Edmunds First-Drive - Hartage V10 BMW 3-Series

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Hartge of Darkness

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    Power from a BMW V10 gives this 3 Series supernatural speed capability.

    By Nick Hall
    Date posted: 08-06-2007

    This innocuous BMW 3 Series blends into the outside lane with the workforce of Beckingen, Germany, as they scuttle homeward. There is rarely a second glance in our direction, as there's no outward sign to even hint at the violence that lies within the 2007 Hartge H50.

    Once the autobahn opens out like a red carpet, we mash the throttle and the machine beneath my seat takes off like a stabbed rat. Though the 2008 BMW M3 is now upon us, not even such a car could muster this kind of forward thrust.

    The telltale howl from under the hood belongs to the BMW M5's V10.


    M5 Engines 'R Us

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    This tuned 550-hp M5 V10 nestles under the hood of the 3 Series, complete with SMG transmission.

    Ex-racer Herbert Hartge has made his trade from transplanting big engines into small BMWs since the 1970s, when Formula 1 world champion Keke Rosberg drove one of his M5-engined E30s on his days off. Since then, Hartge has put the M5 engine into more or less everything with a Roundel badge with predictably explosive results.

    One of the few German firms to achieve government recognition as a manufacturer rather than simply a tuning company, Hartge has built its reputation on M5-engined anything. The V10 under the hood of this 3 Series coupe certainly qualifies. And while none of the crowd at Hartge's headquarters in Beckingen are fans of the BMW's SMG automated sequential gearbox, they've made the best of a bad job by matching it with the M5's V10 in a 3 Series coupe body to create the ultimate sleeper, distinguished visually only by the Hartge badging and a subtle body kit.

    Inside the car, you notice a speedometer that ends on the far side of 205 mph, as well as the homemade dashboard add-on that contains a gear indicator and all the vital information about the setup of the SMG gearbox. As for the primeval noise and guttural vibration when the V10 clatters into life, well, this is the start of a 200-mph journey.

    Another Dimension of Speed

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    Visiting the dark side of the speedometer.

    With the engine screaming toward the red zone above 8,000 rpm, the Hartge H50 just tears up time and space, depositing itself at the apex of the next bend before the previous straightaway has truly registered in your consciousness. It's supercar fast, and it takes just a click of the finger on the shift paddle mounted on the steering wheel to sustain the surge of acceleration.

    Hartge didn't just transplant the living, breathing V10 from the M5 into this E46 coupe. While it was on the operating table, the corporate engineers fitted reworked cylinder heads, high-performance camshafts, a new engine map and a near straight-through exhaust system to coax 550 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque from BMW's masterpiece.

    The legendary stability and intrinsic balance of the BMW 3 Series seems unaffected by dumping the bigger engine in the front end, and Hartge claims the weight distribution has changed to 52 percent front/48 percent rear. The H50 just hoovers up the road with disconcertingly low levels of drama. Only the high-pitched scream of the engine gives away the rate of knots, and the chassis exudes a serene sense of calm even at speeds that would precede a major incident if anything goes wrong.

    On the brakes into a bend, the H50 blips the throttle to produce the perfect down-change into a lower gear and all that's left to do is to hurl the car into the corners with ever-more ambition. The low-slung stance of the 3 Series and the swarm of electronic pulses coursing through the three PlayStations' worth of computer chips in the H50 mean the Hartge coupe simply never fails to stick, even when it's asked for the impossible.

    Muscling Up the Visual Impact

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    Hartge is one of the few automotive outfits in Germany recognized as a manufacturer rather than a simple tuner.

    Styling is still the most controversial aspect of the current BMW lineup, and while Chris Bangle's flame-surface effect has grown on us, there aren't many professing love for the hard edges and odd angles. The last-generation E46 was such a perfectly proportioned machine that the design team could only go wrong from there. And they did.

    The coupe version of the new 3 Series is sleeker than the sedan, with its ground-hugging profile more suited to a high-power conversion and accented here by a splitter-type front spoiler that provides some much-needed visual impact. Rocker sill extensions, a small spoiler on the rear deck and an aero diffuser under the rear bumper complete the bodywork additions. Four exhaust tips signify that there's an M engine at work here, and the 20-inch Hartge wheels might be more than you want.

    On the whole, Hartge has accentuated the wedge shape of the 3 Series and given it a sense of forward thrust. Of course the Beckingen firm is on a tough wicket here, as building a supercar from something that's appearance challenged and then asking $220,000 for the privilege of ownership is pushing things. The Hartge H50 is the ultimate sleeper car, but it sure isn't pretty.

