Cars like the BMW M235i and M4 have kept petrolheads content, but nothing since the legendary 1M has really set hearts on fire. But now the M2 has just arrived ─ is this the M we have all been waiting for?
The M2 is powered by a new 3.0-litre six-cylinder M TwinPower Turbo petrol that develops 370hp at 6,500rpm, a hefty increase on the 326hp M235i and 61hp shy of the M4. 0-62mph takes 4.3 seconds with the optional M DCT gearbox and Launch Control enabled or 4.5 seconds with the standard six-speed manual.
Like most German cars, the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. Meanwhile torque is 465Nm, with an extra 35Nm ‘overboost’ available from between 1,400rpm and 5,560rpm when enabled in case you want a little extra oomph.
Efficiency is more than an after-thought, the eco-friendly among will be happy to know. Fuel economy is a claimed 33.2mpg (same as the M235i, actually), while C02 emissions are 199g/km with the six-speed manual or 35.8mpg and 185g/km with the M DCT.
BMW has given the M2 automatic throttle blipping when using the standard six-speed manual, which means you can expect the revs to go up on downshifts or down on upshifts. M DCT buyers can change the gears using the M lever or with shift paddles on the M leather steering wheel.
In addition there’s something called Stability Clutch Control, which disengages the clutches to prevent oversteer and therefore stabilise the vehicle when necessary. That and the Active M Differential, which can lock between one and 100 per cent, should make it a potent handler.
Specially-developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres and 19-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels are said to improve handling while ensuring ‘impressive ride comfort’.
The M2 also has M performance brakes with four-piston pot calipers on the front and 380mm discs and two-piston and 370mm on the rear, with the brake disc hub made from aluminium to save weight.
Design tweaks like the large front apron are a nod to the BMW 3.0 CSL touring car racer and provide a reduction in aerodynamic lift of 35 per cent so the M2 is more balanced at higher speeds.
Interior extras for the M2 include various M logos throughout the car, the aforementioned M leather steering wheel and Sports seats in black Dakota leather with adjustable side bolsters for keeping you in one place when cornering fast.
Navigation is standard across the BMW range and the M2 is no different. In addition it has the Professional Media Package, Xenon headlights and a choice of four exterior paint finishes (Long Beach Blue Metallic, Alpine White, Black Sapphire and Mineral Grey).
The BMW M2 is one of many performance Bimmers. The 1970s 2002 Turbo, for instance, needed 8.9 seconds to reach 62mph from standing and only had 170hp ─ more than half of the M2. It was the first turbocharged mass production car in Germany.
Now for the important bit. A BMW M2 will set you back from £44,070, £6,360 more than the M235i and £12,120 less than the M4 Coupe and M3 Saloon, which start from £56,190.
Given the M2 is only slightly slower and not that much smaller than the M4 Coupe, it seems a relative bargain. Maybe the 1M should watch its back, after all.