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    PEAK PERFORMANCE

    C2K Motorsports’ stunning, supercharged Santorini #E92-M3 is about as good as it gets. It doesn’t get much better than a supercharged #E92 #M3 , and they don’t get much better than this. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Crooks Life Photography.

    Modified M4s are starting to become popular and they’re looking really good, but then you come across an E92 M3 that looks like this, a car that’s pretty much achieved motoring perfection, and you can’t help but wonder if any M4 will ever look this good…

    The lucky man who’s been able to experience this BMW nirvana is Curt Wilson, pilot and aerospace engineer by trade and owner of C2K Motorsports. Unless you don’t know what an internet is, you will be familiar with this particular E92 M3 because it’s been enjoying life in the spotlight across social media for some time now, and with good reason. Take a good, long look at those pictures and you will fall in love with this E92 M3. Everything from the colour, that vivid shade of Santorini blue, to the aggressive aerodynamic additions and those stunning HRE wheels combines to create one of the most striking and visually delightful E92 M3s that we’ve ever seen.

    Curt’s BMW journey actually began just eight years ago, though his passion for cars is most definitely long-standing, as the 30-year-old Las Vegas resident explains: “As a teenager I was into the import street racing scene. My first car was a #2001 #Toyota-Celica , which I built with a custom turbo kit and eventually blew up. My next car was a Dodge Neon SRT-4 with a 60 trim turbo making over 400whp. I then got into autocross and road course racing and purchased a Honda S2000 which, to this day, is one of my favourite cars! BMW has always been an iconic brand to me. I envied the E36 and #E46 M3s as I was growing up. The sound/performance of the straight-six motor, the aggressive stance and luxury yet motorsport-inspired design confirmed the phrase ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. I remember as a kid I used to work as a field hand for a pilot whose hobby was growing tobacco. He drove a red 318i with manual gearbox that he would drive me and my friends home in. It was the coolest car I had ever ridden in! I was unable to afford a BMW until after I had started my career which only made my long-awaited ownership that much more euphoric. Having come from a street racer background the twin-turbo straight-six was the Holy Grail of performance. When I heard details about the new N54 motor in the E90 335i I knew I had to own one. I bought my first #BMW in #2007 in the form of a #E90 335i.”

    This 335i was followed by another #335i , a #135i , an #E93 335i Convertible and also an #E60 #M5 with a Corsa exhaust, which, says Curt “made the most glorious noise of any of my cars but was just too big and had obscene gas consumption”. His time spent looking at M3s in his youth was not forgotten, though, and when he caught wind of BMW Individual and European delivery, he realised that an E9x M3 built to his exact specification in his ideal colour was within his reach. “I’m an active online blogger and Bimmerpost member,” he says. “I always aspired to one day build an inspirational project car like the insane builds that I had admired in various posts and publications. I remember seeing a few spy shots of a special UK edition colour for the #E92 M3 called Santorini blue. I spent hours staring at every photo I could find of the colour and decided that I must have it! I brokered an individual Euro delivery deal on a manual Santorini E92 with Speed cloth. It’s just one of eight US Santorini cars and the only one ever made with this exact spec.

    Some time later I found myself in Munich after a couple months of agonising anticipation. The entire experience, from the excitement while waiting, the city of Munich, the delivery process, touring the German countryside and even driving on the Nürburgring was much more enjoyable and outright satisfying than anything I could have imagined. After the trip I had an affinity and connection with the car that eclipsed any reservations that would prevent me from building it exactly how I wanted it to be,” and so Curt began to do just that.

    If you own an E92 M3 then you pretty much need to supercharge it, it’s almost like an unspoken rule, and ESS are the go-to guys when it comes to strapping blowers to the #S65 V8, so that’s exactly where Curt went. “I wanted to retain linear and useable power delivery that could match the upgraded suspensions/brakes/wheels and knew that I couldn’t reach my HP goals without forced induction. The ESS VT-1 supercharger system was the obvious choice due to their quality, reliability and customer support.” The ‘entry-level’ ESS kit is anything but basic, delivering enough power to make you sit up and take notice, but the centrifugal supercharger retains the same linear power delivery as the engine in standard form, meaning it feels similar to drive, just much quicker, the main difference being there’s a lot more power being delivered at every step in the rev range. How much power? Well, Curt says the car now makes 550whp with 330lb ft at the wheels on regular unleaded, which is around 600hp at the flywheel and a serious gain over the standard 420hp.

    Every E9x M3 also deserves a performance exhaust because it makes them sound so damn good, and here Curt has opted for a full ESS Tuning system, complete with high-flow cats and thermal coating. With a lot more go, Curt’s M3 also needed a lot more stop and so he turned to StopTech, manufacturer of fine and rather large BBKs, and opted for the beefy ST-60 six-pot front calipers with mighty 380mm drilled discs and at the rear you’ll find the ST-40 four-pot caliper kit with 355mm discs, also drilled, which is big enough to serve as a front kit on some cars. The finishing touch was a flourish of Ferrari yellow paint to make them stand out and it was job done. We’d say the E9x M3 is a not a car that is particularly wheel sensitive – it’s very hard to pick a set that doesn’t look good and Curt’s selection here looks absolutely awesome on this E92 M3. “HRE was my first and only choice,” he says. “Its reputation and quality is unsurpassed in the high-end sports car community. I wanted a lightweight wheel with a design that was not too far from OEM appearance but with a special colour which is why I chose the FF01 in custom ‘Fog’ textured finish. I had a hard time letting go of my OEM GTS wheels but as soon as I saw the car with the HREs installed I knew I’d made the right choice!”

    The FF01 is part of HRE’s FlowForm range and it’s a stunning-looking wheel, with its sculpted, twin seven-spoke design, slight concave shape and impeccable attention to detail. And the Fog finish really is the icing on the cake, a sort of matt, sparkling graphite that looks almost velvety. It was an inspired choice and the wheels look absolutely gob-smacking on the #BMW-M3 . They measure 9x19” up front and 10.5x19” at the back and are wrapped in seriously wide Toyo Proxes T1 Sport rubber – 255/35 up front and 295/30 at the rear with not an ounce of stretch in sight, it’s all about front-end grip and rear-end traction with this setup, with a Treadwear tyre lettering kit adding the finishing touch.

