: The BMW M2 Competition by Futura 2000
Text Francis Cheung

Last month during the Frieze Los Angeles Art Fair, BMW M presented their first bespoke production project in the history of the company, a collaboration with the renowned artist Future 2000. It is not the first time BMW has collaborated with a world-class, critically acclaimed artist: under the BMW Art Cars program, famous names such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Alexander Calder (whose variation we have discussed in more detail before) used BMW competition cars as their creative canvas’ back in the 1970s. 

BMW M2 by Futura 2000 (left) and BMW M2 Edition designed by Futura 2000 (right)

The collaboration with Futura 2000 was presented as three exclusive one-off BMW M2 Competition models, aiming to highlight the character of this particular model, each vehicle uniquely designed and painted inside the BMW facility. In addition, there will be a limited-edition run M2 Competitions designed by Futura 2000, a production run of 500 vehicles with his artwork painted on the front, rear bumper and side skirt.

As seen on the vehicle, the bold, contrasting effect of the black body colour with white dots was achieved with three to four layers of paint, depending on the area of work. Other signature styling elements such as the use of negative space, lightning-like impulsive lines, and saw blade patterns, were applied by hand in between coats. The artwork extends into the interior trims to the dashboard and on the centre console, and is finished off with the signature of Futura 2000 on the door sill trim. What makes the cars so special is that all the components are one-off, and hand-painted by Futura 2000 in BMW’s world headquarters, in Munich: each of the 503 vehicles will become a unique piece of art.

Futura 2000, born Leonard Hilton McGurr, is a renowned American graffiti artist who, during his early career in the 1970s, differentiated himself from the majority of lettering style with his more abstract approach. His work gained recognition within the art world and McGurr went on to co-exhibit with well-known pop artists such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Hambleton and Kenny Scharf. Up until now, the influence of his work can be found in many different industries, from early album cover designs to clothing brands, a collaboration with Hennessy, and the partnership with Virgil Abloh that took place  last year for the Louis Vuitton fashion show. 

According to Futura 2000, his love and connection with BMW dates back to the Neue Klasse and the now iconic 2002, produced from the late 1960s to early 1970s, which was his favourite model at the time. Although the 3 Series would eventually replace the lineup, BMW introduced the 2 Series in 2014, followed by a fully reinterpreted performance model in 2018, the M2 Competition. It is powered by the twin-turbo, inline-six cylinder engine from both the M3 and M4, and after a slight de-tune, it produces an exciting 410 hp, more than sufficient for such a compact chassis. All spec aside, it has great responses from the enthusiast market and became the best-selling and most sought after M automobile in 2019. This collaboration will be adding the extra artistic attribute to the character, and might just make it the most appealing mobile artwork on the road. In the meantime, BMW is taking pre-orders and expects to deliver from June 2020.