Holy crap, we have Minichamps model under the microscope! I didn’t believe that would ever happen again, since the brand has taken on the position of releasing low-budget, sealed models. Even some of their past successes are getting squeezed execution-wise, from once a full opening subject, today semi-access doors only or fully sealed specimens. That being said we have a couple of late 2022 arrivals from Minichamps that feature a couple of 1:18 scale, M-badged BMWs, both made in metal with access to the internal bits. A very rare combination these days… And let me apologize in advance for not getting to review these models sooner, in all honestly, they have been sitting right next to me since December 2022!
The two models are the BMW M3, (4-door) Competition in Green and BMW M4 (Coupe) Competition in Matt Dark Blue. The cost per model was $180 US or $245 CND. Based on the ever-escalating price points, for a full-access replica, I would consider this fair. If you want to learn more about the specs and performance of each vehicle hit YouTube for more on this topic, I rather focus on my dialogue the models, which includes the good, the bad and the ugly…
Being a collector of only M-badge BMWs, you could imagine I was quite excited when these models were first announced. Each model is based on a euro-spec car and as mentioned earlier we have the BMW M3 (4-door) in Green and BMW M4 (Coupe) Competition in Matt Dark Blue both here for you! The team has shared a wealth of photos, 70 to be exact.
Out of the box, both models do look very similar other than the apparent 2-door versus 4-door option and paint! One thing some keen observers may notice from the initial pre-production sample of the same is the production has a Matt Black roof line whereas the pre-production was shown with carbon fibre weave. The Black is the more accurate of the two! As per paint, no issues with either example as they both provide a more than adequate finish.
One miss on the exterior side is the poor shutlines, well, the focus is the front end of the bonnet. This proved poor on both models as the photos will show on the front side of the hood. Outside of this the doors and trunk are pretty good otherwise.
Detailing on the front facias is not perfect, the M4 seems off on the lower portion and no perforated material or glimpse into the inside is provided. There is also another slight miss, the M4 seems to have the optional carbon fibre package as the mirror and rear diffuser are covered in carbon fibre, however, this detail was missed in the lower venting of the front bumper intakes. As for the M3, it doesn’t provide any perforated implementation either.
The motor is accessible on both models, note the nice aggressive nostrils worked into the metal on the hood. Yes, both cars shine here on design elements alone. Opening the bonnet reveals the motor. I’ll say positive marks for allowing one access and good work on the quality hinges that support the hood. Where each model falls short in the overall detailing of the engine. It is quite bare and lacks any real finer details. Other than the OEM badging the miss of having no texture and paint elements proves uninspired.
The rear side of both cars is more than respectable. Photo-etched badging is proven and the inside of the truck storage is carpeted too. Carbon fibre is extended to the upper bonnet lip spoiler and lower section of the bumper for the M4 Competition. As for the M3, it is completed in a semi-gloss Black finish.
The wheels on the duo are quite good in my opinion and are mirrored for each. The wheel portion has been painted all Black with the surface area polished. No tire branding or air valves are included here. As for the breaking components, both models are identical with massive calipers (front) and cross-drilled rotors front and rear. What is distinct is the colour, the M3 is completed in Red and the M4 in Gold. Overall a really clean package! Let me add, the suspension for both is spring-loaded, which is possibly important for some.
Entering the interior side, this is accomplished by two doors on the M4 and four, all-functional doors on the M3. The basic components are found on both, which include full carpeting with fabric seatbelts front and rear. I was undoubtedly surprised the interiors were as pleasing as they are. In comparison to a typical GT Spirit interior, the Minichamps did excel.
Items of difference between the two models include the door threshold being sized differently on each, the interior colours coming in the same Black/Tan, but the M4 stepping of the game with the two-tone dash, and finally, seat styling is different on the two models – see photos for more details.
To summarize, the Minicamps M3 and M4 Competition cars are capable models in their own right. Are they refined as something from Almost Real or BBR diecast pieces, no. To be honest, the tactical feel of the Minichamps is somewhat loose for lack of a better word. As a fan of the BMW M cars acquiring something in scale with opening features, and two models for that matter is extremely satisfying, to say the least. Is this model going to meet expectations for all, nope. But for me, these are welcomed additions, even if the source brand is Minichamps. Enjoy the pics!
Thanks for the review. I was a little excited when this model was announced, although not a fan of Minichamps. After seeing many photos of the finished product compared to the retail price, it reminded me why I’m not a fan of Minichamps.
You are welcome!
My thoughts exactly:D
I’m not a miser and I’m ready to pay for my hobby, but ~165 euros for this disgrace with a gap along the M4 hood line … Thank you! With my last purchase from “Norev” – “1:18 Porsche 911 (992) GT3 Touring” BMW M4 is even incorrect to compare. How can you treat your fans? The gentlemen from Minichamps should be ashamed. Although … hardly.
A Minichamps model with a nice hood hinges and even with stickers in the engine compartment! I can’t believe my eyes!
Why haven’t they took the BMW M8’s mold created by Norev and apply the same improvements to it? If the M8 model by Minichamps was at least at the level of the BMW M4 model shown here, I’d be glad to have such M8 in my collection!
They actually are selling Norev’s 8-series mold under their name. And they haven’t done the things you mention probably because it would mean re-engineering the mold…
I stumbled upon a closed shell BMW E3 from Minichamps. Beautiful paint, nice details, it has the presence and proportions are spot on. I paid 3 TIMES LESS for it than what I’d have to pay for each of the models reviewed here. I’d much rather have MC stick to such well-made, closed-body designs (apart from them returning to their former glory, obviously) than release glorified Maistos (Norev’s already a league above that in certain areas) with small hinges for 4x their pricetag.
I mean, seriously? To each their own, but one has to really love the beever to part with their money for THAT.
This brand was once my favourite. They provide great detail and value, that is how they made their name. Paul is definitely rolling over in his grave, that’s for sure. But even their presence with static replicas isn’t cheap, so three times cheap as stated, I don’t agree.
Paul is definitely not rolling over in his grave, Paul G. Lang is still alive, owner and head of Minichamps. He runs the show!
Actually this interview with him is very interesting
In this interview he says, Chinese collectors wanted detailed all-open models and were prepared to pay whatever it costs while European customers are unprepared to pay higher prices and therefore welcome sealed models. Well, Mr. Lang, if you are selling them in the above quality and ask a high premium over the retail prices in other markets, you MAKE it look that way. Just compare what an Almost Real costs with our sponsors, on ebay from China, in European webshops (for whom Minichamps is ditributor in Europe) and on the Minichamps website. The new Ruf is 299 Euros from Minichamps, 220 from our sponsor https://www.mydiecastcars.com/ruf/. You see what I mean?
Well said, Karsten!
That is a load of BS. In our opinion this is the global value and one any seasoned collector aspires too. Heck, CMC is selling out $1000 models!
“Minichamps is still the best-known model car label in China even after 30 years. And: Our brand has stood for quality for more than three decades.”
Ha! Maybe initially, what they stand for now if mediocrity. PERIOD.
We are quite aware, thank you. This was symbolic, that this brand is dead. What they once provided the community is no longer a priority or a passion. I digress.
I’ve paid the equivalent of 93 US dollars for the E3 and the Minichamps M3/M4 cost around 300 USD here in at that time, so yes, over three times as much. The price dropped to around 250 USD since. I see that direct from China would be more or less the same (or slightly more).
180 USD is much cheaper than what we can get it for here.
Yes, it seems prices vary by region. These examples came from China.