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    / #BMW-Art-Cars / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW / #Art-Cars / #BMW-M3-GT2 / #BMW-M3-GT2-E92 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-GT2-Jeff-Koons / #BMW-M3-GT2-Jeff-Koons-E92 / #Jeff-Koons / #2010 / #BMW-M3-GT2-Art-Car / #BMW-M3-GT2-Art-Car-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92

    For its 17th Art Car BMW really went back to where it all started and entered an M3 GT2 at Le Mans complete with Jeff Koons’ arresting livery

    The first three BMW Art Cars all cut their teeth at Le Mans and for the 17th Art Car BMW returned to the track in 2010 with the E92 M3 GT2. It had high hopes for the car as it arrived on the back of a win at the 2010 Nürburgring 24 Hour race and to ensure there was plenty of interest in BMW’s first return to La Sarthe BMW decided to commission Jeff Koons to add his quirky style to the car.

    It was officially unveiled at the Pompidou Centre in Paris with a suitable level of razzmatazz and while the car might have been generating plenty of interest off the track it wasn’t quite so impressive on it. Two M3 GT2s were entered, one in the traditional BMW livery (number 78) and the Koons’ Art Car, number 79, its number chosen as a tribute to the Warhol M1 that had raced at Le Mans ‘79. At the qualifying event the two BMWs came sixth (78) and 11th (79) in class.

    Jeff Koons, is one of the most celebrated artists of our time, and was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955. Koons’ work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American, the Guggenheim Museum (both in New York) and The National Gallery in Washington, DC.

    As part of his creative process, the artist collected images of race cars, related graphics, vibrant colours, speed and explosions. The resulting artwork of bright colours conceived by Koons is evocative of power, motion and bursting energy. With its silver interior along with the powerful exterior design, the Art Car imparts a dynamic appearance even when it’s standing still. “These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” said Koons. “You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy. There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car – it’s really to connect with that power.”

    In the event the Art Car didn’t have a great race, making contact with another competitor and having several mechanical maladies. The final ignominy came as Andy Priaulx approached the Indianapolis curve at around the five hour mark when the M3 ran out of fuel – either the consumption was higher than expected or not enough fuel had been added at the previous pit stop. Either way, the car’s race was done. The number 78 car battled on to the end, eventually finishing sixth in class.
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    Edison Hwang’s E92 M3, the ‘Gold Dragon’, fuses shouty V8 thrills with a track-ready chassis; it’s a lightweight carbon fibre racing terror with a comfy interior for the journey home. And it’s won a ridiculous number of trophies… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: LopezArts.

    ENTER THE DRAGON

    Carbon-kitted E92 M3

    To understand the ethos behind this rather outrageous E92 M3, you must first get to grips with the conceptual difference between wet and dry carbon fibre. The former is what most people would picture when they hear talk of carbon parts – the glossy stuff has an epoxy either painted onto or vacuum-infused into the woven strands; it’s strong, light, and cheaper to produce than dry carbon. But the dry stuff is the next-level formula – more costly to make, but around 70% lighter while being just as strong, each specific weave being epoxy-coated while it’s crafted. So it doesn’t have the glass-like sheen of a Halfords gear knob, but it’s far superior as a functional material. And if you scale up this sense of focus to a whole car-sized entity, you arrive presently at this golden E92.

    Now, this is a car with an identity crisis. A balls-to-the-wall track car, but still a proper M3 with quality interior appointments and a clear sense of the fusion of luxury and performance. Just look at the colour for evidence of this conflict – this car has been custom-painted in a rich and vibrant shade of Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint. But you don’t know it, because it’s hiding under a vinyl wrap in lurid Candy Lime. This, it’s fair to say, is a machine with tales to tell.

    Its owner, Edison Hwang, has one or two stories of his own as well. “I’ve been into BMWs since I was about thirteen years old,” he explains. “The whole journey’s been a kinda crazy story. As a car guy and a mechanic, I love the power of the M3 and the way it handles, and there’s just no logical reason for me not to modify it. When I started changing up this car, I made a lot of new friends – my Timeless Motor Group – and now we always go to events together and help each other out. And the real turning point was when we went to SEMA in 2013: arriving at the Las Vegas Convention Center, seeing all those top-flight builds from all over the world, I had a voice in my head saying that I had to build a car worthy of this show.”

    With a mesmerising swirl of images circling through his subconscious from that epochdefining show, Edison put careful thought into pinpointing just what his ideal spec would be, before rolling up his sleeves and diving headfirst into the project. At the top of the wish list was Vorsteiner’s dry carbon fibre GTRS3 wide body kit, comprising beefed up wings, bumpers, rear quarters, bonnet and ducktail boot all in the revered and magical weave. “It was fitted at Blanco Services in Maryland,” he says, “and it took six months to get the fitment perfect! Moulding the rear quarters, custommaking the arch liners, making uniform shut lines, and painting it all in Ferrari red.

