it feel more agile through a sequence of corners, however.
Both cars use speed-sensitive power steering that offers plenty of assistance around town, making them fairly easy to park. Head onto a fast B road, however, and the steering rack becomes heavier to give the driver a better sense of what’s going on under the front wheels.
BMW M2 vs M4 engine
Both cars are powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six engine, but the crucial difference comes in the number of turbochargers fitted – the M4 features a twin-turbo setup while the M2 has to make do with a single unit. As a result, the smaller car produces 365hp compared to the M4’s 425hp. On the road this difference isn’t particularly noticeable thanks, in part, to the M2’s overboost function that increases the torque available from 343lb ft to 369lb ft.
In terms of acceleration, the M4 just edges ahead. If both cars are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the M4 will cover the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.1 seconds – 0.2-seconds faster than the M2. Models fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox will take 0.2 seconds longer to reach 62mph from rest than their automatic siblings.
BMW M2 vs M4 value for money
An entry-level M2 costs £44,070 – slightly more than the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45. An entry-level M4, however, will cost £57,055 – £10,480 more than a top-of-the-range M2. If you choose the power-boosting M4 Competition Package, you’ll find yourself adding around £5,000 to that figure.
Not only is the smaller M2 cheaper to buy, but it should be cheaper to run, too. Equipped with the dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the M2 achieves a claimed 35.8mpg – a modest 1.8mpg more than the larger car. Manual versions, in both cases, are around 2mpg more thirsty.
BMW M2 vs M4 verdict
It’s difficult to pick a winner here, if only because these cars are so devastatingly capable – they both manage to blend muscle car looks, huge performance and confidence-boosting handling in a reliable and well-built package.
Although the M4 could considered the ultimate performance BMW in terms of raw speed, the significantly cheaper M2 will, for many people, be the more tempting option.
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