For my money, for 90% of the time, BMW has nailed it. There’s an unexpectedly wonderful suppleness to the way the M2 (on standard 19in rims) rides. It's taut, but never strangled by the sort of overly tight body control that becomes wearing after an hour spent on Welsh B-roads. Instead, it simmers brightly on its spring travel, feeling animated and ever ready to deliver the kind of agile response you’d expect from such a pithy wheelbase.
The downsides? Well, the six-speed manual isn’t quite as sweet as it ought to be. Personally, I don’t like auto-blippers, especially ones that insist on working even in Comfort mode because sometimes I’m downshifting to gently slow down – it’s one of the pleasures of a do-it-yourself ‘box and not really helped by artificial rev matching.
Also, doubtless by design, the M2 is less handsomely tacked down at high speed than the Competition Pack-kitted M3/4 we tested recently. Although, that said, it never lacks for fluency, and is second only to a Cayman in the communication of its limit.
Should I buy one?
Certainly there’s nothing to suggest a British buyer shouldn’t. There’s a very real chance – as we hoped there would be – that the cheapest M-car might also be the best. Further testing, not least in the format of a full road test, will sort that out.
Currently though, our first impressions remain overwhelmingly positive – sufficiently so for us to be far more envious of those on the waiting list for an M2 than those who’ve plumped for a 718 Boxster. Which, for now, says it all.
Location Wales; On sale Now; Price £44,070; Engine 6 cyls, 2979cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 365bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 369lb ft at 1450-4750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1570kg; 0-62mph 4.5sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 33.2mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 199g/km, 36%