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    It might look like a normal Schnitzered 1 Series but this unassuming hatch is packing a triple-turbo straight-six from the M550d! Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.

    POWER STATION
    What’s the best way to make the 1 Series hatch quicker? By fitting a triple-turbo 3.0-litre diesel!

    While I’m sure it isn’t an actual law in Germany to accelerate like a banshee when joining a motorway it does quite often seem to be the way things are done over there. It certainly makes a welcome change from the status quo in the UK where inevitably I seem to always be following someone who seems to think that 45mph is an ideal speed to try and merge with fast-moving motorway traffic. I think perhaps the German model has something to do with the fact that on derestricted sections of autobahn the traffic you’re trying to merge with could be tanking along almost at the speed of sound so it makes sense to try and join them as fast as possible.

    As luck would have it the section of autobahn that runs past AC Schnitzer’s HQ is of the derestricted variety and having warmed the cars through in the workshop and on the slow trundle to the autobahn it would be rude not to follow the approved German method of getting up to speed as soon as possible. Our support vehicle for today’s shoot is an F80 M3 and as I follow it on to the motorway in ‘my’ 1 Series hatch I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to happen: the M3’s going to disappear and I’ll spend the next few kilometres trying to play catch up.

    Bizarrely this couldn’t be further from the truth. As I see the M3’s rump start to squat as the power’s applied and I wind off the last bit of slip road lock from the 1 Series’ steering I bury my size nine into the carpet and am stunned by the ferocity of this machine’s acceleration. There’s an angry, but not unpleasant, rumbling coming from the car’s engine and exhaust and that M3 is in no shape or form pulling away. The eight-speed auto melds the cogs together virtually imperceptibly and all I’m aware of is a seemingly inexorable accelerative force. It’s as if the 1 Series is attached to the back of the M3 with a steel hawser and nothing’s going to separate them.

    If I’m going to be completely honest then I need to admit that before I drove this unassuming 1 Series I already knew what was under the bonnet. Had I not been aware of the power it was packing I would have been well and truly gobsmacked by its performance. If I’d have been in Schnitzer’s shoes I think I’d have been tempted to send me out for a drive in the car saying ‘see what you think of our new 120d’.

    While this might look like a 120d, it’s packing a far superior punch – the triple-turbo straight-six that’s usually found under the bonnet of the M550d and X5 M50d. In standard tune it’s good for 381hp and 546lb ft of torque, but if you’re going to pop this engine into a 1 Series then obviously what it really needs is some more power, so Schnitzer’s boffins turned up the wick to 400hp and 590lb ft of torque.

    Nice. As I’ve already discovered this makes it a very rapid machine indeed, and according to Schnitzer’s figures it’ll knock off the 0-62mph dash in just 4.5 seconds and can accelerate from 80-180km/h in a scant 7.9 seconds – more or less exactly on par with a standard F82 M4.


    This 150d has actually been around for a little while now – Schnitzer built it to wow the crowds at the Essen Motor show at the tail end of 2015 – and while it was quite a showstopper its real purpose was to highlight the company’s range of accessories for the face-lifted 1 Series. What better way to do that than to get just about every motoring website on the planet slavering over the prospect of a 400hp super hatch? But to our knowledge no one’s actually tested the show car before, and we’re eternally grateful to the chaps at AC Schnitzer for pulling out all of the stops to get it ready for our latest visit. While the car has been up and running since it was built, Schnitzer discovered that some (fairly serious) reworking of the cooling system was going to be required so the car was put on the back burner while the company concentrated on more pressing projects.

    There’s no getting away from the fact that the car does look pretty sharp, and this could be the case for any 1 Series hatch, not just those with 400hp under their bonnets. At the front there’s a two-piece front spoiler that has the effect of really tying the front end to the road, while at the rear a spoiler atop the hatch gives the impression that the car needs to be pulled down to the Tarmac at speed. The whole package is assisted by the suspension setup which hunkers the car down to the road and can be had either as the fully adjustable Racing setup, or more simply just as a spring kit. Either way the car’s lowered and when sitting on a set of Schnitzer’s AC1 rims (19-inches in this case, shod with 225/35 rubber) the look is very purposeful and aggressive. Other than that, just about the only giveaway that this car is packing some serious power is the twin-exit exhaust sprouting from the rear valance, but given that an M135i is so equipped it’s not really that much of a surprise.

