- Post is under moderation/ #Audi RS4 B5 with a 5-cylinder engine / Words Davy Lewis / Photography Andreas S Jansson and Bjorn Eirik Odegård
This track-prepared RS4 is running a #5-cylinder-engine that makes 939hp – now there’s something a bit different…
RS4 B5 940hp 5-cylinder swap
Doing things differently is a risky business. Get it right and you’ll win the respect and admiration of your peers. Get it wrong however, and people will tear you apart on social media. This couldn’t be more relevant than in the car scene. From choice of wheels, to the tricky subject of rear wings – an upgrade that wins the internet with its ingenuity and originality is only a hairs breadth away from a total balls-up that incites derision and hate. People are funny, eh?
So where am I going with this? Well, one of the most fiercely loyal of all Audi enthusiasts are the RS4 B5 guys. Many view this as the only true RS4. The real deal. The big kahuna. The daddy. And you know what – I’m inclined to agree. There’s something about that wide arched, 2.7 biturbo-powered avant that is bang on the money. Never mind the fact that most of them will spend an inordinate amount of time in the garage, simultaneously emptying your wallet and making you cry into your Aldi value beans (cos that’s all you’ll be able to afford as a B5 owner). But, they’re a passionate, dedicated bunch and I applaud that.
So what on God’s earth are they going to make of an RS4 with a naughty secret under its bonnet? You see, this track-focussed RS4 has a cylinder missing. Or, to put it more clearly – it has one less cylinder than it should. But why would anyone remove a perfectly good V6 biturbo and replace it with an old five-pot?
Well, for starters the V6 wasn’t perfectly good. The owner had been through numerous turbos and frankly he was sick to the back teeth of removing the damn thing to fix it. The B5’s engine may be a masterpiece when working well, but get a recalcitrant unit that has frequent issues, and you too could grow to hate it. Add to this the fact that Aslan Eshanov is based in Norway and it becomes clear. These guys don’t think like us.
They go their own way, which is why so many insane cars appear from the frozen lands of northern Europe. Anyway, when you’ve got a nice five-cylinder sitting in the garage, it would be rude not to make use of it. But there’s more to this story than a simple track project build…
The RS4 was actually impounded by the police after they discovered it had a false chassis number. Aslan was prosecuted and fined 23,000 euros (the price of the car’s import tax to Norway). Gulp. So, he hired a lawyer and fought the case in court, proving it was the previous owner who had committed the fraud. However, after a total of 60,000 euros had been spent, Aslan was told that he still could not use the RS4 on the road unless he paid a further 23,000 euros. “I could not afford to do this, so I decided to build a full track car,” he says. So before anyone shouts, “what a waste of an RS4” – it was either build a full-on track weapon, or it would never be used at all.
The project began in July 2014 in Aslan’s basic, unheated garage with only ordinary tools. “I worked a lot in the summer, but not so much in the winter as it was -20 outside and still -10 in the garage.” He spent around 14 months on the car, having to work much of the details out for himself as well as fabricating many bespoke parts.
You can read the full engine spec on the last page of the feature, but it’s based around a 2.5 TDI block, with forged rods and pistons. There’s an AAN cylinder head and CatCams that allow this strong bottom end to withstand a 10,000rpm rev limit. Everything needed to be strong, because Aslan likes to give it a serious kicking. You may have seen videos of it being nailed sideways around the track at various Gatebil events.
Watching this RS4 performing brutal four-wheel power slides never gets old and with 939hp on tap, it’s some crowd pleaser. Listening to that beefy, Precision turbo snorting and chuffing away, accompanied by the roar from the 3.5in exhaust really is something special. It’s a raw, unrestrained sound that is all the better for being produced by an engine with an odd number of cylinders.
Thankfully, the outside has been left pretty much OEM. The only additions are a Leon Cupra front splitter, some tow straps and US-spec side marker lights. The fact it isn’t covered in some crazy livery or emblazoned with sponsor’s logos, only adds to the appeal of this RS4.
Inside it’s a different story. The dash remains, but pretty much everything else has been removed to make way for a comprehensive roll cage and the fuel system, mounted in the boot. There’s even a rear-mounted radiator, inspired no doubt by the Group B cars of the ’80s. Sensibly, Aslan has installed a firewall, to keep himself away from the fuel system.
