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    AC Schnitzer M2 / #ACS2-Sport / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-Sport / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2 / #BMW-F87 / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F87 / #2016 /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-ACS2 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-F87 / #BMW-2-Series-AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-M2 /


    AC Schnitzer has revealed its full tuning programme for the M2 featuring a range of upgrades for BMW’s pocket rocket. A power upgrade is a given, and Schnitzer has extracted another 50hp from the turbocharged ‘six to give 420hp. This can be combined with Schnitzer’s upgraded chargecooler to provide a sustained, smooth power delivery.

    To ensure that it sounds as well as it goes Schnitzer has added a Sport silencer system complete with valve control with a choice of two different tailpipe trims. Fine handling is assured thanks to Schnitzer’s RS coilover setup which is fully height adjustable (30-40mm lower) and also features adjustable compression and rebound settings. For those wanting a less extreme setup there’s also a spring kit for the car, too.

    Exterior styling comprises a lower front spoiler extension, carbon front wing canards, a carbon rear diffuser and mirror covers and a choice of either a discreet rear lip spoiler or a rather more extreme ‘Racing’ rear spoiler. There are a variety of rims available in either 19- or 20-inch fitments including the forged AC1 in BiColour or matt anthracite. Type V and Type VIII wheels can also be specified, too. For further information and pricing contact AC Schnitzer.

    Contact: AC Schnitzer UK: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk or AC Schnitzer Germany: www.ac-schnitzer.de
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    THE SECOND COMING

    Can the M2 deliver the same sheer driving thrills as the 1M? There’s only one way to find out… The 1M rocked everyone’s world and now the M2 has descended from the heavens to deliver the people from mid-range performance mediocrity Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: #BMW

    When it was launched back in 2011, the 1M cost about £40,000; now, five years on, a 1M costs around… £40,000. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how popular the limited production hot coupé was, and still is.

    While BMW ended up producing rather a lot more cars than the 2700 it initially planned on, with a total of 6309 examples sold worldwide in the end, there were just 450 right-hand drive examples, which is at least part of the reason why second-hand prices remain so incredibly high. The other reason is that it was an absolutely awesome car; the press went mad for it, with praise being heaped on the car for delivering a driving experience akin to the E30 M3, albeit in a more modern guise. The 1M was snapped up by performance-hungry punters, delivered thrills to the chosen few and then it left us, and left us wanting. The 135i was good and the M135i and M235i, now the M140i and M240i, were even better but none of them delivered the same full-on, whiteknuckle driving experience that only a fullyfledged M car can. But now, all that changes with the arrival of the M2.

    First impressions couldn’t be better. It looks absolutely awesome, especially finished in lush and lustrous Long Beach blue, and I actually came out of the office to find one of my colleagues humping the back end of the test car we had in. Genuinely. The styling is on point, with those pumped up arches giving it an almost cartoonishly wide stance. Then you’ve got that swoopy and super aggressive front bumper, the surprisingly good-looking wheels and those shiny quad pipes at the back. It’s not the last word in finesse or delicacy, but it looks so right. The interior, nice as it is, has been singled out by pretty much everyone as a source of disappointment, and, sadly, we have to agree. It looks and feels good but what it doesn’t feel is special; the seats are identical to those in any 1 or 2 Series M Sport model, as is the steering wheels and gear knob. In fact, that only things that set the M2 apart from its lesser brethren are the suede gear knob gaiter and the interior trim, and that’s it. The seats are comfy and grippy, the steering wheel is the perfect size and the gear knob, so reminiscent of the E46 Sport’s example, fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, but, aside from the M2 logo that flashes up on the instrument cluster display when you get into the car, there’s nothing to remind you that you’ve just splashed out £45,000 on what’s meant to be a full-blown M car.

    It’s not a deal breaker, though. Fire up the M2 and it barks into life with a pleasing flourish of noise from those quad pipes and the noisy cold idle gives way to a more neighbour-friendly purr once the engine has warmed up. Noise plays a big part of the buying/owning/driving experience for any car enthusiast and here the M2 excels; where the switch from V8 to straight-six resulted in the F8x M3 and M4 sounding loud, blaring and angry but not especially sexy or alluring, the six-cylinder soundtrack is the perfect fit for the M2. The volume level is spot-on: it’s quieter than the S55 in the M3 and M4, but the engine and exhaust notes also sound more natural and pleasant as a result. It’s a lovely straight-six howl, well-rounded and, based on the soundtrack, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it was turbocharged if you didn’t know.


    For the M2, BMW has turned the wick up on the single-turbo N55 further still and it’s now putting out the sort of power and torque levels you’d expect from a remapped 35i. It now makes 370hp and 343lb ft of torque, 369 on overboost, enough for a 0-62 sprint of 4.5 seconds for the manual and 4.3 seconds for DCT-equipped cars, and the top speed is obviously limited to 155mph. The engine is very strong in the mid-range, with a big hit of torque right where you want it, but it loves to rev and to get the best out of it you really need to take each gear right to the upper reaches of the rev range.

    It never feels poop-your-pants fast, despite its impressive and, let’s not forget, E9x M3-beating-on-paper acceleration figures, but it’s as fast as you’d ever need a car to be and there’s no situation where you’ll find yourself wishing you had more power. It’s not as fast as the F8x M3 or M4, which feel ballistic, but with less power it’s actually better to drive.

    Firstly, and quite importantly, it delivers a far more analogue driving experience than most modern machinery; there’s no variable steering, no adjustable damping, no multiple modes and settings that need to be explored and examined before you can actually start driving the thing. The only thing you need to do is put it in Sport mode to sharpen up the throttle response, then decide how much traction control you want and you’re ready.

    Where the M3 and M4 struggle with traction even in ideal conditions, the M2 has no such trouble and, full-throttle first gear launches aside, it puts the power down without any fuss. It also flows beautifully when piloted along a fast, empty stretch of Tarmac and delivers real driving thrills, the sort that get your heart pumping and spread a broad grin across your face. It also feels incredibly planted; the suspension is firm, yes, but it’s incredibly well damped and is never upset by bumps and undulations in the road. It feels like it’s really attached to the road rather than about to go skipping off into a hedge when the going gets rough. The M2 is a really good car. It looks and feels fantastic to drive, is as quick as you could ever want a car to be, sounds good, delivers genuine driving thrills and does it all whilst costing over £10k less than an M4 and delivering a better driving experience. It really is about as good as it gets.