    The suspension choice is also all about performance, though it has given this E92 M3 a purposeful drop, with a KW Clubsport coilover kit nestling in the wheel arches, offering two-way damping and adjustment and complete with EDC emulators, which prevent the EDC warning coming up on the dash when you switch to an aftermarket suspension setup. “The KW Clubsport kit is my favourite modification on the car,” enthuses Curt. “It changed the dynamic of the M3 more than any other aspect. The stance, stiffness and feedback that the clubsports gave the car are all vital aspects that I have come to supremely appreciate. Full coilovers will be the first modification on any of my future cars.”

    With such an awesome exterior colour on top of the M3’s rugged good looks, Curt rightly didn’t want to go OTT when it came to any styling additions and his choices help to give the #BMW-E92 some more visual punch, upgrading it from a right hook to an all-out, KO blow uppercut. “I chose a relatively new company at the time, Mode Carbon, for my aero-kit,” he explains. “It makes an excellent GT4 style front lip, unique carbon fibre side skirts and rear LM series diffuser. Their fitment and quality was spot-on and since my first purchases from the company it has grown to be one of the most well-respected and recognised carbon fibre companies in the BMW and #Mercedes community.”

    The carbon front splitter looks aggressive and lets you know that this M3 really means business. The rear wing isn’t shy either and the carbon additions tie in perfectly with the whole black and blue theme that Curt has got going on across the whole car, which includes the black towing strap, custom ONEighty NYC headlights and black exhaust tips peeking out from that rear diffuser. Inside, Curt has kept the same theme going with some heavy-duty upgrades that don’t leap out and smack you in the face. “I chose Stätus racing seats due to their wide variety of customisable made-to-order options. Initially I ordered the Ring FiA seats which were extremely snug but I eventually exchanged them for the wider GTX variant which is much more comfortable for my 6’3” 200lb frame.

    “I ordered black suede with Santorini blue stitching. The suede seats match the Alcantara BMW performance steering wheel and knob with custom suede shift and e-brake boots. The final interior modification was a roll-cage from Autopower Industries which was moulded into the stock rear interior and painted black to retain the subtle and refined luxury of the original BMW interior.” The singlepiece seats are serious but don’t look out of place and that roll-cage is incredibly subtle thanks to its black finish and the Santorini highlights are the perfect finishing touch.

    Curt says that he spared no expense on the modifications and it shows, his car wants for nothing and he loves it but he remains humble despite the fact that the car has become something of an international online celebrity. “The car is very popular on Instagram and one of my favourite and most humbling compliments is when people from all over the world send me images of exact replicas of the car that they have built in video games. It really means a lot to me that people like the car enough to take the time to replicate it down to minute details such as the sponsors on my time attack doorcard.” We’ve seen a lot of modified E9x M3s here at BMW towers over the years, all of them incredible machines but the fact that every once in a while, one comes along that still manages to wow us is the most incredible thing of all, and we couldn’t be happier about that.

    Gorgeous HRE FF01 flow formed wheels in Fog finish suit the M3 perfectly and the Treadwear tyre lettering kit adds some visual flair; monster StopTech BBK offers serious stopping power. Interior has been treated to Stätus Racing Ring GTX seats with Santorini stitching and Schroth harnesses plus an Autopower Industries roll-cage; ESS VT-1 550 supercharger boasts carbon intake plenum.

    DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E92

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 , ESS Tuning #VT-1 550 Supercharger system with limited production carbon fibre plenum, ESS Tuning full exhaust system with high flow cats and thermal coating, standard six-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 9x19” ET25 (front) and 10.5x19” ET26 (rear) HRE FF01 wheels in Fog finish with 255/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) #Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, Treadwear tyre lettering kit, MRG Race Co titanium racing stud conversion, KW Clubsport two-way adjustable suspension with EDC emulators, #StopTech ST-60 #BBK with 380mm drilled discs (front) and ST-40 BBK with 355mm drilled discs (rear), calipers painted Ferrari yellow (front and rear).

    EXTERIOR: Mode Carbon GT4 front lip spoiler, Mode Carbon carbon fibre side skirt extensions, Mode Carbon LM Series rear diffuser, Mode Carbon GTS rear spoiler, #ONEighty NYC custom headlights, iND Blackout grilles/ gills/bonnet vents, iND tow strap and painted tow strap cover, Car-Pro C-Quartz compounding and paint correction.

    INTERIOR: Stätus Racing Ring GTX seats in Ultra Suede with Santorini blue stitching, Autopower Industries bolt-in Racing roll-cage, Schroth Racing quickset fourpoint harnesses, #BMW-Performance steering wheel, BMW Performance gear knob, custom suede gear lever and handbrake gaiters.

    THANKS: Sam and Nick at Mode Carbon, Roman at ESS Tuning, Greg, Laurent, and Jorge at HRE Wheels, Stan at Toyo Tires, George at KW Suspensions, Matt at Status Racing, Theo and Corey at The Specialist Detail Studio, BMW David at Steve Thomas BMW, Jimmy at Crooks Life Photography, Todd at Trophy Performance and my wife for putting up with my obsession.

    Carbon galore adorns the E92 M3 with a front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser and wing all coming from Mode Carbon; custom ONEighty headlights are very smart.
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    WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD #BMW-335i-E90

    With WTCC-inspired styling and 530whp, this #E90 #BMW-335i is a force to be reckoned with. Justin Gomba’s E90 pays homage to the bullish aggression of the #WTCC series, then cranks the horsepower up to 11. And it’s all fully road-legal… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Watson Lu.

    Touring Cars rock, there’s no two ways about it. Pick any era from Touring Car history and you’ll find charismatic drivers doing impressive things in cars that look like stickered-up versions of your neighbourhood’s daily drivers, probably while amusingly clattering into everybody in the vicinity in a bloodthirsty rush for the apex. Look at the inaugural #1958 season of the British Touring Car Championship, in which Jack Sears and Tommy Sopwith ended the year on equal points, so the winner was decided by a head-to-head sprint around Brands Hatch in a pair of Riley One-Point-Fives. Or last year, when Rob Austin threw his Audi up the strip at Santa Pod against a 500hp VW splittie, just for a laugh. Or the 1992 season finale, when Cleland, Hoy, Harvey and Soper all got very physical indeed, ending in acres of crumpled steel and all manner of bruised egos…

    The Supertouring era of the 1990s has a certain relevance here, in fact. The 2.0-litre displacement cap meant that teams weren’t campaigning M3s like they were in the #E30 days; no, an #E36 BTCC racer would be a 318is or, later, a #320i – and not always in twodoor guise. Non-M3 more-doors gained inexorable race car kudos from this, and that ethos carries over to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) series too. The formula is simple: take a commuter-spec car, pour a staggering amount of R&D into making it a formidable circuit racer, then shift a load of road cars off the back of it. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday, an idea as old as motor racing itself. How this manifests itself in the WTCC is cars that look from afar like the ones you’d see pootling along in the middle lane of the motorway, but up close turn out to be fearsomely wide, aggressively low, and shouty.

