- Post is under moderationThis E36 M3 R is one of the rarest of the rare, but that didn’t stop one owner beefing it up to be a full-on track terror. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.
FULL-ON BMW-E36 / BMW-M3 R Hardcore Australian special
GYM JUNKIE UNICORN Ultra-rare E36 M3 R from Oz
Just 12 E36 M3 Rs were made available to the public back in the mid ’90s by #BMW Australia. Built, as some of you may know, to be the ultimate non-GTR E36, the cars were basically Group N racers for the road. They came with full Motorsport Group N suspension, a tweaked engine putting out 325hp (more than any E36 M3 other than the GTR), AP Racing four-piston brakes all-round, the full M3 GT bodykit, plus Super Tourer wing and extendable splitter, and almost all creature comforts, such as rear seats, air-conditioning and fog lights, removed. Developed by the legendary Paul Rosche, then M GmbH’s head of motorsport, and team members from the famous Australian Frank Gardner’s outfit, including Ralph Bellamy - former F1 engineer and one of the men responsible for inventing ground effects at Lotus - the M3 R remains to this day arguably the greatest E36 variant you can actually buy, albeit one that required a racing license when purchasing it new and one that is, unsurprisingly, also climbing in value today.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that this M3 R’s previous owner, Alan Palser, decided to tune it so much there’s basically nothing left of the original car bar the little silver build plate on the centre console. To whit, there’s the DTM Fiber Werkz widebody kit, JRZ dampers with Eibach springs, Turner front and SM Motorsport custom rear anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom control arms, Alcon monobloc front and AP Racing rear calipers and two-piece slotted discs, AP racing twin-plate clutch, boot-mounted Speed Master fuel cell with Bosch 044 pump and swirl pot and a range of engine mods, including a very sexy CSL-style carbon airbox, which bring the power up to around 370rwhp. In a car running Hankook slicks on its 11x18” Apex EC-7 wheels, and weighing only 1220kg thanks to being completely stripped and caged, that makes this is one rapid racer indeed. But one that isn’t really much of an M3 R anymore.
So why did Alan do it? Well, there were two main reasons. The first is an all-too familiar story. Having fallen in love with BMWs as a lad growing up in the Group A era, Alan decided he had to have one, and eventually managed to fund the purchase of his third-hand M3 R ten years ago when it had just 40,000km on the clock. However, as one does, he started to chat more and more to people in the club scene and eventually got talked into attending a few track days. And that’s when the bug bit, hard.
“At the time I bought it, I would say the plan was to have it as a road car, but having started to talk to some people in car clubs, they said, ‘Oh, you should come down and join the club and have a go on the track on a club day’. Then once I’d done that a couple of times, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I think I’m going to enjoy this’. So I once I’d done a couple of those, I started orienting the E36 more towards that and less as a car to drive on the road.”
And once Alan started, he found it hard to stop, spiralling down that route we all know of upgrading ever more bits and pieces. “Once I was on that path, it was easier to continue on it, rather than scrap it and go back to a start point again,” he says. Eventually, after entering a couple of tarmac rallies, Alan decided it was time to develop it fully and, having sent it off to BMW whiz Sam Markov at SM Motorsport in Wodonga on the Victoria/New South Wales state border, things just got even more extreme, eventually leading to a wilder state than it is in now (this engine is its second after the previous fully-built and E85-tuned beast blew prior to the sale to its current owner). As for the second reason, that was more to do with the used car market at the time. Although it might seem silly in today’s climate, despite its rarity, engineering pedigree and extremely finely-honed nature out of the box, the M3 R wasn’t actually all that valuable ten years ago. You could pick one up for less than AU$50,000 (around £25,000) and there wasn’t a sense that they would be a future collectible. Hence why Alan says “I didn’t feel like I was totally killing something that was worth a lot of money at the time.” Of course, thinking about it now, he agrees that were he to do it all again, he would have started with a basic 3 Series shell, but such is life.
Eventually, having arrived at a development crossroads, Alan was unsure whether to replace the engine with an S85 V10 or the like, or sell it to fund something like a Z4 GT3. In the end he decided to part with it, which is where current owner and Avis franchise holder (hence the stickers) Les Sears comes into the picture. A Holden man for much of his time in motorsport, one drive of an E46 back when it was new changed his life forever and after that, Les became a devoted BMW fan, building up quite an impressive collection that currently includes a stock E36 M3, three E46 M3s (one road car, one complete racer and another in the build) and an F82 435i daily. Hence why, when he found out this car was up for sale about a year and a half ago, knowing how rare it was and how much effort had gone into it, he pounced on it.
Of course there was still the matter of the blown engine to take care of before he could enjoy it at his local motorkhanas and track days, and given the previous highly-strung motor’s issues, and the fact the chassis set-up was good enough to ensure speed without huge power, Les decided to tone down the new power plant a little in order to keep it reliable. Thus, right now, it runs a completely stock 3.2-litre bottom end, and only the aforementioned carbon airbox with custom trumpets (on stock runners), K&N pod filter, ARP rod bolts, 296º Schrick cams, Vanos delete and Motec M600 ECU as mods. Despite this, thanks to Sam Markov’s nous (Les kept him on as the car’s mechanic, as unlike for Alan, Sam was local), the car puts down 367hp at the wheels, which as we said is still plenty in a circa-1200kg car, and easily enough to keep Les at the top of the time sheets at whatever event he enters. “Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car. It’s very, very well balanced, and it doesn’t do it with horsepower, it does it with cornering speed,” he says.
Despite its pace and the fact it’s no longer much of an M3 R though, Les has no desire to risk such a rare car (even in its current state) in actual racing, saying “I’m a little reluctant [to race it]. I don’t mind doing the sprints in it, but once you get into a race meeting, I’d hate to damage it. I’ve got an E46 [an ex-Targa Tasmania machine, no less] which can take a bit of a hit and it’s easy to panel beat, but this thing with that body kit on it, it’s quite hard to start rebuilding that. I’ve got a new E46 being built as we speak too, and when that’s finished I’ll put this car up on blocks and leave it there and won’t race it at all”.
Now, given he’s only had the car for less than two years, such a plan might sound impossibly sad, but it’s actually part of a grander scheme to leave it in as good a condition as he can for his son, who also races. Essentially, Les says that he’ll take the M3 R out every so often just to keep it running until his son takes it over, and continue racing in the new E46 once that’s built. “It’s a new shell that we’ve got in another shed with a new cage through it and I’ve bought all the parts for it. I’ve just got to assemble it, basically,” he says. “I’ll do that the same way - it’ll have a 3.2-litre in it, but the bottom end won’t be stressed out and we’ll just get it to breathe.”
Hopefully both cars can see the use they deserve for many years to come, as although Les is now 69, he has no plans to stop racing anytime soon, and that’s the sort of thing we love to hear. If, however, he does eventually decide to give the game away, not only will he have his son to look after the cars, he’ll also still be able to enjoy them in other ways, saying that “I just get a kick of out of being in the shed and having a cup of coffee with the cars… And they’re not as noisy as the wife!”
S50B32 straight-six has been fitted with #VAC Vanos delete kit, among many other mods, and now makes 367whp.
Carbon blanking plates are most definitely at home in the stripped-out interior.
“Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car”
DATA FILE / #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-R / #Apex / #BMW-M3-R-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #Motec-M600 / #Motec / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2 litre straight-six #S50B32 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 , #K&N pod filter, custom carbon airbox with OEM runners and custom trumpets, #Schrick 296º cams (inlet and exhaust), #VAC-Motorsports Vanos delete kit, #ARP rod bolts, #NGK spark plugs, #Bosch-440cc /min injectors, Bosch-044 fuel pump, custom swirl pot, #Speed-master fuel cell, Evosport underdrive pulley, Turner Motorsport solid engine mounts, SM Motorsport stepped headers, custom 2.5” stainless steel exhaust and silencer, #Motec-M600-ECU . Five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing twin-plate 7.25” clutch, stock M3 R flywheel, #OS-Giken-LSD
CHASSIS 11x18” ET25 (front and rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels in Anthracite with 20mm spacers (front and rear) and 280/650 - 18 Hankook slicks (front and rear), #JRZ-RS dampers with #Eibach springs, #Turner-Motorsport (front) and SM Motorsport (rear) anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom front suspension arms to increase track by 100mm, #SM-Motorsport custom rear trailing arms, SM Motorsport custom bearings and rod-ends, Whiteline front strut bar, Alcon monobloc four-pot calipers with 355x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS1.11 pads (front), AP Racing four-pot calipers with 330x28mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), AP Racing fluid, SM Motorsport custom braided lines and custom pedal box
EXTERIOR DTM Fiber Werkz wide-body kit (customised by SM Motorsport), custom Topstage Composites front bumper and carbon splitter, #APR-Performance rear wing
INTERIOR Brown Davis roll-cage, short-shift kit, RPM SL S/W Comfort suede steering wheel with quick-release hub, Velo Apex-XL seat, Sparco harnesses, carbon blanking plates for centre console and gauge pod, Racepak displayStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDOUBLE DIP #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46
Ferocious 545hp supercharged and 715hp turbocharged carbon-clad E46 M3s tamed by one owner. Decisions are hard, especially when it comes to choosing between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, so why not just have both…? Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andrew Thompson.
545hp supercharged and 715hp turbo E46 M3s
Decisions are never easy to make, especially when you’re faced with two equally appealing options. Chinese or Indian, for example, or cookies and brownies, or pizza and, well actually there’s no alternative option to pizza because pizza just always wins. Sometimes, you don’t even have to decide, like with cronuts, or a turducken, just have everything, because more of everything is always better. For example, why choose between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, when you could have both? That is exactly what Jaime Taylor did and we’d like to think that decision made his life immeasurably better in every way.
This man is a serial car buyer and modifier with a car history varied enough to make your head spin, including a midengined, RWD Peugeot 205 GTi and a Sierra Cosworth, a scattering of BMs and some serious big-power builds, such as a 511hp Skyline R34 GTR, a 670hp Skyline R32 GTR and a 513hp Audi RS4. Jaime is no stranger to going fast and is clearly hopelessly addicted and devoted to the modifying lifestyle, which makes him our kind of guy, and we guess answers the question: “What sort of person owns a pair of cars like this?”
What’s really interesting here is that this is really a tale of two parallel builds, which were happening alongside each other at virtually the same time. Spooky. We’ve got Jaime, who wanted to build a turbo E46 M3 but ended up going down the supercharged route, and Andy Bennett, who bought the turbocharged car and proceeded to put a huge amount of effort into getting it running as it should, then ended up selling it to Jaime, who’d actually wanted to buy it all along but was beaten to the punch by Andy all those years previously. It’s a twisting tale deserving of its own movie adaptation, so grab some popcorn, get comfy and we’ll begin.
When Jaime bought his M3 in 2014, it already had a long list of tasty bits on it, including carbon front wings and carbon bonnet, a roll-cage, BBK, CSL air box and Recaro RS seats but even better than that it had been fitted with a new engine from BMW and had covered less than 20,000 miles on it. “The new engine was a blank canvas to work on,” smiles Jaime. “At the time I didn’t know any UK company who could turbocharge the S54 but did know a company in the States. We were talking about shipping the car over there to get the job done, but it would have been gone for six months for all the new fabrication work to be done because they hadn’t done a right hand drive vehicle before,” he explains. “In the end, with a new car on the drive, we decided to go down the supercharged route so then the car could stay local,” and that’s a pretty sensible decision as the job could be done much more quickly and he’d have more time to actually enjoy the car.