The wheels are as wide as possible to allow for maximum traction – they measure a girthy 10.5x19in all round, wrapped in 275/30 semi-slick track rubber. However, a set of 18in Rotas are used for drifting with smaller 235/40 tyres.
There’s plenty more to come from this rather immense RS4. It’s an unconventional car, with a chequered past, but there’s no denying that it is 100% savage. Aslan reckons there’s another 200Nm of torque to be had, so it’s set to become even more of an animal on track. It’s a shame it can never be used on the road in Norway, but I guess that means that it’s never going to be a compromise. This RS4 is all about going insanely fast (often sideways) and for that, I give it a big nod of respect.
SPECIFICATION / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4 /
Engine Self build 5-cyl 2.5 20v Turbo, 2.5 TDI long block from 94-97 A6 (same block as Transporter T4) with custom CP-service pistons and #Rosten-Performance H-profile rods, #Audi-Ur-S4-AAN cylinder head from S4 C4 91-94 rebuilt to mechanical lifters and #CatCams for higher lift on valves and can run 10,000rpm, modified #AAN intake manifold from 2.2 20v S4 C4, Nuke fuel rail with 1600cc #Bosch injectors, custom exhaust manifold for B5 with 5-cyl engine, #Precision / #Precision-6466CE turbo, Tial 60mm wastegate, #Tial Blow-off valve, 3.5in exhaust all the way and 2x 3.5in tailpipes (Diesel look), 4in intercooler, big oil catch tank with return line for oil back to the oilpan, #Autronic-SM4-ECU , Audi R8 coils, #Accusump oil accumulator (stabilizes the oil pressure in engine)
Transmission OEM RS4 B5 transmission, OEM drive shafts, Tilton 2-plate clutch good for 1500hp
Power 939.8bhp and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel
Brakes RS4 B7 brakes in front, OEM rear brakes, hydraulic handbrake
Suspension #Øhlins 3-way coilovers, #H&R ARBs front and rear, #PowerFlex bushings / #Öhlins / #Ohlins-Racing
Wheels & Tyres #BBS-CH / #BBS 10.5x19 with 275/30x19 semi slicks, OEM RS4 and Bola B1 (Rota grid) drifting wheels with 235/40x18
Interior OEM dash, #Sparco / #Sparco-Pro-2000 black seats, Sparco 4-point red belts, full “rally” roll cage, rear mounted radiator with water pump in boot, 3x #Bosch-044 fuel pumps for E85 fuel, 60-litre fuel cell, Nuke fuel catch tank, 2x #Nuke fuel filters, firewall between boot and rear of cabin
Exterior Leon Cupra front spoiler, US side marker lights, tow straps, tinted windows, OEM paint
Tuning contacts/thanks Tuned by #RFS-Performance in Norway. 939.8bhps and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel (not finished with the tuning, need to adjust cams to push out around 200Nm more)
Top: Cheeky on-road shot of this epic track car
Below: The plate gives the game away...
Left: Rear firewall and extensive roll cage Below Left: Interior is driver focused.
Bottom: Just a regular RS4...
Above: Aslan kicks the RS4’s arse on track.
Action photographs: Bjorn Eirik Odegård
Below: Rear-mounted cooling system.
“The RS4 was actually impounded by the police...”
Below: View through the rear window gives the game away.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEXCESSIVE FORCE
Utterly insane twin-supercharged V10 1 Series will rock your world
Twin-supercharged V10 1 Series
Does a 1 Series need a V10? No. Does it also need twin supercharges? No. This 1 Series has both those things. Deal with it. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Speedyshots.
We’ve had some pretty wild 1 Series feature cars in #PBMW over the past 12 months but we figured we’d save the best for last and go out with a bang, this being the final issue of 2016 and all. And bangs don’t come much bigger than a twin-supercharged V10 1 Series. Merry Christmas everybody. In south eastern Germany, a couple of hours drive out of Munich, lies the small town of Geiselhöring. There’s a railway station, timber yard, a pizzeria, and a supermarket; it takes a few minutes to drive from one end of town through to the other and out into the German countryside. It’s a pretty town with some lovely old architecture and you might catch a glimpse of it through your car window as you drive through Geiselhöring on your way to somewhere else. But this unassuming German town has a secret. I know this because, years ago, I travelled there for a festival of E30 M3s and discovered the secret for myself.
