Attention all sporty, family men! The new BMW M3 is also available as a four-door saloon. That means it's very easy to justify buying a new plaything to your sceptical wife (or, in fact, to your own conscience). It's just a shame that the Bavarian company hasn't yet been able to bring itself to make an M3 estate.
The tuners at Geilenkirchen-based Manhart Racing probably thought the same thing when they built the car that BMW didn't want to build; an M3 touring. To produce it, the team centred around legendary mechanic Günther Manhart, furnished the E91 bodywork with the front apron, front side panels, side skirts and of course, the characteristic powerdome bonnet from the M3 saloon, designed their own M3-style rear apron and widened the rear wheel-arches to give them that M3 look. The aerodynamic rear-view mirrors really topped it all off. However, Günther Manhart knows that you obviously can't just make a car look good; it has to have something under the bonnet too. The axles, the tank, the complete steering system and a range of other hidden but otherwise essential parts have all come from the M3.
V10 power in the E91
So it only remains to talk about what really makes the M3: The 4.2-litre V8 engine. But wait! At this point it should be mentioned that Manhart Racing specialises in fitting various BMW models with the formidable 5.0-litre engine from the M5 E60. And so the V10 engine found itself used in another BMW model, the E91. After optimising the electronics and incorporating HJS's stainless-steel four-pipe exhaust system with two 200-cell racing catalytic convertors, the heavy-duty unit manages an extremely impressive 550 PS, which is kept on a tight leash by the 7-speed SMG gearbox, also taken from the M5 and by the corresponding 100% limited slip differential
With the vehicle possessing such an armoury, it can catapult itself from 0 to 100km/h in only 4.3 seconds and on the motorway it easily cruises past most other performance saloons and estates (including the ‘true' M3 and M5 models) with its top speed of 324km/h.
It's a good thing then, that Manhart Racing has equipped the car with tunable Bilstein PSS10 coilover suspension and an extremely stable Stoptech Sport Trophy Kit braking system with a six-piston calliper with grooved 380mm brake discs at the front and a four-piston calliper with 355mm brake discs on the drive shaft.
The RÄD Monza three-part forged wheels with black rims fit perfectly with the character of this vehicle, and they are available in 9.5" and 10.5" x 20" sizes.
Flat, size 255/30ZR20 and 295/25ZR20 Hankook S1 Evo tyres aim to provide higher levels of longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
A detailed look at the interior is also very much worth your. Driver and passenger both sit in outstanding BMW sports seats, and the back seats can be upholstered with leather or Alcantara to match those in the front. Likewise, the leather interior with Alcantara roof and door linings as well as the carbon fittings and the BMW performance steering wheel with illuminating indicator switches really give the car that racing look.
Manhart Racing has set the purchase price for the complete car package at around €120,000. If desired, your current basis car can be upgraded.
Vehicle: BMW M3 E91 5.0 V10 SMG
Bodywork: M3 E90 front apron, M3 E90 front fenders, M3 E90 bonnet, M3 E90 side skirts, M3 E90 wing mirrors, Manhart Racing-designed, M3-style, rear apron, widened rear wheel arches in the style of the M3.
Engine: 5.0-litre V10 from the M5 E60, modified engine electronics, lifting of the Vmax limiter, complete stainless steel exhaust system with 2 x 200-cell HJS catalytic converters and 4 x 86mm exhaust pipes, tank from the M3 E90, 550 PS.
Transmission: 7-speed SMG from the M5 E60, 100% limited slip differential from the M5 E60, front and rear axel from the M3 E90.
Chassis: Bilstein PSS10 coilover suspension, steering system from the M3 E90.
Brakes: Stoptech Sport Trophy Kit front and back, 6-piston callipers and 380mm slats in the front, and 4-piston callipers and 355mm slats at the rear.
Wheel/Tyres: three-part RÄD Monza aluminium rims in 9.5" x 20" ET20 and 10.5" x 20" ET20, Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Tyres in sizes 255/30ZR20 and 295/25ZR20
Interior: heated BMW performance sports seats, leather-covered back seats in the style of the front seats, full leather interior with Alcantara roof and door lining, BMW performance steering wheel with illuminating indicator switches, acceleration and ¼ mile time displays.