The supercharger kit comes from VF Engineering, with Jaime opting for VF570 flavour, the company’s most powerful E46 M3 supercharger offering. At its core is a Vortech V3-Si supercharger, capable of running at 26psi and rated for 775hp, so producing the 570hp and 380lb ft that VF Engineering claims for this kit is a walk in the park. The kit also boasts a cast manifold with a slide-in air/water intercooler cartridge and is a serious setup, able to deliver a huge hike in power. Initially, though, that wasn’t the case, as once Jaime had got the car back from being mapped and stuck it on a dyno he found it was only making 499hp.
“On each of the five back-to-back dyno runs we did the power was going down about 20hp every time because of heat soak,” he explains. “The engine was pulling the timing and it couldn’t make the power. To fi x this we got Gary Adlington, who runs Eastwood Garage in Falmouth, to fit an AEM direct port methanol kit from the States. Gary is a genius,” enthuses Jaime, “he put a Cosworth engine in a boat and some other crazy stuff – incredible character and he also worked on Andy’s engine.” Yes, in a further coincidence, both Jaime and Adam used Gary’s services for their respective projects; it’s like fate brought everything together. With the meth injection kit on board it was time to head back to the dyno and this time the numbers didn’t disappoint. “On the first run it made 513hp, 530hp on the second and we finished with 545hp,” grins Jaime and that grin is fully justified as that’s a serious power figure. Of course, running monster power means you need plenty of supporting mods and this S54 has been treated to a Mishimoto electric fan coupled to a larger Mishimoto rad, a 55ºC thermostat, the secondary air pump has been removed along with the air con and it’s all finished off with set of sport cats and a Milltek rear exhaust section.
Handily, the previous owner had done a lot of the groundwork on the chassis meaning the M3 was already in a good position to be supercharged, but Jaime has been upgrading things along the way over the past two-and-a-half years to make sure the car was the best it could be. The chassis has been enhanced with a set of KW V3 coilovers and is joined by Turner Motorsport top mounts and adjustable Turner anti-roll bars both front and rear. In addition to this there are adjustable rear camber arms, poly bushes fitted throughout and there’s also a 4.10 ratio rear diff. The brakes are seriously beefy and more than up to the task of slowing this powerhouse of an M3; up front there’s an Alcon BBK comprising 365mm discs, utilising Reyland brake bells, clamped by red six-piston calipers and braided hoses and Pagid RS-29 pads have been fitted allround while 710 racing brake fluid tops off the brake upgrades. When it came to choosing wheels, Jaime wanted something light and good-looking that would suit his track-orientated build. “Apex wheels were the weapon of choice,” he says, “they’re lightweight, concave and when I was searching for M3 track cars online everyone was running them so they were clearly the wheels to go for.” He’s gone for the Arc- 8, which looks great on the E46, and he’s running a square setup with 10x18s all-round wrapped in sticky Federal 595RS-R tyres.
No doubt a big part of the appeal of this M3 when Jaime was shopping was the fact that it looked so flipping fantastic, with the carbon bonnet, wings and boot lid really giving it a full-on track look and over the time he’s had the car he’s built on that, giving it an even more extreme appearance. “It was actually booked in to have all the carbon painted,” admits Jaime, “but I ended up going against it and kept the carbon on show for an aggressive track look,” and we’re glad he did. The car also wears a carbon front splitter and canards, plus Jaime has carried out a front foglight delete, and added a carbon rear diffuser, all of which combine to really make this M3 stand out and it’s got a lot of presence.
The interior had already been stripped out and caged-up when Jaime bought the car, but here too there was room for improvement and it all started with the seats. “On the first track day I took the car to I realised the seats were too high as we kept hitting our heads on the roof,” he explains. So out came the Recaro RS seats and in went in a pair of Corbeau Club Sport buckets, and Jaime was now far more comfortable and able to actually enjoy driving his M3. Other interior changes include the aforementioned roll-cage, a Safety Devices bolt-in item, an alcantarawrapped wheel from Royal Steering Wheels, full carbon door cards with red door pulls, an AEM hand controller for the methanol injection, a lightweight battery, fire extinguishers and a carbon blanking plate that covers the hole where the sat nav screen once sat. We love the fact that while it is stripped out and most definitely hardcore, it’s been finished to an incredibly high standard with some very high quality materials, and it all combines to make it even more special.
While Jaime was busy getting stuck into his supercharged E46 M3 project, Andy was well underway with getting his turbo E46 M3 up to scratch. Back in late 2013, having just sold a supercharged Range Rover Sport, Andy was flush with cash and looking to buy a second home to rent out. At least that was the sensible, grown-up plan, but one brief eBay session later it had all gone to pot as he’d spotted a turbo E46 M3, this very car, up for sale and, deciding that he couldn’t not buy it, he snapped it up with a sneaky bid in the final few seconds of the auction, unknowingly swiping it away from Jaime.
Not only did the car have a claimed 650hp, but it had also been on the cover of the March 2008 of PBMW, and came with a vented carbon bonnet, carbon bootlid, BBK and ticked just about every box that there was to be ticked. Quickly, however, it transpired that the car was not in rude health, making only 465hp on the dyno, not the figure Andy had been led to believe, as well as suffering from numerous issues to do with the turbo conversion. It was not a happy car. It was decided that a new intake manifold and stand alone ECU were needed, so Andy took the M3 off the road and put it into storage while he saved money for the work it needed. It was at this time that he learned about the infamous E46 subframe failure issue and, after inspecting the state of his M3, he discovered that, lo and behold, the subframe was not in a good way...
While we can’t imagine his mood was particularly good at this point, Andy had a turbocharged M3 and he was determined to make it the best turbocharged M3 he could; where Jaime started his project with a clean slate, Andy had the perfect opportunity to not just fix what was wrong with his M3, but improve everything as he went along, and he’s definitely done that and then some.
Before he could even think about getting the engine running at full capacity, that rear end needed sorting out so the old boot floor was cut out, a new one was welded-in and Redish Motorsport reinforcement plates were installed, along with a box section welded across the boot floor to eliminate any flex. At the same time, the whole back end was poly bushed and the propshaft rubber donut was replaced by an uprated Revshift polyurethane set up. The poly bushing extends throughout the chassis now and the suspension has been thoroughly upgraded throughout to ensure it’s up to the task of coping with a turbocharged S54 above. Naturally the car sits on coilovers but they’re not the usual suspects, this M3 having been fitted with Tein items complete with electronic damping adjustment, and these are joined by adjustable front camber plates and Eibach anti-roll bars front and rear and there’s also a Strong Strut front brace with a Schnitzer item mounted at the back. A Brembo GT BBK takes care of stopping duties, with six-pot calipers and monster 380mm discs up front and 345mm discs at the rear, the red calipers contrasting perfectly against the black spokes of the 19” CSL replicas, themselves fitted with Toyo R888 tyres for maximum grip and traction. When it came to the engine Andy admits that, without the help and knowledge of Gary Adlington, he probably would have given up on the car a long time ago, which would have been a shame as he would not have had the chance to experience the fury of a fully operational turbo M3. The main components required to get the S54 performing as it should were an AEM Infinity 8 ECU, Horsepower Freaks intake manifold and boost pipe, a pair of HKS SSQV4 blow-off valves and an AEM water/meth injection kit. The intercooler was also sent off to have the end tanks cut off and new ones made from thicker aluminium welded on. The final engine spec makes for some eye-widening reading as some serious work has gone into making this S54 as powerful as it is. The turbo kit itself comes from Savspeed Racing and uses a Turbonetics T70 turbo and the engine has been bolstered with a set of Wiseco low compression pistons, Pauter con rods, VAC Motorsports head bolts and a steel-lined head gasket while twin fuel pumps feed 750cc injectors via an Aeromotive fuel filter. The result of all that is pretty spectacular, with four different power maps to choose from: the mildest map offers a sensible 500hp, which we imagine is handy for popping to the shops for a pint of milk, while the wildest map delivers 715hp, which you’d probably use for getting a pint of milk and some toilet paper. Perhaps a cheeky Snickers as well. A Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch has been added to cope with all that newfound power and there’s also a short-shift kit rounding things off.
As with the supercharged car, this turbo M3 is a riot of carbon fibre on the outside, which looks fantastic against the Steel grey bodywork. It wears a Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and carbon front bumper, carbon front wings, a CSL carbon bootlid, carbon rear bumper, carbon side mouldings, carbon roof spoiler, carbon Schnitzer mirrors, even a carbon fuel filler flap. There are more carbon panels on the car now than there are regular body panels, it’s really something, and makes the car utterly spectacular. The interior is has also been treated to a whole heap of carbon goodies, including dash trim, door pulls, steering wheel trim, steering column and gearknob, gear surround and handbrake lever. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. In the early stages of the project, Andy picked up some rather sexy Cobra Daytona seats, which were already trimmed in black Mercedes leather and black Mitsubishi Evo X alcantara and finished with gold stitching, and they look great in the car, really filling out the interior and making it a rather more special place to sit. They’re mated to threepoint harnesses, which are mounted where the rear seats used to be, and naturally there’s also a host of gauges, we’d have been disappointed if there hadn’t been what with this being a turbocharged car and all. They include an Innovate AFR gauge, a trio of HKS gauges to monitor boost, exhaust temperature and pressure and there’s also a HKS turbo timer ensuring that the turbo stays healthy.
So, man builds supercharged E46 M3 and buys turbocharged M3, drives off into the sunset, lives happily ever after etc, right?