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F87 / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F87 / #2016 /
    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe
    TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual, optional seven-speed #M-DCT / #DCT / #BMW-DCT /
    WEIGHT (EU) 1570kg (1595*)
    MAX POWER 370hp @ 6500rpm
    MAX TORQUE 343 (369) lb ft @ 1400-5560rpm
    0-62MPH 4.5 (4.3*)
    TOP SPEED 155mph (limited)
    EMISSIONS (CO²) 199g/km (185*)
    FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 33.2 (35.8*)
    PRICE (OTR) £44,070
    (*) denotes M DCT transmission


    “It looks absolutely awesome especially finished in lush Long Beach blue”
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    Light Speed

    We get up close and personal with AC Schnitzer’s wildest creation, the absolutely stunning ACL2. #AC-Schnitzer-ACL2 . Hitting the road in this stunning 570hp M4-engined lightweight. AC Schnitzer’s bonkers ACL2 Geneva show star has been on a serious diet and packs an enhanced M4 punch – it’s an absolute belter Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.

    Wait for it, wait for it… I whiz past the derestriction sign on the Autobahn and can finally let Schnitzer’s latest, and perhaps wildest, creation off the leash. There’s torque in abundance from the tuned M4 motor but for maximum attack I really need to drop it down a cog or two to experience the full savagery of what this bespoke show car has to offer. At the same time as I grasp the stubby yet tactile gear knob the lumbering arctic that’s chugging along in the nearside lane somehow decides that the headlights spearing through the morning gloom aren’t moving that fast so he pulls out and indulges in some elephant racing with another truck for an absolute age.

    The quicker lorry seems to be moving with the speed of cold treacle but after what seems like an eon its millimetric progress is completed and I can finally hit the loud pedal. And loud it certainly is. I’m in third gear and as I plant the throttle pedal firmly into the carpet the rear end hunkers down as the nose rises a smidgen and all the hounds of the Baskervilles are unleashed somewhere back where the rear seats used to be and the ACL2 takes off like the proverbial bat out of hell.


    In what seems like a nanosecond I’m reaching for fourth and then fifth as the ACL2 gobbles up the horizon like the best Sunday lunch it’s ever experienced. The speedo needle seems to be heading round the dial at the same speed as the rev counter and our pace is only slowed again as another truck in the distance heaves its way into the outside lane to prevent further progress towards the ACL2’s quoted top speed of 330km/h – 205mph.

    The fact that the ACL2 is quick should really be a given – it has 570hp after all and has been on a pretty severe diet too – but what does surprise while I’m sitting at an enforced 100km/h behind the truck is quite how civilised it is. Yes, there is a pretty severe exhaust drone when sitting at a constant throttle at certain revs, but shifting up or down a cog soon gets rid of that. And then there’s the ride quality – this might have Schnitzer’s Clubsport suspension setup, but it’s by no means overly harsh… a little jiggly in places, but then this isn’t a 7 Series is it? No, this machine was designed to go fast, and preferably fast away from the Autobahn so after one further acceleration fest we turn off in search of some better driving roads.

    Naturally enough it’s the photography that comes first though so once we’ve found a location that’s to Smithy’s liking we let him get busy with the cameras while I chat to the Schnitzer chaps and delve a little bit further into the technology underneath the ACL2. Schnitzer has a long tradition of making some pretty stunning show cars – the CLS (lightweight tuned E36 M3), the CLS II (ditto but based on the E36 Evo), the V8 Roadster (a Z3 complete with 4.4-litre V8), the Topster (an E39 M5-engined Z4)… there are plenty more in the company’s archives but this year the company wanted to go all-out and produce a machine for Geneva that would put the new M2 in the shade and really stand out from the crowd.

    No doubt life would have been very much easier for the company had it revealed the ACL2 a few months down the line as it could have used the M2 as the basis for its conversion, but if the car was to be ready for Geneva an M235i would have to be used as the donor car. The aim was to produce a car with plenty of power, but one which had also lost some of its excess fat too. One of AC Schnitzer’s tuning mantras is ‘less is more’ so putting the M235i on a diet was a must and while tuning the M235i’s 326hp was certainly possible it wasn’t going to produce the results Schnitzer wanted for the car so an engine swap was on the cards, too.

    Thus out went the N55 straight-six to be replaced by the altogether rortier S55 from the M4, but even with 431hp the M4’s lump needed some further fettling to reach the sort of power-to-weight ratio that Schnitzer craved. The intake system was optimised and clad in sexy carbon while a Schnitzer exhaust with sports cats and a certain amount of electronic jiggery pokery soon released the engine’s potential to give 570hp at 6100rpm and a monstrous 546lb ft of torque at 3500rpm. Healthy gains I think you’ll agree and when combined with the M235i’s diet programme the ACL2 now has a better power-to-weight ratio than an M4 GTS and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. No surprise, then, that it’ll knock off the 0-62mph sprint in 3.9 seconds and will accelerate from rest to 125mph in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 10.9 seconds.


    In order to ensure that all this power can be safely transmitted to the road Schnitzer elected to fit the front and rear axles from the M4 to the M235i and the wider track necessitated the fitment of the front and rear wheel arch extensions, along with the more aggressive front spoiler assembly and a gorgeous carbon rear diffuser. Schnitzer elected to paint the whole car in what it describes as ‘Classic Racing Green’ and the colour’s a nod back to the company’s past as the CLS II was painted in a similar hue. In an ideal world it would have liked to have called the ACL2 the CLS III, but another German manufacturer now owns the rights to the CLS moniker…

    Personally I’m not a huge fan of the rear wing – I must admit I don’t like the BMW one on the M4 GTS either – aesthetically I’d much rather see a ducktail item a la M3 CSL, but given the speeds this Schnitzer machine is capable of I can see that you’d want to ensure a decent amount of downforce at over 200mph. There are liberal doses of carbon littering the exterior of the car and there are some neat touches such as the new LED indicators housed under Schnitzer’s new side gills. The bonnet itself is carbon fibre to reduce weight.