    You can understand why a person might wish to transmute this race car chic into a daily-driven road car, can’t you? And that’s just what Justin Gomba was thinking when the green shoots of inspiration planted themselves in his brain, before ultimately sprouting, growing, and developing into the mile-wide knee-trembler you see before you. “I wanted something different, something nobody else would have,” he explains, and that’s a sentiment we hear time and time again. There’s a lot of sense in that.

    Now, this may not be an M3, but the #E90 - #335i is certainly no slouch in stock form. That twin-turbo #N54 will happily kick out the thick end of 306hp all day long, which is more than enough to keep the average commuter or travelling salesman entertained. Hell, that’s as much as a #Ferrari-348 , which is a good fact to have in your arsenal for ‘mine’s-bigger-than-yours’ pub debates. But Justin had bolder aspirations, as you may well have spotted from the underbonnet shots. This is no stock #N54 . Indeed, the depth of the rabbit hole is measured by those angry hybrid snails from RB Turbo, which work in conjunction with an LTMW front-mount intercooler, Injen cold air feed, bespoke GIAC management, and a custom big-bore exhaust setup to unleash a frankly disturbing 530hp at the wheels. The stock automatic transmission is beefy enough to cope, although a fairly industrial Quaife LSD has been drafted in simply to keep the Tarmac from imploding in reverence at the sheer awesomeness of the thing.

    You’ll no doubt have noticed reference to LTMW there. To regular readers, the name LT Motorwerks will be more than familiar; the El Monte, California-based outfit is well established in the game of taking hot BMWs (and other brands now) and making them hotter. What Long Tran and his team don’t know about fusing cutting-edge technology with up-to-the-minute styling trends could be Sharpied on to the back of a postage stamp. The company’s very genesis is grounded in Long’s #2006 #E90 – it’s the car that inspired him to start the business, and he’s a long-standing source of knowledge on E90post. com – so there are few places more appropriate for Justin to haul his 335i to.

    In line with Justin’s aspiration to have ‘something nobody else would have’, his investigations led him to Vollkommen Design – a company which, rather helpfully, can be found in the same part of El Monte as LTMW – and the range of fibre-reinforced plastic body addenda that it has developed. Specifically, its World Touring Car Championship-style E90 kit, comprising hugely broadened bumpers, racy skirts and, most impressively, steroidally expanded wings all round. Just take a moment to appreciate the sheer girth of the thing, it really is quite incredible; sure, we’re somewhat spoiled in today’s tuner scene by the likes of Liberty Walk, Rocket Bunny and all those advocates of horizon-broadening bodystyling (both literally and cerebrally), but harnessing the functional width of a race car is an entirely separate approach. It feeds into the same fashionable arena, but its roots are planted in something that has existed in motorsport from time immemorial, stretching the body around the grippier footprint.

    Oh, and since we’re talking footprint, let’s take a peek under those super-wide arches, shall we? Justin’s riding the old-skool train here with a set of timeless BBS LMs, artfully crafted by Floss Design, which neatly dovetail with the racer aesthetic. In this instance, we’re looking at 10x18s at the front, and a whopping 13” width apiece at the back axle, which is more than enough to ensure that the swollen power figures translate into effective ground-covering. But it can’t hurt to take a belt-and-braces approach, so he’s chosen to wrap a set of Toyo R888s around them – a tyre so sticky that it pretty much melts just from the force of you looking at the sparse tread pattern.

    Again, it’s all about the race car vibe. And the rims look ace bursting forth from those muscular curves, don’t they? “It only took LTMW about a week to fit the whole lot,” Justin reveals, which is testament to how proficient it is at churning out kickass motors conveyer-belt-like from its Californian theatre of dreams. But it also speaks volumes for the quality of the kit. “The front fenders are one-piece, bolt-on parts that attach to the stock #BMW mountings,” he explains, “and the bumpers and skirts use the factory locations too.” Where Long’s team had their skills truly tested was in getting the rear wings right, as their fitment involves cutting back the stock wings, then attaching the Vollkommen units over the top. The finish is flawless, though, and thanks to a set of KW Clubsport coilovers (helpfully aided by Phantom air cups – a bagless air-ride system – to help get over speedhumps and suchlike), the stance is bang-on as well. Not just show low, but motorsport low.

    Nothing exceeds like excess, as the old saying goes, and simply overhauling the silhouette would never be enough for a man with Justin’s magpie eye, so he’s paid a lot of attention to the details too. Both ends of the E90 have come in for a refresh; the nose wears a set of LCI headlights that have been resculpted by OSS Designs to resemble the lights found on #M4-DTM racers (arguably the most brutal and certainly the most costly Touring Car series), while the tail enjoys a CSL-alike ducktail bootlid from Duke Dynamics, flanked by more LCI jewels. Form and function meet in the interior too, as he’s sourced a set of pukka #BMW-M-Performance seats to keep his kidneys tightly hugged through the twisties, with the rear seats trimmed to match. Yes, the car still has rear seats; while it was undoubtedly tempting to junk the interior entirely and stuff it with FIA-approved monkey bars, Justin’s opted to continue the practical ethos of having four doors by ensuring that he can offer passengers a comfortable place to sit before he scares the hell out of them. And you can’t accuse him of not taking the thing to its ultimate evolution. “I have to admit I never intended to take it this far,” he says, a look of starry-eyed whimsy on his face. It’s so often the case, isn’t it? The act of modifying a BMW seldom results in half-measures or compromise. This 335i is the best that it can be. Those StopTech brakes and M3 chassis gizmos make sure of that, optimising the otherworldly power from the RB-boosted motor, and yet there’s still room for the weekly shop – what more could you want?

    Arguably the coolest thing about this project is that it fulfils that little dream that always pops into your head when you’re at a race track: ‘I wonder what would happen if I peeled the stickers off that and used it on the road?’ The answer is the searing red streak that you see here, prowling menacingly through SoCal, a pit-straight refugee with a bad temper and a stableful of horses. The fact that it’s significantly more powerful than a WTCC racer is merely the cherry on a very naughty cake; couple that with the luxurious finish that LTMW have painted in broad strokes across the whole canvas, and Justin’s dream of having ‘something different’ comes alive with unrivalled flair and panache. A grand tourer and a Touring Car in one.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E90 335i

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 , #RB hybrid turbos, #LTMW intercooler, Injen cold air intake, TiAL dump valve, GIAC management, AR Design custom downpipes and 3.5” VR Speed Factory exhaust, six-speed automatic transmission, Quaife LSD.

