BMW recently whipped the covers off the new M2 Competition, giving its smallest M-badged coupé more power courtesy of an engine upgrade. But, as a US publication has pointed out, the move isn’t seemingly just about extra oomph. No, it seems the hotter M2 was conceived largely to allow the vehicle to comply with new, stricter emissions regulations.

According to Car and Driver, the outgoing M2’s 3,0-litre inline-six, codenamed N55, would have required extensive re-engineering (likely including the fitment of a space-sapping particulate filter) for it to comply with Europe’s new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) for emissions and fuel consumption.

So, rather than go that presumably more costly route, the Munich-based automaker opted to employ a detuned version of the S55 unit (which has reportedly already been tweaked to meet WLTP standards) from the M3 and M4, thus creating the M2 Competition. Yes, it seems we have tightening emissions regulations to thank for an angrier M2.

The BMW M2 Competition’s new twin-turbo 3,0-litre straight-six makes 302 kW (up from the standard M2’s 272 kW), while peak torque now comes in at 550 N.m, between 2 350 and 5 200 r/min. The result is a claimed 0-100 km/h sprint in 4,2 seconds in auto guise and 4,4 seconds in manual form (each down one-tenth).

BMW South Africa says the new M2 Competition will be available locally from September 2018.