Well, not quite… “It’s a good job Andy pipped me to the post on the turbo car,” admits Jaime, “as he spent a lot of money on this M3, so I really reaped the benefits of all his hard work. It was a pleasure to scratch that turbo M3 itch that I’ve had for years, watching all those turbo M3 videos on YouTube, and it is fricking awesome,” he grins, but after buying the car from Andy last July just one month passed before Jaime had put it up for sale himself. “I needed to try it out for a while to see if I was happy to make this my new track car, and after testing it back to back with my supercharged one I decided it wasn’t for me. I have a bond with my supercharged one and prefer everything else about it, as does my other half, Terrie, and I have to live with her so she has a big say in what I do,” he laughs. Unsurprisingly the turbo M3 sold very quickly but surprisingly Jaime has now put his supercharged M3 up for sale as well, and as we put the last of these words to paper it looks like it may have found a new home… “I’ll be very sad to see it go,” he says, “and so will Terrie as we’ve both done a lot of track days in it and she’s learned a lot from driving it and really enjoys it,” but that’s just how it goes with modified cars, we suppose, it’s very rare for them to have any sort of permanence and selling the cars we’ve poured so much of everything into is a just part of the life we lead. They do say that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, though, and while we’re not sure if Jaime is planning to go as far as this with the E92 M3 he’s thinking of buying next, he can at least say that he’s been the owner of both a turbocharged and a supercharged M3, and there’s not many people that can.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Turbocharged E46 / #BMW-M3 / #Turbonetics / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-Turbo / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E46 / #HKS / #BMW-M3-Tuned / #BMW-M3-Tuned-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54-Turbocharged / #S54-Turbo , #Savspeed-Racing turbo conversion with #Turbonetics-T70 turbo, #Wiseco low compression pistons, #Pauter con rods, #VAC-Motorsports head bolts, steel-lined head gasket, 750cc injectors, twin fuel pumps, #Aeromotive fuel filter, #AEM Infinity 8 standalone ECU with E46 plug and play harness, AEM water/methanol injection kit with 1000cc and 500cc injectors, #HPF intake manifold and intake piping, custom front mount intercooler, 2x #HKS-SSQV4 blow-off valves, HPF five-way traction control system, custom exhaust system. Six-speed manual gearbox, Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch, short shift kit
CHASSIS 19” #CSL-replica-wheels in gloss black with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tyres, Tein-coilovers with electronic damping adjustment, adjustable front camber plates, Strong Strut front brace, AC-Schnitzer rear brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), fully poly bushed, Brembo GT BBK with six-piston calipers and 380x32mm discs (front) and four-piston calipers with 345x28mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Steel grey, #Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and front bumper, carbon fibre front wings, side mouldings, AC Schnitzer carbon fibre door mirrors, CSL carbon fibre boot, carbon fibre rear bumper, roof spoiler
INTERIOR Cobra Daytona seats re-trimmed in black leather and alcantara with gold stitching, three-point harnesses, rear seat delete, black alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters with gold stitching, Innovate AFR gauge, HKS boost, exhaust temperature and pressure gauges, HKS turbo timer
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #S54-Supercharged / #VF-Engineering / #Apex
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #VF-Engineering-VF570 supercharger kit, AEM water/methanol injection kit, #Mishimoto electric fan, Mishimoto bigger radiator, 55ºC thermostat, secondary air pump removed, airconditioning removed, sport cats, Milltek rear exhaust. Six-speed manual gearbox, 4.10 rear differential
POWER AND TORQUE 545hp, 383lb ft
CHASSIS 10x18” (front and rear) #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 265/35 (front and rear) Federal 595RS-R tyres, stud conversion kit, 12mm rear spacers, #KW-V3 coilovers with Club spec springs, Turner Motorsport top mounts, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable anti-roll bars (front and rear), adjustable rear camber arms, fully poly bushed, #Alcon BBK with six-piston calipers and 365mm discs with #Reyland bells (front), standard calipers (rear), Pagid RS-29 pads (front and rear), braided brake lines (front and rear), 710 racing brake fluid
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre canards, splitter, front wings, boot, bonnet, rear diffuser, carbon wrap on roof, fog lights removed
INTERIOR Stripped-out, full bolt-in Safety Devices roll-cage, alcantara steering wheel by Royal Steering Wheels, solid steering wheel coupler, full carbon door cards with red pull tabs, RTD short shifter, AEM hand controller for water/methanol injection, Corbeau Club Sport seats, Willans harnesses, water/methanol tank in boot, Odyssey PC950 lightweight battery, fire extinguishers, stereo removedStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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No sleep 476HP 135i Wild 1 Series brings it on Most modified 135is we see are in sleeper guise. However, this boisterous example is loud and proud – and rightly so… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Last year saw this magazine nearly overrun with 1 Series feature cars. This was totally fine as far as we were concerned because a lot of you are clearly loving them, otherwise we wouldn’t have been inundated with such a huge variety of fantastic modded examples. The charms of the 1 Series are hard to resist and while some people might find the first generation hatch a little inelegant on the styling front, we reckon #BMW nailed it with the Coupé. And people clearly agree, as that’s mainly what everyone’s been modding. A quick glance at the classifieds shows that this iteration of the 1 Series is holding its value and while some people might think you’re not getting a lot of car for your money compared to what else you could buy, the appeal of a compact, sporty car that’s also practical and can be had with a huge range of engines is easy to see and hard to resist. It’s the perfect antidote to the supersizing epidemic that’s now a staple of the motoring industry. And it’s a car with plenty of potential. Just ask Dom C, because he took a fiery little 135i and turned it into a real beast. It’s most definitely not shy about what it’s capable of; with 476hp on-tap, why would you be? A sleeper this ain’t.
A glance at Dom’s car history shows you that the 135i fits right in with his taste in small, fast cars, which have included a Saxo VTR and VTS, a Toyota Glanza V turbo, a Civic Type R, and an Impreza RB5 – which is a little less small but was “mega”, according to Dom, so that’s fair enough. “I had a 120d,” he continues, “which was good on fuel. This was good for when I was going to business meetings, but I decided I wanted something really fast that would handle well and was exciting. There was nothing of this age with a six-cylinder engine and rear- wheel drive apart from a 135i, so I bought one.”
The car was purchased bone stock and the initial plan was just to fit a JB4 and an exhaust because these alone would amp up the performance in a big way. But after Dom had sampled the sweet taste of what the 135i could offer, there was no way he could go cold turkey. And he had a pusher.
“The car’s been sponsored by Hard Knocks Speed Shop,” Dom explains. “It saw that I was passionate about modding and we had a great relationship, so it offered to sponsor me. Badger there has done all the work.” With his sights set on some serious numbers, things were going to have to change…
That JB4 is now a Cobb, supplied by BW Chiptune with a custom remap by Litchfield. The exhaust is now a custom straight- through system from Hard Knocks Speed Shop, with no cats or silencing. There’s even a valve for increased loudness. There’s a video of it in action on our Instagram page (@pbmwmag) and, having heard it in person, we can confirm it’s very, very loud.
The path to 476hp is lined with a lot more than just a Cobb and a custom exhaust, though. Dom has been busy under the bonnet, with the resulting list of engine mods making for some impressive reading. The stuff you can see includes a set of BMS dual cone intakes and an HKS SSQV blow-off valve. And there’s much more going on
beneath the surface that you can’t see. The stars of the show are, without doubt, the Turbo Dynamics Stage 2 hybrid turbos that really help to push the power up. But they don’t have to go it alone; up front sits a beefy Pro Alloy intercooler, there’s a Fuel It Stage 3 uprated fuel pump, a VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, plus a BMS meth injection kit to help keep intake air temperatures down.
The end result of all that underbonnet wizardry is a very impressive dyno-proven 476hp and over 400lb ft of torque. That’s an awful lot of power to enjoy in a compact car such as this. And that dyno run took place on a really hot day with intake temperatures well over 80ºC and the ECU pulling the timing, so there’s potentially even more on tap than the figures suggest.
Of course, simply ramping up the power and hoping for the best is not the way to do things and most certainly not the way Dom was planning to do things. So those engine mods are joined by a supporting cast of chassis and drivetrain mods. The standard clutch would have been completely out of its depth with these sort of power figures so it’s been replaced with a much sturdier Spec Stage 3+ affair mated to a single mass flywheel. On the chassis front, BC Racing coilovers have been called to action, along with M3 lower control arms, and a strut brace. And that’s not all because Dom then took the car to FW Motorsport, run by Tom Walkinshaw’s son Fergus, who spent a day-and-a-half setting up the suspension after corner weighting the car. Dom is also planning to add some custom adjustable drop links.
The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either. With the 135i coming equipped with some pretty serious six-pot front calipers from the factory there was no need for a BBK, but grooved discs have been added and are clamped by Pagid RS29 race pads. Goodrich braided hoses and race brake fluid concludes the brake upgrades.
Somehow we’ve managed to make it this far without once mentioning the way this car looks – which isn’t easy because this is a 1 Series that stands out, and then some. A lot of this is to do with the Avery Denison Gloss Blue wrap. “The car was originally Monaco blue,” explains Dom, a colour that you can see lurking in the engine bay. “It had no presence and made the car not look as fast as it actually was. My neighbour had a GTR wrapped in this blue and I absolutely loved it, so I decided to get the 135i done in the same shade, and the bonnet and mirrors done in gloss black.”
With the 135i looking rather more rapid, Dom set about adding the aero addenda. This started off with the relatively subtle carbon front splitter, followed by the carbon bootlip spoiler, and then the bulging Seibon carbon bonnet with aero catches. But Dom refuses to take responsibility for that rear wing. “It’s all Hard Knocks’ fault,” he laughs. “They suggested I got a wing. I agreed and went online to buy it whilst in the pub… although I don’t actually remember buying it!” Oh dear. Still, while the APR rear wing would look out of place on many a car, the overall look of this 135i means it works here. It ties in nicely with the whole black and blue theme, as do the wheels, which are Apex Aero-7 18s, with the car’s arches having been rolled to help accommodate them. The wheels have been wrapped in super-sticky Advan AD08R semi-slick rubber for maximum grip.
As for that Gran Turismo sun strip: “I think it looks badass,” explains Dom, “and it makes a huge difference to the feel of the car when driving.” The interior has, for now, been left largely standard, bar the removal of the rear seats, but Dom was planning on fitting some bucket seats and a roll-cage, that is before he decided to sell the car…
We should be used to it by now, feature cars owners getting in touch not long after a shoot informing us that they are selling their BMW. That’s the way it is with projects, but it was still a little surprising to hear it from Dom considering just how much he’d put into the 135i. It turns out he’s gone and bought himself a Nissan GTR and, to be fair, the signs were there all along as we recall he mentioned it on the day of the shoot. We can’t really blame him either; the GTR is a hell of a car and probably one of the few things that could get his heart pumping the same way as his ferocious 135i. Could we, he asked, mention that it was going to be up for sale? Of course. But then, a month later, we received another email. The 135i was staying, a stablemate for the GTR, and Dom had, in his own words, “gone full circle”. In fact, he now plans to take the 135i to the next level: a roll-cage, bucket seats and steering wheel will transform the interior, while a race diffuser, a side exit exhaust, and a body kit will transform the exterior. “It’s come too far to go back…!” were Dom’s parting words on the email. We can’t wait to see him go all the way.
Custom-mounted meth injection kit helps keep inlet temps down and power up.
DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW / #BMW-135i-Tuned / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #Turbo-Dynamics / #Apex / #BMW-135i-Tuned-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #Cobb-V3-Accessport custom mapped by #Litchfield-Motors , #BMS dual cone air intakes, #HKS-SSQV blow-off valve, #Turbo-Dynamics-Stage-2 hybrid turbos, #Pro-Alloy front mount intercooler, Fuel It Stage 3 upgraded fuel pump, custom- mounted BMS meth injection kit, #VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, Hard Knocks Speed Shop custom Y-pipe , custom straight- through two into one 3” de-catted centre section, custom quad exit exhaust system with electronic valves. Six-speed manual gearbox, #BMWP short-shift, Spec Stage 3+ clutch and single mass flywheel
POWER & TORQUE 476hp and 400lb ft+
CHASSIS 8x18” ET45 (front) and 9x18” ET50 (rear) #Apex-Aero-7 satin black forged wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Advan AD08R tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers, M3 lower control arms, strut brace, car corner weighted, Pagid RS29 race brake pads, grooved discs, #Goodrich braided hoses, race brake fluid
EXTERIOR Wrapped in Avery Denison gloss blue with gloss black roof and gloss black door mirrors, tinted windows, rolled arches, gloss black kidney grilles, carbon front splitter, #Seibon carbon #Powerdome bonnet with AeroCatches, carbon rear spoiler, #APR carbon wing, custom carbon diffuser, #BMW Darkline rear lights
INTERIOR Factory grey M Sport leather, Cobb V3 Accessport controller, rear seats removed
THANKS Chris Bourton (Badger) at Hard Knocks Speed Shop, Fergus Walkinshaw at FW Motorsport, #Litchfield motors for mapping, #SSDD-Motorsport , and Amber performanceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCONTINENTAL DRIFT
It’s become an international sensation but the heart of drifting is in Japan. That’s not to say you have to use a Japanese car, however; you just have to get a little creative… 400HP E34 M5 V8-powered drift 5 Series S62 V8-swapped E34 drift machine. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Ade Brannan.
