Those of a squeamish disposition, avert thy gaze. The latest BMW M3 is hardly the most elegant creation, and this AC Schnitzer interpretation escalates the thuggery. It’s called the ACS3 Sport and it’s the most recent model in a line of Aachen-fettled M3s that stretches back to 1989 and the E30 3 Series.
As ever, the idea here is to make the regular M car smoother on the road, faster on the track and more stable on the autobahn. Quite an ask, given the superb all-round proposition that is the standard G20-generation M3, but when it comes to factory BMWs, Schnitzer generally finds a way to meaningfully improve the recipe.
For this new ACS3 Sport, there’s the usual suite of targeted upgrades, which can be collectively thrown at an M3 donor car for around £30,000 or fitted separately. Plenty of people will opt just to have the forged 20in AC3 wheels this car wears; others will go for body addenda such as the rear wing. Few will splash out on the full monty, not least because the resulting car would cost £110,000, but that’s exactly what we have here.
The headline is an uplift in shove: 503bhp in the M3 Competition swells to 582bhp, while 479lb ft becomes an M5 CS-matching 553lb ft, courtesy of Schnitzer’s piggybacking secondary ECU. It’s all warranted for three years and BMW’s warranty is unaffected. Next up is suspension. Schnitzer offers lowering springs for the front axle, dropping the ride height by about 15mm and increasing the rake of the car (the rear axle is unchanged) while retaining the factory dampers, but the real treat is the firm’s KW-built RS coilovers, which are adjustable for high- and low-speed compression, plus rebound. These parts aren’t simply an expensive off-the-shelf affair but are developed alongside KW to Schnitzer’s precise valving requirements. The firm says the G20 M3’s torsional rigidity makes the RS set-up especially effective. Factory geometry is largely unaltered, mind.