The original BMW E30 M3 was loved most of all for its exquisite handling and its understated good looks, rather than its power output. One build at SEMA is changing that, however, by throwing a mighty V10 engine under the hood of this Bavarian motoring legend.
The "PROJEKT 3" build is the work of Renner, which specializes in building custom classic BMWs to exacting specifications. The original E30 M3 shipped with 197 horsepower from the S14 inline-four engine, a healthy figure for the time. This build has eschewed that powerplant for the S85 V10 from a 2008 E60 M5. Stock, it was good for 500 hp. Here, it's been tuned to deliver 625 hp, with mods to the VANOS variable valve timing system keeping the engine aggressive at all times.
Footage of the build comes to us from photographer Larry Chen, who did the rounds at SEMA last week. Chen was also able to shoot the car in some beautiful canyon locales, highlighting the beauty of the classic E30 design.
Naturally, shoehorning a V10 into an engine bay built for fours and sixes is no mean feat. There's a mere quarter of an inch of space between the firewall and the engine components. Renner had to reinforce the chassis to take the added weight, and modified the suspension to suit. The car runs coilovers and custom swaybars tuned to the new configuration.
The overall aesthetic hits on neo-retro 1980s themes. The clean look is down to much of the bodywork remaining stock, rather than overstating the already-perfected proportions of the original M3. The car is finished in a blue-silver metallic finish with minimalist pinstriping bearing the Renner logo. It rides on custom, hand-painted 18" wheels from AL13, complete with aerodiscs that add so much to the look.
Inside, the car has been given subtle updates to suit the new drivetrain, but nothing ostentatious. The gauges have been refreshed to suit the new engine's proper redline, and there's a modern sound system. Overall, though, the inside still feels like an E30 M3, as it should.
If you want this gorgeous-yet-subtle M3 with Thor's Hammer under the hood, it won't come cheap. According to Renner, this configuration of the company's Projekt 3 offering costs on the order of $350,000. Renner offers other configurations that come at a cheaper price, but they don't have the power or presence of the big V10 donk. Regardless, if you've always dreamed of an E30 M3 that could drop most contemporary sports cars in a stop-light drag race, this might just build the build for you.
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