Manhart BMW Z4 V10 – Click above for high-res image gallery
The first snow? A pastel sunset? Come on, we're car guys and there are few things we love more than a big engine in a small roadster. It's the formula that put Carroll Shelby on the map, and it's very much alive today thanks to a small cadre of niche manufacturers and aftermarket tuners, a disproportionate share of them residing in Germany.
Just a few days ago we brought you news of the Wiesmann MF5 Roadster, set to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt show with a BMW M5 ten-cylinder engine packed into a little retro roadster. But if your taste veers more towards the modern than the throwback, Manhart Racing may have just the thing for you. The German tuning firm has shoehorned that same 500-hp, 5.0-liter DOHC 40-valve V10 – known in Bavaria as the SB85B50 – into the BMW Z4.
The mod job wasn't finished with the engine swap, however. Manhart also switched the transmission and differential, installed an AC Schnitzer exhaust, HJS cats and in the process just happened to have disabled the electronic speed limiter. The resultant 550 hp output in a 1450-kg package gives the ten-cylinder roadster a power-to-weight ratio of 2.6kg per HP, which places it firmly in supercar territory. (The flyweight Ferrari 430 Scuderia, for reference, packs 2.45 kg/hp.) 0-60 comes in a claimed 3.9 seconds, and we have little reason to doubt it. That is, assuming you can get all that power down through the upgraded 285/30ZR19 rear tires and keep it in a straight line with the 235/35ZR19 mounted on blacked-out BBS Challenge rims. We just hope they've upgraded the brakes to go along with the extra power. Details in the press release after the jump.