AC Schnitzer ACS 2 Sport, The Approachable Way To Tune Your BMW M2 Competition
By Marc Rutten
The base package of the AC Schnitzer ACS 2 Sport is nothing other than the new BMW M2 Competition, BMW's baby M car and successor to the M2, which went out of production in the Summer of 2018. The release of the ACS2 Sport follows a long history of tuning packages and models, which first saw daylight over 30 years ago. In Aachen, AC Schnitzer employs a team of approximately 55 people, concentrating on the development and Worldwide sales of AC Schnitzer tuning accessories and complete vehicles. At this location, I was thrown the keys to a Sunset Orange M2C dressed with a series of upgrades both visually and technically.
Let's touch on the exterior upgrades first. The Germans offer a range of visual upgrades including the front splitter, side skirts, carbon fibre rear diffuser and front canards. Additional upgrades like the orange painted, rear roof spoiler and carbon rear spoiler finish off the aero package. I personally opted for the side skirts on my own M2C, and enjoyed the look of the rear spoiler. I intend to fit the M Performance carbon fibre trunk on my own car later this year, which already includes a small lip. For those of you interested, there is also a rear wing, which wasn't fitted to the test car at the time of my test drive. The rear protective film is unique to ACS and an interesting upgrade for those who want to protect the bumper surface and entry into the trunk area.
Other upgrades inside the cabin are subtle. There is an AC Schnitzer key holder, aluminium paddle set, aluminium handbrake handle and an aluminium gear knob for cars with a manual transmission. You can also opt for an aluminium cover for the BMW "i-drive system touch controller" and some oddly shaped paddle shifters, which are made of sharp metal and miss a comfortable soft touch with some padding. Not my immediate first choice out of all the options.
The most important changes to the BMW M2C are under the hood and behind the four wheels, which consist of new 20 inch AC3 wheels and sticky, Michelin rubber. The suspension set up and the availability of more power are welcome extras to the sporty, Bavarian coupe. A newly developed, homologated aftermarket exhaust system with four carbon fibre or chrome tailpipes compliments both, allowing owners to remove the absolutely horrible stock cow udder, which the Bavarians fit as standard on the M2C.
The upgraded suspension branded AC Schnitzer originates from KW and offers adjustability in height continuously and adjustability in bump and rebound. Lowering the front and rear is achievable up to approximately 30 to 40 mm. The suspension kit itself is definitely more sporty than stock through its bandwidth, but doesn't offer much compliance and comfort. KW's true characteristic shines through when driving and provides you with its track-biased angle, which is a combination of a harder and more nervous ride across a variety of different surfaces. The increased wheel size doesn't help the levels of ride comfort either. A common thing when you opt for a larger wheel and a slightly smaller tyre sidewall height. If required, smaller 19 inch wheels and a spring kit are available as well.
The aftermarket exhaust offers value for money and an improved, non-inspiring exhaust sound track due to the fact that the car still has those "wonderful" OPF filters, which spoil all the fun. The system does what it should do, making the car louder, while staying within the limits of the local German regulations, which are often leading in the automotive tuning world. The slip-on / axle-back system doesn't sound as good as the homologated Akrapovic slip-on titanium system. The Slovenian-made exhaust is louder, more aggressive and has a wider sound profile allowing you to hear the system better inside the interior.
The BMW M2 Competition comes as standard with a six-in-line 3.0-litre S55 engine, which produces up to 410 hp and 550 Nm of torque. AC Schnitzer offer an upgrade that brings the output to 500 hp and 650 Nm of torque. The additional control unit fitted under the hood optimises motor efficiency and increases the performance accordingly. The Germans are the only brand in the world offering an engine upgrade kit which is fully homologated under WLTP/ Euro 6 and including 36 months AC Schnitzer warranty in Germany and five years worldwide.
The performance increase and especially the improved torque output is easily noticeable at lower revs and gears. The increased horsepower needs to be found in the mid range of the engine power band and gear selection. At cruising speed, 3rd, 4th and 5th gear are the place to be when you want to feel the increased performance, which is approachable and engaging but never mind-blowingly quick nor asking you to hang on. At the top end of the rev range in 6th and 7th gear there is hardly any improvement felt due to gearbox restrictions, which BMW has put in place to protect the transmission.
All in all, the engine upgrade is a great way to stay within the official regulations, while also holding on to your warranty. An unique offering nowhere else available in today's market. However, a critical note is the fact that the upgrade isn't as engaging or ferocious as you might desire. The chosen performance levels are approachable and offer controllable power due to the warranty and emissions regulations on which it was developed.
The world of AC Schnitzer is one of many different tuning options which are an immediate first choice for some, while others might require some thoughts. The highlights within the offering are for me personally the rear trunk spoiler, which is a lot more pronounced than the stock offering from M Performance and the availability of canards and side skirts which aren't available within BMW's list of aftermarket parts.
Other noticeable points are the exhaust, which offers a lot of value for money, and the engine power kit which offers you that additional oomph that no tuner could ever offer you under warranty and within the official emission regulations. An important factor in current European markets where emissions regulations, exhaust noise levels and warranty claims have become more discussed topics than the impact of Brexit.
AC SChnitzer ACS2 Sport