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BMW 530d with 
Schnitzer conversion

Broadcast dates : 16th January 2005
20th January 2005


For BMW enthusiasts, the name "Schnitzer" means a very special version of the car hailing from Bavaria.

The Schnitzer brothers founded a tuning business on the Austro-German border in the early 1960s and for the next few decades Schnitzer, like Alpina, another famous German tuner, became synonymous with BMW racing cars.

AC Schnitzer has always enjoyed close BMW factory ties and factory approval, and this is why in Germany the cars are considered models in their own right, rather than Beemers with go-faster bits and pieces.

In just a few short years, diesel cars have come to be seen as bonafide performance models, with power outputs only dreamed of in the pre-turbo era.

They offer fuel consumption up to forty per cent lower than their petrol counterparts when driven in the same fashion.

Schnitzer conversions can be added in various BMW models, ranging from a set of wheels and suspension, to a full body-kit and engine massage.
The engine upgrade, as Schnitzer agents JSN Motors calls it, consists of a Schnitzer management chip. It costs some R12 300, but it does have the advantage of retaining a full BMW warranty, something that very few engine tuners can boast about.

It raises the power from a hundred-and-fifty to a hundred-and-seventy-four kiloWatts. And torque is boosted from four-hundred-and-eighty Newton Metres to five-hundred-and-thirty.

There’s one way to test these claims and that’s on a drag strip shoot-out.

We ran the Schnitzer against a dead standard BMW 530d and the results proved that the power hike is real. Our best time was fifteen-comma-nine-two seconds for the Schnitzer, as opposed to sixteen-comma-five-three seconds for the standard 530d.

Impressed by the acceleration, Clint then turned his attention to the handling differences between the two.

The standard car has good poise but a fair degree of body roll.

On the Schnitzer car, the turn-in to a corner is much more precise and the grip from the 245-35 Michelin tyres means a faster exit time.

At Wesbank’s short circuit the Schnitzer was just under two seconds faster than the stock 530d, Clint lapping consistently in the fifty-eight-comma-two second bracket.

That may not sound much, but on a tight track, two seconds a lap is a long way!

With extra rubber on the road and less weight transfer thanks to stiffer suspension, we were keen to try the braking.

From inside the car, the retardation felt fantastic, but what would the numbers say?

After the initial stop, Clint wanted to see how the brakes would hold up in the much more punishing test from a hundred-and-twenty kilometres-per-hour.

From both sixty kilometres-per-hour and a hundred-and-twenty kilometres-per-hour, those braking distances have set a new benchmark for Car Torque. Impressive stuff indeed.

Stunning exterior looks and dynamics aside, Schnitzer parts are also available to dress up the interior. These weren’t fitted to the test machine, but Car Torque wasn’t disappointed as you’d go a long way to beat the harmonious luxury of a BMW cockpit.

And Schnitzer’s bits and pieces don’t come cheap.

This brought the total cost of our test vehicle to five-hundred-and-ninety-thousand Rand! For that sort of money you could buy a BMW 545i.

But for some people being different is what it’s all about.

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