There has been a fair bit of moaning from enthusiasts in recent years, on account of BMW stuffing up its M division — the cliche ‘M is for Marketing’ has even worn out its effectiveness when arguing against new BMW M products.

You’re not chic in car circles any more if your point is that M cars have gone soft — you’d just be stating the obvious. But still, this is Munich were talking about, the Germans, BMW, and even in a slump every once in a while they get it oh so right.

For every terrible X4 M, there is a delectable BMW M2, so the Bavarians still manage to keep scores of us petrolheads devoted to the 13th letter of the alphabet.

Speaking of the M2 (only the best M car since the previous-generation naturally-aspirated M3 that was released in 2007), it’s now regarded as outmoded over at BMW, and 365 horsepower isn’t quite enough according to the Germans so they have discarded the M2 in favour of the new M2 Competition. That bigger kidney grille you may have noticed? That’ll be the breathing upgrade necessary for the M3 engine under the bonnet.

Ja, they’ve finally gone and done it and stuffed an only slightly downtuned M3 engine under the bonnet of an M2, which means you get a 3.0-litre turbocharged six making 410 horsepower and 550Nm of torque which is a substantial improvement over the outgoing M2. When it launched in 2015 the car made 365bhp and 465Nm of torque, and now it’s just 15bhp shy of an M3 (or M4) with about a 50kg advantage, while at the same time matching the M3 dead even on torque.

 

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Needless to say the new M2 Competition is fairly fast — zero to 100kph comes up in 4.2 seconds and if you derestrict the speed limiter it’ll run to over 270kph.

With the added grunt BMW M engineers also revised the steering system, upgraded the braking performance with bigger 400mm front discs and 380mm rears, and further sharpened up the already acclaimed handling of the M2.

A carbon fibre composite front strut brace tightens up the chassis, and recalibrated electronics make subtle differences to the way the car purportedly responds to the driver.

Besides a couple of new colour options (metallic Sunset Orange and Hockenheim Silver, both exclusive to the new M2 Competition), BMW has also enlarged the kidney grille and threw on some new quad tailpipes out back. The new wheel design comes standard in 19in all round, and the interior gains some blue or orange highlights for the perforated leather sports seats.

Optional kit includes parking aids, and a few warning and assistance systems. Prices overseas have been quoted starting from around the equivalent of Dh260,000, which will make the new BMW M2 Competition a tough rival for the Dh290,000 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.