- Post is under moderationSCANDINAVIAN SLAM Air-ride E91 Touring
Who says diesel Tourings need to be boring? In the land of outrageous turbocharging, one Norwegian cares more about the air-ride stance. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Erik Berg-Johansen.
Stance is everything, right? Feel free to lust after an M2, M3, M5, whatever, but get the stance right on any run-of-the-mill #BMW and you can turn just as many heads. This fact gives us all hope. We can’t all drop tens of thousands on a new M car, nor employ an expensive specialist to bolt on a giant turbo and associated upgraded parts to create a street weapon. But get a car sitting just right and for comparatively little coin you’re a show favourite.
Which makes this Norwegian E91 something of a rarity. You see, our Norwegian cousins have not only an enviable quality of life, but most of them have a fair chunk of disposable income too. Sure, it costs a lot to live in this beautiful Scandinavian land, but locals are well paid to compensate. I’ve met plenty of 20- something Norwegian car modifiers who think nothing of owning both a city flat plus a holiday home by the lakes to retreat to each weekend.
It means many have the money to drive around in new German cars, and often make their mark by adding top-end aftermarket body parts, chassis upgrades and engine mods. Think back to all the 1000hp+ BMWs we’ve featured and many will be from Norway or the equally bountiful Sweden. And just to complete your jealousy, these Scandinavians sure know how to drive too. A thousand horses through the rear treads?
Wheels spinning in fourth gear? No problem. It’s as if they’re born knowing how to control it. Just check out the names of those who mastered the Too Fast To Race Group B rally cars of the 1980s. Yep, the Scandinavians. Showing there are more strings to their bows than just bonkers turbo beasts, Kim Arild Grindermoen has chosen pure stance over performance with his 3 Series Touring. It’s all about air suspension, something he insists is nothing to be afraid of in terms of ease of fitment and even practicality thanks to the easily adjustable ride height. Yes he’s a tad biased as he set up and runs a company called StanceShop – a dealership for Air Lift Performance suspension and AccuAir air suspension management – but he’s a man worth listening to when he can make a humble estate car look this damn perfect on the stance front.
The 26-year-old from Otta in rural Norway is a welder by trade, and bought this totally standard 2011 320d Touring with an M Sport pack to make what he says is his “own statement; something I have never done before by taking it all the way with air-ride”.
It certainly isn’t Kim’s first time at the rodeo. Modifying cars since the age of 16, he cut his teeth on an old Mitsubishi with the usual aftermarket wheels and lowering, before progressing to BMWs a few years later. He’s been very active since then. An E36 was first, then an E30 followed by five more E36s, four more E30s, two E32s and five E34s. Busy boy.
While Kim is one for big power too – he’s currently at work creating a madman E34 Touring with turbocharged M50B25 turbo engine – the 320d Touring has to serve as a daily driver, so the frugal diesel engine has been left practically untouched. An updated ECU helps the four-cylinder realise 207hp now – up from the standard 184hp – which Kim says is “enough for the street to lose your licence.”
Visual clout comes from the ride height, and Kim says the kit is “plug and play and fits without modifications”. We all like the sound of that. “It took a couple of days to get it up and running because of the wiring and air lines,” he explains, “but the struts are as easy as coilovers to install.” Kim says it’s all bolt on with no need for further modifications to the chassis or body.
Slammed on the ground the Touring looks fantastic, and the rear end in particular looks far fatter with the back wheel arches seeming to nicely bulge with the deep-dish 10x19-inch ADV.1 three-piece rims swallowed up by them. But no, those rear arches are completely standard. Up front the 9-inch rims with skinny 225/35 Falken FK453 rubber are ideally placed in the front arches.
Improving things are the 320d’s front arches making way for M3 items with the side indicators replaced by gunmetal stripes. It’s a subtle addition, but adds some front end sportiness to otherwise plain 320d sides. The exterior stays true to BMW’s original Touring shape with Kim going for subtle enhancements to the black body. Most obvious is smoked tape – from Norwegian company Fantasy Factory – to coat the lights around the car, once again this being most obvious at the rear which now looks very mean-looking in its darkness, complemented by a 335i diffuser. A pair of 335i-look Ragazzon exhaust tips pop out from the diffuser, but other than that the bumpers are just factory M Sport items.
