The track-focused, go-faster M2 is here to make us forget about the M4

The 2021 BMW M2 CS is higher performance, limited-edition version of the M2. Unveiled at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the M2 CS follows in the footsteps of the M4 CS. A beefed-up version of the M2 Competition, the M2 CS boasts revised aerodynamic features, exclusive items inside the cabin, the same engine as the M4 CS. Although not quite as powerful as the M4 CS, the turbocharged inline-six powerplant packs as much oomph as the M4 Competition Package, rated at 444 horsepower. This makes it the most powerful 2 Series model ever created. Not only the quickest 2 Series ever, it’s also quicker than the M4 and only marginally slower than the M4 CS. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

  • 2021 BMW M2 CS
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    444
  • Torque @ RPM:
    406
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    174 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior Styling

  • Bigger splitter
  • Vented, CFRP hood
  • Unique 19-inch wheels
  • Bigger spoiler
  • CFRP rear diffuser
  • Unique exhaust pipes
  • CFRP roof
  • Only 4 colors available
left right
Obviously inspired by the bigger M4 CS, the M2 CS features only a handful of extras compared to the regular M2.

The front fascia is virtually identical, sporting the same black kidney grille, sharp trim for the side bumper vents, and a trapezoidal center intake. What sets it apart? Only the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic splitter at the bottom. Designed as a natural extension of the apron, the splitter also extends onto the sides thanks to a couple of integrated flics. This device helps optimize airflow underneath the car. The engine hood also features a functional air vent in the center that helps increase front end downforce and engine cooling. The hood is also made from CFRP, which means it weighs half the weight of a steel panel.

Upgrades are just as tough to spot onto the sides. Apart from the mirror caps made from CFRP and the new wheels, the M2 CS is identical to the M2 Competition. The rims, which were designed specifically for this model, come in 19-inch size and feature a Y-spoke design. The rims are finished in high-gloss Jet Black as standard, but you can opt for a matte gold look if you pay extra.

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Take a peek to the roof and you'll notice that it's made from CFRP, just like on the M4.

This is the first time BMW is offering a CFRP roof on the M2. On top of improving the car’s look, it also helps lower the car’s center of gravity for improved agility. The roof is made from a rigid, sandwich-like construction, so it doesn’t require bow components or insulation like a standard roof.

But what about the rear? Is the rear of the CS notably different? Not really. The "CS" badge adds only a larger deck lid spoiler made from CFRP and diffuser from the same lightweight materials. Both elements increase downforce. The exhaust pipes feature engraved M logos, but you’re not going to notice that unless you look close enough.

left right

Finally, the color palette for this car will be limited to only four hues. Sadly enough, BMW doesn’t offer exclusive paints, just a selection of colors you can already get with other models. You can order the M2 CS in Alpine White, Misano Blue Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, or Hockenheim Silver Metallic.

2021 BMW M2 CS Interior Design

  • CFRP center console
  • Alcantara trim
  • "CS" badges
  • M Sport steering wheel
  • M front seats
  • Red contrast stitching
  • Harman Kardon audio
  • Borrows tech from M2
2021 BMW M2 CS Interior
- image 870263

Much like the exterior, the interior of the M2 CS remains largely identical to the M2 Competition.

The "CS" badge adds quite an extensive list of features, but none alter the overall layout of the M2's cabin.

The first new feature that catches the eye is the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic center console. Saving more than six pounds compared to the conventional transmission tunnel, this feature gives the M2 CS a race-inspired look. The same goes for the Alcantara-covered center armrest and dashboard trim, which also includes an embroidered "CS" badge in red stitching.

2021 BMW M2 CS Interior
- image 870270

The M Sport steering wheel, which comes standard, is also wrapped in Alcantara with red contrast stitching and features a race stripe at the 12 o’clock position. You’ll find more M2 CS logos on the door sill plates, as well as on the instrument cluster when you start the car.

Another feature that sets the CS apart from the standard M2 Competition are the heavily bolstered M front seats. But instead of featuring a full Alcantara upholstery like most race-inspired road cars, the seats come wrapped in both Alcantara and Black Merino leather. Just like the dash and the steering wheel, they also feature red contrast stitching. The integrated headrests include embroidered BMW M Motorsport stripes and "CS" badges on the rear section.