Drifting has come a long way from being the sole preserve of mischievous Japanese outlaws sneaking out for touge battles after dark. The sport has spread like wildfire across the globe, consuming everything in its path in a fug of dense tyre smoke. Of course, there are drifters and there are good drifters; any fool can kick a clutch and light up the rears but the true connoisseur has an ingrained knowledge of entry angles, balletic transitions, and all those technical tricks that are earned and learned rather than simply assumed.
Interestingly, the rise of the modern obsession with drifting neatly overlaps the demise of what archaeologists of the future will probably call ‘the fibreglass body kit era’. The modding fraternity’s enthusiasm for bolting massive, extravagant plastic addenda to humdrum shopping hatchbacks rapidly tailed off when they started seeing footage of big-power RWD cars atomising their tyres at high speed. And the timing of the fall of one phenomenon and the rise of the other is no coincidence. And Jeek Federico, owner of this slightly scary E34, straddles the two scenes rather effectively.
Now, it’s all very well teaching yourself to drift and honing a few cheeky skills, but it’s not like you can just do it out there on the Queen’s highway. You’ll be tugged by the fuzz in short order. And if you try to hang the tail out at Brands or Silverstone, you’ll be black-flagged straightaway, and probably blacklisted, too. But thankfully there’s a place on these innocent isles where such smoky shenanigans are actively encouraged: Driftland. It’s up there in Lochgelly in Scotland. Oh, and by chance, Jeek just happens to be the owner of the place. Handy, eh?
Driftland is the UK’s only dedicated drift venue, and it caters to all levels of enthusiasts who prefer to do their driving while looking through the side windows; seasoned veterans are welcome, but Jeek also runs a fleet of 15 or so E36 Drift School cars. Naturally he needs something pretty boisterous for his own car as well, to act as a showcase for all the place offers. And that’s where this E34 comes in. “I was looking for something to replace my E39 540i drift car that I’d owned for years,” he recalls. “I tried a few different Japanese models but hated them all. I’d known of this particular car for quite a few years and it came up for sale at just the right time; it had all the best bits of a big V8 German beauty that I loved, mixed with the agility and weight of a nimble Japanese car.”
Aha, you’re intrigued now, aren’t you? Because, you see, this isn’t just a strippedout travelling salesman special – it’s a custom-engineered lightweight with a German heart and a Japanese soul. The front end of the car is pretty much all Nissan S14 200SX, converted to run a JDM steering rack rather than the heavy old steering box. And the commitment to weight saving throughout the car is extensive and farreaching; even the single-wiper conversion runs an E46 Compact motor to shave off a few grams.
But don’t go wringing your hands just yet. It’s not all Japanese. Take a look at what’s going on under the bonnet, for example: the eagle-eyed and nerdy of engine code will have recognised this as an S62B50 – the hyperactively enhanced variant of the solid-as- a-rock M62 that you’d usually find under the bonnet of an E39 M5 (or, for those of a more exotic persuasion, the retro-futurist Z8 – y’know, the car James Bond sawed in half in that questionable 007 movie). This is a mighty motor, offering 400hp in factory tune; it’s got eight individual throttle bodies, hollow camshafts, and it’s just peachy.
“These engines don’t need a lot of modification,” Jeek assures us. “I’m running Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds and an Alpha N map with MAF delete but, aside from that, it hasn’t been messed with and it makes a solid 401hp.” He’s got it running through a five-speed manual ’box with a super-lightweight flywheel (this isn’t like a lazy, rumbling American V8, it’s an eager revver), while a Helix paddle-clutch makes short work of those fourth gear clutch kicks.
As you might imagine, the chassis that underpins all of this culture-clash fury is a bit of a mixed bag – part German, part Japanese, but all awesome. “The brakes are from an R33 Nissan Skyline at the front,” Jeek explains, “along with an E36 M3 Evo pedalbox and cylinder. The rear end is all E34 540i – it’s running zero camber to give perfect tyre wear and maximum grip from those 265/35s at 15psi.” Custom Apex coilovers suspend the thing, and you’ll find a variety of oriental flavours in the mix, too, from the likes of Tein and Doritech among others. The overriding theory behind the build is to ensure that every element of the car is focused on doing its job correctly; there’s nothing superfluous here, it’s all just hell-bent on destroying tyres in the most aesthetically alluring way possible. “The plan with it was always just to have fun, wreck tyres, and do huge top-of-fourth-gear smoky skids, all while advertising my business,” laughs Jeek. And his sense of fun is palpable throughout the E34. Sure, it’s aggressive and mean, but it’s also a little bit mischievous.
The choice of wheels presented a bit of head-scratching, not least because the car’s running different PCDs on either axle: 5x114 front and 5x120 rear. “I have always been a fan of dish and width,” he says. “My old E39 ran 10”-wide Rondels all-round, so the new car’s wheels had to be beefy specs, as well as being easily replaceable in the event of one getting damaged. I opted for the STYLE49 wheels from 7Twenty, in 10x17” on the front and 10.5x18” on the rear.”
They certainly complement the gorgeous paintwork very well. If the colour’s left you scrabbling through your memory banks of all the paint codes, it’s actually a Citroën shade named Whisper Purple. “I originally bought the car from my mate at Jankes BMW Spares,” says Jeek. “It was high off the ground, had crap wheels, and a terrible paint and sticker scheme. I had the body and paint all sorted out by the good guys at Toole Design. Along with the paintwork, the car was lowered and received a set of side skirts and a 1980s Zender splitter. The paint’s definitely my favourite thing that’s been done, as it looked rubbish before.”
While the look may be pin-sharp and ready to mingle with the heavies, it’s important to remember that this E34’s real party piece is its extraordinarily light weight. “It weighs just 1150kg wet,” Jeek explains. “To put that in context, that’s about the same as a new Fiesta.” Just absorb that fact for a moment: imagine a new Fiesta with 400hp, then consider the fact that they’re not even rear-wheel drive… the dedication to weight saving has been relentless and ruthless here.
“The theme for the interior was, quite simply, race car,” he grins. “There’s nothing in there that the car doesn’t need. That steering wheel is actually a genuine carbonfibre item from one of Ken Block’s M-Sport Focus rally cars. There’s also a pair of Motordrive seats with Driftland-branded harnesses (because sometimes you need to scare a passenger), a hydraulic handbrake, extinguishers, and that’s pretty much it.”
Which, of course, is just as it should be. The base car was a non-sunroof 530i but there’s not a whole lot of that left here now, aside from the essential silhouette. The attention to detail stretches way into the recesses that you wouldn’t spot, too. All the underseal has been scraped from the underneath, which has been painted grey, while the insides are a complementary grey and blue. Everything about the car screams purpose, but at the same time it’s a very considered build. The perfect tool, in fact, for advertising Driftland.
Is it the ultimate BMW drift car, then? Has Jeek nailed it this time? “Ah, I don’t know,” he considers, scratching his chin thoughtfully. “I often think about what the next car might be, but I’m not sure what could be better – this engine in a 1M shell maybe? Or maybe some V10 M60 goodness?”
It’s a moot point for now, however, as this shouty workhouse is a harsh taskmaster. “It got quite crashed up this year, so it’ll be getting some fibreglass rear quarters made up, and at the same time the car might end up a different colour, as well as going a little lower,” he confirms. “And, hey, if money were no object, a flat-shift sequential and a supercharger would be nice.” Well, if this E34 is as effective an advert as it is a drift car, those dreams may well be coming true before long.
The plan was always to have fun, wreck tyres and do huge skids, all while advertising my business.
Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with a Huxley Motorsport roll-cage plus a pair of Motordrive seats
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-S62 / #BMW-V8 Drift / #BMW-E34 / #BMW / #7Twenty / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-5-Series-Drift / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-E34-S62 / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-E34-Drift
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 / #S62 , #Alpha-N map, new shells, Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds, #Doritech exhaust system (with V-bands for quick removal), #TTV-Racing lightweight single-mass flywheel with custom paddle and #Motorsport-Helix cover plate, 35-litre alloy tank underneath rear floorpan with #Bosch-044 pump and pressure gauge in bay, five-speed #ZF gearbox, 3.23 welded diff
CHASSIS 10x17” 5x114 (front) and 10.5x18” 5x120 (rear) #7Twenty-STYLE49 wheels, #Nissan-GTS 320mm fourpot front calipers with ventilated discs, 540i rear calipers with ventilated discs, rear subframe reinforced with adjustable camber and toe, #Powerflex bushes, front subframe modified to use Nissan steering rack, bottom #Nissan arms, front Nissan knuckles with adaptors to use #BMW wheels, #Doritech knuckles for extra lock, #Tein tie rods, #GKT-Tech castor arms and GKT Tech lower arms, hydraulic handbrake with 0.650 Wilwood pump, #Apex custom coilovers – 10/8kg damping adjustable
EXTERIOR E34 530i non-sunroof shell, Citroën Whisper Purple paint, underside painted grey, inside painted grey/blue, side skirts, #Zender splitter from the 1980s
INTERIOR #Huxley-Motorsport roll-cage with extension to front turrets, #M-Sport/Ken Block carbon fibre steering wheel, E34 #BMW-M5-E34 instrument cluster and kick plates, #Motordrive seats, #Driftland harnesses, Coolerworks gearshifter, power steering cooler, #Lexan windows, flocked dash, M3 Evo servo and pedalbox, extra gauges for oil/water temperature/oil pressure/fuel, flick switches, custom wiring with fuse/relay panel, single wiper conversion running E46 Compact motor, #Zero-2000 plumbed-in extinguisher, 1kg hand-held fire extinguisher, small battery with fibreglass box and cut-off switchStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW never offered an E46 M3 Touring, that’s just an unfortunate fact of life. But if you saw Marc Norris’s Touring rolling down the road, you might find yourself re-evaluating what you think you know… Words: Daniel Bevis Photography: Darren Maybury.
“When I build something, I want it to look like it just came out of the factory”
Stunning E46 M3 Touring / Estate of the Union BMW never made an E46 M3 Touring but if it had, it should have looked like this one.
