Is the 2023 BMW M2 Faster Than the 2024 Mustang GT?
Yes. Look, there’s no point in burying the lede. The 2023 BMW M2 is, outright, faster than the 2024 Mustang GT. But the performance gap isn’t what it should be considering the price disparity. And with their respective designs…deciding between these two sports cars isn’t as easy as checking the spec sheet.
A peek under the hood of the 2023 BMW M2
The new BMW M2 is powered by the same 3.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline-six as the outgoing model. However, BMW has turned up the wick, and now the base M2 cranks out 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. From a standstill, it’ll get to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. And with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, it’s got engagement dialed in.
The available ZF 8 Speed is even quicker, getting the M2 from zero to 60 mph in just 3.9 ticks. Plus, lighting-quick shifts from the paddle shifters mean you have instantaneous control over power delivery.
The M Sport rear differential and adaptive suspension make the M2 a breeze to drive. Handling everything from hard launches to burnouts, precision apexes, and billowy drifts, the 2023 BMW M2 is built to hoon, no matter what that means to you.
What powers the 2024 Ford Mustang GT
As if there were ever any doubt, BMW and Ford have taken drastically different approaches to delivering an exciting driver’s car. In the Mustang GT that means a 5.0-liter V8 engine throwing down 486 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of torque. Much like the M2, the Mustang GT comes with a Getrag six-speed stick and rear-wheel drive, though a 10-speed auto ‘box is an option.
Furthermore, while adaptive suspension is standard in the BMW, Ford’s MagneRide system is an optional add-on in the Mustang GT. The new Mustang does stay true to its strengths with a powerful set of brakes to slow things down. However, a curb weight of just over 4,000 pounds makes the Mustang 200 pounds heavier than the BMW.
The numbers don’t make sense…at first
But wait…if the Mustang GT has more horsepower and torque than the M2, how is the BMW faster? According to MotorTrend, the newest pony car takes up to 4.6 seconds to reach 60 mph, putting it over a half-second behind the BMW. And even with the 10-speed automatic compared to the BMW 8-speed, the Mustang is still a tenth behind the M2 on the run to 60 mph.
That extra 200 pounds may have a bit to do with it, especially when comparing the automatics. But for the manual models, it’s far more likely that gear selection puts the BMW M2 ahead.
The BMW features a tall first gear at 4.11, and a moderately tall second cog at 2.32. That helps the M2 get up to speed in a hurry, and it pulls hard through sixth, even with a fairly short 0.85 sixth gear.
Meanwhile, the Mustang gets just a 3.23 ratio for the first gear and a 2.104 ratio for the second. That slows initial acceleration but falls in line with the taller cruising gears. And critically, the new GT has an incredibly short 0.622 sixth-gear ratio to drop highway rpm for better fuel economy.
The BMW M2 versus Mustang GT battle highlights the challenge of building a modern sports car
I admire Ford for sticking to its V8 roots with the 2024 Mustang GT. From a strictly enthusiastic standpoint, it makes for a more entertaining drive. But the turbocharged six-cylinder BMW doesn’t have to work as hard to meet modern fuel economy targets. BMW can use shorter gear ratios for more punch, simply because it uses a more efficient engine in the M2.
In order for Ford to deliver a six-speed manual Mustang GT with a V8, it had to nerf the acceleration potential in search of more efficiency.
The Mustang is still a better buy than the BMW M2
As a self-admitted BMW fan, I can still stand back and admit that the 2024 Ford Mustang GT is a better buy than the BMW M2. Nearly identical performance, passenger, and cargo space means that the spec sheet doesn’t make this an easy decision.
However, the number at the bottom of the Monroney sticker does: The 2023 BMW M2 costs nearly $64,000 at a minimum, while the Mustang GT checks in at just over $40,000. Considering how similar the two are otherwise, it’s hard not to choose the Ford. Especially now that it looks this good.