Diesel car sales in Europe have declined in recent years and June marked the first time in history that electric vehicles sold oil burners on the Old Continent. However, Germany still has a viable market for new diesel vehicles with more than 18 percent of shipments from January to June this year coming from vehicles with compression ignition engines. This perhaps makes it easy to explain why tuning companies like Manhart continue to develop diesel-powered performance vehicles.
The company’s latest MH3 400d is based on the BMW 3 Series in M340d guise. For the uninitiated, this is a diesel-powered sedan (also available as a not-so-agile station wagon) with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine under the hood. Even in stock form, it’s quite capable with an output of 335 horsepower (250 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters) of torque between 1,750 and 2,250 rpm. An eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.
Manhart didn’t go flat with the engine modifications and kept tweaks to the powerbox just for a few extra horses. Without adding any hardware upgrades – aside from new rear dampers with valve control and four 3.54-inch (90 millimeters) exhaust pipes – the tuning shop boosted the engine’s output to 380 hp (280 kW) and 568 lb-ft (770 Nm) of torque. This made the MH3 400d more powerful than the Alpina D3 S at 350 hp (261 kW). There are no acceleration figures, although the increase in power may mean the 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometers per hour) sprint is quicker than the stock car’s 4.0 seconds.
There’s an exterior to match that performance, too. The upgrade starts with additional carbon parts from the BMW M Performance range, including a front spoiler lip and a new diffuser at the rear. The car is finished in gloss black with new silver and red stripes for a more distinctive look compared to the factory look. A set of twin-spoke Concave One 20-inch wheels completes the visual upgrade. Better handling is the suspension lowered by 1.57 inches (40 millimeters) at the front and 1.18 inches (30 millimeters) lower at the rear.