Once upon a time, many, many years ago, a man named Karl Jungmayer, a man with passion for cars, for racing and especially for BMWs, established a #BMW garage which quickly gained a reputation for excellent service and superior BMW know-how. In time his son, Karl Junior, joined the family business and then his son, also named Karl, followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather and became part of the family’s rich BMW history and tradition. For a time, all three generations of Jungmayers, three men named Karl, were able to enjoy their love for BMW together, with Karl Sr. having amassed a spectacular collection of classic BMWs over the years and Karl Jr. adding to it with a burgeoning collection of his own. Sadly, time did what it does and Karl Sr. passed away a few years ago and, tragically, earlier in 2016, Karl Jr. lost his father after a long battle with illness. At 25 he is now the owner of his own workshop, a huge responsibility at a young age, but he also just so happens to be a BMW Master Technician. One glance at the cars he’s built for himself tells you this is a man who not only lives and breaths BMW but who also has the serious technical expertise to build a car as spectacular and utterly unhinged as this 1 Series.
“I had a plan,” says Karl as we try to work out in what universe building this car seemed like a reasonable thing to do. “I wanted to take the smallest car from BMW, the 1 Series, and fit it with the biggest engine, the legendary S85 V10.” Simple. That would really be enough for most people, and we could wrap up the feature right about here, but for Karl that was just the tip of a very large V10-powered iceberg. “We made this little monster,” he says, gesturing at the five-door E87 1 Series that was chosen for the transplant, “but with 507hp it was not enough.” Sorry, we have to just pause there for a moment. 507hp really is enough. It was enough in the E60 M5. It was enough in the E63 M6. And it would have most definitely been enough in a small, light 1 Series hatchback. But we’re clearly in the wrong, here. So, if 507hp isn’t enough, what do you do about it? “When I saw the #G-Power-Bi-Kompressor kit I knew I needed it,” grins Karl. Yeah, that’ll do it. What you have to realise is that we’ve skipped over the six months’ worth of weekends that it took to fit the V10 into what started life as a 120d, with an absolutely vast amount of work required to make it fit. All that work was carried out under Karl’s company, #KJ-Performance . Karl says that the steering, sump, exhaust manifolds and drive belts all had to be modified, along with a lot more besides. Be under no illusion that this was anything less than a Herculean engineering task. You have to take our word for it that there’s even a V10 in the engine bay because you can’t actually see it. Bonnet off, it’s all about the superchargers. Supercharges. Two superchargers. They’re not small, either; a pair of ASA T1-313s, each one measuring over 20cm in diameter and weighing 5.5kg, each one rated up to 420hp. These are serious pieces of kit and they dominate the engine bay. And then there’s the massive chargecooler setup mounted on top of the engine and the stuff you can’t see, like the uprated injectors and completely custom exhaust system. And, of course, you can’t fit an S85 V10 with just any old gearbox, the two choices being the ZF Type G six-speed manual, as available in the US and Canada, or the seven-speed SMG III. Here Karl has opted for the latter, with SMG not only being better suited to the S85 but it’s also a far more impressive technical achievement to see this transmission mounted in a 1 Series.
Strapping two superchargers to a V10 and then stuffing it all under the bonnet of a 1 Series is all well and good but what you’ve got now is a 120d with hundreds of horsepower that it was never designed to deal with in the first place. You need to get your chassis and transmission well and truly sorted or you’re going to have a pretty bad time. So, what did Karl do? Well you may or may not have noticed that the front and rear arches of this 1 Series are ever so slightly wider than on an ordinary 120d, 1cm at the front and 2.5cm at the rear, and that’s because the car’s been fitted with the front and rear axles from an E92 M3, brakes, suspension, the lot, along with an uprated front anti-roll bar, which means this 1 Series now has a fighting chance when trying to cope with the vast amounts of power and torque being churned out by the engine.
Of course, building a monstrously powerful 1 Series doesn’t have to be all business and ensuring that a car like this looks as good as it goes is just as important as what’s under the bonnet. Karl’s definitely kept things subtle on the styling front, hinting that there’s something going on beneath the surface of this 1 Series but without shouting about what it’s capable of.
