On the move, the single turbo 3. 0-litre straight six puts out a useful 370bhp and develops up to 500Nm of torque if you exercise the engine’s overboost function. Send the revs soaring and 62mph from rest takes just 4. 5s in the manual model – or 4. 3s in the M DCT automatic variant, which gets Launch Control and a wild ‘Smokey Burnout’ feature that allows you to indulge in a degree of wheelspin while the car is travelling at low speeds.
The M2’s great through the turns too, thanks to a whole package of M Sport engineering. The ‘Active M Differential’ gets all the torque to the tarmac, minimising wheelspin. Plus, the wide track forged aluminium suspension set-up borrowed from the M4 gives a great combination of supple stability. Add in responsive M Compound brakes, grippy bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport rubber and a brilliantly feelsome M Servotronic steering system and you’ve all the ingredients for an involving drive. Plus you can adjust steering feel, throttle response, stability control thresholds and, on M DCT models, gearshift timings via ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ modes using this ‘Driving Experience Control’ rocker switch by the gearstick. As for efficiency, well the auto model delivers 35. 8mpg on the combined cycle and 185g/km of CO2.
An M2 buyer might want to drive a street racer but he or she won’t necessarily appreciate extreme degrees of aesthetic excess. Refreshingly, everything you see is there to make the car go faster. Take the flared bodywork at the front, 55mm wider than it would be on a standard 2 Series Coupe in order to accommodate the wider front track needed for the more serious forged aluminium suspension set-up shared with M3 and M4 models.
The profile is no less arresting, with sweeping creases, aerodynamic sill extensions and lovely side grilles, plus the wider track also allows the fitment of bigger 19-inch M Double-spoke wheels.
At first glance inside, there’s little to differentiate the cabin from that of any mainstream M Sport-trimmed 2 Series Coupe, but look a little closer and the changes made become more obvious. The sports seats, the steering wheel and the instrument dials are all unique – and not only because they feature M branding. The low-set Dakota leather-trimmed blue-stitched seats have adjustable side bolsters for greater support through quick corners. The M multi-function nappa leather steering wheel has a thinner rim than is customary on an M car and though it you glimpse a bespoke set of dials with a speedo reaching round to 186mph and a rev counter reading up to 8,000rpm.
With compact dimensions, a reasonably light weight body, explosive power, rear wheel drive and almost-realistic pricing, this M2 satisfies just about every wish on an old-school enthusiast’s tick list. And does so in a way that truly re-captures the spirit of original M Power models. If you’ve tried an M3 or an M4 but came away impressed but just a little under-whelmed, don’t give up on this Bavarian brand: just go and drive one of these.