Manual transmission fans, rejoice. Recent testing by Car and Driver has revealed that the M2 Competition is actually faster from zero to 60 mph with a six-speed manual than a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Although enthusiasts have long given up any performance advantages by staying with a stick, with the old adage, “automatics win races,” ringing true for decades now, there is something to be said for the manual transmission driving experience.
With the M2 Competition though, acceleration performance somehow favors the manual. The difference isn’t a huge one—just 0.1 seconds—but opting for the six-speed allows the M2 Competition to drop into the high three-second range for its zero-to-60 time, from 4.0 seconds for the DCT model, to 3.9. Interestingly enough, the 405-horsepower S55-powered M2 Competition with DCT is no faster than it’s 365-horse N55-motivated and DCT-equipped predecessor to 60 mph, but the Competition is 0.1 seconds quicker over the quarter mile, covering the distance in 12.4 seconds, compared to 12.5.
On the other hand, the six-speed M2 Competition is appreciably faster than the since-replaced M2. When equipped with a stick, the M2 Competition is 0.3 seconds faster to 60 mph than an M2 with an N55 and DCT, while the stick M2 Competition also covers the quarter mile in just 12.4 seconds—the same as the DCT model.
How did this happen? According to Car and Driver, the adjustable launch control of a DCT-equipped M2 Competition works somewhat counter productively in that makes it difficult to effectively put power to the ground through the same rear 265-section Michelin tires as the N55 M2. In a recent writeup, Car and Driver said the manual transmission enables better modulation of torque off the line, and one only needs to nail the one-two shift correctly to minimize the time spent accelerating to 60.
Analyzing the details a bit more, BMW itself measured the original M2’s acceleration to 60 mph at 4.3 for the stick, and 4.1 for the DCT. For the M2 Competition, the officially stated figures are reversed; the DCT is rated at 4.2 seconds, while the stick is rated at at a flat 4.0. The lack of a real performance differential between the original, N55-powered M2 and the current S55-powered M2 Competition is a bit surprising, until you consider the fact that the Competition, regardless of drivetrain, gained 150 pounds over its replacement, extra weight that the additional power and torque of the S55 is tasked with motivating. Opting for the $2,900 DCT, now with Drivelogic on the M2 Competition, adds the same 55 pounds that it did to the original M2.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]