Is this what the BMW M235i should have become in the first place?

AC Schnitzer is known for making statements in some of the biggest auto shows in the business. Over the years, it has used shows like the Geneva Motor Show to introduce provocative tuning projects. Now the German tuner is bringing an incredible concept vehicle to Geneva that has already left the Internet in a frenzy.

The concept vehicle is called the ACL2. It’s a rather simple name for a concept that’s anything but simple. It’s based on the BMW M 235i, arguably the least heralded member of the BMW’s M family. But don’t tell that to AC Schnitzer because the company performed what I can only describe as some serious tuning magic.

It’s too early to tell if this concept will steal the show at Geneva, but judging by how everyone has been reacting to leaked videos of the car being transported to Geneva, it’s a safe bet that a lot of people will be talking about the ACL2 well after Geneva’s closing day. So get the pens and cameras ready, folks. The ACL2 is already causing a ruckus as it prepares to take the Geneva Motor Show by storm.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    570
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    205 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Where do I even begin? Okay, I’ll start with the visuals. The ACL2 is dressed in a color called Classic Racing Green. Except for the red “ACL2” decals scattered throughout the body, pretty much every surface of the car gets this AC Schnitzer-exclusive body color. Even the carbon hood has the same color, although the monotony is disrupted by the black hood vents.

The carbon front spoiler, front splitter, and carbon front side wings are pretty easy to spot.

As saucy as the color is, the whole exterior isn’t defined by that. Rather, it works in concert with a wide body kit that dramatically alters the appearance of the M235i. The carbon front spoiler, front splitter, and carbon front side wings are pretty easy to spot. Same with the wheel arch extensions, which come with the dual purpose of making the car look more menacing and giving those shiny red wheels enough real estate to stand out on their own.

Less obvious to the eye though are the air deflector wings behind the front wheel arches. There are three of these on each side of the car and they assist in the cooling of the tuned engine. Above them are the streamlined mirrors that not only looks better than the standard versions, but also improves the car’s aerodynamics. Move to the back and things get really serious. The most prominent addition is the carbon “Racing” rear wing with its own Gurney flap and a special fixing that extends it out from the trunk by roughly 10 inches. The rear diffusers are also new and are also made from carbon fiber.

Rounding out the exterior upgrades are the aforementioned wheels that are made up of a set of AC Schnitzer’s own AC1 forged alloys dressed in a two-tone red and anodized finish. Likewise, peeking out from just behind these splashy wheels is a larger-than-usual brake system made up of six-piston fixed calipers on the front with and four-piston versions on the rear.

Interior

2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Interior
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Black suede is the most prominent of these materials as it covers a significant surface of the interior.

As fancy as the ACL2’s exterior is, the cabin isn’t too shabby either. A number of high-quality materials dominate the cabin. Black suede is the most prominent of these materials as it covers a significant surface of the interior. The matte Classic Racing Green stitching and trim strips don’t do much in bringing the cabin to life, but they do provide consistency to the overall package. AC Schnitzer also added its own carbon racing bucket seats and just as important, its “Evo” three-spoke sports airbag steering wheel. Speaking of carbon, the material is also well represented as the tuner used it on the center console and the door handles.

The remaining components read like a laundry list of AC Schnitzer-branded items. There’s a key holder, an aluminum pedal set, velour floor mats, a ”Black Line" aluminum gear knob and handbrake handle, and aluminum foot rests with AC Schnitzer’s logo illuminated in all its wonder. Last but not least are the door sill strips that bear the AC2L logo.

Drivetrain

2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution
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AC Schnitzer put in a lot of work to turn the ACL2 into a bonafide compact supercar. First, it took out the M235i’s 3.0-liter inline-six engine in favor of the one found on the BMW M4. Granted, it’s the same engine, but the latter is of course tuned with a higher output. Once the swap was done, the tuner added its own performance upgrade, which includes a downpipe that helps improve power and torque. A limited slip differential with a higher diff lock helps the car attack corners like a boss. Modifications were also made on the intake tract and battery to cut down the car’s weight.

The ACL2 is capable of producing an output of 570 horsepower – almost double the power of the standard M235i.

The AC Schnitzer downpipe plays a particularly important role as it comes with a special catalytic converter that’s responsible for the increased power. All in all, the German tuner says that the ACL2 is capable of producing an output of 570 horsepower – almost double the power of the standard M235i. The improved torque numbers have yet to be announced, but AC Schnitzer did say that the ACL2 concept is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds before hitting a top speed of 205 mph. Combine that with the lightweight nature of the concept, and the power to weight ratio comes to a blissful 5.6 pounds per horsepower. That kind of figure is normally attached to models like the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. But a BMW? And an M235i at that?

There’s nothing really left to say than the ACL2 is fast. Really, really fast.

Suspension

2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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A lot of work was put into this concept and a big part of that involved making some important changes on the suspension of the car. It’s particularly more important in this case because of the decision to “upgrade to an M4 technology”. So to accommodate these changes, AC Schnitzer installed its own fully height-adjustable Clubsport suspension that provides compression adjustments. Support bearings and the carbon strut braces from the M4 were also installed to help keep the car as sturdy as it can be given its dramatic transformation.

Conclusion

2016 AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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This is the kind of concept that makes you wonder if AC Schnitzer is just using the Geneva Motor Show to gauge interest on the car before “announcing” plans to build a limited number of ACL2 units. I’ve seen that song-and-dance number before and I wouldn’t be surprised if the German tuner went to that well this time. All that said, the ACL2 is what the M235i should’ve been in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, the M235i is a great car by a lot of measures, but it never did escape that feeling of being out of place relative to the other members of the M family. Suffice to say, the ACL2 doesn’t have that problem.

  • Leave it
    • * Questionable color scheme inside the cabin
    • * It’s just a concept
    • * Why not just buy an M4 and have that tuned?
What do you think?
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