BMW M2 vs M3: Performance Comparison and Key Differences

BMW M2 Vs M3 Overview

When comparing the latest iterations of the BMW M2 and the BMW M3, it’s essential to look at their similarities and differences to help you make the right choice for your needs.

As you might already know, both the M2 and M3 are performance-oriented vehicles that fall under BMW’s prestigious M lineup. The M2 is a compact and agile coupe, while the M3 is a midsize sport sedan. Despite their differences in size and body style, they both deliver a thrilling driving experience that embodies the spirit of BMW’s M Division.

In terms of power, the M2 features a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine, which puts out impressive numbers. The M3, on the other hand, is also equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine but delivers even more power, ensuring that both vehicles excite your driving experience.

The M2 is available as a coupe, with a starting price around $63,200, while the M3 starts at $153,500 for a sedan version, according to CarsGuide. Despite the significant price difference, each vehicle offers a great value for its respective class and performance capabilities.

When it comes to handling and performance, both the M2 and M3 shine with rear-wheel-drive platforms and near-perfect weight distribution. The M3 showcases its superior power with larger brakes, better suspension, and an optional all-wheel-drive system. Conversely, the M2 has a smaller turning radius, making it nimble around tight corners and ideal for urban roads.

In summary:

  • M2: Compact coupe, lower starting price, well-suited for tight corners and city driving.
  • M3: Midsize sedan, higher starting price, more power, larger brakes, better suspension, and optional all-wheel drive.

While you weigh the pros and cons of the M2 and M3, it’s essential to consider your driving preferences, budget, and the types of roads and environments you’ll encounter most frequently. Both vehicles are excellent choices in the BMW lineup, delivering performance and luxury, but your personal driving habits will be the determining factor in selecting between the M2 and the M3.

Performance Comparison

Engine Power

When it comes to engine power, the 2024 BMW M2 features a robust engine designed for thrilling performance. The M2’s engine delivers impressive results, allowing for an exhilarating driving experience. Although the power output of the M3 is comparable, the M2’s compact size gives it an edge in performance and responsiveness.


Torque plays a crucial role in a car’s acceleration and overall performance. Both the BMW M2 and M3 have abundant torque, enabling them to provide impressive acceleration and responsiveness on the road. While it’s challenging to compare this aspect directly, it’s essential to remember that both vehicles are well-equipped in this regard and will make your driving experience enjoyable.


In terms of horsepower, the BMW M2 and M3 showcase impressive figures that demonstrate their powerful engines. However, the M3 may have a slight advantage in this area due to its larger engine size. Regardless, both models boast impressive horsepower numbers, ensuring a captivating driving experience.


Speed is a vital aspect of performance. The BMW M2 can reach 60 mph in just under four seconds, making it a swift and agile choice on the road. Both vehicles showcase impressive performance figures in speed and acceleration, providing a thrilling ride with every drive.

Track Performance

On the track, the BMW M2 and M3 offer a tremendous level of performance. While the M2 has a slight advantage in handling and responsiveness, the M3’s more extensive experience and reputation in the sport sedan segment have earned it numerous fans. Both vehicles continue to captivate driving enthusiasts with their exceptional abilities, making them excellent choices for those who crave exhilarating performance.

Design and Styling

Exterior Design

When it comes to the exterior design of the BMW M2 and M3, there are quite a few similarities and differences. The M2, based on the 2 Series, has a more compact and sporty appearance, giving off a confident and aggressive stance. Newer models like the M2 CS push the boundaries in terms of design, utilizing carbon fiber reinforced plastic body parts and aerodynamic enhancements.

On the other hand, the M3 Competition, built on the 3 Series platform, is broader and has a more mature look. The M3 adopts the controversial styling of the larger M4 Coupe, with its oversized kidney grille that has become a topic of debate among car enthusiasts. However, both vehicles showcase the iconic muscular lines and aggressive stance that define the BMW M series.

Interior Features

Inside, both the BMW M2 and M3 boast luxurious and comfortable cabins. In the M2, you’ll find an interior that focuses on driver engagement with a simple yet effective layout. High-quality materials such as leather and alcantara are used generously, providing a premium experience. Standard interior features in the M2 include an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The M3 Competition takes the luxury and technology offerings a step further. In addition to the same features available in the M2, the M3 Competition includes a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto, a head-up display, and a customizable 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The M3 also offers additional options such as ventilated seats and a Driving Assistance Professional package, which includes advanced driver-assist features.

In conclusion, the design and styling of the BMW M2 and M3 cater to different preferences and driving styles. Whether you’re looking for a compact, sporty vehicle in the M2 or a more mature and luxurious ride in the M3 Competition, both cars showcase the art of design and performance that BMW is known for. So, it ultimately comes down to your personal taste and preferences when choosing between these two remarkable vehicles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

Manual Transmission

Both the BMW M2 and M3 offer a standard 6-speed manual transmission, allowing you to control gear changes manually, providing a more engaging driving experience. The manual transmission is paired with a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) drivetrain, offering balance and excellent handling, making it a popular choice among driving enthusiasts.

Automatic Transmission

If you prefer an automatic transmission, the BMW M2 and M3 are available with an 8-speed automatic option. This transmission is known for its smooth and fast gear changes. The automatic transmission, like the manual, is also paired with a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) drivetrain, ensuring excellent driving dynamics and handling.