    It’s really a lot of work to make it perfect show car quality, and after the wide body was complete I added more details to the car, including the APR racing spoiler, APR front splitter (which I take off for regular street driving, due to height issues), bumper canards, DTM-style side mirrors, and carbon fibre parts everywhere.”

    Those of you familiar with SEMA builds will know that you’re not even going to make it through the door if your car’s all show and no go; the very nature of the event dictates that cars represent a holistic approach to aftermarket modifying and, as brutally rapid as a stock M3 is, standard powertrains are a definite no-no. “The car used to run an Active Autowerk Stage 3 supercharger,” says Edison, “but I actually decided to remove it right after I showed my car at SEMA 2014, since I love the sound of the NA S65 engine.”

    So now that glorious V8 rumbles unforced as BMW intended, but augmented boisterously by a supremely intelligent exhaust system specifically tailored to bellow out an F1 howl. Back when the wide body conversion was underway, Edison had plenty of time for his mind to wander. Six months is a long stretch. So it’s unsurprising that the car found itself treated to a diverse platter of additional treats during this period; a roll cage and a set of custom-built headlights being chief among its fresh new trinkets. A GT wing topped off the exterior, while inside was adorned with a pair of Status Racing seats and a veritable festival of dry carbon goodies. The M3 was given a name – ‘Red Dragon’ – and it scooped up an armful of awards on its first outing.

    Rolling into the Carlisle Performance and Style Car Show in Pennsylvania, all eyes turned; rolling back out again afterwards, the Dragon was toting trophies for Best BMW, Best Paint and Finish, and Best in Show. Not bad. But that was just for starters…

    “It started winning ‘Best in Show’ at every event I took it to, the judges nicknamed it ‘Competition Killer’,” Edison smirks. “But I knew it still wasn’t a SEMA car, there was more work to be done. So I put more effort in, changed a few things, and finally earned a place on the Rohana Wheels stand. My dream had come true, all the effort was worth it.” But success, it’s often said, is like a drug. We can’t all be Nico Rosberg, achieving the perceived pinnacle of our aspirations and saying ‘OK, I’m done now’. Having tasted the sweet tang of success, Edison was all-in for more. “I wanted to go back to SEMA the next year,” he grins, “and that meant changing a lot of things again.”

    A helpful career turn arrived at this point, with Edison joining the Rolloface Performance Inc. family, and this pushed him to level-up to the next great thing. This was when the mighty big brake kit came, and a Rolloface driver’s seat, and various DTM touches, and… then he crashed the car in New York City. Or rather, someone crashed into the back of it in heavy traffic. Game over for the season, the car was done showing for the foreseeable future. Dark times for a trophy addict, but did this leave Edison downhearted? No! (Well, yes obviously… but not for long.) His resolve hardened, he worked more tenaciously to create a scenebreaking E92, the like of which the world had never seen.

    “It was ready for SEMA later that year,” he smiles, playfully slapping fate across the chops with his mighty gauntlet of skill. “Fixed up better than new and with fresh custom parts, I decided at the last minute to wrap it in an acid yellow-green.” An inspired decision, this, since everyone would be expecting that Ferrari red to make another appearance. This game is not won by playing to people’s expectations. “There it was, the ‘Gold Dragon’. A new roll cage went in at the last minute, there was more of an aggressive racing style – the car certainly got a lot of attention.” And, as you’d probably logically assumed, Edison didn’t close the book on the M3 there. This car has always been, and will always be, about being harder, better, faster, stronger. He’s owned it since it was brand new, and it’s pretty safe to say that the warranty evaporated long ago, but ardent petrolheads care not for such trivialities.

    “The M3 really is the ultimate driving machine, and the naturally aspirated V8 suits it so well,” he says. “It was always the intention to turn it into a car like no-one else had. At the moment it’s running Rolloface Performance ZR-1 forged three-piece wheels, which are really strong and lightweight, as well as Rolloface Performance three-way coilovers, and I’ve upgraded all of the chassis components to race-spec – I just love the handling that race parts provide! The big brake kit’s probably my favourite mod on the car, as it provides incredible performance on track as well as looking fantastic, but I also really love the functional nature of the carbon body parts.” And that’s pretty much where we came in – that form-meets-function quality of dry carbon fibre.