    Externally there’s no getting away from the lightweight forged AC1 alloy wheels with their bright orange/polished finish – I wasn’t quite sure on the finish in the harsh light of the Geneva show halls, but now seeing them out in the open I think the colour scheme actually works rather well. They are 10x20-inch all round and shod with 285/25 ZR20 Michelin Pilot Super Sports – only the best for Schnitzer’s pocket rocket. Nestling behind the rims are a set of monster brakes – carbon ceramics measuring 400x38mm at the front and 380x28mm at the rear. If those measurements sound familiar that’s because these discs are also donated by the M4, although Schnitzer has changed the yellow six-and four-pot callipers to black.

    It wouldn’t be a proper show car if the interior hadn’t been upgraded and Schnitzer has really gone to town with the ACL2 – it’s a wonderful place to spend wheel time. The heavy standard M235i seats have been dropped in favour of a pair of carbonshelled racing buckets that have been exquisitely trimmed in green and black Nappa leather while the door trim panels have been clad in black suede with contrast green stitching. The dash highlights have been picked out in green as have the steering wheel inserts, and the actual wheel is a Schnitzer ‘Evo’ item. One of the dash vents has been replaced by an Awron digital screen that displays all sorts of data from peak power and torque to temperatures to boost levels and so on. It doesn’t do all that much when stationary which leads to all sorts of hilarity when I later ask Smithy to get a picture of it with some high outputs displayed. Apparently trying to point a Nikon with a big lens at a particular part of the dash while going for a full bore standing start isn’t all that easy!

    Elsewhere inside, the rear seats have been ditched and the remaining platform has been neatly carpeted, again in the interest of saving weight, and there are a few Schnitzer goodies around the cabin such as a pedal set, handbrake handle and aluminium ‘Black Line’ gear knob. The handbrake and gear lever gaiters are trimmed in the same suede as the door trim panels and the overall effect is pretty stunning. It does get a little warm though as the air conditioning has also been ditched in favour of saving weight.

    Eventually Smithy’s finished with the static pictures and I linger a last few moments drinking in the underbonnet detailing which is lovely, with beautifully finished carbon fibre and a smattering of green on top of the air intake. I gingerly close the bonnet, taking care of that one-off piece of carbon fibre and once again slip behind the wheel to find out how well this rocket ship performs away from the motorway.

    Once the car-to-car photography is complete it’s time for some serious action. Just starting the ACL2 for the first time really gets one’s automotive juices flowing as the exhaust sounds seriously aggressive and at idle it’s a bass-heavy rumble that would make your neighbours go off you very rapidly indeed. At slower speeds it’s relatively muted, but hit that Drive Performance Control switch into Sport mode and put the hammer down and all hell breaks loose. It sounds very, very angry – in a good way – and the harder you push the car the more spine-tingling the exhaust note becomes. It dominates proceedings, bellowing its approval as you run up and down through the gearbox, eliciting a veritable barrage of pops and bangs every time you change gear. It almost wouldn’t matter if it turned out the ACL2 handled like a skateboard on an ice rink, such is the aural delight developed by Schnitzer’s work.


    Fortunately though there’s more to this car than a very noisy set of quad pipes as the harder I push it the better the car responds. In the back of my mind is the fact that this is a very expensive one-off creation and while it would be easy to hide it in the green grass that’s surrounding our chosen section of road I don’t think Schnitzer’s top brass would be too impressed. The roads are smooth and well-surfaced though and the corners are relatively well sighted and the ACL2 devours them with real verve. I’m pleased for the tight-fitting bucket seats when I begin to tackle the corners with vigour. There’s plenty of feel coming through my fingertips translating what’s going on with the front wheels while the tight seat allows you to get a real idea of what the chassis is doing too. Given the monster rubber, the dry conditions and the Drexler limited-slip differential Schnitzer’s fitted there are staggeringly high levels of grip on offer, but accelerating away from a standstill in a straight line demonstrates that the ACL2 will certainly break traction more or less whenever you want it to.

    In deference to the one-off nature of this machine I’m not going to go all gung ho and attempt on the lock stops drifting for the camera, but with the traction control in its halfway house there’s enough movement from the rear to get a feel for what a well-balanced and poised machine this really is. It might have a sledgehammer under the bonnet but there’s a delicacy to its responses to small inputs that’s most gratifying.

    Then there’s the fact that everything that’s supposed to work, works properly. The M4 engine in the car was originally mated to an M DCT ‘box but for the ACL2 Schnitzer wanted to fit a manual as it weighs less than the DCT and also represents the ultimate driver’s spec. Getting the new manual to talk to the various control units was a bit of nightmare but Schnitzer has done such a good job that even the blipping of the throttle on down changes works as seamlessly as it does in a standard M4.

    If you stop driving like a loon it’s also surprisingly easy to pilot the ACL2 along – the controls are perfectly weighted and the throttle response is exemplary, with minimal inputs offering the appropriate gentle acceleration. At the other end of the spectrum, large doses of throttle induce the sort of grin that becomes painful after a few minutes. As a way to have fun the ACL2 really can’t have many, if any, peers.

    All good things come to an end though and before too long it’s time to head back to Schnitzer’s Aachen HQ. Time for one last acceleration-fest as we blast past the lorries that thankfully stay in their correct lane and once again I’m blown away with the massive levels of acceleration as well as the high-speed stability that’s on offer. On the odd occasion that a slower machine does wander into my path those carbon ceramic stoppers wash off excess speed with alacrity and all the while that monster exhaust rises and falls in timbre, signalling its approval at giving it a proper work out.

