535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

Taut, honed and refined, this hardcore Comp is an M2 turned up to 11.

Words: Daniel Bevis

Photos: Jason Dodd

Stiff Competition

The F87 M2 Competition is already a serious piece of kit in standard form, but this one has been taken to the next level, and it’s a head-turning build of epic proportions.

To paraphrase Orwell, all M2s are equal… but some are more equal than others. The car we have here is an M2 Competition, and that incendiary little C-word makes all the difference. Naturally, the original M2 was a pretty sensational offering, its N55 turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six packing the pistons from the F8x M3/M4 to deliver a meaty 370hp. But the Comp is something else; for this special model, BMW opted to shoehorn in the entire twin-turbo S55 engine from the M3/ M4, modifying it here and there to suit the M2 platform and altering the cooling and lubrication systems, and this meant peak power of 411hp.

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

That’s a huge amount of horsepower to shovel into a car with such a modest footprint, and the Comp has already passed into the pantheon of modern classics and all-time greats. What BMW essentially achieved was to modify the M2 on buyers’ behalf and sell it to them with a warranty.

So with all of that taken care of in-house, there’s basically nothing left to do to it, right? Er, no – wrong, actually. Bang wrong. As Rhett Thedvall (@m2thepwr) has conclusively proven with this in-your-face build, there are endless swells of further potential to dive into, and as he comes up for air at the final phase of the project, it’s evident that his passion for taking hot Beemers and making them hotter has been robustly backed up by his clarity of vision and pursuit of perfection.

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

“I’ve been into BMWs ever since I was a kid, really,” he enthuses. “I remember sitting in our neighbour’s E30 325i and thinking to myself that this was the greatest car ever and promising myself that one day I’d own a BMW. That’s when the love affair started, and it never really left me, even staunchly supporting Williams BMW in F1 with Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel – despite the slim number of victories!”

As you might imagine, Rhett’s first BMW was something a little offbeat, as he’d had plenty of time to do his research and let the ideas percolate. “It was an E90 320si,” he explains. “I wanted my first one to be something special, something unique and equal to my many years of passion for the brand. So at the time, and with the budget I had, I thought that it doesn’t get any more special than a limited-run homologation special of BMW’s World Touring Car. Just 2600 were produced, and only 500 came to the UK.” A strong start then, and it was with a sense of inevitability that the propellor-badged hits just kept on coming. Today an iX shares the driveway with the M2 Comp, and there have been several interesting stepping stones between that point and this one. “Why did I buy the M2?

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

It was a combination of circumstance and interest I guess,” he says. “I was driving an F82 M4 Competition at the time. It was pre-Covid, and the F80/82s weren’t holding their value very well at all (if only I had a crystal ball!). My good friend Tom Faulkner at Marshall BMW Hampshire had this M2 Competition in stock and offered me a really good deal to swap out of the M4. Having heard great things about the OG M2 and how it harked back to previous legendary M cars like the E46 M3, the idea of a ‘more balanced’ M car really intrigued me. Coupled with the S55 engine upgrade and the seemingly crashing F80/82 market at the time, I pulled the trigger on the M2.”

It’s worth noting that this was never intended to be a project – that was something which happened organically over time, as Rhett increasingly realised the merits of incremental improvements to take something great and make it greater.

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87 - interior

“I didn’t have a grand plan for the car when I bought it other than simply driving and enjoying it,” he explains. “I guess there was this unwarranted sense that I was somehow downgrading from the M4 and that I was going to need to do some bits and pieces to it in order to justify the swap. In all honesty, with the exception of the odd spoiler here, decal there or stereo upgrade, this was my first attempt at a modified project.

“I wanted to focus on the cosmetic upgrades first and started with a full carbon fibre CS kit fitted by AutoID a couple of weeks after taking delivery.

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

That was closely followed by a Remus Racing exhaust system to get rid of that ‘udder’ back box protruding from underneath the rear, which was fitted by Motech Performance along with their 12mm wheel spacers. Then I had the brake calipers and V-brace powder-coated in Porsche Acid Green by The Alloy Clinic, and these initial upgrades then pushed me down the slippery slope of modifying, and that was me hooked! I finished off the exterior look with the MHC+ carbon rear diffuser and GTS-style bonnet, which was colour-matched in BMW Black Sapphire, supplied and fitted by R44 Performance.”

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

The further Rhett travelled down the route of cosmetic enhancements, the more keenly he became aware that the bite needed to match the bark. And so, with a methodical and no-nonsense approach, he set out a game plan to unleash some of that already-impressive 355's inherent sporting potential. “I was starting to learn that less is not more, and subtlety wasn’t the game,” he grins. “A Stage 1 with xHP DCT remap was carried out by Kyle of Defined Coding, and then MMR supplied NGK Laser Iridium plugs alongside the crank hub, charge and intake pipes, oil thermostat and filler cap upgrades, which were fitted by Martel of MVM Automotive and expertly powder-coated by Ryan at The Alloy Clinic. Following that, we upgraded all the belts and fitted the Airtec Motorsport billet chargecooler, also professionally finished in Acid Green. Then we rounded the new intake system off with Ramair ProRam filters dropped into the custom carbon heat shield intake housings by 55 Tuning.”