    Physically slotting the triple turbo version of the N57 diesel unit into the 1 Series hatch wasn’t too tricky – after all the engine’s no physically larger than the straight-six petrol unit in the M135i, but getting the engine’s electronics to talk with the 1 Series chassis was a bit of a challenge. As BMW’s most powerful diesel can only be hooked up to the fourwheel drive xDrive powertrain with the eight-speed auto the donor car was a 120d xDrive and as a result Schnitzer’s hottest 1 Series really is an absolute doddle to drive. Simply jump in, press the starter, slip the auto gear knob into D and off you go. On part throttle applications around town you really don’t get the feeling that there’s anything desperately special about the car – it really does behave just like a 120d with a slightly more vocal than standard exhaust.

    As we’ve already experienced, its straight-line acceleration is sensational but what’s it like when it comes to the twisties? En route to our photo location it feels like it’s pretty eager to turn into corners and at moderate-to-brisk speeds there’s no telling there’s anything non-standard about the car. As is often the case stopping for pictures to be taken spoils the fun and while photographer Smithy positions the car to make it look like there’s a power station under the bonnet I have a quick gander at the engine bay and am greeted by one of Schnitzer’s now familiar engine optic packages. If the engine cover wasn’t painted in red and black I’d be hard pressed to see what was out of the ordinary here – it really does look like a factory installation. Inside it’s pretty untouched too, just with enough Schnitzer embellishments to make you aware that there have been a few changes from standard. There’s an alloy pedal set and footrest along with a handbrake handle and a set of floor mats. The only major change from standard is an Awron digital gauge that sits where one of the air vents on the centre consul should be.


    Fortunately our lake front spot for pictures has a time limit on it so before too long it’s time to hit the road again and now the shots are imprinted to the camera’s memory card I can start to properly get to grips with the car’s performance. In the olden days of performance diesels one would always have assumed that slotting a 3.0-litre oil burner under the bonnet of a small hatch would have led to a pretty serious handling imbalance, but these days there’s very little to choose between the weight of 3.0-litre petrol and a 3.0-litre diesel unit, and while the N57S from the M550d is heavier than the N55 in the 135i it’s probably not by quite as much as you would think. Thus the 150d feels pretty handy on the back roads and can be thrown about quite happily without encountering the serious dose of understeer that your brain might be telling you should be rearing its ugly head.

    That’s not to say that it can be driven like any other rear-wheel drive BMW, though, as like every xDrive machine we’ve encountered you do need to slightly modify your driving style to get the best from it. The key is to get those driven front wheels working for you and as a result you need to get on the throttle far earlier than you normally would, and when you do you can really feel the effect as they start to pull you around any given corner as the rear wheels are pushing you. It takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it the speed you can carry through corners has to be experienced to be believed. The more you try it the more you grow accustomed to the car’s abilities and you do find yourself starting to take liberties with the car.

    On a twisty section of Tarmac it feels immense and I can’t imagine many machines feeling significantly quicker, or significantly more comfortable being treated like this. The 150d is fitted with bigger-than-standard brakes which helps to give you confidence and once you’ve gelled with the car and got accustomed to the levels of feedback on offer you really do start to feel invincible.

    For once I’d have been quite happy if we’d encountered sheeting rain on our shoot, as I can only imagine how much confidence the xDrive system would give you in the wet. Transmitting this amount of power and torque to damp Tarmac in a rear-wheel drive BMW can really show up a chassis’ deficiencies – witness all the criticisms levelled at the F8x generation of M3 and M4 when driven hard on wet UK roads – but in the 150d you could really put all that power and torque to good use. As an everyday, all-season performance car that could quite easily pass under the radar, this unassuming grey hatch really can have few, if any, peers.


