What is it?
Soon we’ll get the BMW M2 - which we’ve already driven in the US - here in the UK, where we’ll line it up against something equally tasty. But for now it’s here, in right-hand-drive form, in, er, Spain, unusually. But, at least, we're on roads much like our own, with the steering wheel on the correct side of the car and, huzzah, with the six-speed manual gearbox that is standard.
All of which initially reveals that the latest, currently smallest M-car is has a fine driving position in right-hook form and a sweet – firm and not over-short of throw – gearshift. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The M2 arrives in UK showrooms this month. Because it’s the smallest M-car, BMW evokes the 2002 Turbo, E30 M3 and the 1M Coupé. The M2 sits on a widened 2 Series coupé body, which means it is mostly made of steel, whereas its bigger M3 and M4 siblings receive more aluminium and, in places, composites. As a result of all that, the weight difference between the M2 and M3 can be as little as 25kg. The suspension, though, owes more to the bigger siblings, which is why the body is wider and looks suitably cross with the world.
The engine is a 3.0-litre straight six, but with one turbocharger instead of the M3 and M4’s two. It gives 365bhp and mammoth reserves of torque: 369lb ft, developed from – get this – 1450rpm. There’s no torque reduction at low revs to make the car feel naturally aspirated, to give it a sense of gently building power. The curve gets up and stays up, right through to 4500rpm. Peak power is at 6500rpm.
The interior? Pure BMW, with obligatory highlights, badging, embossment, stitching and Alcantara. That driving position: there are about three dozen good ones in there for any driver. I spent a reasonable portion of a 12-hour drive day fiddling between several. Eventually you’ll settle on one.