    CHASSIS: 10x18” (front) and 13x18” (rear) BBS LM wheels with brushed bronze centres with 295/30 (front) and 335/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, StopTech Trophy BBK with six-pot calipers with 355mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers with 335mm discs (rear), KW Clubsport coilover kit, Phantom rear air cups, M3 lower control arms, anti-roll bars and camber adjustment arms.

    EXTERIOR: Vollkommen Design WTCC wide-body bumpers, wings, skirts and rear door extensions, CSLstyle Duke Dynamics bootlid, gloss black roof, LCI tail-lights, LCI headlights modified by OSS Designs, M3 mirrors.

    INTERIOR: BMW M Performance seats, gear knob and steering wheel with LED display, Alcantara gaiters, rear seats trimmed to match.

    THANKS: Long and crew at LT Motorwerks, George at KW Suspension, Darren at Vollkommen Design, James at Floss Design, Luis at OSS Designs, StopTech, Kennedy at Platinum VIP, Tiago at VRSF, #RB-turbo , Bernardo Pena, Jasper Li, James Lam, Felix and Watson Lu, and my beautiful wife Erica.
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    CHOICE BLEND

    With full M3 styling and a very healthy 450hp this seriously mean #E91 #335i Touring is the ultimate load runner. Performance estate cars are hugely desirable things, so if BMW won’t make an #M3 Touring, you’ve just gotta do it yourself. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.

    BMW Motorsport has been busy these past few years. Back in the day you’d get your M3 or your #M5 and that was it, but nowadays those multicoloured stripes before the evocative M badge can be found on practically anything in the range. Designated ‘full’ M cars, you’ve got your M3, M4 and M5 of course; no less than three different styles of #M6 ; and then there’s your truly niche #X5-M #E70 and #X6-M #E71 big boys. Perhaps more surprising than what does exist in the M stable is what doesn’t – a Touring.

    There’s a decent market for big bummed performance cars – just look at Audi’s numerous and successful S and RS Avant weapons – but from M we’ve only ever had an E34 M5 Touring and the stonking E60 M5 Touring, and less than 2000 of both combined were ever built. We’re not about to argue with BMW M Division’s market research, but the affection many enthusiasts have for these M Tourings of old suggest there’s room for at least one in the range. An M5 Touring may not be justified with the M6 Gran Coupé a decent alternative, but how does an F80 M3 Touring grab you? Yep, we’d be keen on one too.

    In fact, picture any of the previous gen M3s (except perhaps the E30 M3) and you can imagine that a Touring variant could have worked. Sweden’s Blend Maroof was so convinced the E91 Touring would have made it as an M car that he took it upon himself to create his own interpretation. A daunting task indeed, not least if he’d have transplanted an E9x’s 4.0-litre V8 into the front. Alas, this experienced hand at BMW modifying (he runs Sweden’s Pitstop tuning garage) was more keen on getting an authentic M3 Touring style and keeping a 335i engine in place: a motor he says has better character than the bent eight M.

    The base car is a 2007 E91 335i, which most would agree is a glorious offering in its own right. Blend bought it completely stock with no M-Sport interior goodies, and knew to do things properly it would require genuine M3 parts. “I’d always wanted an E90 M3 Touring, so it was unfortunate BMW never made one,” Blend said. “I decided I wouldn’t put a real M3 V8 engine in though as it would be more expensive, heavier and I don’t like the character of it. The V8 needs 5000 revs until it wakes up but the N54 has a smooth line, so much torque on the way up and I just love it.”

    You won’t hear us saying there’s much wrong with the #S65 V8 engine – just look at how many people lament its passing now the new M3 is forced induction – but it’s hard to fault Blend’s affection for the quite brilliant #N54 turbo six-cylinder. With over 300hp and 295lb ft on tap it’s certainly no slouch, propelling these #335is to 60mph in five seconds flat. With a bit of tuning by an expert like Blend, creating a true M beater isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. But back to the body. In Sweden you can buy genuine M3 parts through Schmiedmann, and Blend put in a significant order. Best of all, the front panels could be bolted straight on with the 335i items removed. We’ve seen #335i owners putting M3 bonnets on in the past – although it’s not perfectly flush as the M3 bonnet is longer. If you swap the arches, front bumper and the lights however there’s nothing to worry about. Except the man-hours and the huge expense of buying OEM M3 parts, of course.


    Blend has fitted an E92 M3’s front bumper with the bonnet, and gone the #E90 M3 route for the arches. He had to use an E92’s headlights wired up by a custom harness, with #E92 headlight brackets to fit, but as you can see in the pictures it’s an impressively seamless piece of work. It also looks much tougher with the brutal Pitstop custom front mount intercooler behind the bumper and a race-style carbon fibre front splitter.

    OEM E90 M3 side skirts and E92 M3 mirrors also went in place quite easily, but the rear bumper needed some serious work. To give the Touring an authentic M look, Blend bought an #E92-M3 ’s rear bumper and had to ABS plastic weld it to the top part of the original E91 item with its correct mounting brackets. The rear bumpers on these Tourings are significant chunks of plastic, so the work is highly impressive, and much like the front end, looks finished to a very high standard.

    The car’s current owner is Andro Badia (Blend recently sold the M3 Touring conversion to help pay for his next venture – more on that later), who added a carbon fibre rear diffuser to the bumper to go with the front splitter he also optioned once he took ownership. But the final exterior mods – the E91 face-lift boot and rear lights – were completed at Blend’s Pitstop premises, while the paint added to the M3 items matched the 335i’s original BMW dark green.

    “The beauty of this car was I could build what I wanted without having to go to BMW directly,” Blend said. “BMW has told me before things are impossible, such as adding heated and electric seats to this car, but to do so only took me a few hours. Sometimes you just have to believe that things can be done.” With the 335i Touring not meeting Blend’s standards for interior comfort, he got hold of genuine M Sport memory seats and used his expertise to have them functional: this was an M3 Touring project after all. On has gone an M3 DCT paddle shift steering wheel too, complete with Alcantara insert.

    To truly give a sense of purpose to this M3 Touring conversion, the correct rims and stance were imperative. What better way than to go OEM M3 shopping again, and in the E92 M3 18” Style 260 wheels painted black, and hugging the arches thanks to an FK coilover suspension setup, this Touring would be deserving of a coveted M badge from the factory. If an M3 Touring sounds like a good idea on paper, being able to see this interpretation completed gives more reason to wish BMW had built its own: this Swede is a truly desirable estate car.