    A couple of months back I came away from driving Schnitzer’s take on the 340i xDrive Touring thinking that it was the ultimate all rounder… I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise that opinion – my favourite everyday machine is now the Schnitzer 150d. It’s just a shame that it will remain a one-off show car as I reckon it would sell like hot cakes. As a one-off show car its build cost was in the region of €150,000 and at that price point perhaps there are too many other machines vying for our attention. If my lottery numbers come up though I’d be sorely tempted to make Schnitzer an offer it really couldn’t refuse.

    CONTACT: AC Schnitzer UK
    Tel: 01485 542000
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk
    AC Schnitzer Germany
    Tel: +49 (0)241 56 88 130
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.de

    TECHNICAL DATA #2016 / #AC-Schnitzer-150d / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-150d / #BMW-150d-F21 / #AC-Schnitzer-150d-F21 / #BMW-150d-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-150d-AC-Schnitzer-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbo diesel
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 400hp @ 4400rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 590lb ft @ 2400rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.5 seconds
    80-180KM/H: 7.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    EMISSIONS: 177g/km

    MODIFICATIONS
    ENGINE: Installation of #N57S / #BMW-N57S triple-turbo straight-six; AC Schnitzer engine optics
    TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed auto, #xDrive four-wheel drive / #ZF8HP
    EXHAUST: AC Schnitzer bespoke exhaust
    SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer Racing suspension
    WHEELS AND TYRES: #AC-Schnitzer-AC1 Bicolour, 8.5x19-inch (all-round) with 225/35 tyres
    AERODYNAMICS: AC Schnitzer two-piece front spoiler elements; AC Schnitzer mirror covers (carbon); AC Schnitzer rear roof spoiler
    INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer aluminium pedal set; AC Schnitzer aluminium foot rest; AC Schnitzer key holder; AC Schnitzer floor mats

    As an everyday, all-season performance car that could quite easily pass under the radar, this unassuming grey hatch really can have few, if any, peers.
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    / #2016 #BMW announces the quad-turbo diesel / #BMW-N57S / #N57S / #BMW-N57

    At the 37th International Vienna Motor Symposium BMW announced the introduction of a new version of its 3.0-litre diesel engine that manages to eclipse its triple-turbo N57S engine. This new version features four-turbos – two low and two high pressure units – and develops 394hp between 4000 and 4400rpm and 561lb ft of torque from 2000-3000rpm. It’s capable of developing more torque, but it has been capped as the eight-speed #ZF ‘box to which it will be attached can’t cope with more. While power and torque aren’t hugely up on the triple turbo unit – gains are 13hp and 15lb ft – the new unit is said to be five per cent more fuel-efficient. The first car that’s due to receive the new unit will be the 750d xDrive that’s expected to do 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.
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    Bob BMW
    A Question of Sport #2016

    / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW / #AC-Schnitzer-ACZ4-5.0d / #AC-Schnitzer-ACZ4 / #AC-Schnitzer-ACZ4-E89 / #AC-Schnitzer-ACZ4 / #AC-Schnitzer-ACZ4-5.0d-E89 / #BMW-Z4-5.0d / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW-Z4-E89 / #BMW-E89-AC-Schnitzer


    AC Schnitzer endows the #BMW-Z4 with some serious diesel power with a 400hp conversion! A pure sports car with a triple-turbo diesel under the bonnet? Who’d make such a thing? AC Schnitzer – that’s who. And it knows what it’s doing… Words: Auto Bild Sportscars. Photography: Auto Bild Sportscars and AC Schnitzer.

    The ACZ4 5.0d has a bespoke interior and many one-off components such as the exhaust which saves a staggering 19kg.


    Track tester’s notes

    Engine: Because of its nature, it doesn’t rev as sharply as a sporting, normally aspirated petrol engine. The strong torque always leads to a lightning-fast breakaway of the rear end.

    Gearbox: Take everything one gear higher than normal, and shift up at 4500 rpm. Steering: Direct, precise, plenty of feedback.

    Suspension: Perfectly set up for the Sachsenring, almost no roll tendency in alternating curves, just enough spring travel for small bumps. 1.34g transverse acceleration!

    Brakes: Perfectly controllable, no fading, pressure point clear as glass. Brilliant.

    Some of our readers may well remember the AC #Schnitzer 99d that the company built back in 2011 which combined BMW’s ubiquitous 2.0-litre diesel engine tuned to 190hp and 310lb ft of torque with the expensively lightened body of a Z4. Thanks to innumerable carbon components, the eco-sportscar was able to slim down to an unladen weight of around 1300kg. It ran on low rolling resistance tyres and returned, on average, a smidgen over 74mpg which equates to a CO² emissions figures of just 99 grams per kilometre. Sadly this technology platform – costing €149,000, but not for sale – remained a highly regarded one-off.

    It was also regarded – or rather, watched – by a stubborn interested party who was inspired by the concept of a diesel sports car for rather less noble reasons than saving the planet. For him, it was more about torque. The 310lb ft offered by the four-cylinder diesel wasn’t enough for this customer, so he said to Schnitzer: “If you can make a really powerful diesel, I’ll buy the car.”

    So the engine arrived – a freshly donated unit from a M550d. And in a lengthy operation, the AC Schnitzer 99d was transformed into the ACZ4 5.0d. The name is as unwieldy as it is misleading, because the tripleturbo six-cylinder doesn’t have a 5.0-litre capacity – it is, in fact, a 3.0-litre unit. That’s more than enough, though, because straight from the factory this wonder diesel delivers no less than 381hp and 549lb ft of torque and turns the two-ton-plus M550d into a very lively performer.



    But what can this oil-burner add to a lightweight Z4, even when on top of everything it’s tuned by software intervention – an increase in injection quantity and, consequently, a rise in boost pressure – to 430hp and 620lb ft? And it gets better: our performance measurement actually recorded 445hp. Will the engine and chassis separate themselves from the bodywork during the traffic light grand prix? Will the propshaft tie itself in knots? Or will the rear wheels simply spin helplessly in every gear?

    Somewhat surprisingly none of that happens as Schnitzer transplanted the complete rear axle from the E92 M3 (including the limited-slip diff) and fitted 9.5-inch wide forged alloy rims shod in very grippy 265 Michelins. As a result the Z4 actually transmits all that power and torque to the Tarmac remarkably well. Naturally it is possible, with the driving aids turned off, to transform the rear tyres into small black crumbs with a large dose of the throttle. However, anyone with even a hint of feeling in their right foot should be able to get smoothly off the mark (even in the wet), and rapidly shift up through second and third, and only fully press depress the throttle in fourth gear at the earliest.

    The secret of the fundamentally fine controllability and high output of the BMW diesel lies in the complex valve control of the three turbos: a small high-pressure turbo ensures spontaneous response to even the smallest tap on the gas pedal. From around 1500rpm, the large low-pressure turbo joins in and provides plenty of volume and torque. Stage three comes in at around 2700rpm: a bypass line now supplies exhaust gas to a third small high-pressure turbo. From here up to maximum revs at 5400rpm, all three turbos work together to push the huge air masses into the combustion chambers for maximum power. Yet the driver notices nothing of these processes, simply enjoying the lag-free, harmonious but extreme power development up to maximum revs. So on the motorway, eighth gear is enough for all situations. Hectic flips of the shift paddles, kickdown, high revs – why bother? Just engage top gear in manual mode and press the throttle – and enjoy acceleration to a level not experienced before. The speedo needle climbs from 100 to 200km/h (62-124mph) as quickly as it does from zero to 100km/h in other well-powered cars.

