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BMW Z3 - Tuned and Special Editions

Alpina

Alpina did very little with the Z3. I'm certain at the time they made a 2.1 M44 with 170bhp but my mind may be playing tricks on me as I can find to references to it now. There were a few reasons for this, not least the fact that they'd not worked on a road going four cylinder car since the days of the M10 engine. But it was also bad timing, the Z3 came out around the same time as the E39 and Alpina put a lot of effort into that with both a V8 and a 3.3 litre straight six. That 3.3 would have been amazing in a Z3 but it wasn't to be.

The fact the car was built in the US couldn't have helped either.

 

BMW Z3

Schnitzer type-II 17" alloys, one of my favourites.

AC Schnitzer

Schnitzer made a 2.1 M44 16 valve stroker that produced 175bhp. I'm fairly sure it had a metal plate between the head and block to increase capacity, I'd be interested if anyone has more details. Amazingly they also did a 2.1 M43 8 valve making 147bhp! Why?.

 

BMW Z3

Schnitzer's 170bhp 2.1 litre M44.

The company made an S3 based on the //M Roadster or Coupe. In addition to body and suspension improvements they sold a stainless steel exhaust that added a few horsepower and sounded even nicer.

For six cylinder non-//M car you could get what amounted to an M50 manifold kit for your M52 (extra 25bhp taking it to 217) or their 235bhp 3.2 M52TU, this was only fitted to a handful of cars. Cars could be topped off with four pot front calipers, something missing from BMW's own //M cars.

 

BMW Z3

Ultra-rare Hartge 2.3 M44.

Hartge

Hartge offered both 2.1 and 2.3 M44s making 170 and 190bhp respectively. The 2.3 must be ultra rare as I'd never heard of it until recently. I like revvy four cylinder Z3s with their light weight and better weight distribution so this might just be my ultimate configuration.

 

BMW Z3

Hartge M44 specifications.

I suspect their most famous Z3 started as a drunken dare in a German bar. After too many beers someone suggested putting a highly tuned 4.7 (later 5.0) litre V8 M60 into a Z3 - so they did! Available in both soft and hard top versions this super Z3 made 420bhp and 383lb/ft of torque. It was fast, crazy fast. It turned the //M Coupe from being one of the most raw and fun BMWs ever made into a real handful for track veterans only. Unlike BMW Hartge managed to get the six speed gearbox to fit, just as well. I'm pretty sure only one 5.0 was made, it used one of three such engines originally built for the Ascari Ecosse.

 

BMW Z3

5.0 V8 madness from Hartge.

I believe they also did a 3.5 stroker version of the 3.2 //M car, tame by comparison to the V8 of course.

 

BMW Z3

4.7 litre Hartge V8, it fits!