I’m So Endlessly Impressed by the BMW S55
It's one of the most thrilling engines I've ever experienced.
This 3.0-liter inline-six pulls no punches as it shoots up to redline.
- Car: 2020 BMW M2 CS
- Location: Southern California
- Photog: Peter Nelson (IG + Twitter: @16vPete)
- Camera: Canon 6D, EF 35-85mm Zoom AF
I’ve read other journalists complain that the S55 is a little too aggressive, at least in its earlier spec when the F80 BMW M3 came out in 2015. I’ve driven an early one, and I’m here to report that this is in no way a negative characteristic.
Due to the S55’s twin-turbo construction, when boost is fully built up it does indeed get quite aggressive, but it’s sort of a two-stage type of deal. In the mid-range, the S55 gets angry, and if traction control is off, you have to be prepared to hang on and counter steer. Then, higher up towards redline, yet another layer of anger expresses itself, and you have to once again be ready to hang on and counter steer. It’s absolutely riotous.
It’s especially fun in the shorter wheelbase M2 CS, which possesses an M4 Competition spec of the S55: 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Every automotive enthusiast ought to have the opportunity to experience this engine at least once in their life. Like a beautifully sung hymn in a several-hundred-years-old church, it’s an uplifting experience. One that would strengthen the bond between the enthusiast, and the reason why they’re so deeply in love with this hobby, lifestyle, profession, etc.