    New owner Andro agrees, and even committed to buy the M3 Touring before Blend had completed the work. “The positive of buying this car was it looked like BMW itself had built it: everything looked OEM and even the M3 wheels were there,” Andro said. But can the performance match the M3 looks? Blend is convinced. As a tuning specialist he said the turbocharged N54 is easier to eke more power from than the NA V8 M3 motor, and is sure his work has boosted the 335i’s engine to 450hp. In other words, putting a genuine M3’s power figure of 420hp in the shade. While we can’t verify the performance claim, when it comes to the Swedes and engine tuning we usually don’t bother arguing. As a nation these boys know how to make magic happen in BMW engines, and big power figures are nothing new to the Scandinavians.

    “This car is faster than an #E90 M3, and I know because I tested it,” Blend said. “On a closed course the car hit 301kmh (187mph)! I just love the performance of this engine.” The DP 3” cat-less downpipe leading into a full custom 3” exhaust system, carbon air box and custom front mount intercooler will all play their part in freeing a few more ponies, but the main gains have come from what Blend calls the Pitstop Stage 3 remap.

    This full custom mapping of the engine’s ECU can reap significant gains on turbocharged engines, and Blend said he had altered the brain to get the very most from the 3.0-litre straight-six. Blend was sorry to say goodbye to his beautifully built E91 Touring M3 conversion, but as a tuning shop owner the next projects have to take priority. So successful was his M3 wagon effort he’s going bigger this time and has bought an #F11 #550i , which he said would become an M5 version with 550hp.

    Following that he wants to modernise his M3 Touring conversion by doing similar to an #F31 335i, and who knows where this will end up, particularly with Blend’s love for the new turbocharged #F80 M3. Whatever materialises, this is one man who’s sure to keep pumping out the M3 wagons if the BMW factory won’t.

    DATA FILE BMW E91 335i Touring

    ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six N54B30, DP 3” cat-less downpipe, DP 3” custom exhaust system with Simon’s mufflers, quad 3.5” glossy black exhaust tips, Pitstop carbon fibre air intake with sport air filter, Pitstop custom front mount intercooler, Pitstop Stage 3 ECU remap.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) black E92x M3 Style 260 wheels with 15mm spacers with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) tyres, FK coilover suspension.

    EXTERIOR: Genuine E92 M3 bonnet, front bumper and mirrors (with 3M gloss black wrap), genuine E90 M3 arches and side skirts, modified genuine E92 M3 rear bumper custom blended with standard E91 rear bumper, E92 headlights with custom harness and genuine brackets, Schmiedmann carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, E91 face-lift (LCI) boot and rear lights, roof rails removed, BMW Tiefgreen (A43) paint.

    INTERIOR: Genuine M Sport with custom installed electric memory seats, E92 M3 DCT paddle shift steering wheel with Alcantara insert, Schmiedmann floor mats.

    THANKS: Blend at Pitstop for building the car, my friends and crew at Sthlm(s)low, Marcin and Piotr at MPM Garage and Viktor at Schmiedmann Sverige.
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    GO BIG…

    Liberty Walk BMWs may be a common sight elsewhere in the world but in the UK you’re only going to find one – this spectacular, unashamedly in-your-face #E92-M3 . The UK’s first, and only, Liberty Walk-kitted #E92 M3 is as subtle as a smack in the mouth but rather more pleasant.

    Over in the US of A, Liberty Walk is most definitely the flavour of the week, month and even year, judging by how many LB-kitted cars, E92 M3s in particular, we have seen and featured.

    Japanese it may be but Liberty Walk’s philosophy fits in with the American philosophy of bigger being better. Indeed, it’s a big country with lots of room for big cars and big roads to accommodate them. In the UK and Europe, not so much. With our ancient roads, that still seem better suited to horse and carts than motorcars, outlandishly wide and wild cars don’t seem to have a place over here which is precisely why a Liberty Walk car in the UK is most definitely a big deal.

    This car needs no introduction – it’s been around for a while now but only appeared in this, its final incarnation, at the very end of 2014. For those that don’t know, this car belong to Carl Shakespeare, known to everyone, everywhere, ever as Shakey, owner of Studio Incar –which specialises in audio, airride and plenty more besides. For Shakey, this car started out as a company demo but I think it’s fair to say that over the past year or so of ownership it’s become a bit more than that.

    “I’ve always been into cars,” says Shakey. “Ever since I was a kid. More than that, though, I was always into stereo equipment; when I found out that you could get high-end audio equipment for cars, that’s when it all kicked off for me. When you’re in your car, you can play the stereo as loud as you like without upsetting anyone and that was a revelation.”

    Car-wise, Shakey has always had VWs, right up until #2010 , and since then he’s just had M3s. So why did he make the switch? “The M3 is just a better car,” he says. “VW doesn’t, or at least didn’t, make cars like the M division cars. A VW is for the family, an M3 is for you – it’s driver-focused, it’s a weapon and it suits me and the way I like to drive. I actually had a Mitsubishi Evo before I bought my first M3. I borrowed an M3 from a friend for a week and I loved it. It was awesome and I knew I had to have one.

    “I knew this M3 and I wanted to buy it because it was a great base for building a serious demo car. I’ve modified every car I’ve had, and each one has been very personal in terms of what I’ve done to it. I’ve always gone for a fast road, OE-ish looking build but this one is very different. It’s very shouty and I knew it was going to be different from the start because I wanted to build it as a demo car and it’s been more of a business venture really but I’ve still done it in a way that I like and that appeals to me and I’ve definitely put my personality into it.

    When I bought the car it already had the Liberty Walk kit and the wheels, 19” three-piece Rotiform TMBs, though back then it was yellow. I knew it was going to change, although I didn’t really have a definite plan for it. All I knew was that I wanted to take it to Ultimate Dubs at the start of #2014 .

    “The first thing we did was to change the colour. Picking the new colour was difficult but the car is lively as anything with that kit on it, so it didn’t need a wild colour. In the end I decided on white, partly because I think M3s look brilliant in white. You don’t see many in white and it’s simple so you can highlight other things on the car.

