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“We knew the platform would bring some added size and weight,” explains M Division project dynamics manager Sven Esch, “and we had to decide very early on whether to fight with that weight at every stage, sacrificing many things in order to deliver the lowest figure we could; or to accept and work with it, and simply to use the best technology at our disposal to maximise the car’s performance across the board.”

“In the end, it was an easy decision. On one path, you have to accept many compromises, and in many ways you know that the car you’re developing could offer more. On the other, you get so many benefits in a stronger, faster, more advanced, composed and complete product, with only one trade-off.”

Somehow that sounds like a little bit of a cop-out, doesn’t it; because surely weight imposes penalties throughout a car? Well, not to the key people in this case, evidently. And BMW M clearly isn’t lacking in confidence in the end result. “You can decide for yourself,” Esch goes on, gesturing down an empty pitlane at the Saltzburgring circuit. “But we think those few extra kilos are a minor factor.”

BMW clearly isn’t quite ready to communicate exactly what the new M2 weighs (our man would say that it’s a figure somewhere between that of the old M2 at 1575kg and of an M4 Coupe at 1725-); but they will admit where the majority of its M Division mechanicals – its axles, chassis braces, gearboxes, active locking rear differential, and its turbocharged six-cylinder ‘S58’  engine – come from. “That decision about weight meant we could take as many components as we liked from the M3 and M4 for this car; and that’s really what we did, because we know how good they are,” admits Esch.

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