    The styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but you really can’t criticise the engineering integrity that’s gone into this Schnitzer project car. As a light weight concept that goes like lightning it’s the real deal. The only question that remains is how to persuade Schnitzer to build another one for my collection…

    CONTACT:
    AC Schnitzer UK
    Tel: 01485 542000
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk
    AC Schnitzer Germany
    Tel: +49 (0)241 56 88 130
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.de

    / #2016 / #AC-Schnitzer-ACL2 / #S55-AC-Schnitzer / #S55 / #BMW-S55 / #AC-Schnitzer / #Drexler / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-F87 / #AC-Schnitzer-ACL2-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-F87 / #BMW-F22 / #2016 / #BMW

    ENGINE: Replacement of the standard M235i engine with M4’s S55 with AC Schnitzer performance upgrade, speed limiter removed by programming of the control unit, optimised carbon air intake
    MAX POWER: 570hp @ 6100rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 546lb ft (750Nm) @ 3500rpm
    0-62MPH: 3.9 seconds
    0-125MPH: 205mph (330km/h)
    DRIVETRAIN: Six-speed manual gearbox, AC Schnitzer/Drexler limited-slip differential with 25-95 per cent locking
    EXHAUST: AC Schnitzer downpipe, AC Schnitzer sports silencer system with special catalyst (200 cell), AC Schnitzer ‘Racing Evo Carbon’ tail trims
    BRAKES: Front: six-piston callipers, carbon ceramic brake discs in 400x38mm diameter (perforated). Rear: fourpiston callipers, carbon ceramic brake discs in 380x28mm diameter (perforated)
    SUSPENSION: Exchange of the standard axles with M4 items, AC Schnitzer Clubsport suspension, height adjustable and adjustable in compression and rebound, M4 carbon strut brace
    WHEEL SET: AC Schnitzer lightweight forged wheels in AC1 bicolour – red anodised/polished. Front & rear: 10x20-inch with 285/25 ZR 20 Michelin PSS tyres
    AERODYNAMICS AC Schnitzer special paint – Classic Racing Green, AC Schnitzer carbon bonnet with bonnet vents (black), AC Schnitzer front skirt with carbon front spoiler elements, front splitter and carbon front side wings (two each side), AC Schnitzer special sports mirrors, AC Schnitzer carbon rear diffuser, AC Schnitzer carbon rear wing, AC Schnitzer front and rear wheel arch extensions (70 mm wider each side)
    INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer bicolour leather interior: green and perforated Nappa leather in combination with black suede leather with green stitching, interior panels painted matt in Classic Racing Green, rear seats removed, AC Schnitzer carbon racing seats bicolour with black/green nappa leather and leather in carbon design with ACL2 emblems, AC Schnitzer three-spoke sports airbag steering wheel ‘Evo’ with Nappa and perforated leather and green suede, carbon door handles and center console, AC Schnitzer control display for oil temperature, intake air temperature and boost pressure etc, AC Schnitzer aluminium pedals, footrest, gear knob and handbrake handle.
    WEIGHT: 1450kg
    PRICE: Concept only – not for sale

    The rear end hunkers down as the nose rises a smidgen and all the hounds of the Baskervilles are unleashed.
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    / #2016 / #M-Performance Accessories for the #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-Coupe-F87 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW-M2-Coupe / #BMW M2 Coupé M Performance Accessories F87 / #BMW-M2-M-Performance-F87 / #BMW-M2-Coupe-M-Performance-F87

    The M2 is just about to hit the streets and #BMW has already launched a range of sexy M Performance accessories for the car. Here’s what’s available…

    Interior styling

    As you’d expect there are number of options to personalise the interior of your M2 with a variety of M Performance accessories to choose from. There’s a carbon #M-DCT cover (£389); interior trim in carbon and Alcantara (£599); a choice of two steering wheels: Wheel II with race display (£1149) and Wheel III (£649 – available from June); stainless steel pedals (£99); stainless steel footrest (£110); M Performance floor mats (£74.50 for the front, £44.50 for the rear) and a set of LED door sill finishers at £149.

    Prices for all M Performance accessories are inclusive of VAT but not fitting. Contact your preferred BMW retailer for more information.

    Exterior styling

    There are plenty of tasty carbon additions for the M2: front spoiler side attachments (£437 each); side sill attachments (£441 each); mirror covers (£199.50 each); a rear diffuser (£880); and a carbon rear spoiler at £386. Also available in a high-gloss black finish are a pair of kidney grilles (£97.50 each) and a pair of side bars to fit the ‘gills’ in the front wings at £52.50 each.

    Exhaust system

    The M Performance exhaust has been designed to not just look good, but to sound good too. It features a valve system with Bluetooth 4.0 control and two operating modes. Sport mode is approved for use on public roads and offers a sporty sound suitable for everyday situations while the Track mode has been developed for use on the race track and offers maximum volume and sound for a more intensive driving experience. In addition to the acoustic upgrade of the car, the tailpipe silencer features an embossed M Performance logo and 80mm tailpipes including a perforated inner pipe. Tailpipe trim finishers are available in either carbon (pictured above) or titanium. Exhaust (£2000); carbon fibre tailpipe trims (£899 – set of four); Titanium tailpipe trims (£599 – set of four).

    Suspension

    BMW says that the #BMW-M-Performance Sport chassis retrofit for the M2 significantly increases the driving dynamics performance of the vehicle. It’s a height-adjustable coilover suspension setup with adjustable rebound and compression settings – 12 for rebound and 12 for compression. Price £2221.92.
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    / #2016 #BMW-M2 / #BMW / #BMW-M2-Coupe-F87 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW-F87 /

    M2 crowned Top Gear Coupé of the Year

    It’s not even officially on sale yet but the M2 has already started winning awards from the UK’s motoring press, with Top Gear naming it as its Coupé of the Year. Commenting on the award, Top Gear’s consultant editor said: “It’s refined, well-equipped and nicely built. A quality item all-round. Not too garishly styled either, but those widened wings tell the story to people who know… It’s very hard indeed to think of a better new car for your £44,070.”
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    Precious Metal. This year’s hottest property is going to be the M2 – the best M car that #BMW currently makes? Here’s how the entry-level #BMW-M car eclipses every other model in the line-up… Words: Shane O’ Donoghue. Photography: BMW.


