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Car and Driver: Mean and Green: M4-Powered AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept

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For nearly 30 years, German tuning firm AC Schnitzer has been manipulating BMW vehicles in an effort to squeeze out mind-blowing levels of performance that surpass even those of BMW’s in-house M division. The BMW M235i-based ACL2 concept may be the tuner’s greenest effort, and while its reptilian hue may be its most obvious modification, rest assured its innards have been addressed in the typically enthusiastic manner.


The short story is this: The M235i’s engine has been ditched in favor of a unit plucked from under the hood of the M4. The long story goes something like this: Benefiting from an AC Schnitzer performance upgrade—what, you thought they’d go to all that trouble for the M4’s mere 455 ponies?—the M4’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six was massaged to produce a formidable 570 horsepower for ACL2 duty. Contributing the horsepower buffet is an AC Schnitzer downpipe and sports exhaust with special catalytic converter. To dial up the insanity just a bit more, AC Schnitzer eliminated that pesky Vmax limit control while they were in there reprogramming the software.




The rolling stock is comprised of 20-inch AC Schnitzer AC1 forged alloys shod with 285/25 ZR Michelin PSS tires front and rear. A limited-slip differential utilizes a Drexler diff lock that can adjust from 25- to 95-percent lock, and to keep shrapnel to a minimum, M4 axles stand in for the stock units. An AC Schnitzer Clubsport suspension—fully adjustable for height, rebound, and compression—teams with AC Schnitzer support bearings and the bodywork-stiffening M4 carbon strut braces for “uncompromising” handling. AC Schnitzer claims the setup was tested on, you guessed it, the Nürburging as well as public roads, the latter of which must have been highly entertaining. Six-pot calipers bite 15.8-inch carbon ceramic rotors in the front, while four-pot units do the same out back with 15-inch rotors.


A lot of effort went into shaving weight as well. Working under the motto, “Less is more”—the engine guys clearly didn’t get the memo—AC Schnitzer’s Aachen-based engineers shaved enough weight to claim 2.5 kg per horsepower (roughly 6 pounds per horsepower), which it claims “puts vehicles like the Ferrari 458 Italia or the Porsche 911 GT3 RS in the shade.” Bottom line: The ACL2 takes a claimed 3.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, and reaches a top speed of 205 mph.




If nothing else, the ACL2 serves as rolling showroom for AC Schnitzer’s carbon-fiber accouterments, featuring a front splitter, a quartet of front side wings (two per side), special side-view mirrors, a rear diffuser, a “racing” wing with gurney flap, and finally, an AC Schnitzer carbon-fiber hood with vents. Wheel arch extensions front and rear add 5.5 inches to overall width of the car.


The interior is equally reserved, featuring two-tone perforated green Nappa leather in combination with black suede with green stitching. AC Schnitzer Carbon racing bucket seats and an “Evo” three-spoke sports steering wheel are joined by carbon-fiber door handles and center console. There is also a cavalcade of AC Schnitzer accessories: keyholder, aluminum pedal set, aluminum foot rests with illuminated logo, a “Black Line” aluminum gear knob and aluminum handbrake handle, velour foot mats, and door sill strips showing the ACL2 logo.


The bad news is, even if you can get past the relentless assault of branding and logos, and have an estimated 149,000 Euros—that’s about $162,000 to us yanks—AC Schnitzer will not sell you an ACL2. It is, they say, a concept car only, a platform for product development and demonstration. The good news is, many of the parts and accessories featured on the ACL2 are available for purchase through authorized BMW dealers.




2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage


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