The more aggressive front bumper is from an E82 135i Coupé, enhanced with the addition of a carbon fibre splitter. At the rear the roof spoiler comes from BMW’s aero kit and the single tailpipe definitely isn’t giving the game away. The only exterior modifications that let you know that this 1 Series is not to be messed with are the V10 badges beneath the side repeaters and the holes in the bonnet which have been covered with mesh and which sit right above each of the superchargers, helping to keep them cool. The wheels are #BBS-CH -Rs, 8x19” up front and 9.5x19” at the rear, and they look really good on the 1 Series, both in terms of style and size.
The interior hasn’t been forgotten about and there’s plenty to get excited about here. Clearly not content with fitting M3 axles, Karl decided to fit the front seats from an E90 M3, along with a DCT steering wheel, the paddles ready to be integrated with the SMG gearbox. The SMG gear selector looks like it could have been factory-fitted while the iDrive now allows Karl to configure the SMG’s shift programme and the engine’s power mode, while the instruments are a custom combination of 120d and E92 M3 elements, with the gear selection displayed in the middle of the cluster.
This 1 Series is an absolute masterpiece of engineering and an incredible achievement. The engine swap alone is mind-boggling and that’s before you factor in the superchargers and making it all work, and the SMG, and the M3 underpinnings. It’s a mesmerising machine and one that delivers on every level. No aspect of the car has been overlooked; it’s a performance #BMW through and through. Of course, it comes as no surprise to learn that a man who deemed a 507hp V10 to be insufficient for his 1 Series project is still not satisfied. “We need a new exhaust system for more power and we need more boost,” he says. Seriously!
Engine bay is dominated by the twin chargecoolers, with the V10 somewhere beneath them, and those massive twin superchargers.
DATA FILE #Twin-supercharged-V10 / #BMW-E87 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E87 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series-V10 / #BMW-E87-V10 / #G-Power / #SMG / #BBS
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 5.0-litre #V10 #S85B50 / #S85 / #BMW-S85 , modified steering, sump, exhaust manifolds, drive belts, #G-Power-SK-III-RS-Bi-Kompressor kit with twin #ASA-T1-313 superchargers and twin chargecoolers, M550d intercooler, uprated injectors, custom exhaust system with single tailpipe, seven-speed #SMG-III gearbox
POWER 750hp, 530lb ft of torque
CHASSIS 8x19” ET40 (front) and 9.5x19” ET35 (rear) #BBS-CH-R wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 5P tyres, complete axles with brakes and suspension from E92 M3 (front and rear), uprated front anti-roll bar
EXTERIOR E82 #BMW-135i / front bumper, carbon front splitter, custom vented bonnet with mesh inserts, BMW aero kit rear spoiler, arches widened by 1cm (front) and 2.5cm (rear)
INTERIOR E90 M3 front seats and DCT steering wheel, SMG gear selector, custom instrument cluster
“I wanted to take the smallest car from BMW and fit it with the largest engine”
Dash is a mix of 120d and E92 M3, while iDrive display allows configuration of engine and transmission
“We made this little monster…but 507hp was not enough”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation702bhpS2 #MTM-Talladega-R / Words Davy Lewis / Photography AJ Walker
More power than an original Ferrari Enzo - MRC Tuning's original stealth bomber!
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS MRC TUNING S2
This stealthy looking S2 was the catalyst that led to #MRC-Tuning being born, and now it’s been fully refreshed – with a monstrous 712ps (702bhp)
Always remember where you came from – that’s a phrase that you hear a lot in these celebrity obsessed times. From Hollywood stars that started out as waiters, to world champion boxers that used to clean cars for a living – it’s amazing how far you can come in life. But staying true to your roots isn’t easy. The pressures of success can change people – and not always for the better.
Having worked on performance car magazines for over 16 years, I’ve seen this happen many times over. Tuning enthusiasts grow into a commercial entity and become a bit ‘corporate’. They lose touch with the very people they should be appealing to. Which is a shame.
One company that has managed to grow, and stay in touch with the real Audi fans, is MRC Tuning.
Set up in 2005, MRC is the collaboration of S2 enthusiasts, Doug Bennett and Mihnea Cottet. As a regular on the well-respected S2forum.com, Doug reached a point where no one in the UK could modify his S2 to the level he wanted, so he decided to do it himself and get Mihnea over from Europe to tune it.
