BMW M3 E36 Constructed For Hill Climb Has 500-Horsepower S54 Engine

Hill climbing might not be the most prestigious type of racing out there, but it takes a lot of skill to navigate through such tight corners. The smallest of mistakes usually have severe consequences on the car’s condition, and in many cases, the driver can’t continue the event due to the damages inflicted. Then there are the vehicles with their amazing power-to-weight ratios.

Such is the case with this stripped-out BMW M3 E36 featuring an engine taken from a newer M3. Specifically, it uses the S54 from the range-topping version of the E46 sports sedan but is tuned to deliver just under 500 horsepower to the rear wheels courtesy of a Samsonas sequential gearbox. The peak output arrives at a screaming 9,000 rpm, which enables the race car to make some glorious inline-six music.

Behind the wheel of this M3 E36 wearing a gold livery is Michael Zgheib tackling the Wadi Chahrour Hill Climb in Lebanon where he managed to triumph in the Rear-Wheel-Drive Class. His M3 E36 weighs a little over 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds), which means it’s just about as heavy as a Mazda MX-5 Miata but with 500 hp on tap.

The race car dances as it navigates through the narrow corners of the hill climb event. Michael Zgheib makes it look easy when it actually isn’t but that takes years of practice and pure talent as well. The BMW M3 E36 sounds positively glorious as it tackles the challenging track at full throttle as much as possible.

We can’t help but wonder what sort of changes the S54B32 has gone through considering 500 hp represents a massive bump compared to the standard BMW applications. It’s considerably more potent than the S54B32HP installed in the M3 E46 CSL where it made 355 hp. We’d also be curious to know how much torque it delivers over the 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) it produced back in the day.

Source: Hill Climb Monsters / YouTube

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