AC Schnitzer Celebrates 30 Years of BMW Tuning
Near the German-Belgian border sits Aachen, a town that houses BMW tuning specialists AC Schnitzer. It’s been the company’s base of operations for the past 30 years. This year, it is celebrating its milestone by reminding us of its greatest hits including the first 7 Series the company tuned, a V-8-powered Z3, and its latest offerings including the ACL2S M240i and a tuned i8.
In 1987, founders Willi Kohl and Herbert Schnitzer started the company and premiered their first car, a tuned E32 7-Series dubbed the ACS7 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Soon after, the company began fielding DTM-spec race cars including ones based on the BMW 635 CSi and E30 M3, which was called the AC Schnitzer ACS3 Sport Group N Rallye. The following year, the company would introduce a road-legal version.
The company progressed and released tuning packages for the latest BMWs including the new E36-generation M3, called the ACS3 silhouette 3.0, which the company would continue to modify until the E46 generation came onto the scene in 1999. However, in between the E36 and E46, AC Schnitzer would build a V-8-powered Z3 roadster and once again debut the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
In 2001, the company released the AC Schnitzer X-Road concept, a prototype SUV based on the E46 3 Series, which featured larger off-road-spec tires, increased ground clearance, and more rugged bumpers and side sills to cope with the rigors of off-roading. A few years later, AC Schnitzer released the Tension based on the E63-generation M6, which became the fastest road-legal BMW ever with a claimed 205-mph top speed.
Jumping ahead a generation, in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show, the company released the ACS5 Sport based on the F10-generation M5, and announced that it would offer its packages in 50 countries around the world. 2012 also saw the company break a record at Hockenheim with its tuned Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works Coupe Raptor, which set a remarkable 1:10.87 lap time.
2014 saw the company begin tuning Range Rovers. A year later, the company debuted the first AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW X6 and i8. As well as set a lap record on Hockenheim in a tuned BMW M4. Lastly, this year saw the AC Schnitzer M3 run the Sachsenring in just 1:33.90, as well as debut the 30th anniversary ACL2S based on the M240i.
Whatever the next 30 years of AC Schnitzer have to offer, we’re sure we’ll be eager to get behind the wheel. What are your favorite AC Schnitzer cars? — Sound off in the comments below.