The CEO of BMW’s M division has admitted that stricter emissions regulations played a key role in the Munich-based brand's decision to replace (rather than supplement) the M2 with a Competition model.

Speaking to BimmerToday, BMW M boss Frank van Meel said that the automaker had to “make an exception” with the M2 Competition, which ditched the outgoing M2’s N55 inline-six in favour of a detuned version of the S55 doing duty in the M3 and M4.

“We had to tackle the issue of emissions. If we had modified the existing M2 engine towards RDE , then we definitely would not have been able to offer more power,” said Van Meel, confirming a report from April 2018.

“That's why we decided to flee to the front … so we took the engine out of the M3 and M4 and put it in the M2. The engine is compatible and is already in use in the M4.

With more power and more torque, the M boss said “we had a motor that fits perfectly for a Competition model”.

“If we had maintained the old positioning, we would have had to throttle the engine further, which was out of the question. Therefore, we had to make an exception to the rule in this case and offer the M2 only as a Competition , where it is priced only slightly above the previous M2. So we decided to make only one car,” he explained.