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BMW's M2 is the 1 Series M successor we deserve

When BMW released the M235i, most everybody expected a higher-performance variant to arrive shortly thereafter. More than a year later, that dream has finally become reality. The M2 is the successor to the lauded 1 Series M, and with a little help from its bigger brother, it should turn out to be quite the impressive sports coupe.

Much like the larger M3 and M4, a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine will power the M2. However, being smaller than its brethren, the output isn't quite as ludicrous. The M2's inline-six is rated at 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, with an overboost function that temporarily raises the latter number to 369 pound-feet. The driver will choose between two transmissions -- a standard six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching downshifts, and an optional seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with launch control.

With the manual, the M2 will reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds -- launch control helps the dual-clutch transmission hit that same speed in just 4.2 seconds. Both variants have an electronically-limited 155-mph top speed.

As with every other BMW M model, the body features several aggressive aesthetic enhancements, including a front fascia with more creases than a unironed dress shirt, an integrated rear diffuser and the automaker's hallmark quadruple tailpipes out back,. The body itself is much wider than the standard 2 Series -- 2.1 inches up front, 3.1 inches out back -- to accommodate wider tires on all four corners. Buyers will be able to choose from blue, white, black or gray paint.

Underneath its skin, the M2 focuses on shedding unsprung weight with extensive use of aluminum. The control arms, axle subframes, suspension struts, antiroll bars and wheel carriers are all made from the lightweight metal. The result is a car that weighs just 3,450 pounds (with the dual-clutch transmission -- believe it or not, the manual version is heavier, coming in at 3,505 pounds). For comparison, a 228i with a manual transmission weighs in at 3,295 pounds, while the automatic variant is 50 pounds heavier than that.

2016 BMW M2
Sharp angles abound on the M2's front fascia.BMW

The M2's remaining new components are items commonly found in other performance-oriented BMW products. There are giant brakes behind each wheel (15-inch rotors in front, 14.5-inchers at the rear) and an electronically controlled adjustable limited-slip differential. The interior features sportier seats, M-specific gauges and more M badges than you'd find in your average Bavarian mechanic's shop. And, as with every other halfway-luxurious car on sale today, Alcantara suede is strewn about the cabin.

Of course, in keeping with the times, there are plenty of available safety technologies. M2 drivers that want to feel safe can opt for forward-collision warning with autonomous low-speed braking, lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors and a backup camera. Also available is ConnectedDrive, an app suite that includes GoPro integration for when you want to film all your smoky-burnout antics.

The 2016 M2 will go on sale in spring 2016 in several markets, including the US, UK and Australia. Pricing has not yet been disclosed.

 

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