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BMW M enthusiast Frank Kohn meets the unique BMW M3 Compact.

BMW M enthusiast Frank Kohn meets the car of his dreams: the BMW M3 Compact.

16 August 2019

Luxembourg resident Frank Kohn is a passionate mechanic and has been a heartfelt BMW M fan since his early childhood. He was particularly taken with a model that, strictly speaking, didn't even exist – at least not for sale: the E36 series BMW M3 Compact. An offshoot of the M3 Coupé, it caused a lot of sensation among experts, but never made it beyond prototype status.

However, that fact never dampened Kohn’s desire to own one of these models at some point in the future. And so, years later, he went ahead and built his own BMW M3 Compact using a BMW 323ti Compact as the base. We talked to the passionate BMW M enthusiast and heard his inspirational story.


Frank Kohn and his E36 BMW M3 CompactFrank Kohn and his E36 BMW M3 Compact

Profile of a BMW M enthusiast.

Name: Frank Kohn

Nationality: Luxembourg

Diagnosis: BMW ///M enthusiast, currently incurable

To me, ‘individual’ means to express myself. The way I want it is exactly the way I implement it.


BMW E36 M3 CompactBMW E36 M3 Compact


BMW M3 Compact in german auto motor sport 1996BMW M3 Compact in german auto motor sport 1996
BMW M3 Compact in german auto motor sport magazine 1996.

The willingness to suffer for his dream.

In June 1996, Frank Kohn first became aware of the BMW M3 model that inspires him most to this day: the BMW M3 Compact. When the then 13-year-old found out that the car was merely a prototype, he even wrote a letter to BMW asking them to put it into series production. The request remained unheard.

It was not until October 1997 that some good news arrived: the BMW 323ti Compact was introduced, and shortly afterwards Kohn was able to admire the car in Techno Violet with the M package at a local dealership.

BMW E36 M3 CompactBMW E36 M3 Compact

BMW M Magazine: Mr. Kohn, why was it the BMW M3 Compact that caught your eye?

Frank Kohn: There's no explanation for it, it was just this car. It was like love at first sight.

What makes the BMW M3 Compact more exciting for you than a BMW M3 Convertible or M3 Coupé?

The way it drives. It is still has the old rear axle from the E30 and it makes the car a lot more agile to drive. It's also harder to drive, but it's also much more fun.

BMW E36 M3 CompactBMW E36 M3 Compact
The mix of the E30 and the E36 makes the M3 Compact the best of everything.


The E36 BMW M3 Compact from Frank KohnThe E36 BMW M3 Compact from Frank Kohn
Seats, engine and powertrain of the E36 M3 Coupé: the BMW M3 Compact by Frank Kohn

How did you come to build an M3 Compact together as brothers?

The desire was to rebuild the car, because unfortunately the original did not go into series production. When I found the second car, in this colour, it was clear that if I could do it, then he could do it too. We made it our task together.


BMW E36 M3 Compact BMW E36 M3 Compact
Distinguish each other only in the rear view: the prototype from 1996 (right) and the BMW E36 M3 Compact from Frank Kohn
This is the best day. Today really was a dream come true.
The BMW E36 M3 Compact by Frank KohnThe BMW E36 M3 Compact by Frank Kohn
I still take it out on the road, but only very rarely. Five or six times a year at most, but there can't be a cloud in the sky. The 1,200 kilometres it has driven in the past few days are a very big exception!

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