The M2 shouldn’t be confused with the M235i (pictured in our spy shots), which uses the same powertrain as the M135i: a 3.0-litre single-turbo straight-six producing 316bhp. BMW doesn’t consider these to be core M cars, despite their performance, but the M2 will get the full M treatment.
That means using the M235i’s engine, but upping the power to around 350bhp. Engineers will be hoping to cut weight, too, with a more stripped-out approach to the interior and even the use of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic panels. BMW will also fit a proper mechanical limited-slip diff to the M2, rather than the M135i and M235i’s artificial set-up, which brakes individual wheels to improve cornering.
BMW is expected to go with firm fixed-rate suspension like the 1M Coupe’s, rather than the M135i’s adaptive dampers. That should mark it out as a more focused performance car, clearly setting the two models apart.
As the pinnacle of the 2 Series range, the M2 will have to be the quickest, so it’ll need to better the M235i’s expected 4.9-second 0-62mph time.
A lower kerbweight and more powerful engine mean a time of around 4.6 seconds is possible – which is the same as the outgoing M3’s figure.
Unlike the manual-only 1 Series M Coupe, BMW is expected to offer both manual and auto versions, with the latter being a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The M2 will have an even more aggressive bodykit than the M235i, with a new air intake built into the front wing and a set of quad exhausts rather than a pair of individual tailpipes either side of the rear bumper.
The standard 2 Series hasn’t been revealed just yet – although we’re expecting it in 2014 – so it’ll be a while before we see the M2 appear in showrooms. A 2015 release date is likely, with a price of around £45,000.