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Keep calm and leak insider info: 2017 BMW M2 erroneously revealed by British magazine

An article erroneously published by British magazine Auto Express has given us an early look at the long-awaited 2017 BMW M2. Set to make its official debut later tonight, the first-ever M2 has big shoes to fill because it is billed as a successor to the limited-edition 1 Series M Coupe.

Power for the M2 is provided by a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine that delivers 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, though an overboost function can bump torque up to 367 lb-ft. for short bursts of time. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission controlled by shift paddles is available at an extra cost.

Auto Express’ article suggests that rear-wheel drive is the only configuration available in the United Kingdom. Unconfirmed rumors claim BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system will be available at an extra cost in select markets, but we won’t know whether or not they’re true until official details are published.

The M2 can reach 62 mph from a stop in 4.5 seconds when fitted with a stick, and in 4.3 seconds when ordered with the seven-speed automatic. In comparison, the 1 Series M Coupe took 4.7 seconds to reach 62 mph from a stop. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph regardless of which transmission is chosen.

When viewed from the outside, the M2 stands out from the M235i — the next model down in the 2 Series hierarchy — thanks to a noticeably aggressive look that starts with wide fender flares on all four corners. The front fascia gains a deep sculpted bumper with three air dams, while the rear end features a discreet trunk-mounted spoiler and four exhaust tips integrated into an air diffuser that’s painted gloss black. BMW explains the M2’s race-inspired body kit reduces lift by 35 percent and drag by five percent compared to a regular-production 2 Series.

Weight checks in at 3,295 pounds — a figure that’s on par with the aforementioned 1 Series M Coupe — thanks to the widespread use of light materials such as aluminum. The M235i that the M2 is based on tips the scale at 3,373 pounds.

Related: BMW’s limited-edition M4 GTS gets a power-boosting water-injection system

The lone leaked picture of the interior reveals the M2 gets a three-spoke steering wheel designed by BMW’s M division, sport seats for the front passengers and a driver-focused instrument cluster with simple, easy-to-read analog gauges. M emblems sprinkled throughout the cockpit remind the passengers that they’re not riding in a run-of-the-mill 2.

Stay tuned, official details about the 2017 BMW M2 will emerge in the next few hours. The coupe will go on sale early next year with a base price of approximately $50,000, and the first deliveries are tentatively scheduled for next summer.