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Seven years have passed since I took the wheel of the first M2, little brother to the iconic M3 and now to the latest model which builds on its formidable predecessor’s strengths to deliver an even greater driving experience; a classic high-performance car and with cutting-edge technology. With its compact dimensions, power is courtesy of a six-cylinder in-line engine with a manual gearbox option, rear-wheel drive and an advanced control/operating concept allowing you to adjust the vehicle setup as desired. The newcomer has a maximum output of 460bhp, which is 90bhp more than the original M2, delivering exhilarating driving dynamics that have been honed during in-depth testing on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit and other race circuits. The output is even 10bhp higher than that of the special-edition M2 CS from the previous model generation. The three litre unit differs only in a small number of details from the engine employed in the M3/ M4 models.

The straight-six engine combines the latest M TwinPower Turbo technology with the high-revving characteristics of an M car. Peak torque of 550Nm is produced between 2,650 and 5,870rpm and maximum output arrives at 6,250rpm. The engine revs to a maximum 7,200rpm. Standard is an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic; already noted a six-speed manual gearbox is optional, which creates a performance experience in the classical mould. The gear ratios and gear spread are perfectly matched to the performance characteristics of the engine and a precisely defined shift action enables rapid, easily executed gear changes. Plus, the Gear Shift Assistant uses engagement speed control to ensure slip-free operation when downshifting under braking into corners and it can be deactivated in the M Setup menu.

Surefooted agility on demand and handling that is easily controllable even as you explore the limits are at its core. With two-door styling the new model embodies an unadulterated racing passion that you can enjoy day along with a comprehensive specification ensuring it is as comfortable tackling urban/countryside driving as it is the most demanding race circuits. A contributor to the assured dynamics of the new M2 is its standard Active M Differential, which halt rotational speed compensation between the rear wheels whenever required and generate a locking effect of up to 100 per cent. The Active M Differential is linked with the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system to adapt its locking effect precisely to the driving situation. Adaptive M suspension is standard and features electronically controlled dampers designed to maximise road contact and traction in all driving situations. The dampers are controlled with the help of sensors that keep a constant eye on body movements, the condition of the road and steering adjustments. The basic damper characteristics can be varied as desired by selecting one of the three settings in the M Setup menu. Stopping power; M Compound brakes comprising six-piston, fixed-callipers with 380mm discs at the front wheels and their single-piston, floating-calliper counterparts with integrated parking brake and 370mm discs at the rear; the result outstanding stops power. The callipers are painted in red as standard, with a blue finish available as an option, and bear the M logo. The advances over the first-generation M2, which I should point out became the largest-selling model in the M line-up with almost 60,000 examples sold worldwide.

A focused selection of options are available for enhancing driving comfort or adding even more visual appeal to both the exterior and interior. A standout optional extra is the bespoke M Race Track Package that is designed to maximise the performance experience, its benefits including raising the electronically limited top speed of 250kph (155mph) to 285kph (177mph).

The new M2 is built alongside the new 2 Series Coupe at the BMW Group’s San Luis Potosí plant in Mexico. Definitely a contender for fast lane driving.

Ian Lynas

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