This three-way test provides some answers.
There doesn't seem to be a group test that the BMW M2 can't triumphantly emerge from. Not so long ago, the brawny BMW coupe beat its hot hatch rivals in a group test by our South African colleagues at Cars.co.za, and MotorTrend discovered prior that the M2 could lap the Streets of Willow faster than the more powerful and marginally heavier M4 Coupe. As a result, you'd expect the M2 to just about eke out a win over the M4 and the 1 Series M Coupe in a three-way head-to-head around a tight and twisty race track.
However, that's not necessarily the case. A close analysis of the spec sheets reveal the results could go either way: the 1M has nigh-on identical curb weights and torque outputs to the M2, and the M4 being fielded in this particular comparison test came with the slick-shifting M DCT 'box and the more focused Competition Pack installed.
Unsurprisingly, then, the times were incredibly close: just six-tenths of a second separated the fastest of the three from the slowest, with the runner up finishing roughly half-way in between. We won't spoil the winners and losers for you, though - you can find out which of the turbocharged straight-six sports coupes emerged on top in Auto Express' group test video below. As we said, a pretty close result, and perhaps one that wasn't originally expected. The placing of the 1M was particularly surprising: despite being 30-hp down and packing inferior suspension and braking systems, it only loses out to the M2 by three-tenths of a second.
As Steve Sutcliffe stated in the closing statement of the video, "the less money you spend on your BMW M-car, the better value you get", and the results of this three-way track test has gone some way to convince us that's genuinely the case.