    Forget what you know about the frisky BMW 1 Series M Coupé and forget everything we’ve ever said about the F80 M3 Saloon and F82 M4 Coupé. It’s true that the new M2 shares its wide-tracked, short wheelbase proportions with its predecessor and uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine too. It’s also true that the M3/M4’s rear axle, wheels and choice engine components have been drafted in to create the M2. But you need to put all that out of your head from the start, as it takes only a few minutes at the wheel to realise that this is a completely different proposition. One we think you’ll like. A lot.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Our first chance to clap eyes on the new M2 in daylight came just minutes before we got behind the wheel at the Laguna Seca race track in the States. A bright sun helped the aptly named Long Beach blue metallic paint sparkle, but even on a grey day in Slough we reckon the M2 will brighten things up. It manages that BMW M trick of looking unquestionably muscular without any glaringly obvious body add-ons. After all, we’re already fans of the M235i’s styling, but put this next to it and that car looks, well, weedy. The stunning 19-inch forged alloys set the tone, even if they result in a high-up looking car at times. They’re complemented by the expected quartet of suggestive tailpipes (dip into the M Performance Parts catalogue and you can enlarge these further, trim them in carbon and alter the sound using Bluetooth) at the rear, as part of the aerodynamic diffuser.

    While there you’ll notice the most obvious styling departure from the standard 2 Series Coupé, the significantly wider track. The rear wheels are some 80mm further apart in the M2 due to the use of the M3/M4’s axle and Active M differential, and the bodywork has been suitably stretched and remodelled to suit. The result is aggressive, brawny and downright appealing to anyone that has half an interest in cars. It gives the M2 Coupé a real squareset stance, which may allay fears some may have of all that power in such a short package.

    More hints at what lies beneath can be found up front, where a deep and sculpted bumper is as much air vent as it is plastic. The vertical slats on the extremities are what BMW calls Air Curtains and they form part of an extensive (though nearly invisible) aero package that reduces lift by a useful 35 per cent, while making the car more stable at high speed, yet BMW also quotes a five per cent reduction in drag.

    That’s in spite of the M2’s wider tyres and bigger need for cooling, as evidenced by those large air intakes in the front bumper. The M DCT cars feature an oil cooler fed by one of these vents, while all versions get an extra water cooler for the engine itself.

    And what a powerplant it is, sort of a mix between the N55 unit in the M235i and the S55 engine used in the M3/M4. Unsurprisingly, it’s a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder design, keeping the twin scroll, single-turbo induction of the N55, but it uses the S55’s pistons, high-performance spark plugs and crankshaft main bearing shells. The result is 370hp at 6500rpm (just 500rpm shy of the rather smooth rev limiter) and a useful 343lb ft of torque. Not only does the latter come on stream from 1400rpm and hang around until 5560rpm, it actually spikes to 369lb ft during ECU-regulated ‘overboost’ periods. In reality, on cut-and-thrust British B-roads, at any time other than a heatwave, the likelihood is that the full beans will be at the driver’s disposal constantly. Even in the Californian heat we never managed to catch the engine out, even if, ultimately, it’s never as uncomfortably fast as the M3/M4 can be. Still, a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds isn’t to be sniffed at.

    That’s the official figure when the six-speed manual gearbox is fitted; the M DCT is 0.2 seconds faster. But this car is more about feedback and driving enjoyment than lap times and for that reason we’d recommend the manual transmission. It has a more satisfying and mechanical feeling change than the springy manual gearbox in the M3/M4 (but not bought by anyone), with small wrist movements only required to bolt through the gears. What’s more, the clutch is well-weighted, again without the springiness of BMW M cars past. Our only gripe with the manual option is that the only way to turn off the automatic rev-matching feature is to toggle the Driving Experience Control switch into Sport+. We suspect that most buyers that stick with a manual gearbox in a car like the M2 would like to partake in some heel and toeing. Saying that, if you blip the throttle yourself on the down-shift before the electronics do, it leaves you to it, so it’s well-programmed at least.

    Those familiar with BMW M’s seven-speed dualclutch transmission (DCT) can expect more of the same here, but it’ll surprise anyone that hasn’t experienced it. In its softest setting, the car burbles along at low revs, conserving its fuel, while the gearbox smoothly changes up and down, making it a doddle to pootle through traffic or cruise along the motorway. But there are effectively six different modes taking into account automatic or manual operation and the three driving settings – Comfort, Sport and Sport+. At its most extreme, under full-bore acceleration, the transmission bangs in the next gear in a manner that’ll cause your passengers to wince and, at times, the rear tyres to chirrup. Back down through the gears it summons up evocative throttle blips too, which is certain to have owners changing up and down for no other reason.

    This is all augmented by the bespoke exhaust system with its electronically controlled flap system. It reverberates purposefully at idle and from the outside it sounds mean and aggressive at full throttle, but within it’s quite composed until you trouble the upper reaches of the rev counter – or you select one of the Sport driving modes. It’s so refined inside that BMW felt the need to pipe engine noise through the stereo system. Not that you’d notice, as it sounds real, though as much as we like the hard-edged blare, we can’t help but hanker after the melodic naturally aspirated units of old.

    The interior is a good place to be and all the usual M signifiers are present and correct. There aren’t many options so the standard specification is generous, including black Dakota leather sports seats with subtle blue stitching and the M logo embossed into the backrests. There’s electronic adjustment of the side bolsters for the front seats too, to cater for all shapes and sizes and hold you in place firmly.

    Tellingly, there’s also a new leather trimmed and bluestitched knee pad on the side of the centre console for the driver. In front is a tactile three-spoke leatherwrapped (stitched in the M colours) sports steering wheel that is smaller and more slender than that in the M3/M4. In the M DCT car there are sharp, nononsense gear change paddles behind this. All cars get an unusual open pore carbon fibre trim material throughout the cabin that’s rough and textured to the touch. But that’s the only sign of weight reduction, as the equipment count includes niceties such as Professional Navigation, dual-zone climate control and the Professional Media Package.

