The 3 Series Compact was BMW’s 90s attempt at building an entry-level hatchback to complement its lineup of saloons, estates, convertibles, and SUVs. Admittedly, it was a weird-looking hatch with a cut-off rear end and just two doors. The Bavarian company even experimented with an M3 Compact version when the E36 generation was on sale, but the company never put anything larger than a six-cylinder engine under the bonnet of a production Compact.
This is what a Norwegian enthusiast did some 16 years ago when he decided to replace the original inline-four engine with a 5.6-litre V12 sourced from an 850 CSi. This was simply the largest BMW engine he could find at the time and it is mated to a manual gearbox sending power only to the rear wheels.
Gallery: 1994 BMW 3 Series Compact with V12 engine
Sure, with a giant V12 at the front and a light rear, this is surely not the best vehicle for track use. However, with about 394 bhp (400 PS / 294 kilowatts) on tap and a relatively low weight, this 3 Series Compact V12 will put many smiles on your face.
From the outside, it looks almost like a the M3's little brother with the proper bumpers and Hartge replica wheels. If it looks lowered to you, that’s because the car actually rides on M3 E36 suspension, while inside the cabin there’s a full set of seats, gauges, and dashboard sourced from the same car.
The hot hatchback has approximately 64,600 miles on the odometer and looks to be in very good condition. With the engine transplantation, we doubt there’s a full service history available, though we bet someone who spends a fortune on putting a V12 in a small hatchback will keep his car well maintained.
And the price? The car is currently for sale in Norway with an asking price of 299,000 Norwegian krone, which translates to about £25,200 at the current exchange rates.