    “In the first week we had the car it was stripped-out, the kit was removed, a few things were corrected and we wrapped it white while the front bumper was done in black to match the Mini Cooper S demo car we were also building at the time. We also started working on the stereo. The car had to be superb. It had to look and sound great. I wasn’t interested in building an SPL car; it wasn’t about output, shaking the ground or being silly and outlandish. We built a system around Rainbow components, fully digital, integrated into the BMW system with wi-fi, hi-def streaming, all controlled via an iPad. It took three weeks to fabricate. Nine metres of Alcantara was needed to trim everything. The wheels were sent to The Wheel Specialist in Fareham. They were satin black when I bought the car and we had them refinished in a gloss NATO grey. I love that colour and got the mirror caps and livery done in the same shade. I approached Syco Graphix for all the decals and had them within a week, which was an awesome turnaround. The run up to Ultimate Dubs (UD) was incredibly busy as we were also building Nick Sahota’s #E30 M3 and our Mini demo car at the same time, and there were plenty of 4am finishes, but it was all worth it. The car got an amazing reception at UD with people commenting on how good it sounded, and I really enjoyed driving it as well.

    “After UD, we started doing some more work. We’re a Forge Motorsport agent so I decided to get a front and rear Forge BBK on the car. It’s not a setup you see often on M3s so I thought it would be a good modification to add. The brakes are absolutely phenomenal, really out of this world in terms of how powerful they are and a huge upgrade over the standard setup. I also sent the wheels off again and had them finished in red this time around, along with the mirror caps, and then I took it over to Austria for Wörthersee.

    “That was definitely an eventful trip. Going over, I got through a set of rear tyres. I’d had the alignment done before leaving but I must have hit something coming off the ferry and that shifted the rear camber arm eccentric bolt and within 500 miles the rear was down to the canvas, so I swapped the rears left to right and that was the other tyre ruined. Luckily we found a place called Bensche Automotive and it really saved the day, supplying me with a set of GT3 RS rear tyres they had. On the first night in Austria we parked up at the hotel and the owner came out and asked us to turn the stereo on. We ended up playing music all night with people dancing in the car park. Unfortunately because the car was so low the Austrian police were all over it and after I racked up ⇔1000 in fines over two days. I parked it up at the hotel and it didn’t move until the end of the trip. The drive home was amazing. In fact, it was the best motoring experience I’ve ever had. It was me and my mate Mark doing 140-150mph on the autobahn. The sun was setting, we had Razorlight on the stereo, it was perfect. I’ll never forget that drive. “After that I took the car to Players Classic and after that I didn’t take it to any shows for a while, just used it as a daily. For Players I decided to get it rewrapped. I went to Monster Wraps and we decided to go for 3M Satin grey with a fully custom digital print incorporating the Liberty Walk and Studio Incar liveries. The guys did an incredible job. The car looked really good but it wasn’t done.

    “After the show I had the wheels redone in black along with the mirror caps and with the new wrap it looked awesome. For Ultimate Stance, the last show of the year, I wanted to go out in style so I bought a set of #2013 LCI rear lights along with a Competition steering wheel and Syco Graphix redid the stickers in a really short space of time. I put together a big stand at the show and had our friends and good clients on there with Josh’s #335i , Sam’s #E24 , Nick with his two E30s and Max with his #M4 . It was a really good show and a great end to both the year and my time with the car.”

    2014 was certainly a hectic year for Shakey and the M3 but such is the life of a demo car. Considering how spectacular it was to start with, it’s impressive to see just how it evolved throughout the year and how awesome it looked when 2014 came to a close. Demo car it may have been, but we know for a fact that Shakey enjoyed every minute with it.

    Sadly, the #M3 has now gone, the plan from day one being to have the car for one season and then move on, but in 12 short months Shakey did more with his M3 than most. Work has already started on a new Studio Incar demo car. It’s not a BMW but don’t worry, Shakey’s not left the blue and white roundel behind and is currently running a stripped-out #E36 #328i as a daily and has just bought himself an #E39 #M5 to keep it company. Good man.

    DATA FILE BMW E92 M3

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 , Vabric wireless atmospheric exhaust valve, six-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 10x19” (front) and 12.5x19” (rear) custom finished Rotiform TMB three-piece forged wheels with negative offset. StillStatic H&R Ultra Low race kit, Forge Motorsport #BBK with six-piston calipers (front), four piston calipers (rear) and 380mm discs.

    EXTERIOR: Full Liberty Walk wide-body kit, custom bootlid with narrow recess, LCI rear lights, Monster Wraps 3M digital printed bespoke wrap, colour-coded mirrors to wheels, Studio Incar and Liberty Walk livery from Syco Graphics.

    INTERIOR: Competition steering wheel, Studio Incar custom door builds, Studio incar full custom build, Studio incar custom centre console panel, Rainbow car audio system (fully digital).

    THANKS: My good friend Nick Singh Sahota for helping make the whole project a reality, Steve, Paul, Lottie and myself at Studio Incar for their constantly outstanding work on the car, Clean Getaway car wash in Southampton for keeping it up to scratch, The Wheel Specialist in Fareham for its continued excellent standards and constant colour changing of the wheels and mirrors and putting up with me, Syco Graphics being the best (as usual), Paul from C6 Carbon for repairing the splitter when Nick smashed it to pieces, you guys, #BMW for continued support of us and in the community, Monster Wraps for sorting out the car doing an outstanding job, Forge Motorsport and the incredible brakes, Four Masters and Rainbow for the support with the system, Si Gray for the shoot, Mark Harbour and Richard Wint for helping me track it on the side of the autobahn… cheers Nick.

    Exterior is wild and so is the audio install. This M3 boasts a fully digital system built around Rainbow components, integrated into the BMW system with wi-fi, hi-def streaming and it’s all controlled via an iPad.
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    Behind the wheel - 3 SERIES #F30 Plug-In Hybrid Prototype

    Charges BMW’s plug-in hybrid technology moves the game on significantly from where the ActiveHybrid started off 3Series Ahead. Words: Dave Humphreys Photography: #B#MW .



    It was #2012 when #BMW introduced the #ActiveHybrid 3. It was coupled with the TwinPower six-cylinder engine from the #335i and had a 55hp electric motor powered by a high-voltage lithiumion battery. This combination drove the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and ensured a sub-six second dash to 62mph from rest. The more important figures at the time were the 51.4mpg fuel economy, a CO² emissions output of 139g/km and the ability to drive up to a distance of 2.5 miles solely using electric power. However, compare this to the best-selling 320d Saloon of today and the ActiveHybrid 3 starts to make less sense as it falls behind in both fuel economy and CO² output – and that’s before you consider the sizeable price premium that it commands.