    Take a closer look at the centre console of the M2 and you’ll note the distinct lack of drive system settings buttons, as you’d normally see on all of the larger M cars. That’s because BMW M decided to keep the M2 simple. So there’s no adaptive damping, not even on the options list. Same for variable ratio steering and carbon ceramic brakes. Instead, the Driving Experience Control toggle button groups everything together, from the two-mode electric power steering to the throttle map and exhaust settings, plus the rear differential and, if fitted, the M DCT gearbox. Though the Sport+ setting, by default, switches the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system into M Dynamic Mode (MDM), the DSC’s three settings (on, MDM and off) can be chosen individually by the driver.

    In Comfort mode, the M2 is quite civilised, though never quiet, which we like. It’s as easy to drive as any other 2 Series, easier even thanks to the tractability of the engine. We’d only bother with that when on a long motorway cruise though, as things get more interesting in Sport and Sport+. The noise and response levels ramp up considerably and it’s difficult not to get carried away. On track, we were advised to use Sport+ and it does indeed seem ideal for smooth, fast lapping. The MDM setting allows enough slip at the rear axle to help with maintaining momentum out of the corners without the DSC cutting in at the merest hint of a slide. Once you’re au fait with the car, however, there’s no fear in switching off the DSC completely, in the dry at least, as there’s loads of traction to be found.

    Do that and you’ll uncover the true personality of this car, as it turns out to be a far friendlier and more forgiving chassis than the M3 and M4’s. With the space and freedom of a track at our disposal we were able to push beyond the limits of traction. Purely in the interests of research you understand… After six or so fast laps of Laguna Seca, it was clear that the Michelin road tyres were getting hot, but even so, the front axle remained completely true, tucking in the nose and precisely going where you want it to, with never a hint of understeer. And yet, there’s no scary unpredictable oversteer to deal with either. The M2’s natural stance is neutral and you can really feel the nigh-on 50:50 weight distribution and balance at work mid-corner, where the car is utterly stable.

    But it’s far from inert and it doesn’t take too much provocation to unstick the rear tyres’ purchase on the Tarmac and lock the rear differential. Despite the short wheelbase and quick initiation into a drift, the M2 is incredibly easy to hold a long power slide with the rear tyres smoking gratuitously for the camera. It’s much more controllable in this situation than its big brothers and the power delivery seems smoother too. Now, we know that few drivers can or want to drive in such a manner, but the experiment did reveal how approachable the M2 is.

    Performing in such a manner on a wide, smooth, warm race circuit is one thing, but the M2 needs to excel on tight and twisty B-roads for it to be a success in our eyes. And we found a good approximation of such a thing at the launch, though again it was warm and dry. Nonetheless, the M2 was astoundingly good on a 20-mile stretch of bucking, weaving and often bumpy American back road. It can be flung into tight corners with impunity, forgiving ham-fisted inputs, mid-corner adjustments and late braking nonchalantly.

    That’s not to say it does everything for you though; it’s just so composed, so planted and capable that it soaks up abuse and continues to put its power down and maintain its pace almost regardless of the state of the road. Its compact size and wide track undoubtedly help here. Sure, the fixed damping is firm, but we never found it particularly uncomfortable. It’s worth noting that, through all this, the driver is thoroughly engaged, with strong brakes, communicative and ultra-direct steering and the sense that the active diff is completely on your side at all times. You don’t even need to be troubling the speed limit to enjoy the M2. That’s perhaps one of the biggest differences between it and the M3/M4.

    Now, we accept that we came away from the M3/M4 launch wowed too and then when it arrived on wet and slippery British roads realised its limitations, so we’ll reserve final judgement on the M2 until it has proven its mettle in all conditions. But we have high hopes that this will be one of the most unforgettable new cars of the year.

    The M2 is pleasingly simple – no adaptive dampers or variable rate steering buttons to adorn the centre console – and the car’s all the better for it; the main decision potential owners face is whether to opt for the manual or #DCT gearbox.

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-F87 / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #2016 / #BMW-M2-M-DCT-F87 / #BMW-M2-M-DCT

    LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT: 4468/1854/1410mm
    WHEELBASE: 2693mm
    TRACK (FRONT/REAR): 1579/1601mm
    WEIGHT (EU): 1570kg (1595)
    ENGINE: Straight-six, twin-scroll turbo
    CAPACITY: 2979cc
    MAX POWER: 370hp at 6500rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 343lb ft @ 1400-5560rpm, 369lb ft on overboost from 1450-4750rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.5 seconds (4.3)
    50-75MPH (5TH GEAR): 4.4 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (168mph with M Driver’s Package – not available in UK)
    ECONOMY: 33.2mpg (35.8)
    C0² EMISSIONS: 199g/km (185)
    SUSPENSION: Aluminium double-joint spring strut with M-specific elastokinematics (front), aluminium five-link axle with M-specific elastokinematics (rear)
    BRAKES: Four-piston floating-callipers with 380mm vented discs (front), double-piston floating-callipers with 370mm vented discs (rear)
    STEERING: Electric Power Steering (EPS) with M-specific Servotronic function
    TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual (seven-speed M DCT optional), Active M differential
    WHEELS: 9x19-inch (front) and 10x19-inch (rear) Forged M double-spoke alloys
    TYRES: 245/35 ZR19 (front) and 265/35 ZR19 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport
    PRICE (OTR): £44,070
    Figures in brackets refer to seven-speed #M-DCT / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe

    From the outside it sounds mean and aggressive at full throttle, but within it’s quite composed
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    The Wasp Factory #Manhart #BMW-M235i-F22 #2015 #Manhart-Performance #BMW-F22

    Performance has taken the #BMW-M235i and turned it into a fire-breathing weapon. Manhart’s black and yellow M235i has been taken to the max and back again to create a fire-breathing 400+ horsepower #BMW-M2 rival Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.

