By Ronan Glon
Wednesday, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:30 pm
 
We've heard the rumors and now we have the visual proof - BMW has begun shakedown testing of its high-performance M2 coupe.
Billed as the successor to the well-regarded 1-Series M, the M2 will gain a full body kit inspired by the track-only M235i Racing that was unveiled earlier this year. The M2's body kit will include a highly-sculpted front bumper, a bulged hood, fender flares, side skirts and a trunk-mounted spoiler. As seen on this prototype, the M2 will sport BMW M's signature quad-exhaust outlets.

BMW will tap into its carbon fiber expertise in order to lower the car's weight and improve efficiency, agility and performance. Although the M2 will unmistakably look like a member of the 2-Series family when viewed from the outside, it will ride on a heavily-modified chassis packed with technology gleaned from the M3/M4 duo.

Staying in line with the rest of BMW's M-badged lineup, the M2 will boast a sport-focused interior with bucket seats for the front passengers, a M-specific instrument cluster, a sport steering wheel and available carbon fiber trim on the dashboard.

Official technical details are not available but rumors indicate the M2 will be powered by a twin-turbocharged variant of the 3.0-liter straight-six found under the hood of the M235i. The turbo-six will reportedly send anywhere between 365 and 375 horsepower to the rear wheels via either an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual unit, enabling the M2 to reach 60 mph from a stop in a little over four seconds.

All models regardless of transmission type will come standard with an electronic limited-slip differential.

Look for official details about the 2016 M2 to emerge over the coming year. When it lands in showrooms, the smallest member of BMW's M lineup will retail for approximately $55,000.

Unlike the aforementioned 1-Series M, the M2 is expected to bow as a regular-production model that will be readily available all around the globe.