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Manhart racing's 410kW Z4

2009-08-28 08:12
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer BMW
Model Z4 V10
Engine 5l V10
Power 410kW
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 3.9 sec
Weight 1 450kg
As the European autumn approaches, tuning packages for convertibles predictably fall out of favour for a while.

This is precisely the reason Günther Manhart has released a V10 powertrain transplant for BMW’s E85 Z4, because, ostensibly, it makes no sense.

The scale of Manhart’s ambition at the start of this Z4 V10 project was quite extraordinary.

He wanted to fuse the best of BMW’s M5 range, with the roadster styling and low mass handling finesse of the E85 Z4.

Choice engine for this project was BMW’s current M5 unit, the magnificent 5l V10.

Big engine, small car

From the outset there was a problem trying to bed down a V10 engine on a six-cylinder mattress.

BMW's S85 V10 engine might have a compact V-configuration, and each cylinder is smaller than the Z4’s original in-line six, but there are nearly twice as many cylinders to accommodate.

Tight fit? Try nigh on impossible…

Shoehorning a 5l V10 into a 3l in-line six engine bay. Akin to spending a Friday night solving trigonometry problem for fun...But you know what the Germans are like.

In the end Manhart, who has a quarter century’s worth of experience fiddling with BMW engines, was forced to call upon every last vestige of his considerable know-how to get BMW’s 5l V10 to fit within the Z4’s engine bay.

One of the compromises forced upon Manhart was a change of transmission. He was left with no other option but to pair up the V10 with its American market six-speed manual shifter instead of the seven-speed SMG transmission.

With the V10 engine transplant a notable achievement in itself, Manhart had little else to do to the V10 engine. There was simply no room left for any forced induction antics for example.

HJS high-flow catalytic converters, AC Schnitzer free-flow stainless exhausts and a recalibrated ECU unit liberate an additional 37kW from the 5l V10 to take peak power to 410kW, which is plenty in a car with a freight weight of 1 450kg…

A Fichtel & Sachs clutch picks up drive from the V10, whilst a stock E60 rear differential distributes toque, with 19-inch, 285/30 profile tyres attempting to provide traction at the rear.

To ensure some remnant of handling civility the Manhart racing Z4 features Bilstein B16 PSS10 coilover dampers at each wheel corner, keeping those sinister-looking black BBS Challenge wheels in contact with the road surface as much of the time as possible.

Black car. Black wheels. Big V10 under the bonnet. An accident waiting to happen?

Monster performance

Günther Manhart reckons his Z4 M V10 will run close to 300km/h at the top end – though we would not try it, considering the car features scant aerodynamic modification.

Acceleration is claimed at 3.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h run. Considering the E60 M5 six-speed manual gearbox is unable to override the car’s traction control (unlike the SMG ‘box with launch control), we doubt that number just a little…

Despite this, the Z4 M V10 remains a heroically pointless and particularly mad car though.

It’s a noteworthy achievement, though we can only imagine the colourful colloquial German Manhart must have uttered as he struggled to machine intricate bits to get that magnificent V10 to fit under the dainty Z4's bonnet.

Worth the effort? Well when last did you hear of a Z4 which could effortless run with F430 Spiders? Exactely.


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