The 1995 Coupe, which he purchased in 2002, had already been converted to RS2 spec and was running around 330ps. With further work from Doug, it got to a K27 turbo level of tune, and offered a good balance of power and drivability. However, as is often the case with these things, once a business takes off, a tuner’s own car tends to get left behind.
And MRC Tuning has certainly taken off. These guys are now one of the world’s most respected performance Audi specialists, with a huge flow of S and RS models going through their Banbury workshop. Always at the cutting edge of Audi tuning, MRC has created the UK’s first 1000bhp RS6 C6; cracked the 200mph barrier in a B5 widebody and an R8 turbo at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground; and they continue to the lead the way with everything from B5 RS4s, through to the very latest RS6s.
Over the last 11 years, Doug has been fortunate enough to indulge his passion for fast Audis. His S4 widebody, R8 turbo and RS6 C6 have all been featured in #AudiTuner and reinforce the fact that he’s an Audi enthusiast first and foremost. However, one car will always remain extra special.
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of,” confirms Doug. “It always gives me a buzz – from the old school lag of nothing – then bang – all the power and torque in a small power band,” he smiles.
Although the S2 was well cared for, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that befits an MRC staff car. So, when team member, Stuart Fourie, offered to carry out the custom fabrication necessary to take it to the next level, Doug didn’t hesitate. The S2 was officially ‘reborn’ in 2014, but it was only relatively recently that all of the finishing touches have been completed ready for a feature.
To the man in the street, it may look nothing special – just another mid-90s Audi. But those in the know will appreciate the latent violence that simmers just below the surface of this unassuming Coupe.
The current engine spec is a master class in how to achieve reliable, big power and, more importantly, immense torque, from the venerable 2.2-litre ABY lump. At 2bar of boost, this 20v turbo delivers a sledgehammer blow of 712ps and 717Nm – more than a Ferrari Enzo.
However, don’t confuse this with the linear and relentless surge of torque that you get with a modern RS6 running similar power. In the S2, it’s much more aggressive, with the power coming in with a bang. There’s nothing progressive about this thing. It has a very old school feel – an almost Group B savagery – that is guaranteed to shock the unprepared. In fact, at last year’s AudiTuner Expo, Stuart brought the car along to display, and his mate, who was riding shotgun, recalled how he’d almost been sick when the boost kicked in on the journey to Donington. This sort of animal is, of course, not for everyone. But when you spend each and every day tuning and testing some of the most powerful Audis in the world, you need something a bit special to get your own kicks.
The engine itself is a work of art. Dominated by the big external wastegate and GTX3582 turbo, it looks as if it just came out of some special projects division at Renn Sport. Everything, from the black crackle finish on the cam cover and inlet manifold, through to the shiny alloy goodies (even the clips and hoses look immaculate), it’s clear to see a hell of a lot of care has gone into this engine bay.
The prodigious power is transferred via a B5 S4 6-speed gearbox, which is mated to a strong, 6-puck Sachs clutch and solid flywheel. It’s a tried and testing combination, that’s able to handle the immense force created with such a powerful 20v turbo. Talking of which, it doesn’t half sound good.
A stock 5-pot is a very sonorous thing to behold, but this is on an entirely different level. It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it being driven in anger to appreciate it. It chuffs and snorts in a real old school fashion – there’s no modern Audi noise suppression here – and it’s all the better for it.
The whole car has a very raw feel to it. In this digital world where everything from the weight of the steering, to the firmness of the dampers, the speed of the gear changes to the sensitivity of the throttle can all be controlled by a computer; this is a very analogue beast. You get in, turn on the ignition, put it into gear – and drive the bugger.
Aside from the specialist fabrication work to the exhaust, intercooler, catch can and breathers (all thanks to the talented Stuart), the rest of this S2 is dripping with tuning goodies, but as with all MRC projects, everything is fitted with performance in mind first and foremost. The chassis, in particular, has received lots of attention to ensure the power can be controlled and corners attacked with aplomb. From the #AP-Racing 6-pots nestled behind the gorgeous BBS CH alloys (which look like they were made for the S2), to the H&R coilovers and uprated ARBs, this thing is ready to rock whenever you need it to. Not wishing to spoil the fantastic 90s styling of this curvaceous Coupe, Doug has been careful to add only OEM parts to give it a little lift. The front end has been treated to genuine RS2 door mirrors, plus grille and front bumper, which look both more aggressive and affords better airflow to the hard worked engine. The rear end simply wears a neat alloy MRC badge – there’s not even a clue that this is an S-model Audi.