If you want to whip 3 Series fans up into a lather, try tossing the phrase ‘M3 Touring’ into the conversation and just standing back to see what happens. It’s a conversational grenade. You see, everyone with more than a passing interest in the Bavarian propeller badge wants a longroof version of the M3 to exist, and to have existed. Everyone. It’s just a fact of nature, as real as the tides and the inevitability of Monday mornings. Watch in amusement as they reel off phrases like ‘missed opportunity’ and ‘the best car that #BMW never built’. This is not without precedent, of course… the money-men at BMW HQ saw fit to greenlight a Touring variant of the M5 back when the E60 was doing the rounds, so what was wrong with the idea of shoehorning an #S54-Dinan motor and some beefed-up chassis componentry into a 3 Series shell that was happy to swallow a wardrobe? Well, it’s just one of life’s mysteries.
Thankfully, for a miniscule but dedicated clique of enthusiasts, the question of ‘what was wrong with the idea?’ can bullishly be answered by the phrase ‘nothing at all, so I’m going to make one’. And that’s exactly what’s happened here: the car you’re looking at may not have rolled off the production line as a bona fide M3 Touring, but it’s about as near as you’re ever going to get to happening across the genuine article. And it’s all down to the skills and dedication of a fella by the name of Marc Norris.
Now, Marc is an interesting guy to know. The powerhouse behind Bavarian Workshop in West Hills, California, what he doesn’t know about enhancing and enjoying BMWs probably isn’t worth knowing. “My friends call me ‘the mad scientist’,” he grins, “so that should give you some idea…”
Seasoned readers may recall the M2 that Marc built a few years back, fusing a 2002 with the running gear from an E30 M3. “I modify everything I own,” he laughs. “I’ve built some fun cars, with that M2 being a prime example. I’ve built turbo cars, engine swaps… an S54 into an E28 M5, an S52 into an E30 sedan with six-speed and five-lug conversion… My big thing is subtlety – when I build something, I want it to look like it just came out of the factory.” Admirable sentiment indeed, and you can see why Marc is the ideal candidate to hand-craft ‘the best car that BMW never built’.
A little background, then, to see where this whole legacy of lunacy stemmed from. Bavarian Workshop, the hub of all of this Teutonic mischief, was founded back in 1978, and Marc purchased the company 21 years ago. It’s primarily a service shop, although his entertaining modifying proclivities are neatly catered for by virtue of it being an official Dinan Engineering dealer too. “Modifications have always been a part of our DNA,” Marc eagerly confirms. “Along the way there have been many projects, big and small, as people found out about our capabilities. And this particular project was started here at the shop with the engine and trans swap, before I took it home and stripped the interior and some other mechanicals. I have a full shop at home, and am trying to expose my nine-year-old son to my madness!”
Okay, so why an E46, why now? “Well, I just love the E46 M3,” he says. “I mean, I love all M3s, as my garage would attest, but I’d sold an E46 a few years ago to get into a new house, and it stuck in my head – along with a comment a friend made years ago about the idea of an M3 Touring. It kept rolling around in the back of my mind. Something made me start doing some research, and then I found the pictures of the BMW Touring in the underground garage,” he says, referring to BMW’s own one-off M3 Touring Concept that lives in the mystery bunker beneath BMW M GmbH at Garching. “My wife’s Touring’s transmission had given up the ghost a couple of years ago, and I got her an X1; I kept the E46, as the idea was there.” And there you have it, the kernel of a project. But it’s one thing to conjure up such a strategy – it’s quite another to spirit it into reality. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of work involved.
Still, Marc’s not afraid of a bit of hard graft. You have probably gathered that. And with the idea blossoming in his mind, he set about finding a donor, which soon arrived in the form of a #2002 M3 Coupé on Craigslist. The car had hit a pole, which took out the radiator and condenser, but on the whole it was in remarkable condition and presented itself as the perfect donor. The cherry on the cake was that its production date was only two months adrift from his Touring; for a man who prizes authenticity, this made it a no-brainer.
“So, the car’s sitting here at the shop, and I decide I’ll stick the drivetrain and suspension in while it’s here and then trailer it home,” Marc recalls, luxuriating in the story with the slippery ease of the seasoned raconteur. “That bit was just a straight parts swap, no biggie. The interesting part came when I got it home and started gutting the inside…”
It’s a truism to say that the M3 is quite a focused machine, with lots of model-specific parts to differentiate itself from lesser 3 Series – that’s why they’re so celebrated, and command the premiums that they do – but if you really want this thrown into sharp focus for you, try stripping down the two cars in parallel and playing a bit of spot-the-difference.
Take the exterior, for example. It’s not just a case of unbolting the Touring wings and whacking the M3 items on there. Marc’s front wings are sectioned together with parts from both cars, to ensure that they mount properly while also having the correct M3 flares and grilles; the coupé items are a good inch longer, and that’s the sort of panel gap disparity that people would probably notice. And the rears? Well, obviously the station-wagon is a bit taller at the back, so the sportier bits have been cut straight out of the M3 and grafted into the Touring to follow its natural lines. The dedication to a factory-quality finish is total.
Another area that you might not necessarily think of is the boot floor – in this instance it’s been entirely removed and replaced with the M3 Coupé’s panel, which is rather flatter and thus allows the quad-tail M3/Dinan exhaust system to exit beneath. You see, once you start digging into a non-M3 E46, it’s surprising just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
For the sake of completeness, the roof rails were removed and factory delete covers colour-matched and installed, while all of the exterior trim was reworked in BMW Glanschwarz (Gloss black) to reflect the OEM appearance of the M3. And to top it all off, the finished shell’s been blasted in a fresh coat of metallic Stahlblau (Steel blue).
Naturally an M3 is more than just a mighty engine and some pumped up arches. There’s quite a lot going on under the skin. “I’d totally gutted the shell in the knowledge that I wanted to fit the #BMW Professional Navigation, Harman Kardon stereo and, most importantly, my wife’s favourite – heated seats!”
Marc explains. So the car now features E91 Touring seats with functional active bolsters and heaters (because you have to do what the boss says sometimes), which are neatly complemented by the ‘Silver Cube’ trim from the Competition package and, rather brilliantly, a nav screen that’s been specially programmed to display the M logo when you get in. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.
“I also wanted to convert it from auto to manual,” he continues, to the great satisfaction of driving enthusiasts everywhere, “as well as add the parts from the M3 running gear into the harness… so I had both cars at home and I stripped the harness out of the M3 and laid it out next to the Touring, taking out all the sections I needed to add those accessories.”
And when he uses terms like ‘parts’ and ‘accessories’, don’t take these words euphemistically – we’re talking about a full-on chassis conversion, with the M3 front and rear subframes swapped over complete with brakes and suspension, the latter of which was then upgraded to Dinan/Koni Stage 3 spec. When Marc says he wanted to build a factory-quality M3 Touring, he went all-in. “For all intents and purposes, this is an M3,” he says, and it would surely be churlish to disagree.
It really does sound as if this radical yet subtle custom is having the desired effect too. “I use the car as a daily driver to work, and it’s funny seeing people react, as most don’t know a car like this never existed,” Marc smirks, mischievously. “When I go to car shows, a lot of times people walk by just thinking it’s a standard car, but the people in the know – they freak out! It’s so funny! And there have been more than a few times when someone will walk up and go ‘nice M3’… and then realise it’s a Touring. And then just have a cow! It really is amazing to hear how many people dig wagons.”
And that, of course, is all part of the fun. The original brief was to make the M3 Touring that BMW never did, and along the way he’s managed to interweave a certain frisson of specialness that’s endeared it to both his wife and the Californian BMW community at large. As his own State of the Union address, this M3 makes a pretty clear statement for Marc: sure, something may not exist, but that doesn’t mean it never can. The proof, in Steel blue, sits right before you.
CONTACT Bavarian Workshop / Web: www.bavarianworkshop.com
“It really is amazing to hear how many people dig wagons”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE E46 M3 Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E46 / #BMW-M3-CS-Touring-E46 / #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-E46-Touring / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E46/3 / #BMW-E46/3 / #BMW-M3-E46/3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 3.2-litre straight-six, #Dinan-high-flow-air-intake , Dinan free-flow exhaust system, #Dinan software, M3 ducting, trim and radiator/condenser cooling package, M3 oil cooler and ducting, six-speed manual, #M-differential
CHASSIS: 19-inch #Apex wheels with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sports, Motorsport Hardware competition wheel studs, full M3 front and rear subframes including suspension and brake setup; Dinan / #Koni Stage 3 suspension kit, reinforced rear subframe mounts
EXTERIOR: Custom front wings sectioned together from Coupé and Touring items, LCI bi-xenon headlights, M3 CSL front bumper cover with carbon fibre winglets, coupé rear wings sectioned into Touring quarters, boot floor swapped for flatter M3 Coupé version, allowing fitment of Dinan/M3 quad exhaust, roof rails removed and factory delete covers installed and colour-matched, all exterior trim swapped to BMW Glanschwarz enamel, full repaint in Stahlblau (Steel blue Metallic)
INTERIOR: Heated E91 Touring seats with functional active bolsters, M3 dials, BMW Professional Navigation, Harman Kardon stereo system, Bavsound complete speaker upgrade, BMW Bluetooth telephone integration, ‘Silver Cube’ trim from Competition package, M Performance gear knob, gaiter and handbrake handle, M3 steering wheel, BMW M door sill trim (front and rear), custom programming to show M logo on nav when entering car
THANKS TO: World Class Paint and Body for the amazing factory-like work, Dinan Engineering, BavSound for the killer sounds, Motorsport Hardware, Chase, for all the help, and my wife Suzin for supporting my long hours in the garage
“People walk by thinking it’s a standard car, but people in the know freak out!”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHIDDEN STRENGTH
With its subtle looks, this 135i can slip under the radar, which is handy as it’s got 460whp on tap. This 135i might look fairly ordinary but appearances can be deceptive and there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye… Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.
Disappointment is sometimes a powerful motivator. Sports teams that lose the championship one year have been known to turn that negative feeling into a springboard that pushes them to win it the next. So it was with Pete Agas and his 135i.
Initially, he wanted a 1M Coupé, but only 200 came to Australia and he missed out on the allocation. He didn’t let that get him down, though. Instead, he purchased an E82 135i and used the leftover funds to change almost every mechanical component to make it much faster than a stock 1M ever was.
The story begins back in late 2012, when he first purchased this Alpine white example fresh from the dealer. Having been inspired to tune cars ever since his youth (when watching Stephen Spielberg’s debut feature – Duel – made him think about tuning cars so he could outrun a psychotic truck driver), Pete wasn’t going to leave it untouched for long, and after posting a few pictures of it in its factory state on his online build thread (complete with the caption: ‘stock… yuck’), he started to modify it to suit his tastes.
As for those tastes? “I build, tune and customise my vehicles for performance over appearance,” he says, and as you can see, the finished car reflects that. APEX ARC-8 wheels, StopTech BBK, #Hartge silencer and M Performance carbon bits aside, there is no indication from the outside that this machine puts out 460whp at low boost and pounds around race tracks with ease. Even looking under the bonnet yields nothing to the casual observer, and unless they were looking hard, enthusiasts would only spot the AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 intake and M Performance Power Kit 2 as well. Almost everything that means anything is hidden on this build, and that’s the way Pete likes it, especially as it makes it that much easier to goad other, supposedly faster, cars into a little challenge. “I frequently drive around the South Yarra area in Victoria where there are plenty of beautiful Porsches. I may have completely decimated a couple of them in a quick squirt contest…” he says with a grin.
