Manhart gives the E30 BMW M3 a 300kW heart transplant

Published Aug 12, 2023


In Mzansi the E30 generation BMW 3 Series is the stuff of legends.

In 325i S guise it’s affectionately known as “Gusheshe” and that’s not the only iconic local creation of BMW SA - we’re looking at you 333i.

It’s the latter that springs to our minds first when checking out Manhart’s latest creation, the MH3 3.5 Turbo.

While the German tuner is better known for creating faster versions of the latest BMW models, what we see here is a significantly more powerful iteration of the E30 M3 from the 1980s, which never came to South Africa.

Interestingly the original M3 was powered by a high-revving four-cylinder motor that produced 147kW, and this was the car that inspired BMW SA to create a local substitute in the form of the 333i.

Mahhart’s MH3 takes the same philosophy to a whole new level, by transplanting a modified version of Alpine’s modified 3.5-litre BMW straight-six motor from the early 1980s.

When it was launched in 1981, based on the E12 5-Series, the Alpina B7 Turbo S was the fastest saloon in the world, and now Mahnart has taken this exact same engine to further extremities in its new E30 creation.

Following modifications to the turbocharger and intercooler, the 3.5-litre engine in the new MH3 produces in the region of 300kW and 650Nm, up from the B7’s already impressive 245kW.

The tuner says the car’s power can be throttled via a manual boost controller. A Mahnart performance exhaust system is also fitted.

Power goes to the rear wheels (where else?) through a five speed manual gearbox, and the car is also fitted with a Drexler differential with a 25 percent lock.

It rides on 19-inch Manhart Concave One wheels, in a classic double-spoke style, and braking is via Brembo system with four-piston fixed callipers upfront.

A Manhart monotube coilover suspension by H&R completes the dynamic upgrades to this extremely potent E30 BMW.

Exterior design enhancements come in the form of a carbon front spoiler blade, red bumper accents, a large boot spoiler with carbon wings and smoked tail lights.

Inside occupants get to enjoy an original leather interior in Cardinal Red as well as a three-spoke Momo steering wheel and Manhart badged wooden gear knob.

But don’t expect to see one of these on the roads any time soon as the MH3 appears to be available in Europe only, in left-hand drive format.

IOL Motoring