2021 BMW M2 CS Interior
- image 870275

Despite its slightly race-oriented character, the M2 CS is actually just as fancy as the regular M2 when it comes to convenience and luxury features. The standard package includes ambient interior lighting, an anthracite headliner, and a full navigation system. Tech-wise, it also comes with Dynamic Cruise Control, Rear View camera with Park Distance Control, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. If you don’t mind covering the awesome growl of the six-cylinder engine, you can also crank up the standard Harman Kardon sound system.

2021 BMW M2 CS Drivetrain And Performance

  • Engine from the M4 CS
  • 3.0-liter inline-six
  • 444 horsepower
  • 406 pound-feet
  • Most powerful M2 ever
  • 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds
  • Top speed at 174 mph
  • Quicker than the M4
  • Standard six-speed manual
  • Optional dual-clutch
  • M-tuned suspension
  • High-performance brakes
2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 870277
The BMW M2 CS draws juice from the same 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine fitted in the M4 CS but in a slightly detuned state.

The twin-turbocharged mill cranks out 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, a rating that makes the M2 CS the most powerful 2 Series ever created!

How does it compare to the other M2 models? Well, it comes with a whopping 79 horsepower and 37 pound-feet more than the standard M2. Compared to the M2 Competition that replaced the latter, rated at 405 horses and 406 pound-feet, the M2 CS generates an extra 39 horses, while torque remains unchanged.

BMW M2 Specs Comparison
BMW M2 BMW M2 Competition BMW M2 CS
Engine 3.0-liter inline-six 3.0-liter inline-six 3.0-liter inline-six
Horsepower 365 HP 405 HP 444 HP
Torque 343 LB-FT 406 LB-FT 406 LB-FT
0-60 mph 4.3-4.5 Seconds 4.2-4.4 Seconds 3.8-4.0 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH 174 MPH (w/ M Driver's Package) 178 MPH (est)

Impressively enough, the M2 CS is just as powerful as the M4 Competition and only slightly less powerful than the M4 CS. Powered by the same engine, the M4 CS boasts 453 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. This puts the M2 CS only nine horsepower and 37 pound-feet behind.

2021 BMW M2 CS Drivetrain
- image 870279

Naturally, the M2 CS is also quicker than the M2 Competition from 0 to 60 mph. Specifically, the M2 CS needs 3.8 seconds to get there when equipped with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s two tenths quicker than the M2 Competition. The standard six-speed manual gearbox enables the M2 CS to hit 60 mph in four seconds flat. That’s also two tenths slower than the M2 Competition fitted with the same transmission.

Impressively enough, the M2 CS is a tenth-second quicker than the M4 Competition Package and only a tenth-second slower than the M4 CS.

The M2 CS tops out at 174 mph, a speed you can also reach with the M2 Competition Package if you add the optional M Driver’s package. However, the old M2 hits "only" 168 mph with the same upgrade.

The extra power isn’t the only crucial detail that puts the M2 CS above its sibling. These impressive performance figures are also the result of a wider, flat torque curve, a linear build-up of power, and a 7,600 rpm redline. The CS also benefits from a dual-branch exhaust system with electronically-controlled exhaust valves and bespoke setups for the differential and suspension.

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 870297

The M2 CS is fitted with an active M locking differential that can vary the locking effect from zero to 100 percent according to the driving situation, the car’s steering angle, accelerator position, brake pressure, engine torque, wheel-speed, and yaw rate. By doing this, the differential prevents a wheel from spinning in slippery conditions, increases agility, avoids understeer into corners, and improves directional stability while braking.

Just like the more expensive M models, the M2 CS is fitted with the adaptive M suspension as standard.

Making its debut in the 2 Series, this suspension features three modes, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, each with different damper settings. As the name suggests, the Comfort mode was designed for everyday usability on various road surfaces. It’s arguably the most comfortable setup for the coupe. The Sport is more appropriate for spirited driving on highways, while Sport+ turns the M2 CS into a track machine.