Of course, his E82 didn’t become this fast overnight. Indeed, having missed out on a 1M, he initially wanted just to match that car’s handling, with pure grunt not really on the radar. And even then, for the first year, Pete only drove it around with limited mods. An M Performance exhaust and exterior bits and some Rays G25 wheels upped the game from stock, but they were hardly going to help Pete reach even his initial goal. That’s why, after that 12 months, he started amassing E9x M3 suspension parts in bulk, along with other bits and pieces, so he could be ready for the next stage.
Those E9x parts included sway bars, control arms, bushings, camber link kit and strut tower brace, to which he added Swift springs. Having basically matched the 1M’s key suspension elements, Pete then moved onto the brakes, with M Performance discs, Cool Carbon brake pads and Hard Braking front titanium shims. For a little extra grunt, he added the aforementioned Power Kit 2 and controlled it via a Quaife 3.08 helical LSD in a VAC finned, clear anodised cover. A Burger Motorsports clutch delay valve and clutch stop helped in the driveline department as well. Finally, a few extra M Performance exterior and interior parts helped round it off. Until the most recent major upgrades, the diff was actually Pete’s favourite component as it improved traction no end. “The LSD just puts the power down without the e-Diff having a field day. It was easily the most notable change when driving the car back home from the workshop for the first time.” The fact the Quaife diff works with the stock traction control is a bonus, too, even if Pete doesn’t need it in the dry.
Now, you might think at this stage, having reached his initial goal, Pete would be satisfied and call it a day. After all, he had already created a very quick, but still very usable road car. However, the fact you see this rather faster beast before you shows he wasn’t done. What prompted him to go further were two new discoveries. Firstly, having gone this far into the BMW tuning world, he’d found a “huge amount of aftermarket potential within the BMW brand”, as well as a highly supportive and knowledgeable community to go with it.
Secondly, having built a track-oriented car, Pete was hardly likely to keep it purely on the road, and a visit to Phillip Island one day proved rather comprehensively that while strong, his build wasn’t perfect.
“I quickly discovered the platform needed brakes and cooling,” Pete tells us. “I also learned very quickly of the possibility of a spun rod bearing when pushing wet-sumped platforms on the track, so I quickly picked up an oil pan baffle to prevent this from happening to me.”
Having discovered these weaknesses, Pete also bolted on an oil cooler and decided that even the upgraded brakes he had weren’t going to cut it. So, as part of the final stage of mods, he purchased a StopTech BBK, with ST60 six-pot calipers on the front and ST40 four pots on the rears, matched with StopTech’s own Street Performance pads.
These clamp down on with Trophy Sport two-piece slotted discs to provide a significant upgrade in braking ability. Indeed, these are now Pete’s new favourite parts. “The new brakes not only look great, but they have an amazing pedal feel, are completely modular and replaceable and have a huge range of available pads.”
That they sit this high in his estimation is a big endorsement, given the rest of the upgrades he fitted at this stage. In the engine bay, he installed a Pure N55 Stage 2 turbo, an AR Design downpipe, Maddad midpipes and the aforementioned Hartge silencer on the hot side. He also fitted the previously mentioned AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 intake, an ETS five-inch intercooler and lower charge pipe, an Evolution Raceworks black anodised chargepipe and GFB N55 diverter valve upgrade on the cool side. Unsurprisingly, given the company’s reputation, a Dinan Stage 3 135iS tune controls the lot.
To further enhance the car’s abilities on the track, Pete also added Dinan Racing adjustable rear toe arms, Dinan front control arm bushings, Turner Motorsport solid aluminium rear subframe bushings and Ohlins Road and Track dampers. Finally, some sticky Hankook RS-3s on those handsome APEX ARC-8 wheels put all the power to the ground.
The results are quite startling. Given the sticky rubber and LSD, you’d think traction wouldn’t be a problem, but with TC off, Pete was able to spin up the wheels well into third gear on our short spot-shoot drive. “This is with the turbo at 15psi, remember,” Pete reminds us. “It’s capable of 27 or even 30psi. Frankly, I think it’d be undriveable on the street like that. I would need drag slicks or something.”
He’s probably right. The biggest impact, though, came from the fact that the power just kept on coming. Starting from around 3000rpm, it genuinely didn’t stop until very close to the redline. Owners of modern, well-tuned turbo cars will no doubt be nodding along to this in recognition, but for those who haven’t experienced such a longlasting rush, it’s quite the memorable event.
Thankfully, all of Pete’s suspension changes keep the car a lot more pinned to the ground, even if traction is a bit of an issue. It’s firm, no doubt, but even the harsh, sharp-edged bumps on Melbourne’s often lumpen roads didn’t jar particularly. It’s a testament to both the quality of the parts and Pete’s careful selections. “I like to think with the right amount of planning and research, most, if not all risks [when building a car] can be mitigated,” he says knowingly. “I checked, re-checked and triple-checked the parts that were chosen for the car and I paid very close attention to their fitment and quality before proceeding with the purchase. That research, coupled with the highly talented team over at SouthernBM (his chosen workshop), made the process easy.”
So, having now built a sleeper that can not just match a 1M but surpass it in every measure (bar width), is Pete satisfied? Is he done? Of course he isn’t. Soon after the shoot, he fitted some Kerscher 1Mstyle front wings and eventually, plans to turn it into a roadregistered track car, complete with rear seat delete, half-cage, Recaro Pole Positions, lithiumion battery, Evolution of Speed N55 manifold, E85 tune and carbon bonnet.
This would leave him without a daily driver, though, so what gives? Well, on 14 October last year, Pete watched the livestream as #BMW introduced the M2, and soon after, strode into his local dealership and ordered a manual one in Long Beach blue. We guess he never did get over the disappointment of the 1M after all…
StopTech ST60 front BBK boasts 355mm discs and six-pot calipers, necessary when you’ve got 460whp to play with.
DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /
ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 / #BMW-N55 , #M-Performance-Power-Kit-2 , #Pure-Stage-2 N55-turbo, Pure N55 inlet pipe, Evolution Racewerks N55 Type III Hard Anodised Black charge pipe, #AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 N55 intake, ETX 5” FMIC with lower chargepipe, GFB N55 diverter valve upgrade, #AR-Design N55 catted downpipe with ceramic coating, Maddad midpipes, Hartge quad-exhaust outlet silencer, 42 Draft Designs O2 sensor spacer, Dinan High Capacity oil cooler, Burger Motorsports oil catch can, JB4 ISO 5.9 with flex fuel wires - Map 6, Dimple Magnetic sump plug, Walbro 455 E85 Low Pressure Fuel Pump, Dinan Stage 3 Performance Engine Software map, VAC Motorsports N54 oil pan baffle
TRANSMISSION Standard six-speed manual transmission, Burger Motorsports modified clutch valve, Burger Motorsports Short Throw clutch stop, Quaife 3.08 helical LSD, VAC Motorsports finned differential cover (clear anodised), Dimple Magnetic transmission plug (x2), Turner Motorsport Delrin differential bushings, E46 M3 transmission bushings
CHASSIS 8.5x18” ET45 (front) and 9.5x18” ET62 (rear) #APEX-ARC-8-Hyper-Black wheels with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Hankook Ventus RS-3 tyres, #Apex / #Apex-ARC-8 wheel stud conversion kit, #Project-Kics open-ended lug nuts, BMW E9x M3 strut tower brace, E92 M3 front and rear sway bars, E92 front upper and lower control arms, E92 rear upper control arms, E9x M3 rear lower camber link kit, Ohlins Road and Track dampers with E82 135i 7” 60Nm/MM Swift Springs (front) and E82 1M 9” 120Nm/MM Swift Springs (rear), Swift Thrust Sheets, Ohlins rear damper adjuster extenders, #Vorschlag camber plates, #Dinan-Racing adjustable rear toe arms, #Dinan Monoball front control arm bushings, #Turner-Motorsport aluminium subframe bushings, #StopTech ST60 #BBK with 355x32mm slotted, zinc-coated discs and StopTech Trophy Sport Aerohat hats (front) and #StopTech-ST40-BBK with 345x28mm slotted, zinc-coated discs and Trophy Sport Aerohat hats (rear), StopTech Street Performance pads, StopTech braided brake lines, calipers painted silver
EXTERIOR M Performance front grille in black, M Performance carbon rear lip spoiler, BMW Blackline LCI taillights, 1M mirror conversion, Hartge dual outlet exhaust diffuser PU-RIM in gloss black, Carbon roundel decals, Philips Silver Vision indicator globes, T10 W5W Amber Chrome side indicator globes, Lux H8 V4 LED angel eyes, Final Inspection Rejuvenation Detail and Full Metal Jacket
INTERIOR M Performance aluminium pedals, M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with yellow stripe, M Performance gear knob and Alcantara shift boot, M Performance handbrake handle and Alcantara boot, M Performance interior in carbon, M Performance illuminated door sills, Alcantara binnacle cover, JB4 Bluetooth module with Android integration, Precision LED E82 LED interior package, 35 per cent window tint
THANKS Harold at HP Autosport, Andrew Brien and the crew at SouthernBMStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationYELLOW – NOT MELLOW
With 711whp, this turbo Phoenix yellow E46 M3 is a beast. Awesome 711whp M3 E46 Spectacular Stateside turbocharged #BMW-E46 . It may be in the love/hate Phoenix yellow hue but there’s nothing mellow about Kris Kolintzas’ 711whp E46 M3. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Brad Sillars.
Phoenix yellow is one of those love it or loathe it colours. When BMW proudly introduced the E46 M3 it was one of the most talked about features of the early cars, often overshadowing the amazing S54 engine or the finely-honed chassis. However, a few years down the line it’s been well-proven that with the right selection of modifications a Phoenix yellow M3 can be a treat to the eyes.
One guy that’s known this from the start is Kris Kolintzas, a serial E46 M3 owner. The Chicago resident has spent the last nine years perfecting and improving his Phoenix M3. “I bought the car in the early spring of 2007,” explains Kris. “I purchased it from a private seller out in Tennessee. I’d already had two E46 M3s prior to this one but this was in mint condition with just over 20k miles on it. I chose this particular M3 because it was a rare colour that popped and not the same old boring silver or black BMWs you see everywhere here in the Midwest.”
As the story so often goes, Kris began with a few simple enhancements and things soon spiralled out of control. The build even became something of a trendsetter in the Midwest. “My thoughts behind the modifications were that I just wanted it to be fast and different from what everyone else was doing,” Kris says. Of course, these days it’s that 711whp engine setup that really steals the headlines. “I was one of the first to supercharge an M3 in the Midwest and I was the first to convert to a turbo setup,” Kris proudly claims. He hasn’t done things by half either, utilising a Maximum PSI Stage 2 system.
Mike Radowski, frontman and fabrication specialist at Maximum PSI, is a man wellknown in these pages. His 900whp+ E36 M3 drag car was featured in the magazine some time ago but his name is one that constantly comes up. And with good reason. The man is a genius when it comes to extracting huge, useable power from #BMW engines through turbocharging, and his turbo kits are simply the best you’ll find. “After falling in love with my turbo E36 I purchased a used 2002 E46 M3 with the sole intention of developing a production turbo kit for the platform,” Mike tells us. “We had worked with Technique Tuning on numerous custom builds and it was only logical to continue our partnership into the E46 kit as well. We spent way too long sorting out the kit trying to utilise the factory air box, and several other components that caused us more headaches than I care to remember. In the end we had a nicely performing turbo kit that would be able to pass a full OBD2 readiness test. We retained the cats and secondary air pump, and came in notably cheaper than the competition, while using high quality TIG welded and CNC’d components.