    Enter the next generation of 3 Series hybrid, which harnesses plug-in technology and the latest in electric motors derived from its BMW i division. Gone is the 3.0-litre straight-six engine and in its place is the #B48 2.0-litre four-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged unit. Mounted aft of the engine is a 95hp electric motor powered by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery that is located over the rear axle. Emissions fall to 50g/km, while the official fuel economy rating of 140mpg is a significant advancement over the ActiveHybrid 3 – even if those figures are elevated by the low-speed, low-distance nature of the official test procedure. The new 3 Series hybrid may share much of its eDrive technology with the i3 and i8, but it won’t be as radically styled. In fact, one of the only visual clues as to its plug-in hybrid underpinnings is the placement of the battery inlet flap on the wing behind the front left wheel arch. Once in final production trim the car is also likely to have subtle ‘eDrive’ badging and aerodynamically-optimised model-specific alloy wheels, which will be shod in low rolling resistance tyres. There is a decrease in overall boot capacity due to the housing of the lithium-ion battery, though it remains a very useable size.

    From the driver’s seat the overall cockpit layout is familiar with the addition of an ‘eDrive’ button to the base surround of the automatic gear selector. This button can be used to select electric-only mode, which, battery charge permitting, is capable of a driving range of 22 miles and can reach a top speed of 75mph. BMW’s engineers say they believe this range is acceptable, based on existing customer driving data that showed average daily commutes. Consideration was also given when determining the size of the high-voltage battery required and how it could impact overall weight and balance of the car. Should the battery’s charge level be depleted, or you wish to preserve it prior to entering a congestion charge zone for example, the ‘Save’ mode keeps the battery at a constant state of charge above 50 per cent. Should it already be below this level the engine will generate enough energy to charge the battery up to 50 per cent capacity.


    Despite the presence of the TwinPower petrol engine, it is the electric motor that is the default choice every time the car is started – providing there is some charge in the lithium-ion battery – while the Driving Experience Control defaults to Comfort mode. Engaging ‘Drive’, the car silently moves away and wastes no time in getting up to speed, although not with quite the same urgency that can be experienced in the i3. In comparison to the i3, however, there is less of a high-pitched whine from the electric motor – in fact the noise level in the cabin remains quite low during this mode. With more than 95hp and 184lb ft of torque (250Nm) at your disposal, performance is more than acceptable for urban use and heavy throttle pressure needs to be applied in order for the combustion engine to spool into life. When it does the integration of the two motors is quite smooth. On poorer road surfaces that generate higher levels of road noise the activation of the combustion engine would almost go unnoticed were it not for the rev counter rising up from its indicated 0rpm in EV mode. The car’s iDrive screen can also be configured to display precisely which elements of the hybrid drivetrain are being used in real time.

    What was less refined in the pre-production prototype we drove was the roll-on throttle when the combustion engine is in use, especially immediately following a regenerative braking period. It lacked the smoothness that one would expect, though engineers were keen to point out that this is a known issue that is expected to be eradicated come series production through software enhancements.

    In the broader sense the driving dynamics are very impressive even in this early development prototype, driven around the winding canyon course at BMW’s Testing Centre in Miramas on the outskirts of Marseille. With ‘Sport’ mode selected, both motors are engaged simultaneously delivering a level of performance that is closer to what would normally be achieved with the company’s six-cylinder engines. This ‘eBoost’ also harvests energy under braking to feed back into the battery – unlike ‘Eco Pro’ mode, which enables a coasting function off throttle to help maximise driving range. The car has a planted feel even though it carries an additional 165kg in hybrid hardware. Engineers at the event suggested that the overall balance of the car could be very close to BMW’s usual 50:50 weight distribution.

    Given the popularity of diesel engines in the current market, particularly the 320d, the plug-in hybrid will already face an uphill battle to win over the hearts and minds of buyers. A two-hour charging time from a dedicated domestic wallbox (or four-and-a-half hours at a public station) shouldn’t deter too many; however it is the CO² emissions that are likely to pique the interest of business and company car buyers. At just 50g/km it attracts a low five per cent BIK rate and also avoids London’s congestion charge. Just where BMW decides to pitch its pricing for the plug-in hybrid remains to be seen, though it will most certainly carry a premium over both entry-level petrol and diesel models. However, as BMW’s battery and eDrive technology advances, by the time the series production begins the price gap may not be quite as big as it is with the ActiveHybrid 3 at present.
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    Boost Junkie. A twin-turbo coupé with M3-topping looks and performance? That’s what Alex Wu was after, and he’s certainly achieved it.

    Australian Alex Wu is a bashful 32-year-old IT contractor who’s not so shy when it comes to daily-driven fast cars – and his latest project doesn’t disappoint. His #2007 E92 #335i has got it all: power and stunning OEM+ styling, offering the complete package while being used as a daily driver.

    With a car history including a tuned #Audi #A3 1.8 turbo (his first car) and a pair of twin-turbo Subaru Libertys (Aussiespec Legacys), Alex certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Add to that list a twinturbo #350Z , and you can see that he’s clearly got a passion for fast turbo’d motors. “It was the #Nissan that I could confidently say I learnt to drive in,” Alex explained. “And because of it, my friendship circles expanded in the car scene. One weekend I’d be getting sideways in industrial areas and the next, I’d be heading to the track with a different group of mates. It was one of these guys that introduced me to the BMW brand, where he worked as a salesman.”

    However, it wasn’t until a few years later (after uni) that Alex got himself the keys to his first #BMW – a Carbon black #E46 #M3 – which was soon modified!

    The kilometres were high, though, so before long Alex swapped the Beemer for what soon became Australia’s most powerful Subaru Liberty. 440bhp is all well and good, and it was apparently brutally fast, but the heavy, uprated clutch needed to handle the torque soon got the better of Alex’s left leg on his congested commute, and he was forced to sell up and look for an alternative – something equally as fast but far more refined: the search for BMW’s twinturbo Three was on!

    It didn’t take long and luck was on Alex’s side. “I purchased this #E92 #335i manual in near perfect condition, and with only 22000km on the clock, from an advertising executive in Sydney. I paid half what the first owner had purchased it for!” he said with a smile. Surprise surprise, it wasn’t long until Alex started the modifications!

    Engine-wise, he never actually thought it would climb to quite the spec that it sits at today. “When I first started, I was just looking for mild improvements,” Alex explained. “The goal soon became to build a cut-price M3 but faster and better looking.” Since the codes were first cracked and tuning became available to the masses, the 3.0-litre twin-turbo N54 has had quite a community grow around it. With a tuning scene comes products, and Alex has taken full advantage of this, choosing parts that will be familiar to most 335i drivers due to the fact they’re proven to give the #N54 more power and torque without sacrificing reliability and driveability – just what our Aussie was after.

