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Here's the next review, people. This one's for the BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution by AUTOart.

The model is available in one of two colours: Red or Black. As with most AUTOart models, the paint is faultlessly applied without any unevenly painted areas or rough edges. The M3 logo on the rear of the car is simulated by a decal sticker but it is very well applied and looks unlikely to peel away any time soon. The black paint trim around the bumpers (red trim on the black model) is applied very well too without any paint bleeding over the edges. In addition, there are no colour mismatches between the painted metal sections of the model and the coloured plastic parts.


The model's proportions and scale are spot on and its panel gaps are tight fitting. The finish is excellent and the model weighs in at close to 800 grams. The headlights are well simulated with separate plastic pieces as are the front indicators. The bulbs are nicely rendered too. The trademark kidney grilles are perforated as are the grilles on either side of them. The M3 logo on the front grille is moulded into the grille and painted appropriately. The licence plates are made from separate painted plastic pieces (rather than by a sticker) with the German style for licence plates at the time. The air dam beneath the front licence plate is open and shows some detail of the radiator fan.

The BMW logos on the exterior are made from separate pieces like with AUTOart's and Kyosho's versions of the E46 M3. The aerial on the roof is correctly shaped and the sunroof is simulated by moulding in the roof although it doesn't function. The heating elements in the rear window are simulated by very finely painted lines rather than by the less realistic-looking ribbed moulding process. The rear wing has the (non-functional) wing element that can be adjusted on the real car is separately made from the body of the rear wing on the model. The rear lights are just as well done as the headlights with separate plastic pieces from the body and simulation of the bulbs.


Because the windows are complete, the easiest way is to open the doors is to pull gently on the wing mirrors to open them partially then open them fully by holding the door itself once it's far enough away from the bodywork to slip a fingertip in. The interior detail is very impressive, even for an AUTOart model. Unlike with a lot of AUTOart's road car models, the seats are textured and have the M3 stripe theme applied on them very well. The red seatbelts are well rendered with separate buckles and correctly painted clips. The M3 stripe theme continues on the trim of the inside doors.

The steering wheel is also textured around the rim of it and features a small M3 emblem on the downward pillar of it. One very interesting feature about the steering wheel is that it has to be turned 720° to go from full left lock to full right lock and vice versa, like with a real car. The floors are fully carpeted and the M3 theme is continued on the interior within the door sills just in case you forgot the model is of an M3. The dials, buttons and instruments are all well rendered too and have the correct paint markings. The interior roof is also complete with detail on the interior sunroof. Roof handles are also present in all three passenger corners. Even by AUTOart's standards, the interior of this model is outstanding.


The M3 rims are beautifully replicated with fine mouldings. The central locking wheel nuts are easy to make out with the BMW propeller logo in the centre of each nut. The brake discs, like a lot of AUTOart's more recent models, have thin discs of metal covering the plastic discs to simulate the steel and it works very well for this model. The calipers aren't fixed to the discs so the discs rotate with the wheels while the calipers remain fixed in position. The tyres have the correct tread but like with most of AUTOart's models, they are unbranded (they should be branded as Michelin Pilot tyres).


The hood opens in virtually the same way as that of the real car - it raises slightly upwards and forwards then lifts to a near right angle and stays upright thanks to a hinge - the design is essentially copied from Minichamps version. The detail in the engine bay is extraordinary.

The engine itself is very finely detailed and fabricated from several different pieces of plastic. Because the engine is built from separate pieces, you can appreciate the space in the engine bay from the compact engine. The spark plugs are marked by small markings on the cam cover. The radiator is well rendered at the front of the engine bay and the water and oil boxes and the battery are easy to make out and the induction filter is well defined.

The undercarriage detail is very good too. Much of the engine and gearbox can be seen from beneath although most of the driveshaft is hidden by the exhaust pipes. The tail pipes are hollow and extend as far down as the cat (as far as possible with the model) and the insides of them are painted black to accentuate the hollowness. The (non-functional) suspension is nicely simulated with shocks and coil springs easily noticeable in all four corners of the car. The fuel lines can be made out easily as well and although much of the underbody is flat, this is correct as the M3 was principally designed for racing so a flat underbody would aid a car's aerodynamics by reducing drag.

Although no other model manufacturer makes the E30 M3 Sport Evo, Minichamps offers their own version of the "standard" E30 M3 model, on which the M3 Sport Evo is heavily based, for a similar price. On the whole, AUTOart's version is more detailed and of better quality, especially on the interior.

This is one of AUTOart's best models and because it is part of their Millennium Division, it isn't as easy to find as models from their Racing or Performance Divisions but it isn't exactly rare. Minichamps' rendition does offer some competition but AUTOart's is arguable better.

AUTOart, once again, made an outstanding effort with making the M3 Sport Evo as a 1/18 model. You pay slightly more for it than a regular AUTOart model but the premium is compensated by slightly better detail, mainly in the engine and interior departments. If you have Minichamps' version already, it may not be worth adding AUTOart's version to your collection unless you are a BMW model specialist or the kind of collector who collects anything and everything. This model is a worthy addition to almost any collector's collection.
Total Score - 47/50

review added to the DX Model Review Database on 06-SEP-2004

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another excllent review :cheers

lol, Now I really want this!!!!!

it's cool how the steering wheel turns 720, unlike previus cars where the wheels can't even turn 90 degrees to each side
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