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
There’s one way to test these claims and that’s on a drag
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
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
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.
Car Torque is