Wrapped in dazzling Porsche Miami Blue and producing 628hp, this full-on tuned BMW M2 takes everything that makes the standard car so good and turns it all the way up to 11.
Feature from Performance BMW. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Chris Frosin
The BMW M2 is widely considered to be the best M car in a long time and the combination of those awesome looks, the powerful and potent N55 and that sublime chassis makes for an absolutely awesome performance machine. But of course, no matter how good, no matter how accomplished a car might be from the factory, there’s always room for improvement, and Mabz Rahman’s (@m2nvm) dazzling blue build takes the M2 to a whole other level.
Mabz is both the owner of and engine software calibrator for NV Motorsport, which specialises in tuning all manner of machinery, and his passion for all things automotive from a young age led him down this path. “My big brother is a huge BMW fan and has had every variant since the E30 and that’s what got me into them in the first place,” he grins and his first taste of BMW ownership came in the form of an E36 M3. “That was the start of my M addiction!” he laughs and so it was inevitable that he would come to own something from the latest crop of high-performance BMW offerings, even though an M2 was not part of his original plan. “I had every intention of buying an F80 M3 in Miami blue but one dealer let me down,” explains Mabz, “and on the way home I had the urge for an M2 so I went to another dealer, had a test drive and placed an order for a 2018 LCI N55 DCT in Sapphire black. Now the quest was on to build a baby version of the M3, albeit one with 628hp!” he grins.
That is a very serious power figure, especially for an N55, which gives you some idea of just how much work went into this build. Mabz systematically went through the engine, identifying and upgrading every single weak component to make it the best version of itself that it could possibly be, and then he pushed it to the absolute limit. Step one was a stock power run to establish where he was starting his M2 journey from and his example made 359hp with no mods, pretty much as close to BMW’s figure as you’d hope to get, and now the work could begin on optimising the N55.
Mabz kicked things off with a BMS intake and then went straight to an upgraded charge pipe as the stock plastic item can split so a Forge alloy item was selected, stronger in every way and perfectly suited to a build with big power in mind. The next stage was the intercooler – the stock one attached to the N55 is tiny and it would really struggle with keeping intake temperatures down once Mabz started cranking up the power and so something more substantial was needed. A CSF item was selected, offering a substantial upgrade in both size and cooling capability and with this installed an NVM Stage 1 map was applied. This resulted in 414hp, a huge increase over stock and very impressive on an N55, with the upgraded intercooler allowing the boost to be cranked up that little bit further thanks to its effectiveness at reducing air intake temps. While most people would jump straight in with a tune and add supporting mods as they go, by first laying the groundwork Mabz ensured that he’d dealt with the N55’s shortcomings first and could then concentrate on upping the power, which is a less exciting but much more logical approach that really pays off in the long run.
As impressive as this starting selection of mods was, Mabz and his M2 were only just getting warmed up and the next item on the shopping list was a Scorpion turbo-back exhaust system which, judging by the NVM YouTube videos, is a seriously sexy-sounding setup that delivers exactly the sort of muscular straight-six soundtrack a car of this calibre deserves. The ante was then upped with a Stage 2 map, taking power to 427hp and that was very nice but there was still a lot more to come. With boost pressure being increased, the stock inlet pipe becomes a restriction above 17 psi and so a Pure Turbos item was selected, with a larger internal diameter and less restriction for smoother flow. Mabz now hit another snag, and that was that with this level of boost on the stock turbo the backpressure creates a lot of heat and so meth injection was now a requirement. This M2 has been equipped with a CoolingMist setup along with a custom baffled tank and meth injection helps to keep intake temperatures down, meaning more power can be produced and this allowed Mabz to hit 440hp and 479lb ft of torque and, with that, the limits of the stock turbo had been found.
At this point, most people would be happy with what they’d achieved and would leave things there because, let’s be honest, 440hp is plenty to be getting on with and it makes for a very quick car indeed, but Mabz was far from finished. With the stock turbo now incapable of generating any more power beyond this point, the only option was to get rid of it and fit something better suited to this build and Mabz’s needs and the one that he selected is an absolute beast. This is a BigBoost Stage 3.3 6159 turbo that has been paired with a BigBoost upgraded inlet pipe and with it installed and running on a low boost map the tuned BMW M2 was already making 500hp. However, there was a new problem at this point that had to be addressed and that was the high-pressure fuel pump, which was now at its limit. The solution was a far more capable Mk5 Supra HPFP and with this on board and a fresh map the new turbo could really start to demonstrate its full potential but there was one final piece of the puzzle. Mabz explains that the stock N55 MAP sensor can only see 2.5 bar of boost, including 1 bar of atmospheric pressure, meaning they couldn’t take the map further than 1.5 bar of boost. The solution to this was an N20 MAP sensor, which is rated at 3.5 bar and this enabled Mabz to push boost levels that bit further and the results are awesome. Running 109 RON race fuel, this tuned BMW M2 makes 628hp and 634lb ft of torque, absolutely huge numbers and a massive increase over stock, but perhaps even more impressive is that on 99 octane pump fuel it’s still making 589hp and 575lb ft, which is just awesome and has turned this car into an absolute animal.