Inside, you’ll find a set of factory optional RS2 leather seats. They have the creases and patina you’d expect from a car made in 1995, but they’re all the better for it. In fact, the whole of the cabin has that certain feel and even smell of a mid-90s performance Audi. It feels very solid and has real character – something that’s arguably missing on the latest crop of S and RS models. It’s part of the reason that S2s, along with RS2s, B5 S/RS4s and C5 RS6s are still so well loved by enthusiasts.
So there we have it. This is kind of Doug’s life’s work. He’s owned the car since 2002 and it’s the one he’ll never let go. Considering the amount of unbelievably quick and desirable Audis this man has access to, it speaks volumes about what this S2 means to him. From humble beginnings – the car that started it all.
Top: You’d never guess it had over 700bhp. Below: Doug’s other ‘toy’ see the RS2 next issue.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-S2-Coupe / #1995 / #ABY / #Audi-ABY / #Audi-S2 / #Audi / #GTX3582 / #Garrett-GTX3582r / #Garrett-GTX3582 / #Garrett / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-8B / #Audi-S2-8B / #Audi-80 / #Audi-S2-Coupe-B4 / #MRC-Tuning / #Bosch / #Audi
Engine 2.2 ABY overbored, uprated rods and REC pistons, ported head with oversized valves and lightweight valvetrain, #Wagner inlet manifold (modified for throttle body to fit at 90deg), 850cc #Siemens injectors, High Octane tubular exhaust manifold, #Garrett-GTX3582R-turbo turbo, HKS wastegate, stock ECU with 4bar map sensor, #Bosch-413 fuel pump, custom intercooler, full custom exhaust, custom catch can and breathers through brace bar, #MRC-Tuning-Stage-3 remap
Power 712ps and 717Nm at 2bar / 627ps and 685Nm at 1.65bar
Transmission Audi S4 B5 gearbox, #Sachs 6-puck clutch with solid flywheel
Front: #AP-Racing 6-pot calipers with Phaeton discs
Rear: VRS Porsche 4-pots and Brembo handbrake calipers
Suspension #H&R coilovers, RS2 front #ARB , Whiteline rear ARB, #Powerflex polybushes
Wheels 19in #BBS-CH with 235/35 Yokohama tyres
Interior Factory optional RS2 #Recaro seats, RS2 steering wheel, boost and EGT gauges, RS4 Alcantara gearknob, RS2 dash and aux gauges
Exterior RS2 front bumper, RS2 wing mirrors, RS2 grille, MRC badge
Contacts and thanks MRC Tuning www.mrctuning.com, Stuart, Chris and Mihnea for helping look after it over the years, S2forum.com, Dhyllan at Automotive Addiction for the wheel refurbishment
Top: RS2 seats were a factory option Above: Gauges in custom vent housing.
Above: Interior is solid and has that special 90s feel to it.
“It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it driven in anger...”
GTX3582 turbo supplies ample boost. Catch can and breathers are bespoke items. Custom MRC Tuning intercooler.
Left: AP Racing 6-pots and 19in #BBS alloys – perfect Main pic: Not even an S2 badge to give the game away...
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLIGHT SPEED
The US never received the #E46 #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 , so if you want one, you’ve got to build it yourself. And then make it even better. In a market where the CSL was nothing but a dream, this US owner has built his own take on the ultimate all-out #BMW-M3 . Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Sam Dobbins.
The M3 represents different things in its various generations, depending on the cultural mores that surrounded them at launch as well as the technological variations within. The E30 was all about purity, focus, race-bred aggression and a refusal to compromise. The E36 signalled evolution, reworking the DNA of its predecessor to create a furious and unbeatable racer-for-the-road that also spoke of BMW’s over-arching ethos of luxury and premium accoutrements. And the E46? Well, when that arrived, all bets were off.