    Waiting for the arrival of a new M car can be a frustrating business. We know the M2 will be along shortly, or at least by the end of the year – thinly disguised prototypes clad in the typical black and white swirly-pattened wraps have been keeping the spy photographers busy for a while – and a few scant details about the car have appeared in American BMW dealer paperwork that’s been leaked on the internet. But when you ask BMW M’s chairman of the board Frank van Meel about the car (as we did when we talked to him at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race) the car’s existence cannot be confirmed or denied.

    It’s definitely coming though, and when it is eventually revealed you can more or less bet your bottom dollar that it will be very similar in concept to the much-loved 1 Series M Coupé that had a limited production run of just under 6500 examples during 2011 and 2012. Thus it will be a blend of M235i and M4 components and promises to be a pretty stunning machine, but, and it’s quite a big but, you can guarantee that #BMW won’t endow it with so much performance that it will take sales away from the much more profitable M4 – that just wouldn’t make financial sense. So if you’re after the ultimate in pocket rockets you’re probably going to have to look to the aftermarket, and you don’t even have to wait for the arrival of the proper M2 either as Manhart Performance is already building it in the form of its MH2 400 WB.

    It’s not a machine for shrinking violets, at least not in the form you see here, as this machine was actually built for the company’s stand at the Essen Motor Show at the tail end of last year which accounts for the special black wrap with yellow highlights, but as it stands, hunkered down on its Clubsport suspension in front of us, it does look pretty awe-inspiring. It doesn’t matter where you look, there seems to be very little of the standard M235i left and it’s plain to see that Manhart has carried out a very comprehensive conversion.

    Let’s start with the looks as so far all we’ve done with the car is trundle down the road from Manhart’s HQ to a suitably dilapidated building that seems to have piqued snapper Smithy’s creative juices. All we really know about the MH2 so far is that on cold start up it sounds a little like someone has just unleashed the hound of the Baskervilles and that the four-point harnesses are a pain in the backside for road work.

    Even sitting stationary it looks absurdly purposeful, as if it’s an affront to its DNA that it should have to sit still for any length of time. At the heart of its looks is a Manhart wide-body kit that features a set of heavily revised front- and rear-wheel arches that appear even wilder than those fitted to the M235i Racing track car and widen the M235i by 12 centimetres. These blistered arches have been skilfully blended with a few items from the BMW M Performance accessories catalogue such as the lower front lip spoiler, the rear diffuser and the carbon boot spoiler.

    The overall effect is absolutely stunning. If you like your pocket rocket to look as mean as it sounds this must be the perfect look for your M235i. As well as the paint work the other aspect that makes the car look particularly aggressive is the set of Manhart ‘Concave One’ alloys, 20-inches in diameter and 9.25-inches wide at the front and 10.5-inches wide at the rear. These are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres measuring 255/30 and 295/25 front and rear respectively. The wheels on this example are the matt black versions with a yellow key line painted around the edge of the rim, but if I were buying I’d go for the silver version of the wheel – I’m bit old school and prefer wheels to be silver!

    That’s nit-picking though as the aesthetics are simply stunning and every time I drink in another detail of the nightclub bouncer-look exterior I just want to jump in and drive the wheels off it to see if it’s as similarly hardcore from behind the wheel. As this was a show car built to a ‘Clubsport’ spec, Manhart has also gone to town on the interior with a set of Recaro Pole position seats, the deletion of the rear seats which have been replaced with a half cage painted in the lurid yellow and to which have been attached a set of Schroth harnesses.

    Plenty of the interior details have also been picked out in yellow and Manhart has installed a few items from the M Performance accessories catalogue here too, such as the hand brake handle, gear knob and pedal set. There is also one of those rather natty displays replacing one of the air vents that shows boost, power and torque, performance etc which does look rather cool and can display a whole host of useful information.

    So far then there’s no doubting the Manhart MH2 400 WB looks the part and from our brief excursion down the road it sounds the part too, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the M2 it’s going to have to have the performance to back up those looks and Manhart has certainly come up trumps in this department. The company has been fettling BMWs for more years than it cares to remember although it’s actually only fairly recently that it has been doing this under its own name, but with the advent of the turbocharged BMW engine it’s really been able to bring big power outputs to the table. Its work on the M235i’s N55 ‘six is no exception with power taking a hike from 326hp to 413hp at 6250rpm while torque has been boosted from 332lb ft to 416lb ft at 3590rpm. The top speed limiter has also been removed which Manhart reckons takes top speed up to over 300km/h which is getting on for 190mph. To release this additional power, Manhart has tweaked the ECU, installed a cat-less downpipe and a bigger bore exhaust as well as installing its uprated intercooler which gives 30 per cent more cooling power than the standard item.

    Power, as they say, is nothing without control, and to this effect Manhart has endowed its MH2 with a series of revisions under the skin to ensure that the additional power and torque can be safely deployed. Stopping power has been taken care of by a set of Manhart 350x34mm front discs clamped by six-pot callipers and while the rear brakes are the standard production items, Manhart has installed steel flexi pipes and Pagid pads, too. As you’d expect the suspension setup has also been honed with the installation of a KW Clubsport three-way adjustable setup which also lowers the car by 40-45mm. Completing the package of under-the-skin upgrades are a Manhart limited-slip differential and a Sachs sintered clutch.

    Prior to our visit, the car has been used for plenty of track work so it’s been setup pretty aggressively but now Smithy’s finished with the static and detail pictures we can finally put Manhart’s extensive work to the test. Installing oneself in the cockpit is both a pleasure and a pain. The Recaro seats grip you perfectly in all the right places but the Schroth harnesses are a pain in the behind in a road car, but that would easily be cured by simply leaving them off the spec of my MH2!

    Firing the beast up brings the typically bass-heavy burrumph you expect to hear from a modern turbocharged machine that’s running a meaty exhaust system, and it doesn’t matter how many times you hear it, it always raises the hairs on the back of your neck in anticipation for what’s to follow. The Manhart exhaust does score well for soon settling down to a pretty muted idle though as a system that’s just loud for the sake of it soon becomes pretty wearing.

