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AC Schnitzer: Famed BMW Tuner Is Celebrating 30 Years Of Leading-Edge Performance

Raising an eyebrow among the BMW crowd can be a tough ask… AC Schnitzer has been raising the adrenalin output of BMW enthusiasts for three decades… that’s saying something. The renowned tuning house is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017 so we’re taking a peek back at how it got started and what they’re doing to stay on top.

Founded in 1987 by Willi Kohl and Herbert Schnitzer, the company has called Aachen, a small village near the German-Belgian border, home since Day One. The duo got the party started by unveiling their first car, a tuned E32 7-Series dubbed the ACS7, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. From humble beginnings, the company followed a familiar and effective route to success.

AC Schnitzer took little time getting its talents on track as the fledgling company went racing soon after the Frankfurt show, competing in various DTM-spec race series. Its stable consisted of racers built on the 635 CSi (pictured) and E30 M3 platforms, the latter being called the AC Schnitzer ACS3 Sport Group N Rallye.

As the years passed, AC Schnitzer released quality performance parts and offered turn-key tuned cars to an appreciative public. One of the early standouts was the ACS3 Silhouette 3.0. It was based on the E36 M3 and the company refined the car until the E46 bowed in 1999. The AC Schnitzer CLS II from 1995 (car and engine pictured) was another notable ride. The hits kept coming as AC Schnitzer also created a wicked Z3 roadster with a V8 swap, a wild SUV prototype based on the E46, dubbed the AC Schnitzer X-Road, and the wistful Tension, an E63 M6, that went on to claim the title of the fastest road legal BMW ever with a terminal velocity of 205 mph. More recently, in 2012 the AC Schnitzer Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works Coupe-based Raptor set a record at Hockenheim and the company expanded its portfolio to include tuned Range Rovers in 2014.

To celebrate its 30th birthday AC Schnitzer is treating its fans to the special limited edition ACL2S, a road-going masterpiece based on the BMW M240i. Fittingly only 30 will be produced. Each conversion is headlined by an AC Schnitzer tuned version of BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6 that’s upgraded to generate 400 horsepower via an ECU flash, as well as intake, downpipe, and exhaust mods. The car has also been enhanced with a comprehensive body tuning regime, AC1 alloy wheels, a fully adjustable race-bred RS suspension package, and custom interior touches.

The ACL2S pushes all the right buttons. To see one is to drool… so we can barely imagine what driving one on the Autobahn induces.

Have fun in your garage!

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