The engine might dominate this build, but Mabz hasn’t neglected the rest of the car and his tuned BMW M2 definitely looks the part and that’s thanks in no small part to the colour. You may recall that when he purchased this M2 it was Sapphire black, which is fine but a far cry from the Individual Miami blue M3 he’d originally had his heart set on, so something had to be done and that something is a wrap colour-matched to RAL Porsche Miami Blue and it is absolutely stunning. The colour is simply gorgeous, a vibrant, striking blue that really gives the M2 some presence and this is not a shy car to begin with; it was absolutely the right choice for this build and it ensures that this car gets noticed everywhere it goes. The looks are further enhanced by a selection of carbon fibre additions, with Mabz choosing an Edison Composites front splitter paired with a set of M Performance side skirt extensions, a rear spoiler and aggressive rear diffuser and there’s yet more carbon fibre in the shape of the grille, mirror caps and side trims; all that carbon weave looks fantastic against the vibrant blue bodywork and they contrast perfectly with one another.
Of course, just the wrap and carbon additions, sexy as they may be, wouldn’t have been enough for a man of Mabz’s modding persuasion and so this M2 has been dropped on a set of H&R lowering springs over those absolutely stunning wheels. They are a set of NVM’s own design, NV Forged NVF-04T 19s finished in brushed black clear and they look absolutely awesome, filling out the arches perfectly while the colour is almost a match for the carbon and they suit the whole build perfectly. The finishing touch can be found on the inside and while the standard M2 cabin is nice if a little plain, even with that turquoise stitching, things have been spiced up a little with the addition of some Miami Blue highlights across the trim that just make the cabin that little more interesting and, along with the carbon trim, it ties everything together perfectly.
It took Mabz six months to take this tuned BMW M2 from stock to this level that’s an impressively short timescale for such an impressive build. The N55 gets a lot of stick for not being as potent as its twin-turbo predecessor but this project goes to show that, with the right parts, approach and know-how you can hit the sort of power level that can satisfy even the most performance-hungry modders out there. It is no surprise that the huge power figure is Mabz’s favourite part of the build; “It is the world’s fastest of its type and still so usable,” he says and that’s so important because there’s no point having monstrous levels of power if it makes the car undrivable. In terms of future plans, well, there’s really not a whole lot left to do and with the N55 maxed out the only item on Mabz’s wish list is a pair of carbon bucket seats, which would definitely be the perfect final flourish. As for Mabz’s automotive future, as a self-confessed M-addict, it’s no surprise that he’s recently picked up an M2 Competition (in Long Beach blue) and, going by how far he took the N55 in his regular M2 you can rest assured it’s going to be one hell of a project. Even so, it’s still going to have to go a long way to surpass this ballistic Miami Blue beast because this is a truly epic machine.
Tech Spec: Tuned BMW M2
Engine & Transmission:
3.0-litre turbo straight-six N55B30, BMS intake, Forge charge pipe, CSF intercooler, Scorpion turbo-back exhaust system, BigBoost upgraded inlet pipe, CoolingMist meth injection kit, BigBoost Stage 3.3 6159 turbo, Mk5 Supra HPFP, N20 3.5 bar map sensor, custom NVM Stage 3 ECU remap. M DCT seven-speed gearbox, custom NVM Stage 3 DCT remap
Power & Torque:
628hp and 634lb ft (109 RON), 589hp and 575lb ft (99 RON)
9.5×19” (front) and 10.5×19” (rear) NV Forged NVF-04T 19” wheels in brushed black clear with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, H&R lowering springs, Tarox Corsa brake pads
Porsche Miami Blue vinyl wrap by Vinyl Image, Edison Composites carbon front splitter, carbon grille, side vents and door mirrors, M Performance carbon side skirts, rear spoiler
CoolingMist meth injection controller, Turbogauge digital display, Miami Blue accents, custom-mounted meth tank