While owning an estate car means plenty of room for an outrageous air install, this has to serve as Kim’s practical daily, so that wasn’t an option, but what he has done is put together a very smart, simple install while still leaving plenty of useable room in the load area. He’s running a single, black tank, which ties in with the rest of the car’s mean and moody appearance and is running twin Viair compressors plumbed into an AccuAIr VU4 four-corner solenoid valve unit. In the boot’s side compartment Kim’s added a fibreglass eight-inch subwoofer box, backing up Rockford Fosgate speakers and updated head unit in the main cabin. He has also wired in a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor which works as an OEM integration ‘black box’ for much improved audio control. While the interior has been kept practically standard, the addition of an OEM Alcantara M Performance steering wheel is a rather welcome upgrade.
The cabin-mounted AccuAir controller offers quick and easy ride height adjustment allowing for seamless transition from slammed show car to practical grocerygetter. Kim also says he’s given the Touring a bash on Norway’s Rudskogen raceway, reporting back that it handles just fine.
Good modifiers are always looking to move on to the next challenge, and Kim says his air-ride E91 will soon serve as practical family transport as his first child is due by the end of the year. He says as a result he’ll be closing down StanceShop, also partly due to how difficult it is to get air-ride cars approved for Norwegian roads, which makes his creation all the more impressive. “I’ll be focusing more on the family life, but you’ll still see cars being modified in the future by me,” he says, reminding us that his E34 is going to be a boosted show special with plenty of fast road potential. So this airride E91 will soon be the official family wagon. Not only will it be the coolest thing rocking up at kiddie daycare, but just think of the endless hours of fun the kids will have raising and lowering this Touring via that control pad. Who needs babysitters?
DATA FILE #Air-ride E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring-E91 / #N47D20 / #N47 / #BMW-N47 / #BMW-320d-Touring-Air-ride / #BMW-320d
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel N47D20, #Ragazzon exhaust system, uprated ECU, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #ADV.1 three-piece wheels with 225/35 (front and rear) Falken FK453 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance suspension and #AccuAir management
EXTERIOR M Sport bumpers, E92 M3 front wings with side indicators replaced by gunmetal strips, Fantasy Factory smoked tape for lights all-round, OEM 335i rear diffuser, M tricolour stripes on kidney grille
INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, updated head unit, twin Viair compressors, single air tank, AccuAir VU4 valve unit, fibreglass 8” subwoofer box in boot, Rockford Fosgate speakers, Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor
“[I wanted to make my] own statement; something I’ve never done before”
Interior has been treated to an M Performance Alcantara steering wheel and the in-car audio has also been upgraded. Boot area houses the smart and simple air-ride install; 19” ADV.1 three-piece wheels look fantastic and really suit the E91 shape.
2.0d engine may be nothing special to look at but it’s the perfect mill for a daily driver and a remap has resulted in a healthy 207hp.
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- Post is under moderationUSE THE FORCE… TWIN AUDI R8 V10S #2015
Audi R8 tuning - Turbo VS. Supercharged!
When it comes to boosting performance, which is best – supercharging or turbocharging? We decided to find out with a pair of tuned R8 V10s.
There’s no doubt that the 5.2 V10 is a damn fine engine. It sounds truly amazing and imbues the #R8 with rapid performance straight out of the box. But when there are guys out there with tuned RS6s that can out punch the V10 in every respect, then some may seek to redress the balance. After all, who wants their super car to be left for dead by a family estate (even if it does have an RS badge).
Clearly the naturally aspirated V10 is already at a pretty high state of tune. It makes a healthy 518bhp and produces ample shove. Some minor tweaks may free up a little more power, but to make any serious gains there is only one option – forced induction. The question is, which method is best?
In basic terms, both systems are designed to force more air into the engine. More air, combined with more fuel means a bigger bang and greater power. But they have very distinct ways of delivering this. A supercharger is belt driven by the engine, which means it offers that instant and often quoted linear power delivery. The downside is that the supercharger is parasitic, in that it requires some engine power to actually drive the blower. A turbo on the other hand utilises spent exhaust gasses. It effectively recycles them to turn the turbines and blow more air (boost) into the engine. So it doesn’t take any engine power to run them. However, they do need to come on boost to be effective, and below a certain level a turbo will (in most cases) offer less instant power than a supercharger. However, in reality, with careful engine management and a large capacity unit like the 5.2 V10, the differences may be less pronounced than you’d think. In the interests of science (and wanting to hang out with some uber cool R8s of course!) we headed to Litchfield Motors to looks at two of the finest tuned R8s in the UK today.