In some BMW M3 trims, you may find an all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrain option. This AWD system provides better traction and stability, especially in wet or slippery conditions, making it a suitable choice for those seeking extra confidence and control on the road.

Remember, when choosing between manual and automatic transmissions and the available drivetrain options, consider your personal preferences, driving style, and the surrounding driving conditions to determine the best option for you.

Size and Dimensions


When comparing the BMW M2 and BMW M3, you’ll find that both cars have similar weights. The BMW M2, being a smaller sports car, weighs around 3,417 lbs 1. On the other hand, the BMW M3, designed to be a compact performance sedan, weighs slightly more at around 3,850 lbs2. The difference in weight can have a minor impact on the overall performance and handling of the cars.


As with weight, the height of the BMW M2 and M3 is also relatively close. The M2 has a height of 55.5 inches3, while the M3 is slightly more elevated with a height of 56.1 inches4. The minor difference in height will barely affect the overall driving experience in both cars, as their core focus remains on driving dynamics and performance.

Cargo Space

Cargo space is where the BMW M3 takes a noticeable lead over the M2. Due to its sedan nature, the M3 provides more practicality and space for your belongings. The BMW M3 offers 13 cubic feet of trunk space5, while the BMW M2’s cargo space is limited to 8.9 cubic feet6. This difference might be significant for you if you need to carry things frequently and are looking for a bit more room.

Overall, the BMW M2 and M3 have quite similar dimensions, with the most discernible difference being cargo space. It becomes essential for you to weigh these factors depending on your driving needs and practical usage of the cars. Regardless of the choice, both models are at the pinnacle of BMW’s performance and design, offering exhilarating driving experiences.

Safety Features


The BMW M2 and M3 both come equipped with advanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). This feature ensures that you maintain steering control during sudden braking by preventing the wheels from locking up. ABS enhances your vehicle’s safety in emergency situations, allowing you to steer away from potential hazards with more confidence.


Your safety is a top priority for BMW, and the M2 and M3 models are no exception. Both cars feature a comprehensive airbag system designed to protect you and your passengers in the event of a collision. The airbag system includes front and side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, ensuring optimal protection in various crash scenarios. The BMW M3, with its four-door design, also includes rear side airbags to further enhance passenger safety.

In addition to the front and side airbags, both vehicles come with a knee airbag for the driver, providing extra protection for your lower extremities. This thoughtful addition can potentially reduce the risk of injury in frontal collisions.

By prioritizing safety features like ABS and a comprehensive airbag system, BMW ensures that you and your passengers can enjoy a secure driving experience in both the M2 and M3 models.

Comfort and Convenience

Lumbar Support

Both the BMW M2 and the BMW M3 offer a high level of comfort, thanks to their well-designed driver and passenger seats. One key aspect that contributes to this comfort is the lumbar support. When you drive these cars, you’ll notice how the lumbar support helps maintain the natural curvature of your spine, reducing strain on your back while driving long distances.

Power Door Lock

As for convenience, both the BMW M2 and M3 come equipped with power door locks. These automatic door locks allow you to secure all doors with the touch of a button, making it quick and easy to ensure the safety of your vehicle. When approaching or leaving your car, you’ll gain a sense of security knowing that the power door locks are working to protect both you and your vehicle.

Fuel Efficiency and Economy

City Mileage

When driving in the city, the BMW M2 has a fuel efficiency of 16 MPG. This ensures that you can comfortably navigate through urban traffic while maintaining reasonable fuel consumption. It’s essential to consider city mileage when looking for a car that will primarily be used in urban environments.

Highway Mileage

The BMW M3, on the other hand, has a higher highway fuel efficiency at 24 MPG. This brings you the advantage of better fuel economy when cruising on highways and making those long-distance trips. When planning a road trip or frequent commutes on highways, it’s crucial to choose a vehicle with good highway mileage for better fuel savings.

In terms of fuel type, both the BMW M2 and M3 require premium gasoline, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency. Taking into account the aforementioned fuel efficiency figures and your driving habits will help you make an informed decision when choosing between the BMW M2 and M3.

Pricing and Availability


When comparing the BMW M2 and the BMW M3, the starting price is an important factor to consider. The BMW M2 has a more affordable starting price, with a base MSRP of $62,200. On the other hand, the BMW M3 is slightly more expensive, with a starting price of $74,300.

Used Cars

The market for used cars also reflects differences in pricing between these two BMW models. While it’s not possible to provide exact values for used cars as they depend on factors like year, mileage, and condition, it’s worth noting that the depreciation rate over five years is similar for both BMW M2 and M3. The BMW M2 loses 40.9% of its value, while the BMW M3 loses 41.1% of its value in the same time frame.

When considering purchasing a used BMW M2 or M3, you can expect to find cars in a wide price range based on factors mentioned above. It’s essential to research the specific model and year you’re interested in, and it’s advisable to have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic before making your decision.

Remember to factor in the availability of these models in your local market to make an informed decision. Additionally, consider the cost of ownership, including insurance, maintenance, and potential repairs, to ensure you’re making the right choice for your budget and needs.


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Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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