That was supercar territory not long ago.
You need a pretty extreme piece of machinery to crack the seven-minute barrier at the Nürburgring. Only a handful of supercars have managed it in fact, and they all cost six or even seven figures. The more relevant benchmark, then, is the eight-minute mark. And the latest to join that club is the BMW M2 Competition.
Bavaria's most extreme pocket rocket yet, the M2 Competition squeezes 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque into BMW's smallest coupe. That's a bigger punch than the Ferrari 360 Modena packed a decade and a half ago, but in a form far more accessible – in terms both of price and drivability.
With that much muscle in such a tiny form, it'll run to 62 in just 4.2 seconds before topping out at the typical electronically limited 155 mph. More to the point, though, is that it'll lap the Nordschleife in 7:52.36.
That's what Germany's Sport Auto magazine managed to coax out of it, at any rate. And they should know, having set benchmark times at the circuit on more machinery – foreign and domestic – than just about anyone else. And it puts the little Bimmer that could in rather heady company, starting with the bigger M4 coupe.
It's also the better part of a minute quicker than the "standard" M2, as tested by the same publication. (The factory claims to have lapped it in 7:58.)
As for that Prancing Horse that the M2 Competition trumps in output, well, Sport Auto tested one of those around the Green Hell in 2004, and it clocked a time of 7:56 flat. And that was the more potent and focused Challenge Stradale model. The F430 that followed managed to shave only a second off that time two years later. Such is the rate of progress in the automotive industry, and we can count ourselves suitably impressed.