    On the plus side, the H50 has the practicality of a 3 Series, including four real seats, highway cruising capability and all the storage any human being could reasonably want from a 200-mph car. Hartge has dressed the interior with a new steering wheel and acres of carbon-fiber, although this is all optional. This 3,680-pound beast is effectively the M5 CSL-Lite that BMW says it simply cannot make.

    Twists and Turns

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    Limited-slip rear differential lets you hang out the rear end in a lurid slide if you're brave.

    With all 5.0 liters working hard, the H50 car scoots to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and on to 200 mph — yes, this is a real 200-mph 3 Series. The Coupe comes with Hartge's own suspension system, which is fully adjustable and drops the ride height up to 1.2 inches. With ultrawide 20-inch wheels carrying 245/30ZR20 front and 295/25ZR20 rear Pirelli P Zero Nero tires, it takes a determined stab at the throttle pedal to force the rear of the car out of line, and then the Hartge-tuned limited-slip differential will help keep even enthusiastic amateurs from burying it in a hedge.

    This car understeers gently at first before sliding round ever so progressively at the rear, but only with serious provocation. If the rears lose grip, the stability control can be tuned to deliver either a gentle slide or an armful of opposite.

    With eight-piston calipers working with 15.0-inch front brake discs and four-piston calipers working on the rear 13.6-inch discs, a dab on the middle pedal hauls off speed like throwing out the proverbial anchor. Altogether the H50 has the composure of a BMW 6 Series and the speed of a Ferrari F430, which deserves some kind of unofficial medal.

    Drunk on Speed

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    Small spoiler and big under-bumper aero diffuser are the only signs of the H50's mission that are visible from the rear.

    The Hartge H50 is brutal, ugly and loud, but the way this car dispenses with traffic, winding roads and autobahns suggests it might just be the fastest car you could own, as a spurt of acceleration is always a click of the fingers away.

    A 200-mph BMW 3 Series is one of those deviant cars that we're just happy to see from time to time. The fact that this one is every bit as easy to live with as the slightly more upmarket M5 makes it the ultimate sleeper.

    Of course the Hartge H50 drinks fuel like a thirsty tramp, but this is just the price you pay for commuting to work in the unofficial BMW M5 CSL.

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    The Hartge H50 tries to pass as an ordinary 3 Series, but the deep front splitter and 20-inch wheels give it away

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  2. Eskimo Yo-Yo

    Eskimo Yo-Yo absent OT Supporter

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    I'd kill you for it :o
     
  3. shiyan

    shiyan grabbing titties in amusement parks OT Supporter

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    holy fuck
     
  4. yer mom

    yer mom Pelvic THRUST

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  5. yer mom

    yer mom Pelvic THRUST

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    DOWANT.JPG
     
  6. Sangster

    Sangster OT Supporter

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    uhhhhhhhh yes please :wackit:
     
  7. AlkyHauler

    AlkyHauler Do you feel lucky punk? OT Supporter

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    wait...what?
     
  8. indianghetto69er

    indianghetto69er New Member

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  9. bugginout

    bugginout New Member

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    220K for that? great car, for sure but I think i would spend that money elsewhere.
     
  10. frankelefritzsux

    frankelefritzsux OT is a mental disorder OT Supporter

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    mf101s is better
     
  11. 97venge

    97venge New Member

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    0-60 in 4.4 seems slow for 550hp and 3600lbs
     
  12. theanomaly

    theanomaly Active Member

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    tru dat
     
  13. 97venge

    97venge New Member

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    and at the end of the day its still just a $200,000 3 series
     
  14. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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    A lot of German tuners are recognized as manufacturers. :hsugh:
     
  15. thewise1

    thewise1 Guest

    yeah I'd pretty much drive that
     
  16. thewise1

    thewise1 Guest

    I wouldn't tell OT though cause I don't wanna look poor, lol
     
  17. PooJou

    PooJou New Member

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    Now, about that manual....
     
  18. DadLife

    DadLife New Member

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    fucking hot
     
  19. Hellraiser M.D.

    Hellraiser M.D. OT Supporter

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    came in here to post this
     
  20. dontfrostthepie

    dontfrostthepie New Member

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    sweet mary mother of god :wackit:
     
  21. dokebi

    dokebi Commentator

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    Not 220k nice. 200mph in a 3 series is stupid.
     
  22. f/2.8L

    f/2.8L New Member

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    Werd!

    Was about to think I was the only one who caught that.
     
  23. stapleremover

    stapleremover New Member

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  24. Lynn

    Lynn Yes my wife does and no you can't watch.

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    Fuckin werd.. what is that thing.. $70,000?
     
  25. King of No Pants

    King of No Pants aww yankee puppy aww

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    i will never understand why anyone would buy that car
     

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