Sales of diesel cars in Europe have been declining in recent years and June marked the first time in history when electric vehicles outsold oil burners on the Old Continent. However, Germany still has a decent market for new diesel vehicles with more than 18 percent of all deliveries from January to June this year coming from vehicles with compression ignition engines. This probably makes it easy to explain why tuning companies like Manhart keep developing diesel-powered performance vehicles.
The firm’s latest MH3 400d is based on the BMW 3 Series in M340d guise. For the uninitiated, this is a diesel-powered saloon (also available as a not-very-agile estate) with a 3.0-litre inline-six twin-turbo engine under the bonnet. Even in stock form, it is quite capable with an output of 335 bhp (250 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-metres) of torque between 1,750 and 2,250 rpm. An eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission sends the power to all four wheels.
Gallery: Manhart MH3 400d
Manhart doesn’t go flat out with the engine modifications and keeps the tweaks down to just a powerbox for a few additional horses. Without adding hardware upgrades – aside from a new rear silencer with valve control and four 3.54-inch (90-millimetre) tailpipes – the tuning atelier boosts the engine’s output to 380 bhp (280 kW) and 568 lb-ft (770 Nm) of torque. This makes the MH3 400d even more powerful than the Alpina D3 S with its 350 bhp (261 kW). There are no acceleration figures, though the increased power should probably mean a quicker 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometres per hour) sprint than the stock car’s 4.0 seconds.
There’s an exterior to match that performance, too. The upgrades start with carbon add-on parts from BMW’s M Performance range, including front spoiler lips and a new diffuser at the back. The car is finished in gloss black with new silver and red stripes for a more distinctive appearance compared to the factory look. A set of Concave One twin-spoke 20-inch rims rounds off the visual enhancements. Improving handling is a suspension that is 1.57 inches (40 millimetres) lower on the front axle and 1.18 inches (30 millimetres) lower at the back.