For over 40 years BMW has used the M badge as a signifier of the ultimate in high performance and excitement, and while it has been applied to an ever-wider range of cars its appeal remains undiluted. Now BMW has released an M2 model in series production for the first time.
Even with the reinvention of the Mini brand it is BMW's smaller cars that have been amongst its most popular models over the decades, with the 3 Series and latterly the 1 Series that are the most popular entry points into the brand. The M3 was also the car that saw the M badge truly establish itself as a high performance sub-brand.
BMW created a new model line by turning the 1 Series hatchback into the 2 Series in coupe and convertible form, and already offers a sportier version in the shape of the M235i. However the M2 is the first production M-car in this family, other than the limited run 1 Series M Coupe, and is the closest in size and spirit to the original E30 M3.
The full M designation means the M2 receives a bespoke tuned engine, based on the familiar 3.0-litre single-turbocharged petrol engine already used in the M235i model but with the addition of some key components from the larger M3 and M4 models to give it a significant power boost. The suspension has been uprated too, as have the brakes, although carbon-ceramic discs are not available as an option.
The exterior receives the usual M-car upgrades, which include a substantial bodykit comprising of a larger front bumper, deeper rear bumper, flared wheel arches and distinctive 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside there are bold and strongly-bolstered sports seats and a liberal application of M badges to remind the driver that they are behind the wheel of something special.
Our verdict on the BMW 2 Series M2 Coupe
All BMW M cars feel special but the M2 is perhaps the best compromise between performance, grip, usability and size of any recent offering. Fast enough to be fun but sensible enough to be used in poor weather, it is more manageable for more of the time than the M4 as well as being significantly less expensive. Few rivals can offer the same blend of fun and practicality.