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“The BMW M2 is a timely reminder of just how thrilling petrol power can be”

After the disappointment of the XM, deputy editor John McIlroy was delighted to find BMW’s M division still knows how to make a sensational performance car

Opinion - BMW M2

There’s something mildly reassuring about the last week, if you happen to fall into the category of ‘petrolhead’. Lamborghini has launched its most powerful normally aspirated V12 yet, in the new Revuelto supercar – then added only the mildest of hybrid assistance to end up with 1,001bhp. And sold it out for the first two years of production.

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Gordon Murray doesn’t even need electrical help for his latest offering, the spectacular T.33 Spider. The second V12 supercar reveal of the week is built in the UK and will cost around £1.9million – yet around half of its 100-strong production run is already accounted for.

These are both incredibly high-end vehicles, of course – but the new BMW M2 shows there’s hope further down the food chain. Our first drive proves, thank the stars, that the company’s M division still knows how to make a sensational rear-wheel-drive, six-cylinder sports car. And while it’s not exactly cheap either, it will cost you considerably less than Porsche will charge you for a Cayman GT4.

The future, though, is uncertain for sub-brands like M and Mercedes-AMG. Our recent lukewarm reviews of BMW’s own plug-in XM (driven on the same roads as the M2) and the C 63 S E-Performance PHEV show how tricky the ‘transitional period’ we’re now entering is going to be for performance cars. Fusing electrification with combustion power is complex and potentially heavy – two traits that don’t necessarily sit kindly with the goal of an involving, immersive on-road experience.

In all honesty, there are likely to be more misses than hits on this front in the next few years. But let’s hope that the engineering boffins do find a way to somehow capture the emotion of the M2 in either hybrid or pure-electric form. It’s a timely reminder of just how thrilling petrol power can be – and how badly we’ll miss it. 

Click here for our list of the best performance cars on sale...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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