    Air is sucked in through a #BMS air filter into the N54’s turbos which, as you might expect are running more boost (17.5psi rather than the factory 8.8psi), providing the engine with plenty of air. Keeping this boosted air as cold as possible has been tasked to an Active Autowerke intercooler, after which the air is forced into the engine through a Stett chargepipe. When this air needs to escape (upon relief of the throttle pedal, for example) Forge diverter valves help it do so more efficiently than the factory setup.

    Keen to push boundaries, Alex became the first person in Oz to run methanolinjection on a 335i. It was the Vishnu system that he went for, and a Vishnu PROcede V5 was also installed at the same time. This clever box of tricks hooks up to the ECU, and allows the engine to be more tuneable, ensuring that fuelling is spot-on and that the wick can be turned up on the turbos without any major problems.

    To stop potentially harmful oil-vapours entering the engine, a BSH oil catch can has found its way under the bonnet, while the catalytic converters have been removed to allow spent gases to exit the turbos more efficiently. The thing that sets Alex’s car apart from rest, though, is the fact that the exhaust is hooked up to M3 rear silencers – which have been given a black chrome finish. Again it’s the first time this has been done in Australia to this car.

    The result of all this work is a mighty 498bhp at the flywheel – that’s 84bhp more than an M3, and translates to 415bhp at the rear wheels. Meanwhile, peak torque is an impressive 450lb ft; in comparison the M3 only manages a relatively paltry 295lb ft of torque. You can see where Alex earns his bragging rights! The transmission modifications were far simpler; the CDV was removed and a BMW Performance short-shift kit was installed for faster, slicker gear changes. There’s also now a Wavetrac limited-slip differential to get the power down as cleanly as possible. With the extra performance, a stiffening up of suspension was required. For this a set of #Koni FSD dampers and Eibach Pro springs were fitted, which in turn brought it 30mm and 25mm closer to the tarmac, front and rear respectively – though plans for next season are to remodify it for track duties. Of course, the biggest and most attention-grabbing part of the project has to be the M3 bodywork that has been grafted onto the original 335i shell – a decision not taken lightly by Alex. “I know most will loathe the M3 bodywork, but it really was the only kit I could find that I liked. I initially ordered a replica M3 body kit, but after a test-fitting I ended up throwing away the entire kit and ordering OEM parts. This was only after the body kit had been painted, by the way!” he explained.

    As well as the new OEM M3 arches needing to be grafted on to the standard wings, the inner arches had to be custommade to let everything sit correctly, and there were countless other tweaks that allowed the perfect fitment you see before you. M3 front and rear bumpers, mirrors, wings and side skirts were all used for the conversion – as well as that M3 exhaust, which sits perfectly beneath the rear bumper.

    Adding to this already potent combination of parts is a custom carbon fibre bonnet, a VRS front lip and a CSLstyle bootlid, which between them add an element of OEM+ aggression, while finishing touches include LCI taillights and carbon fibre mirror caps. “The exterior makeover took the longest because for a long time my wife and I couldn’t decide on a suitable colour to repaint the car!” Alex laughed. As you can see, though, they made the right decision in the end. Coats of fresh Ferrari Grigio Silverstone have been applied which, with the gloss black roof, set the bodywork off perfectly.

    As we always say with projects of any scale, wheels can make or break it. We’re seeing concave rims becoming more and more popular and Alex’s stunning wheel choice is one example of how well they can work. There’s no denying the 20” Breyton GTSR-M rims, measuring 8.5” up front and 10” out back, fill the M3 arches perfectly – and BMW perhaps thought so too, as Alex explained: “After I had received the rims the BMW Competition pack came out using a very similar style wheel, though in 19” rather than 20”.” It just shows that Alex’s eye for OEM+ details really is ahead of the game, and this is what has made his project so unique.

    The final stage to the build was the interior which, when compared to the other parts of the car that have been worked on, was a relatively simple affair; however, that’s not to say that it’s been skimped on. “Everything inside was done by myself and friends in the comfort of my own garage, including upgrading the iDrive from the CCC DVD-based system to the high resolution CIC hard drive-based one,” Alex said. “We also fitted the Piano black trims, M3 centre console and Performance steering wheel.” In addition, there’s the Rixster P2 ventmounted boost gauge to consider, and the customised white-LED-lit M3 gauge cluster, as well as a complete stereo upgrade. Talking of which Alex utilised BMW #Alpine speakers with customised covers, along with two additional Alpine digital amps and Earthquake subs.

    Alex has managed to take his E92 to an M3-beating level, both in performance and looks. And, most importantly, he’s achieved his aim and spent less than he would have done on an M3. “I ended up spending two thirds of what an equivalent year secondhand M3 would have cost me, but obviously that would have been completely standard,” Alex confirmed. Mission accomplished then – and with perfect results. A twin-turbo supercoupé with M3 troubling capabilities? It couldn’t be more up our street if it tried.

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54 , BMS air filter, Stett chargepipe, Active Autowerke intercooler, Forge diverter valves, Vishnu PROcede V5 control box, Vishnu methinjection, gutted M3 exhaust system with custom tips and decat downpipes, BSH oil catch can. Six-speed manual gearbox, BMW Performance short-shift kit, CDV removed, Wavetrac limited-slip differential.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x20”(front), 10x20”(rear) Breyton GTSR-M wheels shod in 245/35 and 285/30 Continental SportContact 3 tyres respectively. Koni FSD dampers and #Eibach Pro kit (lowering 30mm front and 25mm rear).

    EXTERIOR: Full M3 body conversion including front and rear bumpers, mirrors, wings and side skirts, VRS carbon fibre front lip, custom carbon fibre bonnet and CSL-style bootlid, carbon fibre mirror caps, custom flared rear guards, full respray in Ferrari Grigio Silverstone, gloss black roof, LCI rear lights.

    INTERIOR: BMW Performance steering wheel with LCD, BMW Performance handbrake cover, customised speedo, P2car boost gauge, Piano black interior trims, complete upgrade to Professional CIC HDD-based iDrive, BMW Alpine stereo upgrade with speaker covers, additional Alpine digital amp and Earthquake SWS-8xi subs.

    THANKS: My wife Yui, Johnny and Ken from On the Run Motorsports, Andrew from Southern BM, Jon Ong, Gary, Eric and Pete.
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