2020 BMW M2 Competition vs. 2019 Ford Shelby GT350

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M2 Competition has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Shelby GT350 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The BMW M2 Competition has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The M2 Competition’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The M2 Competition has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The M2 Competition’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the M2 Competition and the Shelby GT350 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The M2 Competition comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Shelby GT350’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The M2 Competition’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Shelby GT350’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M2 Competition for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Shelby GT350.

Reliability

The battery on the M2 Competition is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the M2 Competition’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Shelby GT350’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the M2 Competition Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Shelby GT350 (18 city/25 hwy vs. 14 city/21 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the M2 Competition’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M2 Competition’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The M2 Competition offers an optional automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The M2 Competition offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an SMG.

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the M2 Competition has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M2 Competition’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Shelby GT350:

M2 Competition

Shelby GT350

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

15.5 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

14.9 inches

Suspension and Handling

The M2 Competition Coupe handles at .99 G’s, while the Shelby GT350 Coupe pulls only .98 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the M2 Competition’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Shelby GT350’s (38.4 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

The M2 Competition is 1 foot shorter than the Shelby GT350, making the M2 Competition easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M2 Competition a Compact car, while the Shelby GT350 is rated a Two Seater.

The M2 Competition has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Shelby GT350R Coupe can only carry up to 2.

The M2 Competition has 5.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Shelby GT350 (89.7 vs. 84.5).

Cargo Capacity

The M2 Competition Coupe has a larger trunk than the Shelby GT350R Coupe (13.8 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the M2 Competition easier. The M2 Competition’s trunk lift-over height is 27.3 inches, while the Shelby GT350’s liftover is 30 inches.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M2 Competition offers cargo security. The Shelby GT350’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

The M2 Competition uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Shelby GT350 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the M2 Competition, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The M2 Competition has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The M2 Competition’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Shelby GT350’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the M2 Competition detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M2 Competition has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M2 Competition also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The M2 Competition’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

When the M2 Competition is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Shelby GT350’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The M2 Competition has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Shelby GT350 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the M2 Competition’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M2 Competition has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Shelby GT350.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the M2 Competition has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Shelby GT350 doesn’t offer rear vents.

Recommendations

The M2 Competition was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Shelby GT350 hasn’t been picked since 2017.

The M2 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Shelby GT350 hasn’t been picked since 2016.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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