When the #BMW-M3-E46 roared on to the scene in 2000, it boasted an engine of such aweinspiring firepower, it provided the highest specific output of any mainstream BMW engine thus far. Throwing out 343hp from its 3.2-litre lump in a hellstorm of gravelgargling fury, it went like stink and had muscle in spades, adding a whole lot of pumped-up aggression to the standard coupé’s sober lines. But the real watershed was the advent of the Coupé Sport Leichtbau, or CSL, in 2003. It may have only appeared for a brief snippet in time, it may have been limited to just 1383 examples, it may have pushed the boundaries of what a road car could achieve just a little too far into the realm of discomfort for some, but there’s no arguing that it was an instant legend. It was the gold standard, the pinnacle toward which all other E46 M3s would surely thereafter tremulously aspire.
Now, given the low production run, these things are pretty obscure. And given their desirability, finding one for sale is unlikely – particularly if you live in the USA as the entire CSL allocation went to Europe. But let’s not underestimate the power of the aftermarket and the ingenuity of the enthusiast. All of the aforementioned kudos relates to the factory CSL, with its unique sticky tyres and fibreboard boot floor. But it’s not beyond the wit of man to procure all of these parts – or, where appropriate, remove them – and build a functionally accurate CSL replica, right? Or even make something, dare we say, better? Most enthusiasts have little choice in the matter, being unable to find genuine CSLs. So yes, that’s exactly what happens…
Although I’ve slightly sold you a dummy there. The M3 you’re looking at here was never meant to be an overt CSL replica. But with that ducktail and those lightweight BBS rims, it wears its influences on its sleeve. And of course, coming from a market where the CSL is little more than a phantom, the freedom exists to cherrypick, hone, refine, and build something that doesn’t spiral into cloning pastiche. What we’re looking at here then, in the pastel vibrancy of Laguna Seca blue, is the sort of M3 that one might build if one wanted to go a little further than a CSL.
“I used to have an E30 M3, and it was all downhill from there!” laughs Chris Jacovini, owner of this bright blue brute. “Selling that car was the biggest mistake of my life…” So where do you go after owning one of the world’s most iconic homologation specials? Well, Chris isn’t one to tread the beaten track. “I got into VWs after that,” he recalls. “I got a Mk2 Cabrio and did that up, got some coverage in a few magazines. After that I bought a yellow Mk3 VR6 and all hell broke loose; I supercharged it, fitted a suede Recaro interior, full ABT body kit… of course, body kits ruled back then.” The pieces are beginning to fall into place in Chris’ modifying puzzle now – a diverse range of influences and experiences have coalesced to provide inspiration for the build of his E46.
After so much wandering in the Wolfsburg wilderness, it was time to return to the warm, cosseting embrace of Bavaria. “The E46 M3 is my favourite M car after the E30,” says Chris, “and when I saw this car, I had to have it. I wasn’t even looking for an M3, but this one caught my eye and all the elements were perfect: the colour, the sunroof delete, the Xenons, the 19s. The paintwork was in great shape, I was shocked at how clean the engine bay was, there were no holes in the front bumper for the license plate… a couple of days later, the car was mine.”
With such an enthusiastic history of fettling and honing cars to his own taste, it was inevitable that the modifying stick was brandished with full force in no time. “The direction for this car is totally different to my VW days,” Chris is keen to point out. “It’s all smooth, clean and simple – no lips or skirts, no crazy body kits, just additions that complement BMW’s own design. My buddy Dave Pastor at SLAWbuilt talked me into the CSL trunk, which was a good decision.” You can see from the photos that there’s a sweet line of exposed carbon fibre along the edge of the ducktail – a neat touch. “The diffuser, though, is a G-Power item rather than a CSL one. Everyone’s got a CSL diffuser!”
Dave’s skills were drafted in for a spot of colour-coding of the diffuser and bootlid, while the backs of the sought-after Recaro A8 seats were coated in Diamond Schwartz, ensuring a consistent flow of that eyepopping Laguna Seca hue throughout the car alongside that classic, sinister black. And at this point, Chris rolled up his sleeves and got himself elbows-deep into the engine bay.
“I wanted to keep it naturally aspirated,” he assures us, which is something you often find as a polarising issue with M enthusiasts: some wish to explore the outlandish badlands of horsepower that forced induction can invite you into, while others prefer to maintain the integrity of BMW’s naturally aspirated intentions, keeping the power delivery smooth and robust rather than peaky and spiky. “The S54’s got a set of Turner Motorsport power pulleys, as well as a little ECU tuning from VAC Motorsports and the full Eisenmann race exhaust,” says Chris. “Then I set about putting as much carbon fibre under the hood as I could find!
