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BMW M2 could woo hardcore fans with a 380-horsepower straight-six

The 2014 BMW M235i should go a long way to restoring the faith of BMW fans, who wouldn’t be mistaken for believing their favorite marque has become more interested in building tech-dampened luxury cruisers and strange niche vehicles than the Ultimate Driving Machine.

Yet the M235i might not be the most extreme performance variant in BMW’s 2 Series range.

According to BMW Blog, the Bavarian Motor Works is mulling an M2 model, which could debut in 2016.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors of an M2, and we want to want to believe them. Who wouldn’t want the performance of one of BMW’s vaunted M models in the tidier package of a 2 series?

That package will likely be livened up by visual enhancements that both aid performance and intimidate other drivers, similar to what BMW did with the 2014 M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The M2 will also reportedly crib hardware from those cars, including the Active M Differential.

Power will come from a tuned version of the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six used in the M235i, but with up to 380 horsepower. That would be a significant increase over the base car’s 326 hp, but wouldn’t threaten the 425-hp M4 coupe.

Well, at least not on paper. With its smaller footprint and (likely) lighter curb weight, an M2 recall more elemental BMW performance cars like the E30 M3, 2002, and even the more recent 1M coupe, which is exactly what many BMW fans are clamoring for.

Unlike the 1M, though, the M2 will reportedly be a mass-production item, so it should be easier to get a hold of one if rumors of its impending arrival prove true.