Manhart Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap

Manhart's Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap
Manhart's Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap

Manhart’s Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap

The BMW E31 8-Series holds a special place in automotive history. Known for its sleek design and powerful V-12 engine, this iconic ’90s coupe is cherished by car enthusiasts around the world. Recently, German tuner Manhart has breathed new life into this classic, creating an exclusive and powerful restomod dubbed the MH8. This article delves into the details of Manhart’s impressive transformation of the E31 8-Series, showcasing the upgrades that make the MH8 a standout modern classic.

The Original BMW E31 8-Series: A Brief Overview

The Birth of an Icon

The BMW E31 8-Series debuted in the late 1980s as a luxurious and technologically advanced grand tourer. It featured a 5.0-liter V-12 engine producing 296 horsepower, which was remarkable for its time. The car’s sleek lines and pop-up headlights made it an instant hit among car enthusiasts and celebrities alike.

Manhart's Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap
Manhart’s Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap

Challenges and Discontinuation

Despite its initial success, the E31 faced challenges. The economic downturn of the late ’90s and the high cost of production led to its discontinuation in 1999. However, its legacy endured, and it remained a sought-after model for collectors and fans of ’90s automotive design.

Manhart’s Vision: The MH8 Restomod

A New Heart: Engine Swap

Manhart, renowned for its high-performance tuning and custom builds, saw potential in the E31. The MH8 project aimed to reimagine the E31 as an M-variant, something BMW enthusiasts had always dreamt of. The tuner replaced the original V-12 engine with a more potent S62B50 V-8 engine from the BMW E39 M5. This 5.0-liter V-8 produces 420 horsepower, a significant upgrade from the original powerplant.

Transmission and Performance

To complement the new engine, Manhart paired it with a six-speed manual transmission. Although it remains unclear if the gearbox is sourced from the E39 M5 or a different unit, this setup promises a more engaging driving experience, reminiscent of the ’90s performance sedans.

Enhanced Handling and Aesthetics

Suspension and Wheels

The MH8’s handling is improved with Bilstein B6 shock absorbers and a comprehensive refurbishment of the car’s underpinnings, including axles, bushings, and bearings. The car rides on staggered 20-inch custom forged wheels wrapped in Continental Sport Contact 7 tires (255/30R20 front, 295/25R20 rear), ensuring optimal grip and stability.

Subtle Yet Striking Design

Externally, the MH8 maintains the classic look of the E31 but with modern enhancements. Manhart added a custom front spoiler, rear diffuser, and rear deck spoiler. These aerodynamic upgrades are subtle, preserving the car’s original elegance while hinting at its enhanced performance capabilities.

Manhart's Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap
Manhart’s Ultimate Restomod: Reviving the BMW E31 8-Series with a V-8 Engine Swap

Luxurious Interior

Inside, the MH8 boasts a reupholstered interior featuring Alcantara with classic BMW M stitching. This upgrade not only enhances comfort but also adds a touch of modern luxury to the vintage cabin, making it a delightful place to spend time on long drives.

Exclusivity and Pricing

Manhart’s MH8 is not just a restomod; it’s a collector’s item. With only five units planned for production, exclusivity is guaranteed. This limited run and the extensive modifications come at a price—$162,000. For many, this investment is justified by the car’s rarity and the meticulous craftsmanship involved in its creation.

Conclusion: A Dream Come True for Enthusiasts

The Manhart MH8 is more than just a modified BMW E31 8-Series. It represents the pinnacle of what the original could have been, had it continued to evolve. By combining the timeless design of the E31 with modern performance and luxury upgrades, Manhart has created a dream car for enthusiasts of ’90s automotive culture. For those who grew up with posters of the E31 on their walls, the MH8 offers a tangible, thrilling connection to their automotive dreams.

Table: Key Specifications of Manhart MH8

FeatureSpecification
EngineS62B50 V-8 from BMW E39 M5
Horsepower420 hp
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Wheels20-inch custom forged wheels
TiresContinental Sport Contact 7 (255/30R20 front, 295/25R20 rear)
SuspensionBilstein B6 shock absorbers
Exterior ModsCustom front spoiler, rear diffuser, rear deck spoiler
InteriorAlcantara upholstery with BMW M stitching
Price$162,000
Production Limit5 units

Manhart’s MH8 is a testament to the enduring appeal of the BMW E31 8-Series. With its enhanced performance, modern amenities, and exclusive production, the MH8 is set to become a treasured piece of automotive history.

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