M division chief is confident the M2 will offer the rawest thrills in the compact performance segment, but the use of hybrid technology in future M models isn't ruled out
15 January 2016

The new BMW M2 is the "purist's choice" in the compact performance segment, according BMW M development chief Dirk Haecker.

Read our review of the M2 in right-hand drive form

The £44,070 M2 made its world debut at the Detroit motor show ahead of UK sales in April. The front-engined, rear-drive model is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six engine with 365bhp and a manual gearbox as standard, a formula that endows the M2 with "precision, agility and performance", according to Haecker.

Rival Mercedes-Benz uses a highly tuned 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive for its entry-level performance offering, the A45 AMG. Haecker said discussions have been had at BMW M but "no final decision to do that" had been taken for now or in the future, and the six-cylinder engine remained the right "philosophy" for small M cars.

Haecker also cautioned against adding too many more models to the M range, because "we don't want competition between our own lines".

He ruled out an M2 convertible but said BMW would "have a look at" other versions of the car in the future.

The X5 and X6 M SUVs are now mainstays of the range, according to Haecker, and he left the door open for an X4 M should the new X4 M40i, also in Detroit, be well received.

Haecker, who has been in the job at M for a year, is keen to see manual gearboxes continue in M cars. "A lot of people aren't interested in maximum performance, they want the experience," he said.

He also said that now was not the time for hybrid or electric systems for M models because they would add too much weight, although he was discussing the latest technology and developments with BMW's i division. More lightweight materials will also feature in future M cars, he added.

Our Verdict

BMW M235i
The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

Does this compact coupé have the makings of a performance icon?

Join the debate

Comments
7

15 January 2016

Well if the BMW i8 is any thing to go by then the days of an M branded hybrid may be nearer than it seems.

15 January 2016

Well if the BMW i8 is any thing to go by then the days of an M branded hybrid may be nearer than it seems.

15 January 2016

A purist doesn't like turbo. BMW has become tasteless...

18 January 2016
david RS wrote:

A purist doesn't like turbo. BMW has become tasteless...

Blah blah blah, things move on...

15 January 2016

A purist doesn't like turbo. BMW has become tasteless...

15 January 2016

With a smooth and silky 3.0L engine and RWD, M2 is the purist's choice in this segment. No highly turboed small engine, or AWD which mutes the driving feel. Seems like 0-62 is the most important for Mercedes and Audi. And before any Audi fans talk about practicality of AWD in bad weather and so, nobody buys a fun drivers car for practicality reasons. There are other type of cars for that.

Dan

18 January 2016

Purist's... more like pretentious twats

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
    First Drive
    26 August 2016
    The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso gets tweaked styling, improved tech and new personalisation options to keep it ahead of rivals
  • Car review
    26 August 2016
    Wolfsburg celebrates the GTI’s 40th with its most extreme version yet
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite