Why Wouldn't You Want A V8-Powered, Hartge-Tuned BMW 3-Series Compact?
Back in the 90s amidst a moment of brilliant madness, BMW produced a 3.2-litre inline-six-powered M3 Compact. It was effectively a forerunner to the M2, but never made it past the prototype phase. A real shame, but one even madder 3er Compact did make it onto the road.
It wasn’t an official BMW effort, rather the work of now-defunct tuning house Hartge. And it didn’t use a ‘puny’ straight-six. Nope, Hartge squeezed a 4.7-litre V8 in the Compact’s diminutive frame.
The engine started life as BMW’s M62 4.4-litre V8 before Hartge enlarged it to extract around 340bhp, which was sent to the rear wheels via an E36 M3 Evo six-speed manual gearbox. For an N/A engine in 1999, that’s an impressive output, particularly considering the relatively lightweight car it powered.
It’s also a lot for something with a smattering of ancient suspension components carried over from the E30 3-series. Thankfully, Hartge’s work extended beyond the lunacy under the bonnet.
The car received Bilstein adjustable suspension, a bespoke Hartge rear axles and a much-needed brake upgrade. Thanks to a body kit, a new exhaust system and some multispoke wheels that look hilariously oversized for Compact, there’s no mistaking it for stock. The finishing touch was a set of Hartge dials, including a speedometer that goes up to 300kmh.
The cost of all that was high – the completed Compact 4.7 was sold for 146,000 Deutsche Mark, which works out at just over €100,000 when adjusted for inflation. A niche prospect, then, which is perhaps why only two are thought to have been made.
This example, which is showing just 37,500 kilometres on the clock, will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s in June alongside an equally unusual BMW-engined Mercedes 300E created by Hartge.
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