“Our system is still the only turbo kit for the E46 M3 that we know of that utilises a remapped factory ECU. It has been continually refined over the past few years, and we now have over 50 Stage 1, 2, 3, and 4 kits in operation. We have a bunch of street cars and we have several drift cars including one of our Stage 4 kits. My personal car has made over 780whp on the stock ECU and has been turbocharged for 40k hard miles. It has ran a best quarter-mile time of 9.74secs at 145.9mph, making it the quickest E46 in the US. We will continue to push the envelope in the E46 platform, as well as the newer platforms as well. Keep an eye on our 2016 F80 M3 shop car for some results shortly, too!”
Maximum PSI kits are completely bolt-on and, as Mike revealed, astonishingly they also manage the almighty power figures through tuning of the standard E46 M3 #Siemens-MSS54 ECU. The setup centres around a Precision 6266 turbo mounted on a Maximum PSI cast manifold and comes with everything required for fitment, down to interior gauges and wiring clips.
Kris gave the task of fitting the kit to his good friend (and another ex-feature car owner) Stefan Sajic, front man of Zima Motorsports. “Kris’ car was dropped off to our HQ in Chicago with a nice whine coming from the supercharger,” explains Stefan. “He was looking for more power and substantially more torque so the Maximum PSI kit was the best solution. We worked closely with Kris to make sure everything he wanted in the car was installed perfectly for maximum performance.”
The Stage 1 version of the kit is capable of running up to 500whp on ordinary pump fuel and 600whp on high octane. However, it was the Stage 2 that Kris opted for. It centres around mostly the same hardware, but adds even bigger injectors and one of the neatest aftermarket touches on the market: the ability to use the factory Sport button to switch between pump and race fuel maps.
Using the aforementioned race fuel, Kris was able to push his car up to 711whp and 578lb ft of torque at 19psi of boost. An astonishing achievement and one that goes to prove the efficiency and performance of the Maximum PSI turbo kit. The internals of Kris’ S54 remain standard, just with the addition of coated rod bearings from Epic Motorsports and ARP rod bolts. All of that power fires through a South Bend Stage 3 clutch and the factory SMG gearbox, with the whole drivetrain mounted on Vibratechnics mounts.
To complete the setup, Kris mated a Bimmerworld 3.5” race exhaust to the rear, the single pipe exiting through a matching carbon fibre diffuser. As you may have noticed, composite weave adorns much of the entire car. Just under the bonnet, in fact, that turbo’d S54 has been surrounded with the stuff. From a Horsepower Freaks vented engine cover to EAS and NVD carbon fibre accessories left right and centre, you’re never far from a chunk of the wonder-weave.
The exterior is much the same – the carbon fibre works really well in contrast with the Phoenix yellow, and so Kris’ choice additions have made the car into something unique. Vorsteiner’s ever-popular range of parts for the E46 M3 has been utilised with the V-CSL front bumper, GTR bonnet and CSL bootlid all present in carbon fibre. They add a dose of aggression to the E46 and are backed up by a custom GTR rear bumper and yet more carbon fibre covering the headlight housings, pillar trims, mirrors, grilles and more. Umnitza lighting tops off the external mods that combine to make one good-looking E46 M3.
The interior, meanwhile, is also carbon fibre covered and makes for a good looking and functional place to be. Kris’ car remains a road car and the interior reflects this. The rear half features a custom Zima Motorsports half roll-cage, with the nowredundant rear seats removed in favour of a carbon fibre seat delete piece. Up front the standard seats keep things comfortable, while the dashboard is a feast of carbon fibre and tech. The centre vents have been replaced by a custom carbon fibre bezel housing digital AEM gauges for AFR, oil pressure, fuel pressure and boost – important parameters when running such a modified engine setup. Carbon fibre then covers just about every surface possible, and it looks fantastic for it.
The chassis setup on something with so much power is a hugely important part of the build. Keeping the comfort was a key part of things for Kris and so he carefully thought out a setup that would be suitable. It centres around the standard layout but uses Koni Sport shocks with a Ground Control height adjustable spring setup, camber-adjustable front top mounts and billet rear top mounts. Ground Control was also used for its anti-roll bars while, as you would expect, the rear subframe mounting points have been beefed-up. Finally, AKG Motorsports bushes all-round tie everything together.
“The build is basically done,” Kris concludes. “I moved onto a 1972 2002 restomod build alongside the M3, and I’m now looking for another project to add to the stable.” There’s one thing for sure – if Kris puts as much time and care into his other projects then this won’t be the last time you’ll see him on these pages. His E46 M3 blends brilliant looks with brutal turbocharged performance. The colour may not be to everyone’s taste from the factory, but with Kris’s expert eye he’s transformed it into a machine that no one would dare to fault.
I chose this particular M3 because it was a rare colour that popped.
DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 / , #ARP rod bolts, #Epic-Motorsports coated rod bearings, #Maximum-PSI-Stage-2 turbo kit (including #Precision-6466-turbo turbo, #Maximum-PSI cast turbo manifold, Maximum PSI/Driven Innovations intake manifold, #Tial MVR wastegate, Synapse diverter valve, front mounted intercooler, uprated spark plugs, big capacity fuel injectors, Walbro 485 fuel pump, 3.5” intake system with Green air filter, 304 stainless steel charge piping, 3” 304 stainless steel downpipe, fitting brackets and supports, SMG reservoir relocation kit, TurboSmart eBoost2 boost controller, AEM wideband O2 sensor, Technique Tuning mapping with switchable maps), Radium Engineering fuel rail, Bimmerworld 3.5” single pipe race exhaust with electronic cutout, #Vibratechnics engine mounts, #HPF carbon fibre vented engine cover, EAS carbon fibre engine accessories (cabin air filter cover and cap, DME cover, battery terminal cover, intake scoop, radiator cap, oil cap), NVD Autosport carbon fibre engine accessories (radiator support, oil filter cap, coolant tank). Six-speed #SMG gearbox, #South-Bend-Stage-3 clutch, Vibratechnics gearbox mounts, standard 3.62:1 final drive.
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Apex #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 285/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Koni Yellow Sport shocks front and rear with Ground Control adjustable springs, Ground Control camber-adjustable front top mounts, Ground Control rear top mounts, #Ground-Control anti-roll bars, reinforced rear subframe mounting points, AKG Motorsports front control arm bushes, #AKG-Motorsports rear trailing arm bushes, #AKG Motorsports subframe bushes, AKG Motorsports differential bushes, 345mm ZCP front discs with Brembo four-piston calipers from Porsche 996 911, standard rear brakes.
EXTERIOR Factory Phoenix yellow paintwork, Vorsteiner carbon fibre GTR bonnet, Vorsteiner carbon fibre CSL bootlid, Vorsteiner CSL front bumper with single piece carbon fibre splitter, custom GTR rear bumper by FMU, Bimmerworld carbon fibre diffuser, EAS carbon fibre trim (headlight housing inserts, door handles, mirrors, kidney grilles, side grilles), carbon fibre fuel tank flap, carbon fibre B-pillar trims, carbon fibre and colour coded roundels front and rear, carbon fibre M3 badge, Umnitza 6000k angel eyes, Umnitza 6000k headlights, LED indicators, LED numberplate bulbs, smoked taillights, 20% window tint all-round including windscreen.
INTERIOR Custom Zima Motorsports roll-cage, carbon fibre rear seat delete, custom carbon fibre bezel unit for AEM digital gauges (AFR, oil pressure, fuel pressure, boost), EAS carbon fibre components (SMG paddles, interior trim panels, steering wheel trim panels, pedals, steering column cover), NVD Autosport carbon fibre components (seat backs, seat rail covers, SMG knob, centre console, door sill trims).Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSHOW OF FORCE / #BMW-M4
Zima Motorsports has been getting busy on the #BMW-M4-F82 and its 630hp creation is a bit of an animal. The aftermarket world is constantly evolving thanks to a steady stream of new model launches. To keep on top of the game Zima Motorsports snapped up the new M4 as soon as possible and started modifying it immediately. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Brad Sillars.
There’s probably never been as much controversy surrounding a new product launch as when BMW announced that the new M3 coupé would, in fact, be called the M4 and that it would be turbocharged despite years of using strictly normally-aspirated motors. However, variety is the spice of life and this new format of M car looks set to be even more popular than ever before.
Chicago-based tuning shop and race team Zima Motorsports instantly twigged that this new M4 would be something of a big deal and so shop owner Steffan Sajic ordered one as soon as he could. Its arrival was scheduled just before the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, so Steffan knew that if he wanted to showcase his company’s handiwork there he would have his work cut out.
‘Project Bella’, as the Alpine white #BMW-F82 M4 became known, was purchased direct from the dealership. “We picked up our M4 in late July at Laurel #BMW of Westmont, Illinois,” explained Steffan. “It stepped up to the plate as we explained how short our SEMA deadline was. After watching a full DTM season and seeing the hype for the new M4, we were always going to order one for the shop. The main goal was to build a powerfriendly track day car that customers could relate to.”
With such a blank canvas to work on, it was a good job that Steffan and the rest of the Zima team had worked out a clear brief. With such a new model, the aftermarket pickings were relatively slim at first but they pulled off the build just in time. This wasn’t just a case of bolting on what parts there were, either. The team put a large amount of development and fabrication into the project themselves, too. The first stop was, of course, the engine.
The controversial S55 powerplant’s displacement may date all the way back to the early E36s when it comes to M3 engines but this one has something never seen before: a pair of turbochargers strapped to the side. It has a quite a few similarities with the N54 and N55 powerplants that have powered 35i models for a number of years now and so Zima set about applying similar tuning techniques – freeing up exhaust flow and upping the boost with a piggyback ECU.
“We ended up manufacturing our own downpipes for the car from 304 stainless steel,” Steffan explained. These were coupled to a stainless steel Meisterschaft exhaust system, while the ECU benefits from a Burger Motorsports JB4 piggyback.
The results are astonishing. With these simple mods the S55 has produced 538whp and 595lb ft of torque on race fuel; that’s over 630hp and a shed-load of torque at the fly which is fed to the rear wheels through a silky smooth M-DCT gearbox.
When it came to sourcing the wheels the Zima team went to what it considered to be one of the main players in the US scene. “CCW has been a leader in the wheel game for race cars for years, so we were in talks with it for a while. It makes some amazing lightweight wheels,” Steffan told us. “The wheels we’ve got on the car are awesome, especially running a 305 tyre at the back with no arch modifications. It shows that CCW knows how to make a wheel with proper offsets!” Measuring 10”-wide at the front and 11”-wide at the rear with a 19” diameter, the T1000 wheels have divided opinion a little but for Steffan the function was as important as the look, and we think they perfectly balance these two criteria.
