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.