    The vehement thrust however ends unexpectedly early at a measured 279km/h (173mph). Is this down to the short-ratio M3 rear axle, which was really intended for a high-revving V8 petrol engine? No, because at top speed in eighth gear you’re only at 4300rpm and the diesel has enough breath for a further 1100 revs. Roman Fenners of AC Schnitzer thinks the cause lies in a protective function of the gearbox software, to prevent overheating.

    But even 279km/h feels very, very fast in the diesel Z4: the solid hard-top of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which replaces the standard steel folding top and its complex electro-hydraulic folding mechanism, saving 56kg, produces a noticeable interior noise level. And the very low race-style suspension setup with short spring travel, pronounced negative camber and very wide tyres on the front axle, calls for strong arms on bumpy and grooved surfaces.


    When we head off to the track, and specifically the slalom test, what was a disadvantage on the motorway here transforms into an advantage: the slightly nervous agility of the Schnitzer Z4. The pleasantly heavy steering, which feels beautifully taut and extremely precise, gives excellent feedback from the road and allows the coupé to be steered through the cones with millimetric precision. Understeer? Only when the tyres haven’t warmed up. Oversteer? Only when the throttle is used as an on/off switch.

    The nose-heaviness is successfully countered by AC Schnitzer with 265 tyres on the front too – instead of the mixed tyres with considerably narrower format on the front which come on the standard Z4 top model, the sDrive35is. That car, with 340hp, weighs in at 1601kg – 123kg more than the Schnitzer with the heavy diesel unit up front. As well as the solid hard top of carbon fibre reinforced plastic there’s also a CFRP bootlid (minus 34kg), a lightweight rear silencer (minus 19kg), CFRP bucket seats (minus 35kg) and forged alloys (minus 25kg) which all save weight.

    Our race ace, Guide Naumann, now takes over the controls for our hot laps of the Sachsenring to record a lap time. For this we fitted Michelin Cup 1 semislicks which in the cool autumn temperatures, despite several warm-up laps, never quite reach their optimum working temperature. But the Schnitzer still steers excellently into the Coca-Cola Kurve after the start-finish straight without understeer. The suspension is perfectly set up for the Grand Prix circuit, handling the alternating corners without too much body roll, but was still soft enough to swallow the small bumps of the Sachsenring. For the Nürburgring North Loop we reckon this setup would, however, offer too little spring travel.

    When accelerating out of comers, the triple-turbo has too much power especially in conjunction with an only lightly loaded rear axle. If you press the gas on entry to the apex, the rear kicks out suddenly, so you take it in one gear higher than usual, applying the gas late and progressively. But the rear still calls for your full attention, such as in the fast right kink downhill at 180km/h, where it tries to overtake the front! With the diesel roaring loudly at race speed, you can’t hear the rev limiter so you can’t shift based on engine note. Instead you have to keep glancing away from the track and over to the rev counter. The needle, however, should never drift above 4500rpm because higher revs would only cost time and you’ve still got all that solid torque available in the next gear.


    The Schnitzer braking system, with six-pots on the front, remains unmoved lap after lap – no fading, no lengthening pedal travel, just a pressure point set in stone, combined with perfect controllability. Naumann’s summed up the ACZ4 5.0d on track thus: “Race-style suspension with very high and correspondingly narrow limit zone. Overall high grip level but the huge torque proves a killer for perfect lines. With a slightly higher exterior temperature or a softer tyre compound, certainly another second could have been squeezed out.”


    The comparison with the Schnitzer Z4 99d mentioned initially, which we thrashed around the Sachsenring in spring 2013, is interesting: the 200kg lighter car, which also had 255 less hp, took over five seconds longer. A good time in itself, on a par with a current Audi S4 with 333hp. Or expressed in other words: the six-cylinder diesel is a real powerhouse. For the record the ACZ4 5.0d recorded a time of 1:37.27 on a cold track… a F82 M4 DCT Coupé managed a 1:37.74 under warmer conditions. And that makes the ACZ4 5.0d the fastest diesel we’ve ever driven around the Sachsenring.


