2017 BMW M2 Update 2: Taking it to the Streets

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Hot-lapping our M2
Because an M-car owner might do the same, we took our bone-stock M2 with 7,655 miles on the odometer to a track to see how well it would withstand hot lapping on a hot summer day in the California high desert. In the capable hands of our tame racing driver, Randy Pobst, we ran three sets of laps around the Streets of Willow Springs. Here’s what we learned from a total of 10 laps in 95-plus degree weather.
If you’re looking for the quickest way around a track, don’t bother with Sport+. We found its bespoke M Dynamic electronic stability control system to still be a too intrusive, hampering progress. What’s more is that Randy “hates” the M DCT transmission in this mode. “In brake zones, even in Sport+, it will not automatically perform matched-rev downshifts [a la Porsche or Mercedes-AMG]. The downshifts happen after going to the throttle. Too late,” Randy said. “Also, the upshifts are too aggressive, unsmooth, and can/will cause the rear tires to lose traction while cornering.” The best lap in this mode was an “angry and frustrating” 1:26.35.

Disabling ESC drops the car into Sport mode, which is what Randy did next. It also provided the quickest lap of the morning at 1:24.78. Convinced he could eke out even more time by telling the transmission when and where to shift, Randy finally tried Sport / ESC off / manual-shift mode. Unfortunately, the best lap he could muster was a 1:25.14 because we found a measurable drop in engine output as it heated up. We know this from looking at the telemetry that showed the M2 wasn’t accelerating as quickly nor reaching the same Vmax as it was earlier in the day. In the end, our M2 was just 0.51 second off an M2 with a six-speed manual from our cover story, The Leftovers. Same driver, same car, but a different transmission and a different day.

What Randy liked about the M2 was the “N55” engine’s utter lack of turbo-lag. This is especially interesting because it features a single, twin-scroll turbocharger compared the M3/M4’s “S55” twin-turbo. “The M2 puts the power down very well—much better than the M4,” he said.
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