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior
- image 870251

This suspension is also lighter than the regular M2’s, mostly thanks to the CFRP front brace, which weighs only 3.3 pounds, and the forged aluminum arms of the rear five-link setup. It also includes a lightweight steel subframe in the rear. Bolted directly to the body frame without any rubber bushings, it improves rear-wheel stability.

The 19-inch wheels are wrapped in Michelin Cup 2 tires for extra grip. Stopping power comes from M Compound brakes with 15.7-inch discs in the front and 15-inch discs in the rear, both vented. These are paired to six-piston and four-piston calipers, respectively. Optionally, you can get M Carbon Ceramic brakes, which are lighter and deliver increased thermal resistance and disc wear. The M2 CS is the first 2 Series available with such an option.

2021 BMW M2 CS Prices

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior
- image 870257

Pricing for the BMW M2 CS starts from $83,600. That’s a massive increase from the M2 Competition’s sticker of $58,900, but BMW enthusiasts probably won’t mind the $24,700 premium given the limited availability of this model. Specifically, the M2 CS will be built for just one model year, and production will be limited to only 2,200 units.

The M2 CS is also notably more expensive than the M4, fetching an extra $13,450, but it costs significantly less than the M4 CS, which was priced from $103,100. That’s almost $20,000 less for a sports coupe that’s lighter, almost as powerful, and only marginally slower. Not a bad deal if you’re a fan of the original BMW M3 Coupe.

2021 BMW M2 CS Competition

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
- image 846676

Comparing a mid-engined Porsche to a front-engined BMW might seem ridiculous, but the lack of track-prepped cars in this segment forces the two against each other. Based on the latest-generation 718 Cayman, the GT4 is an impressive coupe. It looks aggressive, it features a race-ready interior and plenty of tech, and packs quite the punch. However, the 4.0-liter flat-six engine borrowed from the Porsche 911 isn’t as powerful as the M2 CS’. The mill cranks out 414 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque, a 40-horsepower and a 97-pound-foot deficit. And despite the lightweight construction and the mid-engined layout, the GT4 is two tenths slower. Equipped with a six-speed manual, it hits 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Porsche doesn’t offer a PDK dual-clutch for this model. The Cayman GT4’s top speed is superior, though, being able to reach 188 mph. This German coupe is also notably more expensive, coming in at $99,200 before options. The 718 Cayman GTS is more affordable at $80,700, but it has "only" 365 horsepower, and it’s almost a half-second slower.

Read our full review of the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.

Audi TT-RS

2020 Audi TT-RS Exterior
- image 876451
The lateral air inlets were enlarged for a better engine cooling

The TT-RS is a more appropriate competitor to the M2 CS as far as design goes. It has a front-engined layout and aggressive exterior features in RS trim, as well as a nicely equipped interior with loads of extra features. While sporty by design, it’s fitted with loads of convenience features, ranging from soft leather and Alcantara to the company’s latest tech. Aluminum and carbon-fiber trim add to the sporty feel, but unlike the M2 CS, it doesn’t have CFRP or carbon-fiber body panels. Under the hood, the TT-RS hides a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that delivers 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It may not be as powerful as the M2 CS, but it’s lighter, and this makes it slightly quicker. Specifically, the TT-RS needs only 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph, a tenth-second quicker than the automatic M2 CS. The good news here is that the TT-RS is notably more affordable, coming in at $67,600.

Read our full story on the 2020 Audi TT-RS.

Final Thoughts

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 870307

The M2 CS is a very pleasant surprise from BMW. The German company finally decided to let the 2 Series reach its full potential without worrying that it may enter M4 territory. And the M2 CS did just that. Almost as powerful as the M4 CS but lighter, the M2 CS is a modern embodiment of the iconic E30 M3 Sport Evolution, the most radical production version of the first-generation compact. Sure, it’s notably more expensive than any other 2 Series model out there, and it even costs more than the M4, but it’s a special coupe that will achieve collectible status in just a few years. The M2 CS is the ultimate 2 Series and BMW’s best performance compact yet. And yes, I’m placing it above the M4 CS and the M4 GTS.