To get the M4 sitting perfectly over those CCWs, #Zima opted for a KW Height Adjustable Spring System. It’s a clever product that replaces the factory springs for stiffer KW items, along with adjustable spring perches. This means that you end up with effectively an adjustable coilover while retaining the factory shocks, meaning that the clever EDC electronic dampers remain untouched.
“Our M4 roll-cage is made from 1.75” 4130 chromoly steel and is hand-assembled,” explained Steffan. “We can create a fourpoint bolt-in half-cage for M4 owners that may still need to use the back seat for luggage, or we can go all the way with a bolt-in full cage with a gusseted cross brace for unparalleled stiffness. Both offerings will bolt directly into the M4’s body and both are designed to keep you safe, whether you’re a track rat or an occasional racing enthusiast.”
The track theme has been echoed through the rest of the interior, too. It features hardcore carbon fibre Sabelt GT-300 seats and six-point harnesses. In combination with that cage, the interior has been truly transformed from a comfy production car into something ready to slay any track that lies before it.
The final step was to get that exterior looking that bit more aggressive. This has been achieved with some more simple but effective steps. The SEMA show this year was saturated with wide-body builds and Zima wanted to stay away from that, with its example being a far more OEM+ type of build. To that end, BMW Performance carbon fibre mirror caps were sourced from the local dealership and Steffan went to Vorsteiner for a GTS splitter and diffuser, both in carbon fibre.
“Our aim was to create a street and track car – one that you can have fun with on the street and go to dinner in then, at the weekend, go and have fun in at a track day,” Steffan said. “When we first rolled up to the SEMA show I couldn’t have been happier when everyone gave it the thumbs-up and started taking pictures. It’s truly a car crazy event and everyone appreciates the time and effort put into each build. CCW loved the M4 when it rolled into the booth at SEMA. I was actually in the Weld Racing booth – #CCW is currently a division within Weld. The guys were truly impressed with the while build and loved the way the wheels looked on an Alpine white M4.”
From the off, Steffan has been impressed with the new M car and, as you can imagine, the modifications have only improved things further. “After owning and racing a lot of M chassis I can say the M4 is in a class of its own. The car is well balanced and moves when you want it to. The standard M4 initially was epic but after a few mods, the feeling of race seats and a JB4, it became a whole different animal. The car was hunting for grip during fourth gear pulls.
“Our future plans are to wait for the weather to clear up in Chicago and take the car out to our local race track and really take it to its limits.”
Zima Motorsports has taken this new breed of M car and not only made it its own, but shone the light for future owners of the fresh M3 and M4 models. It might be in a slightly different format, but that M magic is still there and Zima knows exactly how to make the most of it.
Exterior has been treated to a selection of carbon fibre additions including a #Vorsteiner-GTS front splitter and rear diffuser along with BMW Performance mirror caps.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six twinturbo #S55B30 / #S55 , #JB4 tune, #Zima-Motorsports cat-less downpipes, #Meisterschaft exhaust. Standard 7-speed #M-DCT and M differential
CHASSIS: 10x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #CCW-T1000 hybrid wheels with 275/35 and 305/30 Nitto Invo tyres respectively, #Apex wheel stud conversion. #KW Height Adjustable Spring System consisting of KW springs, spring perches and bumpstops.
EXTERIOR: #Vorsteiner GTS carbon fibre front splitter, #Vorsteiner-GTS carbon fibre rear diffuser, #BMW-Performance carbon fibre mirror caps.
INTERIOR: #Sabelt GT-300 seats, Sabelt six-point harnesses, #Zima-Motorsports four-point roll-cage.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLONGTERMERS #BMW-M3-E92-Track-Project / #BMW-M3-E92-Track-Car / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3
I will have to start this month with a bit of an explanation – I obtained the M3 in October last year and hopefully you’ll have read last month’s piece, with me telling you about the first track day in the car etc, but things have moved on massively since then, so I will be trying to compress this year’s goings on into the next few months before things are about to start going mental in #2016 !
So the ethos as with any track/race-car, if you can afford it, is to uprate the brakes, suspension, tyres and get a good seat and harness – so this is exactly what I did…
The front brakes were changed for the #AP-Racing CP5555M1050BG.G8 kit (six-pot callipers and 368mm x 36mm discs instead of the larger 378s, to allow fitment of 18-inch wheels) with the CP6602-1001BK.G8 rear kit (four-pot callipers and 352mm x 26mm discs). I originally asked for the standard Ferodo DS2500 pads (which are not suitable for track use) to be swapped out for the brilliant Pagid RS29s, but sadly there were none in stock in the UK at the time, so went with Ferodo 1.11 endurance pads and was assured they would be up to the job and as they were an endurance pad should even last a bit longer than other pads. Naturally, being a genuine AP kit, it went on seamlessly and I couldn’t wait to try them out.
Before I could do this, and knowing how good they are from previously driven cars, a set of #KW Club Sports were ordered, so the car sat for a further six weeks until they arrived. These were fitted and the geometry was set to 1mm toe-in on the rear, with the front set to parallel, 2 degrees negative camber on the rear and 3 degrees on the front.
So that was the suspension and brakes sorted – that left the wheels and tyres. The design of the car allows it to run stupidly large tyres all round and after a bit of reading and research, it was only ever going to go one way and a set of Gloss Black Apex Racing 10x18 ET25 were ordered for a square setup. With these on their way from America the only tyres I could guarantee for the job was a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cups – not Cup+ I might add, and certainly not the new Cup 2s, just the regular Cup 1s. Out of interest, if you want to know, to my mind the Cup 2s offer grip levels only marginally better than the Supersports and the Cup+ are like a regular Cups, but have a couple of extra water lines. If you’re track/race mad, then regular Cup 1s for the win…
So four 285, yes 285/30/18 Cups were ordered, along with a set of 10mm spacers for the front to stop the wheels rubbing the KWs up the wrong way and a 5mm spacer on the rear, just because that’s what the fastest man around the ‘Ring in an E92 M3 said he was running on that particular day!
So wheels and tyres on – wow! They looked big, mahoosive, gigantic – these are going to be a lot of fun. Only thing missing now was the #Recaro SPG XL seats. Recaro had a back order then they shut for Christmas and then racing season started, so it took over five months to get two red seats as anything other than black was a special order, as apparently not many people want red seats – who would of thought… So now we had seats and harnesses fitted, trim out, APs on, KWs on and 285 Cups with lightweight #Apex Arc-8s – time to get on track!
My first trackday of the year was at Bedford Autodrome in February, which I always do with a large group of friends from back in the Ford days. Not many of us own Fords any more, as we have seen the light and now have BMWs, Clio Cup cars and a couple of Lotus’s – you get the idea. I would like to state that I drove the car there on the standard wheels and changed onto the Cups once there – this was made easy by a stud and nut conversion like the trackorientated GTS runs as standard and I can honestly say it makes a wheel change so much easier than having to hold the rim in place and line the holes up etc. I’m sure you have all done it before and know it’s a pain.
So on track damp at first, feeling the car out… feels really good – soft but good. I start pushing a couple of really high powered Focus RS Mk2s that were out playing together – so I join in the fun. It doesn’t take long to overtake and pull away from them, where I then find that the traction control is playing me up, as it keeps kicking in. At one point I was dropping the gears going up and down the gearbox as the car just didn’t like the amount of grip the Cups and suspension were giving, so was constantly bogging the car down. This was ok if driving normally, but once you start to push the car, you have to turn the traction off or at least into MDM mode, where it allows you to have a certain amount of slip, but if the car feels like you are too far gone or really getting out of shape, it will gather the rear end up for you by cutting power and applying individual brakes. So with MDM mode enabled, now we are really flying another friend had a basically standard E46 M3 and it’s just hopeless against the modified E92. I meet up with the two Focus’s again and it’s not even sport now (the term shooting fish in a barrel springs to mind!) with the gap closed on them within two corners, and then I am on them and gone – this thing is a rocket-ship, still big, but damn fast! I take out various people and all of them are blown away by the car’s pace, the way the box changes gear and the sheer grip I am getting from the Cups and KWs…The APs are doing the job, but not 100 per cent satisfactory, but then I am having so much fun I’m not too bothered. I wrap the day up, put the standard wheels back on and set off ready for home with the biggest grin you can imagine. All the hard work getting the car to this level was finally paying off.
The next outing in the car was at a more familiar track for me, with Snetterton being my local circuit. This particular day a friend who owns an E46 M3 had just completed building a RWD Escort Cosworth with my old 500hp GT30 engine in it and as it weighed just 1200kg this was going to be fun against my 1480kg and 420hp – or to put it another way around 416hp per tonne versus 280hp per tonne – place your bets! As luck would have it was supposed to be snowing – is this lucky or not? I’m not too sure to be honest. I know I have a fantastic traction control system, but my friend who has a lot more rear-wheel-drive experience than me, has also got his E46 M3 with him (just in case the Cosworth breaks down).
It starts out without any snow, just wet and a bit slippery, but it doesn’t take me long to find him out on the track in the Escort and by the end of the back straight I have caught him, overtaken him and am long gone. The day pretty much goes on like this every time we cross paths. There weren’t many cars on track because of the weather, so I take the opportunity to explore the limits of grip in relative safety. Surprisingly it copes really well even when we go into a full blown blizzard and the marshals are still letting us out on track, you can’t help but have a little drift and the day was just getting better as my confidence in the car ramped up. Eventually my friend gave up fighting the limited traction in the Escort (probably fed up with being lapped by the “slower” BMW) and got his E46 out and we were now trying to drive as straight as we could in the snow (honest Mr Marshall!). With the childish antics out of the way I came home realizing I needed some good tuition in the car. The car was set-up super aggressively, especially for the wet and I knew that if I wanted to be fast I had to get some professional advice on what was going on with me and the car.
After reading up on some driver tuition there are various people out there and the guy I chose came very highly recommended and after reading a few articles from him, he certainly seemed to know what he was talking about – and perfect for my level of experience in a rear-wheel drive car anyway.
I decided that it was best to go back to Snetterton for my tuition, as I didn’t want the complication of learning a circuit at the same time as being taught how to handle the car on the limit. This time it’s dry, I know where I am going and the Cups are on. With the instructor in the car with me we start to push hard. MDM mode is engaged and he is showing me some very nice tips and tricks and some places to go a little deeper on the brakes or turn in a little earlier that transpired to him saying by the end of the day “we’re not hanging about” with a big grin. One piece of advice he imparted was for me not to jump off of the brakes and back on to the throttle so aggressively and that I should try and be a bit smoother. I have addressed this now, but at the time it was good to hear, as I think me braking too early and then jumping off the anchors to get back on the gas as quickly as possible was actually slowing me down. I probably still do it a little but I am certainly conscious of it now and am trying to change my driving style to his suggestions.
One thing I did start to notice now was the suspension could have done with being a little firmer on the front and the rear, as I noticed that the car felt a little floaty at high speed. I hadn’t noticed at Bedford, as it was my first time out with all the upgrades on the car and with the track being wet and snowing at the previous Snetterton trackday. With this all taken into consideration, I went away having learned a lot about the track, the car and myself.
Next month I will be getting into a bit more detail about the suspension geometry and there’s more track action from Cadwell Park this time as well as a sniff of the #Nurburgring …Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.