Pictured here at its unveiling in Detroit and in our exclusive studio shots, the eagerly anticipated M2 is the indirect successor to the short-lived 1 Series M Coupé, which was produced in limited numbers from 2010.
Power and torque are up from its 1 Series M Coupé predecessor, to 370bhp and 343lb ft, with an 'overboost' function providing a further 26lb ft. These equate to a 4.5sec 0-62 time on the manual car, with BMW's DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission shaving a further 0.3sec off. Top speed is limited to 155mph. Upon launch, there will be no option to remove the limiter in the UK - which would raise the top speed to 168mph - although such a pack is under consideration by BMW following requests from prospective UK M2 buyers.
When it goes on sale here next April, the two-door will be priced at £44,070 for the manual, pitching it £12,520 below the larger and more powerful M3, which until now has been the entry point into BMW’s M car line-up. The DCT transmission-equipped car will be priced at £46,575. While the M2 will be comprehensively equipped, a few options, such as sun protection glass, driver assistance systems, a Harman Kardon sound system and a reversing camera, will cost extra. Aesthetic upgrades such as decals will also be optional.
Four colours are available on the M2: black, white, grey and a 'Long Beach Blue' shade shared with the X6 M.
Together with the newly facelifted £39,995 A45, the M2 will be a rival to the £39,950 Audi RS3 Sportback when sales begin on 16 April.
Carrying a £10,000 premium over the M235i, the M2 delivers added stiffness and improved handling compared with its less-powerful sibling, with a more track-focused approach than that of the M235i. Despite this, BMW maintains that while the M2 delivers a lot in the way of performance, including its track potential, it's a sports car more suited for an urban setting than a track-day special such as the M4 GTS.
The manual M2 is 45kg heavier than the equivalent M235i, while the DCT-equippedmodel is 25kg heavier than the Sport Auto M235i. Both cars are more powerful than their M235i counterparts by 50bhp, and are a great deal stiffer. With a claimed kerb weight of 1495kg, the new BMW has a power-to-weight ratio of 244bhp per tonne, which is marginally better than the 242bhp per tonne of the Mercedes A45 4Matic.
The M2 takes BMW into new territory. Where the 1 Series M Coupé's limited-run status reserved it for the folly of enthusiasts and collectors, the M2 aims to take the M sub-brand to a previously unexplored, younger demographic.