There are few properly official numbers to work with, given this is the very first customer car. So, while we know the weight has dropped and power has been upped, there are no 0-62mph or kerb weight figures to go on. But it’s safe to say that with the almost completely rebuilt S14 engine now pushing out around 300PS (220kW) and 280Nm (207lb ft) we’re ahead of the original car’s c7.0-second figure.
With practically the entire body changed (all the panels weigh around 46kg in total) the Redux has dropped over 50kg. The suspension now has Bilstein dampers as standard (with some more racey ones as an option) and has been retuned to suit the new owner and the car runs on much more modern rubber. But the purpose of this overhaul is not to create something ultra-modern, the Redux dream (if we can call it that) is just to make incremental improvements to the original while remaining faithful. So the car doesn’t feel like anything on sale today.
That, is a very good thing. The extra power doesn’t feel particularly special, but now makes sure the E30 doesn’t feel weedy compared to a modern hot hatch. The drop in mass helps this feeling too and revving to 8,000rpm while the E30 breathes through a new carbon airbox means it’s always dramatic to put your foot down. Being naturally aspirated – the very first chassis caused some controversy by being blown, but that was a new owner preference, not Redux – the throttle is eager to pick up, sending power through a dogleg five-speed gearbox to the rears only. The clutch isn’t a full racing setup, but is heavy, and takes a couple of goes to get used to.
Once you’re there with the clutch, the Redux feels like a boisterous puppy. The steering, now with a faster rack than before, is pin sharp and full of zip. This E30 feels on its very tiptoes constantly, the wheels skipping across the tarmac like a ballerina. In fact the whole drive is somewhat balletic. There is definite understeer as you turn in, but the throttle’s quick response means that is sorted with the slightest of lifts, from then on a balance of gentle push from the rear and just enough grip from the front can be found. Each corner becomes the most grin-inducing of dances – stick the Redux in Strictly and I’m pretty sure it’d reach Blackpool.
If there is anything of the drive to criticise it is that that airbox never calms down, the engine rasps all the time, which is wildly pleasant while you push on but a bit less comfortable at cruise. The gearstick, fitted with a factory BMW golf ball top also left my right hand black, but the satisfying joy of its third to fourth across-the-gate change was more than enough to completely write that from my cares.