With terrible weather on the day, we were unable to drive them. But having interviewed, at length, the guys that built and tested them, I think you’ll discover everything you need to know about these two forced induction beasts.
On the face of it, an R8 GT is a pretty special thing. One of just 33 UK cars, it’s packing some serious upgrades to its suspension, brakes and interior and exterior, along with a healthy 552bhp from the mighty V10 engine. It’s also 100kg lighter than standard. But when you own an #F1 team and have access to a fleet of exotica that would be guaranteed to win you any Top Trumps competition, then a bit more power is always handy.
The brief with this car was to create more grunt, but without destroying the finely balanced dynamics of the GT. So any turbo upgrades would need to work with the car as a whole. So a huge single turbo that comes in with a shed load of boost at high rpms, would not do. Fortunately, there’s a company producing a twin turbo kit for the R8 and its sister Gallardo.
Heffner Performance have spent a long time developing their twin turbo system to give a decent increase in power, while maintaining the drivability. It’s based around two #Garrett-GT35 blowers, which are each capable of 700bhp, but in this case they run just 0.5 bar of boost. The beauty of the system is that because the high-compression 5.2-litre V10 is chucking so much flow down the exhausts, the turbos spool up ridiculously quickly. This equates to a lag-free response that gives much more power, but feels like a naturally aspirated car.
The Heffner kit includes everything required, including a brace of GT35s, charger cooler and all ancillaries, and took Litchfield around a week to fit. “The GT is slightly different to the stock V10, so we had to modify a few bits, such as the turbo inlet pipework,” says Iain Litchfield. With the kit fitted, the V10 was treated to a full custom map, and it made a very healthy 850bhp on their dyno.
“With a built engine, you’d easily be looking at 1500bhp,” says Iain, “but our limit is 850bhp on stock internals.” With US Gallardos running even great power than this, on the same engine, it’s clear there’s a lot more potential, should you require it. That said, the ferocity of an 850bhp tune, makes you question whether any more is really required. Perhaps the best thing about the install is the emphasis on drivability. Whereas some turbo kits can be very on-off in their power delivery, this is all very linear. As Iain explains, “It feels like a bigger engine; there’s no perceptible boost, but it’ll still light up all four wheels in fourth!” He continues, “Around town it drives just like a stock V10 and has a very OEM feel to it.”
With the GT so highly equipped, no other work was deemed necessary. The uprated suspension is more than capable of handling the extra grunt, and there’s no question over the carbon ceramic brakes’ credentials.
The whole install, including shipping the kit over from the States, set the owner back around £30k. But for that’s he’s got what is surely the ultimate version of the R8 GT you’ll find on the planet. The owner is one of those fortunate individuals who not only has petrol running through his veins, but is able to indulge his every desire when it comes to cars. But when your day job is running an F1 team, then you need some extra special toys to keep you amused in your down time.
Daytona Grey #Audi-R8
The stock V10 R8 is no slouch. The high-compression 5.2-litre engine is a peach and sounds truly amazing at full chat. When it’s singing away over your shoulder (especially in the Spyder), you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d entered automotive heaven. These cars are also reasonably attainable too. Everything is relative of course, but for those who are considering a new RS5 or maybe used C7 #RS6 , similar money could buy a used, early R8 V10.
This car belongs to Ryan Griffiths of Syvecs Powertrain Control. His day job is producing bespoke, motorsport-spec engine management solutions, so he knows a thing or two about how to make a car drive well. The project actually came about by chance. “I was doing some work for a client in China and he said he had a VF Engineering supercharger kit, but he couldn’t get it to work on his car,” says Ryan. “He said if I could get it to work on my V10, I could have it.” Not one to pass up an opportunity like this, Ryan duly packed the kit up in his luggage, paid the excess baggage, and flew home with his new kit.
Having worked alongside Litchfield for many years, Ryan knew these were the guys for the installation work. The comprehensive kit included everything needed, such as a complete new inlet tract with intercooler and charge cooler. The engine had to be tilted back slightly to accommodate the pulleys and belts, while extra cooling pipes had to be run to the front of the car to the charge cooler. All told the installation took around a week. With the supercharger ready to go, the next step was to get it working to its full potential.
