The second-generation BMW M2 Coupe is a car of which its makers are evidently rather proud, and yet still just a little bit protective and secretive about. So secretive, in fact, as to invite a bunch of journalists to drive it almost a full year ahead of its global market launch; and then to decline to answer certain specific technical questions about it.
Such is the curious, studiously managed game of cat-and-mouse that goes on between specialist media and car manufacturer these days: have a drive a drive, be our guest, love it or hate it - but we’re certainly not telling you how many miles to the gallon it does.
A new compact M-car coupe is an exciting prospect though, isn’t it? So along we went. Still technically one of the youngest proper M-cars in BMW’s range as well as the smallest, the M2 has already garnered a dedicated and enthusiastic following. It’s got a deeply traditional positioning for fast BMW and something of a pure heart; it’s a base-of-the-pyramid, core-of-the-brand type of model. It matters - and the designers, engineers and technicians who’ve made it clearly know that better than anyone.
Those people certainly didn’t take lightly a particularly key decision that they had to tackle early in the development of this ‘G87’ model. Unlike the previous-generation ‘F87’-model which itself was based on the ‘F22’-generation 2-Series Coupe and therefore related circuitously to the old rear-driven 1-Series hatchback, the new M2 uses BMW’s ‘Cluster Architecture’ model platform now common to all of Munich’s bigger models right the way up to the BMW 8-Series Coupe and the BMW X7 SUV. And that, it turns out, is an influential technical change for the car.