    The first task is to negotiate our path out of Wuppertal and at low speeds the MH2 is perfectly drivable, although the sintered clutch can be a bit of a pain, juddering slightly if you don’t get a perfect pullaway from a standstill. Again it’s not a criticism of the car, it’s merely a standard feature of this type of clutch – if you don’t want it you don’t have to have it, although if you’re going to be doing a significant amount of track work it would be a wise buy. The Pagid pads also like to squeal a little at low speeds, but again if you’re primarily going to be using your MH2 on the road you’d leave them off the order and stick with standard pads.


    As we start to leave the town of Wuppertal behind and snake along the river valley the MH2 starts to come alive a little more. There’s a huge amount of performance potential here and rapid progress can be made by simply leaving the car in a higher gear and mildly flexing your ankle. If you want more, simply drop down a cog or two and floor it and you’ll be very firmly pinned back into the Recaro seat while the Pilot Super Sports struggle for traction as the rear end squats and the nose rises. Make no mistake this MH2 is very, very rapid indeed, and once you’ve started using more revs you get some delicious pops and crackles from the exhaust on the over run or when you change gear.

    We pull off the main road in search of some more entertaining roads and while the ride quality can be a little lumpy at times (it is set up for smooth track work remember) the car feels hugely planted at all times, especially as speeds rise and we attack a little harder. A couple of tighter hairpins demonstrate that it has an astonishing reluctance to understeer and unless you’re pretty brutal with the throttle the rear end remains very planted as well. When traffic allows we dip further into the MH2’s performance and we have to say it feels every bit as quick as its 400+ horsepower would suggest and without another machine to make a back-to-back comparison we can’t say for sure, but it feels every bit as fast as an M4. Ramp the pace back and it becomes a pretty docile companion once again providing the road surface is decent and now we’ve given those stoppers a proper work out (which they passed with flying colours) the Pagid pads have quietened down too.

    Sadly our time with the car is all too brief as we have another appointment in Germany to get off to but we have certainly had a pretty decent insight into what the MH2 has to offer. For me it feels like the perfect size for a performance car, especially on the UK’s smaller roads where even something like an M4 can almost feel a little unwieldy. Its performance is stunning and when you’re on a charge the soundtrack is sublime, too.

    If you’re after an M2 before it’s officially on sale then chances are Manhart’s MH2 400 WB is the closest thing you’re going to get, and who knows, perhaps the official M2 might not even be as sharp as this. One thing’s for sure, though, if Manhart can do something as impressive as this with an #BMW-M235i-Manhart-Performance just imagine what it’ll be able to create using the M2 as a basis. We can’t wait to find out.

    CONTACT:

    Manhart Performance
    Tel: +49(0)2 0294 624445
    Website: www.manhart-performance.de


    TECH DATA #Manhart-Performance-MH2-400WB #BMW-F22-Manhart-Performance
    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbocharged
    MAX POWER: 413hp @ 6250rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 416lb ft @ 3590rpm
    TOP SPEED: 188mph

    MODIFICATIONS
    ENGINE: Manhart MH-tronik Performance Kit Stage 2, Manhart high flow intercooler.

    EXHAUST: Manhart Sport-exhaust, 2x90mm tailpipes (Export version), Manhart ‘Race’ downpipe (cat-less Export version).

    SUSPENSION: KW Clubsport Coilover Suspension (three-way adjustable) set up to Manhart's specification.

    WHEELS: Manhart Concave ONE Forged 9.25x20-inch (front), 10.5x20-inch (rear).

    TYRES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 255/30 ZR20 (front), 295/25 ZR20 (rear).

    BRAKES: Manhart six-piston front callipers with 34x350mm discs and Pagid pads (front); standard discs with Pagid pads (rear), steel flexi lines all-round.

    EXTERIOR: Manhart wide-body kit, #BMW-M-Performance front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear diffuser, mirror caps, Manhart design elements in yellow.

    INTERIOR: Recaro Pole Position seats, Schroth four-point harnesses, rear seat delete, half cage, Awron vent gauge, BMW M Performance handbrake handle, pedal set, gear knob.

    DRIVETRAIN: Manhart 0-100 per cent locking limitedslip differential, Sachs sintered clutch.

    This MH2 is very rapid and you get some delicious pops and cracks from the exhaust. If you like your pocket rocket to look as mean as it sounds, this must be the perfect look for your M235i.

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    #2016 M rumours – #BMW-M2
    As always, the internet is awash with rumours about the future M cars and the stories currently doing the rounds revolve around the M2, the M4 GTS and a potential high performance version of the i8. Working in chronological order we know that an M2 will be coming out and are expecting a machine very much in the mould of the 1 Series M Coupé which will mean a skilful amalgamation of regular production components and those found on the M3 and M4. We’re not expecting a version of the M3/M4 engine under the bonnet though, instead the car will use a tweaked version of the #M235i ’s unit with an expected output of around 370hp.

    Many chassis parts will be taken from the M3 and M4 while we’re expecting the body to be a moderately sanitised version of the one fitted to the #BMW M235i Racing. There is plenty of discussion over the car’s gearbox though and one theory is that it will, like the 1M, only be available with a manual ‘box to avoid #M2 sales impinging on those of the M3 and M4 which are almost exclusively being ordered with the #M-DCT transmission. M4 test mules have recently been seen circulating the Nordschleife wearing BMW Safety Car logos but this minimal disguise has failed to stop us from concluding that these are actually M4 GTS test cars. When we were on the launch of the new #M4 , BMW M’s Albert Biermann more or less confirmed that there would be a replacement in the pipeline for the much-loved #E92 #M3 GTS, but this time we’re hoping the car will have a slightly less stratospheric price and be built in greater numbers.

    The last rumour concerns BMW’s plans for its centenary in 2016 with many commentators reckoning that a high performance version of the #BMW-i8 might be in the offing. Rumours range from a #M5 V8-powered version to one equipped with the M4’s twin-turbo straight-six. Either would be a tantalising prospect but we reckon if this supercar does ever appear it will still utilise the i8’s hybrid drivetrain although it’s possible the three-cylinder unit will be replaced by a more powerful four-cylinder unit and be coupled to a higher output electric motor. Time will tell…
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