    And how does the Schnitzer feel in comparison with a standard Z4 35is? Another world away. The softly set up standard BMW, trimmed for comfort and ‘safe’ understeer, feels almost stolid, almost unsporting. Today’s standard, forgiving car sadly can’t offer the sharp handling which you associate with the first generation Z4 (E85).


    Overall we’re left with an impression of a machine that really does stir one’s emotions. Emotions? In a diesel? Which occasionally breathes a hint of diesel oil into the interior? Which on starting rattles like the neighbour’s rep-mobile? Which growls darkly at the front but can’t sing melodiously from the exhaust? Yes! Because the baffled looks of a few car nerds who notice that the engine note and car don’t go together, are pure gold. And then there’s the fab feeling of driving something unique, special and exotic.

    This unique, special, exotic car could, however, make you curse in everyday use. For example, in the supermarket car park when you have to unlock the carbon fibre bootlid in two places, then take it off completely and put it to one side before loading your shopping. Then there’s the short-travel suspension which the driver has got used to but passengers will never take to. Add to that the always high interior noise level (yes, even the sound insulation has been scrimped on) and that when reverse parking it’s very hard to see the rear extremities… and the former Roadster has now become a year-round closed top coupé. Oh well, you can’t have everything!

    It’s not a cheap conversion, though, even if using a secondhand Z4 as a basis. Almost all the internals have been thrown out and the new engine and eightspeed automatic alone cost nearly €50,000. Then it goes without saying that the suspension and brakes have to be uprated to match the huge power gain. The interested party could save a few euros though by skipping the lightweight components.

    Either way, AC Schnitzer has come up with a cracking package for this car. A heavy, extremely powerful diesel in a delicate lightweight coupé? We were sceptical, but our scepticism gradually developed into unalloyed enthusiasm during the test – AC Schnitzer has successfully pulled out all the stops to create this extraordinary concept.

    Schnitzer has stripped a huge amount of weight from the Z4 thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre such as these front wings and the new roof.



    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-AC-Schnitzer ACZ4 5.0d
    ENGINE: Six-cylinder, triple-turbo diesel, 24-valve / #N57S / #BMW-N57S / #N57S / #BMW-N57 / #N57 / #N57-AC-Schnitzer /
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    BORE/STROKE: 90.0 x 84.0mm
    COMPRESSION RATIO: 16.0:1
    MAX POWER: 430hp @ 4400rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 620lb ft @ 2000-2400rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.0 seconds
    0-124MPH: 12.9 seconds
    QUARTER-MILE TIME: 12.31 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 173mph
    ECONOMY: 20.6-39.8mpg (27.2mpg on test)


    MODIFICATIONS

    ENGINE: Triple-turbo straight-six diesel, retuned

    TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed automatic

    FRONT BRAKES: 380 mm, vented and slotted, six-piston callipers

    REAR BRAKES: 370mm, vented

    WHEELS: AC Schnitzer Type VIII lightweight forged wheels ‘BiColor Orange’, 9.5x19 inches

    TYRES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/30 ZR 19 Y

    ROOF: Replacement of the two-piece, electrohydraulically operated, folding steel roof with a CFRP hard-top saves 56kg, the #CFRP bootlid a further 34kg. The roof is now fixed and the bootlid can only be opened by removing it fully.

    GLASS: The rear screen and rear side windows (which can no longer be lowered) are made of lightweight polycarbonate.

    SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer racing suspension, fully adjustable in compression and rebound stages.

    AERODYNAMICS: AC Schnitzer carbon front spoiler, AC Schnitzer carbon sports wings, AC Schnitzer bonnet vents, AC Schnitzer rear spoiler (two-piece), AC Schnitzer carbon rear skirt insert.

    INTERIOR: Interior trim elements painted, carbon racing seats with #ACZ4 5.0d logo, AC Schnitzer aluminium footrest and pedal set, AC Schnitzer instrument cluster.

    PRICE: €114,000 (one-off build cost)
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