We can dwell into just what makes the AC Schnitzer M3 so freaking quick in a while, for now, let’s start with the circuit itself. The highly technical, Sachsenring circuit is a 3.67 km string of tarmac situated in the Hohenstein-Ersntthal town of Saxony, Germany.
The first (motorcycle) race was held in May 1927, which ran through the idyllic village covering a total distance of some 8.7km. The following year, several injuries and deaths ensured the ‘Badberg-Viereck’ race was prohibited for the foreseeable future.
The racers, however, returned in 1934, and since then, the Sachsenring has evolved as a mecca for motorsport in eastern Germany. Today, the circuit plays host to the annual German Moto GP and ADAC GT Masters races.
Motorcycle racing is at the heart of the Sachsenring story, and there’s little wonder why the fastest lap around the circuit was set by Marc Marquez with a time of 1.21.1 on his 1,000cc Honda RC213V. The fastest lap in a production car, after some research, was set with a time of 1.26.7 in a Porsche 918 Spyder.
And now, Aachen-based BMW tuner, AC Schnitzer, has set the fastest lap ever around the circuit for any four-door saloon, with the AC Schnitzer M3. The record was set with a lap time of 1.33.9, and to give you a reference of just how quick that is, Porsche’s latest and purest trackday machine, the 911R, requires 1.34.3 minutes.
The tuning experts at AC Schnitzer have given the BMW M3 (and M4) a further energy boost. Once again, taking on the challenge of upgrading the already finely tuned ‘S55’ inline-six turbocharged mill and injecting more power and sporting performance.
Image showing identical AC Schintzer BMW M4 engine tuning package
The extra engine power is breathed on by AC Schnitzer with a performance upgrade using an additional ECU, taking the power from 431 to 510 hp and torque from 550 to 645 Nm. The scope of supply of all AC Schnitzer performance upgrades includes a two-year warranty which can be extended optionally to three years.
AC Schnitzer then improves the car’s breathing with aftermarket silencers with flap control, with or without a sound pipe and inclusive of two "Sport" tailpipes on each side.
What’s the use of more power without the extra noise after all?
The AC Schnitzer suspension kits include a lowering spring kit or the RS adjustable suspension which allows a lowering of 30 - 40 mm at the front and around 30 mm at the rear.
"Better fast than hard" is the philosophy behind all AC Schnitzer suspension set-ups, and it makes itself felt in every situation.
So the handling of the AC Schnitzer RS adjustable suspension in principle matches the standard set-up: harmonic load change reactions and gentle understeer at the limit are important, but with the AC Schnitzer RS coilovers, significantly higher cornering speeds are possible, given the Sachsenring record as proof, while retaining comfort in everyday use.
The basis for the aerodynamic package is the super-lightweight carbon front spoiler elements – just 400 gm, which can be used alone or as the basis for the multistage bodystyling kit.
For stage two, in addition to the carbon front spoiler elements, the new AC Schnitzer racing front splitter is added. This further improves downforce on the front axle and ensures improved road holding.
The final stage of the AC Schnitzer front aerodynamic conversion for the M3 (and M4) is achieved with the carbon front side wings. These are fitted to the front skirt in sets of two along the bumper sides. The arrangement enhances the airflow along the vehicle side, further improving downforce on the front axle.
For the rear, a carbon rear diffuser, a rear roof spoiler, rear spoiler and the carbon rear wing (available in two heights) improves downforce. Carbon mirror covers and a rear skirt protective film adds further visual highlights.
AC Schnitzer offers the AC1 alloy wheels, in 19- or 20-inch sizes, finished in bi-color or Anthracite. For the 20-inch wheels, 265/30 R 20 rubbers are fitted at the front, and 285/30 R 20 at the rear.