The Delage air box was a must so that got fitted first, followed soon after by the Benfer carbon strut brace. Then there was the front air intake, the carbon valve cover, the pollen cover, the battery terminal cover, the engine cover…” Peering under the bonnet, you can see just how carried away Chris got, and that’s no bad thing; he’s even lined up the weave of the engine cover and the strut brace, while those machined brackets on the strut tops are little works of triangular art. “I fitted a set of Brembo brakes too,” says Chris. “The stock brakes are ugly! And they were really visible behind the BBS CHs.”
We’re returning to the CSL aesthetic here – the stock CSL came with staggered M rims that were manufactured by BBS, and Chris’ CHs take that look to a darker, more menacing place – they have 14 spokes to the CSL’s 16, but a similar look which Chris has sharpened up by finishing them in satin black – all the better for showcasing those vast Brembo stoppers. “I’ve got a set of Kinesis F110s for the car too,” Chris mentions, “but the CH is just such a classic look for the E46. I much prefer them.” And tucking those rims into the muscular arches is a set of KW V2 coilovers. “Bags are for groceries,” he smirks.
Now, if you thought his keenness for carbon fibre was obsessive, wait till you see what he’s been up to with the Alcantara. “It’s one of my favourite things,” Chris enthuses. “I built the interior around the Recaro A8s, and it’s all Alcantara, carbon fibre and leather. I got a dash from a buddy of mine, took the door panels off, and sent everything down to Kip Love at Love’s Trim Shop in Georgia. He covered everything in Alcantara, and did a beautiful job too!” The use of this glare-free material really infuses a sense of motorsport purpose to the interior, making it feel at once focused and serious, and luxuriously extravagant. That’s not an easy look to pull off! So you can see how Chris has crafted something unique here – a tribute to a halo model that’s transmuted into something far greater than the sum of its parts. His M3 pays homage to the iconic CSL with its prodigious use of lightweight carbon fibre trinkets, its ballsy BBS rims, beefier brakes, track-focused suspension and, of course, that cheeky lightweight ducktail. But make no mistake, this is no simple CSL replica.
Rather, this is one man’s vision for the ultimate #E46 M3: he’s taken an already phenomenal car as a base and tweaked a bit here, lightened a touch there and thought laterally in order to tick every box for the consummate all-rounder: it’s light, fast, well-spec’d and impeccably finished. It wears its motorsport heritage proudly, something that Chris is keen to represent.
In many ways, this car showcases the culmination of a lifetime of dabbling in a variety of automotive subcultures. “When the E46 M3 came out, I was hooked,” remembers Chris. “The aggressive look, the wide fender flares, the race heritage. I think the body is a classic.” By keeping that body pure, resplendent in OEM chic, and building his project around that undiluted base, he’s created something genuinely special. A CSL+, if you will.
When the E46 M3 came out I think the body is a classic I was hooked!
Interior is a riot of Alcantara, with virtually every surface covered in the material.
Engine bay is dominated by stunning Delage carbon air box.
DATA FILE #S54B32 #BMW
ENGINE: 3.2-litre #S54 , #Turner-Motorsport power pulleys, #Eisenmann race exhaust, VAC Motorsports ECU tuning, Delage carbon fibre air box, #VAC-Motorsport sensor port oil filter lid, Benfer carbon fibre strut brace, carbon fibre pollen cover, carbon fibre battery terminal cover, carbon fibre engine cover.
TRANSMISSION: BMW Motorsport 3.91 diff, AC Schnitzer short-shifter.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS-CH wheels with 235/30 R19 (front) and 245/30 R19 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact tyres, Brembo four-pot calipers with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) drilled and slotted discs, KW Variant 2 coilover kit.
EXTERIOR: Vorsteiner CSL carbon fibre bootlid, #G-Power diffuser, black grille, badges and kidneys.
INTERIOR: #AC-Schnitzer pedals, handbrake and gear knob, Alcantara dash, Alcantara steering wheel with carbon fibre bottom, Alcantara gaiters, Alcantara door panels and armrests, carbon fibre centre console, carbon fibre sills, Recaro A8 seats trimmed in Alcantara and leather with rears painted Diamond Schwartz.
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