For someone who hasn’t attempted anything like this before, Rhett’s efforts are supremely impressive, with seemingly every decision being absolutely the right one. It helps that there’s such a strong aftermarket for this manner of upgrades, and he was able to find and work with the best in the business to achieve genuine gains and improvements. It’s also useful that, while he was increasingly following a more-is-more mantra, Rhett is able to exercise control and restraint when necessary. The chassis, for instance, hasn’t been seismically altered in order to deploy the new- found thrust. Having upgraded to the MSS Automotive adjustable sports suspension system, he found that the handling was sufficiently refined by this move to keep it looking great and cornering sublimely without messing about too much under there. And this really is a driver’s car. Rhett has distinct wheel/tyre setups for different seasons; you’re seeing the winter setup here, with the OEM 788 alloy wheels (tastefully customised by The Alloy Clinic) running Pirelli Sottozero winters, whereas when the sun comes out, he can crack out the 763M M Performance wheels in satin black with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.

535bhp BMW M2 Competition F87

It’s as much about the ‘show’ as the ‘go’ of course, and that eye-catching colour scheme is perhaps the biggest talking point of all. “The wrap took a week to apply,” says Rhett. “I was approached by a local wrapping company through a contact of mine, who offered to give the car a fresh new look — something I wasn’t actually intending on doing. And if I was going to wrap the car, I knew I wanted something that was going to be unique while at the same time not distracting from the more subtle modifications and complementing the various Acid Green accents throughout. So I played with various solid colour combinations, accompanied by more traditional racing decals incorporating the BMW ‘M’ emblem. Black, purple and Acid Green were in the mix before finally settling on Super Chrome Turquoise Satin by Hexis with Satin Black and Acid Green racing stripes — taking inspiration from both Aston Martin and Mercedes Fl's brilliant execution of these colours in their various liveries.”

It’s safe to say that Rhett had really got into his stride by this stage of the project, and the final piece of the puzzle had to be to elevate the — interior to the level the exterior and the mechanical package had reached. He continues: “Again, the subtle introduction of Acid Green and removal of what I considered to be out-of-place satin chrome accents were my main focus. Given that everything had, so far, been colour-matched with Porsche’s official Acid Green Pantone, I took inspiration from arguably one of the most reputable Porsche modification specialists, TechArt. I instantly fell in love with their customtrimmed 911 steering wheel, and so I approached Lawrence of LG Trimming, who took on the task of replicating the look by creating something equally as detailed using the BMW M Performance Pro steering wheel as the basis. Genuine Porsche leather and Alcantara samples in Acid Green and black were joined with matching stitching, finishing off the design with an Acid Green centre strip and Alcantara-backed MHC+ carbon paddles by R44 Performance. Finally, the centre console and gear lever surrounds were replaced with matching matte open-pore carbon fibre trim elements. Custom retrimmed seats and interior panels to match the steering wheel design are still on the cards for the next phase of interior upgrades...”

You see, he’s still making further plans. This M2 Comp started out as a car that BMW had already modified in the factory and, arguably, didn’t need anything else, which was then bought by someone who hadn’t really modified any cars before — and yet Rhett has evidently developed a real hunger for it. He’s talking about a roll-cage and rear seat delete too, and then another wrap in Hyundai Performance Blue – or perhaps BMW’s newly released Zandvoort blue. “I also have a build slot confirmed for the new G87 M2, which is currently confirmed for a late-June delivery,” he smiles. And will that one be remaining factory stock as the M Division intended? Well, judging by the evidence before us, we wouldn’t count on it.

OEM 788Ms serve as winter wheels, and the Porsche Acid Green details extend to the brake calipers as well.

The custom steering wheel was inspired by a TechArt 911 item Porsche Acid Green details feature throughout the interior.

The dazzling Super Chrome Turquoise Satin wrap is joined by a healthy helping of carbon

In all honesty, with the exception of the odd spoiler here, decal there or stereo upgrade, this was my first attempt at a modified project

TECH DATA F87 M2 Competition

  • ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six S55B30, Remus Racing exhaust system, Stage 1 remap, NGK Laser Iridium plugs, MMR crank hub, charge and intake pipes, oil thermostat and filler cap upgrades, belt upgrades, Airtec Motorsport billet chargecooler, Ramair ProRam filters in custom carbon heat shield intake housings by 55 Tuning, V-brace powder-coated in Acid Green. M DCT seven-speed gearbox, xHP map
  • POWER AND TORQUE: 535hp and 550lb ft
  • CHASSIS: 9x19” ET29 (front) and 10x19 ET40 (rear) 788M wheels, 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Pirelli Sottozero winter tyres, 12mm spacers, MSS Automotive adjustable sports suspension system, brake calipers powdercoated in Acid Green
  • EXTERIOR: Super Chrome Turquoise Satin wrap by Hexis, carbon fibre CS kit, MHC+ carbon rear diffuser, GTS-style bonnet
  • INTERIOR: Custom Porsche-inspired custom steering wheel, Acid Green accents, open-pore carbon fibre trim
  • THANKS Thanks to Ryan at The Alloy Clinic, Martel at MVM Automotive, John at Clean and Shiny UK, Cav (Jack) at Stjarnagloss, Josh and Jack at AutoID, Rhys, Zach and Dylan at R44 Performance, Tom at Tom Jens Films, Josh and Tom at Marshall BMW Hampshire, and Keith, Phil, Tim, Tom and Ashley – BMW Kids Club
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