This is where Ryan’s day job came to the fore. His experience and expertise with the Syvecs management allowed him to create a custom package for the ’charged V10. It kicks out a healthy 750bhp, which comes in quite sharply and early on. With the engine-driven ’charger delivering more, instant low-down grunt than a turbo, he worked hard on the advanced traction control. R8s may be quattros, but they are heavily rear biased, so the trick was getting it to lay down the power without too much wasted wheelspin through broken traction. The larger ADV.1 alloys wrapped in sticky Toyo R888 semi-slicks certainly helped here too.
Perhaps the greatest achievement is the improvement to the gear shift. The less-than-positive stock auto ’box on earlier cars could often be left wanting, especially with more power involved. So again, Ryan worked on the software to sharpen things up for much faster, positive shifts.
The Dayton Grey R8 sits hunkered down on H&R sports springs matched to the optional MagnaRide dampers, which looks stunning, but it also produces a firm, yet forgiving ride. And with the addition of a (now discontinued) Stassis performance exhaust system, the noise this thing makes is terrific.
So, after examining both R8s in details, the obvious question is, which is best? Well, it’s not a straightforward answer. Clearly the GT is the rarer beast, and to find one with a Heffner twin turbo installation is pretty mind blowing stuff. The fact it can deliver a savage amount of power, yet behave like a naturally aspirated car is perhaps its greatest achievement. Of course the careful technical work by Litchfield, including the map, really is key to all this.
The Dayton Grey machine is arguably the better looking car. The #ADV.1 forged alloys looks sensational and with a drop in ride height, this thing can stop traffic with its good looks. It’s also the far more attainable car (well, as attainable as any used £80k R8 V10 can be!) and the supercharger transforms it into the higher echelons of the super car league. And so to the final quandary, which method of forced induction best suits the #Audi R8? The VF Engineering supercharger delivers epic performance from low in the rev range.
It’s and instantaneous slug of big boosted power, that sounds thrilling, too. As Iain states, “The supercharger gives it a sharper hit of power than the turbo, but it’s the way it’s delivered that makes the difference.” The Syvecs management boasts advanced traction control to allow the power to be transmitted to the road, and the auto box has been reprogrammed to deliver much faster, more positive shifts. It’s testament to the skills of the Syvecs team, that it’s these two areas which really lift the Daytona Grey car from an R8 with more power, to a truly fantastic car.
Both R8s are seriously fast cars. Plant the throttle and they both deliver savage acceleration and ballistic, linear power. They also both demand huge respect. The GT would be the faster car – it’s lighter and more powerful. But the supercharged grey car is no slouch – and significantly less cash.
If money was no object, I’d take the GT. The combination of rarity and that barely stressed turbo power, mated to the high-comp V10, makes it, for me, the obvious winner. However, once you factor in costs, the Daytona Grey car makes a very good case for itself. You could, in theory, purchase a used V10 for £60k, then spend a further £30k building a car similar to this one.
That would give you something that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drive it, keep up with the best on offer from the Italians and Germans – and still cost significantly less than a new R8.
Daytona Grey #Audi-R8-VF-Engineering V10
Engine #VF-Engineering #VF750 supercharger kit, #Eaton TVS2300 4-lobe roots twin vortices supercharger, air to water charge cooling system, Syvecs engine management including advanced traction control, Stasis performance exhaust system.
Transmission Stock auto with Syvec remapped box, advanced traction control
Brakes Stock R8 V10
Suspension H&R sport springs with #MagnaRide dampers
Wheels and Tyres Advan ADV.1 wheels with #Toyo R888 tyres
Exterior Daytona Grey
Interior Stock R8 V10
Tuning contacts Litchfield Imports www. litchfieldmotors. co. uk Syvecs www. syvecs. co. uk
White #Audi-R8-Heffner-Performance GT (1 of 33 UK cars)
Engine 5.2 FSI V10, #Heffner-Performance twin turbo kit, comprising 2x #Garrett GT35r turbos, charge cooler, all ancillaries, custom remap.
Transmission Manual #R-tronic gearbox
Brakes Carbon ceramic
Suspension Uprated GT suspension
Wheels and Tyres Stock GT alloys
Exterior White GT with fixed rear wing, front canards, thinner glass, carbon fibre, magnesium and aluminium components
Interior Full GT spec ikncluding fixed back seats
Tuning contacts Litchfield Imports www. litchfieldmotors. co. uk
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