  • Leave it
    • It’s quite expensive
    • Limited availability

Spy Shots

June 24, 2019 – First Look at the 2021 BMW M2 CS’ Interior

2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 846382
2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 846381

We’ve finally gotten a look at the 2021 BMW M2 CS’ interior and, to our surprise, it isn’t as void of interior trim as you would think. It appears to have slightly simpler door trim panels and don’t fret about the lat of Alcantara – there will be plenty of option boxes to select that will allow you to cover the steering wheel, parts of the dash, center console, seats and door trim panels, among other things. We’ve also been led to believe that the new M2 CS would ditch the rear seats in an effort to drop more weight but, as you can see from the images above, there could be a rear seat. It’s covered by the same tarps used to cover the front passenger seat, so it’s hard to say – it could just be a simple bench. Expect the M2 CS to debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show or sometime early in 2020 at a standalone event.

May 22, 2019 – The 2021 BMW M2 CS is Inching Closer to Production with … More Camo?

2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 840466
2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 840462

We wish that we had something more to show you from this batch of spy shots, but this specific prototype is covered better than the last two that we say back in February and March of 2019. This time, the entire care is covered in the funky camo and, since the car was already wearing production goodies last time, there’s really nothing special here. It is rocking the carbon fiber roof and mirror caps, and it looks like that bulgy hood that we saw before (also carbon fiber) will carry over into production as well. It does look like there might be a small change to the rear diffuser between the exhaust outlets, but because of the camo’s design, we can’t really tell. Expect this intense little M to pump out somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 horsepower, all of which will be shunted to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT. On that note, production will start sometime in 2020, but we’ll get to see it first come September at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA)

March 13, 2019 – Our First Close-Up Look of the 2021 BMW M2 CS

2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 829726
2021 BMW M2 CS
- image 829730

All of the details that we see in these pictures have, for the most part, already been exposed back in February when we got our last round of spy shots. However, this time around, we actually get a closer look. Most of the CS-level additions are still masked, but as expected, they will be carbon fiber and more pronounced than on that of the M2. In the rear, the spoiler if heavily covered as is the rear diffuser, but we can at least see the general shape. What we don’t see is the carbon fiber roof, but there is a rather ferocious hood bulge up from. The model seen here has been verified as a manual, so you can expect to choose from a six-speed stick or a DCT transmission at the time of ordering. We’re still a ways off from an official debut but, as you can see, the BMW is well on its way to perfecting the masterpiece that is the M2 CS.

February 20, 2019 – Playing in the Snow with Carbon Fiber

2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior Spyshots
- image 824422
2021 BMW M2 CS Exterior Spyshots
- image 824415

The last time we caught the M2 CSL in prototype form, it was exactly that – a provisioned prototype with mock-up parts designed specifically for testing purposes. Fast forward to February 2019, and the M2 CSL has started to take on its true carbon form. The front splitter and front fascia are more pronounced and ready for production. Meanwhile, the rear diffuser has also be updated and appears to be production ready as well. The black foil wrap you see on this prototype is hiding away the traditional blue color associated with the 2016 BMW M2, and it’s also hiding the carbon fiber spoiler and carbon fiber roof. The Y-spoke wheels you see here appear to be of the 763 M variety and will measure 19-inches when production kicks off. Other features that will differentiate the M2 CSL include the carbon ceramic brakes revised hood with a bulge, and all that extra power and track-ready goodness under the hood. So far, we’ve expected the M2 CSL to debut in 2020 as a 2021 model but, based on the way this prototype looks, a debut in 2019 as a 2020 model is possible. Stay tuned for updates in the future.

Further Reading

2019 BMW M2 Competition Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 777700
so BMW probably won’t increase pricing too much

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW M2 Competition.

2016 - 2018 BMW M2 High Resolution Exterior
- image 650655

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M2.

Update History

Update 05/22/2019 The 2021 BMW M2 CS is about ready to debut in Frankfurt in September, but that hasn’t stopped BMW engineers from continuing to put the prototypes to the test. Check out our latest spy shot below and get ready for the big debut.

Update 03/13/2019: Our spy photographers have managed to get some close-up shots of the 2021 BMW M2 CS. Check them out in our spy shots section below!

Update 02/20/2019:The 2021 BMW M2 CSL was caught in prototype form again, this time during cold-weather testing. At a glance it doesn’t look like much has changed, however, there’s more going on under that camo than what meets the eye. Check out our spy shots section below to learn all about it.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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