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Project BMW M3 Part 6: Acceleration Testing

Aug 8, 2002

Due to the unavailability of the coastal test site we used for baseline tests, Project M3 was instead taken to California Speedway for acceleration tests. The same Pirelli P7000 Supersports used in my baseline tests were used this time. I took the average of the two fastest times for each category.

The car was tested with the Schrick cam and Supersprint exhaust setup--no pulleys had been installed yet. If you recall in my baseline testing, my launch rpm was 3600. Now, because of the AA clutch and flywheel and the torque improvements, I had to drop the launch rpm to 2600 rpm. What was worse, if I accidentally went up to 2700 rpm, I'd end up peeling out in place, whereas a 2500-rpm launch bogged the car down too much. Nevertheless, wheelspin all the way through redline in first gear was inevitable--the hard-compound P7000 tires wouldn't grip. I really tried to break that 100-mph barrier in these conditions but was stuck at 99 mph in every one of the seven runs recorded! I bested a 13.93-sec. quarter-mile run in these conditions, with three other runs at exactly 14.02 sec. Because of the lack of grip, notable improvements didn't happen until after first gear (notice the improvements in the 30-to-70-, 50-to-70- and 0-to-70-mph comparisons).

2016 BMW M3
$63,500 Base Model (MSRP) 17/26 MPG Fuel Economy

The other factors that played an important role were the altitude and temperature. In Fontana we were at 1,200 ft, versus our 100-ft baseline testing on the coast. The temperature this time, in the middle of summer, was 90* F. By contrast, our baseline testing was done in mid-60*F weather. To give a better idea of the new upgrades' performance, I also included corrected acceleration times using NHRA correction factors for altitude, temperature and barometric pressure differences. Fortunately, the baseline tests were right-on.

Given the conditions, Project M3 performed very well. In the end, I compared trap speeds (a good indicator of lb/hp) with another car we had testing out there, which happened to be none other than a 280-bhp Japanese-spec 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII. Even though the Lancer, with its all-wheel-drive advantage, had the Project M3 beat by over 3/4 sec. to 30 mph, the trap speeds were almost identical. That was good enough for me. I firmly believe that given a good set of sticky, summer tires and good testing conditions, this car would have been capable of a 13.6-sec. blast at over 102 mph.

Author's note: With the clutch/flywheel upgrades and previous 229 rear-wheel hp setup, as seen in Parts II and III, the M3 posted a 0-to-60-mph run in 5.46 sec. and 1/4-mile time of 14.11 at 100.0 mph on my first and only run, before the radar gun went out of whack. This was done at the same location as our baseline tests but on a 12*F warmer day (77*F). The baseline 235/40-17 Pirelli P7000 all-season Supersports were used as well.

Project M3 Performance
Engine Stock Current
(as measured at the wheels)
218.0 @ 6100 rpm 262.4 @ 6940 rpm
(as measured at the wheels)
201.4 lb-ft @4400 rpm 233 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
Maximum engine speed 6600 rpm 7100 rpm
Weight 3220 lb 3180 lb
lb/wheel hp 14.8 12.1
Tires 235/40-17 Pirelli P7000 SuperSport
Actual Acceleration (tested with the 252-hp setup)
Ambient temperature 65* F 90* F
Altitude 100 ft 1,200 ft
0-30 mph 2.3 sec. 2.3 sec.
0-60 mph 5.8 sec. 5.6 sec.
0-70 mph 7.6 sec. 7.3 sec.
30-50 mph 2.2 sec. 2.1 sec.
50-70 mph 3.1 sec. 2.9 sec.
30-70 mph 5.3 sec. 5.0 sec.
1/4-mile 14.2 sec. @98.5 mph 14.0 sec. @ 99.9 mph
Corrected Acceleration (corrected to 65*F and sea level)
0-30 mph 2.3 sec. 2.2 sec.
0-60 mph 5.8 sec. 5.4 sec.
0-70 mph 7.6 sec. 6.8 sec.
30-50 mph 2.2 sec 1.9 sec.
50-70 mph 3.1 sec. 2.7 sec.
30-70 mph 5.3 sec. 4.6 sec.
1/4-mile 14.2 sec. @98.5 mph 13.7 sec. @ 101.9 mph
Top Speed 137 mph*
*governor limited
162 mph**
**gear limited
Track Testing Comparisons --Willow Springs, 2.5 mile
  Baseline Test
Power 229 hp 252 hp
Tires P7000 SS Toyo RA1
Ambient temperature 92*F 105*F
Turn 2 82 mph 88 mph
Turn 8, entry 115 mph 120 mph
Turn 9, exit 85 mph 90 mph
Front straight top speed 122 mph 126 mph
Fastest lap 01:42.5 01:39.4
Average front tire temp 150*F 227*F
Average rear tire temp 135*F 197*F



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