    Edison’s got plans for the M3, in the form of a new custom diffuser, Ferrari F12 rain light, carbon intake system and so on, and the keystone of all he does is this: quality speaks for itself. You may see a lot of wet carbon cars at your local meet, but if you want to get into SEMA, it’s a dry carbon state of mind. “I believe that if you do something sincerely, the whole world will help you,” he says. And we certainly wouldn’t want to argue with that.

    / #Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre-E92 / #Akrapovic-Delete-R / #Akrapovic / Akrapovic / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Rolloface racing intake system, custom oil cooler and transmission cooler, Macht Schnell Performance underdrive pulleys, #Kreissieg titanium floating curl tail exhaust with cat-back F1-sound valvetronic system, Macht Schnell bypass track pipes, Akrapovič Delete-R, tuning by Frank Smith Custom Tune. Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox

    CHASSIS 10x19” ET0 (front) and 12x19” ET-40 (rear) #Rolloface-ZR-1 three-piece forged wheels in gloss black with titanium bolts and 275/30 (front) and 325/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, #Macht-Schnell wheel studs, Project-Kics-R40 open-end black chrome wheel nuts, #Rolloface-RT-3 Competition Racing three-way adjustable coilovers, custom-rate #Swift springs, #Macht-Schnell electronic dampening control emulation module, #Bimmerworld adjustable rear toe arm set, adjustable rear wishbone set (camber adjustable), spherical rear guiding link set, trailing link bearing set, rear camber arm bearing kit and spherical front race arm conversion, #Rolloface-SR-C big brake kit with eight-piston (front) and six-piston (rear) yellow powder coated forged aluminium calipers and 380mmx32mm slotted high-carbon discs (front and rear), Rolloface Performance stainless steel brake lines (f&r), Pagid-Racing RST race brake pads (f&r), Motul RBF 600 Factory Line brake fluid

    EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner-GTRS3 dry carbon fibre kit comprising front bumper, front lip, wide-arch front wings, side skirts, wide-arch rear quarters, rear bumper, bonnet and CSL-style boot lid, APA Gloss Candy Lime vinyl-wrap (with custom Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint underneath), AeroCatch 120-2100 locking system, AutoTecknic carbon fibre wing grilles and bonnet vents, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, Macht Schnell Motorsport tow straps, #APR-Racing-GT-250 dry carbon fibre GT wing, Rolloface custom dry carbon fibre chassis-mount front splitter, M4 #DTM-style front canards, mirrors, aero panel under chassis and rear diffuser, front lower grille painted gloss black with BMW M logo, AutoTecknic 24 SMD LED indicators, OSS Design Raptor M4 DTM-style square angel eyes with LCI inner eyebrow, white LED side-markers, Jet Black blackout and M inner logos


    INTERIOR BMW M Performance Version 2 steering wheel, #BMW-M-Performance aluminium pedals and footrest, #BMW rear sunshade, BMW LED door projectors, custom dry carbon fibre shift paddles and airbag emblem, AutoTecknic carbon fibre steering wheel trim, #Storm-Motorwerks V1 titanium PVD coated handbrake handle, Awron DGA 20-in-1 gauge with Kompressor 1 option, Rolloface dry carbon fibre interior trim kit, Rolloface custom track roll cage powder coated in matt gunmetal grey, #Rolloface dry carbon fibre driver’s race seat, Status Racing custom Spa passenger seat trimmed in leather with bespoke stitching, red Schroth Racing PROFI II ASM FE four-point cam-lock harnesses, Vorsteiner mats, racing fire extinguisher, LED interior lights

    THANKS #Rolloface-Performance , #Toyo-Tires , #Meguiars , #CSF-Radiators , #OSS-Designs , #Schroth-Racing , #Pagid , #Swift-Springs , #APR-Racing , #Motul-USA , #Blanco-Services , #RRT-Racing , #Tuning-Tech-by-Frank-Smith
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    LIBERTY WALK M3 Wild Australian E92

    Walk This Way

    A Japanese body kit on a European car with American suspension screwed together by an Australian equals something pretty bloody special. Words: Ben Dillon. Photos: Trent Wilson.

    Forging a different path in Australia’s modified car culture can be a tricky thing to do as fresh ideas often collide with an iron resistance to change from the established scene, but breaking down barriers is what Ty Isaak and his one-stop modification brand Mode Auto Concepts does best.

    Growing up in a hot rod-loving family meant Ty received a healthy amount of exposure to grinding, welding and rumbling V8s from a young age and was himself swinging tools and modifying cars before he had even finished high school. His first foray into the scene was with an Isuzu ute which he chopped, sectioned and bagged and added #V8 greatness to. From there Ty waded deep into Australia’s street tuning scene of the late 1990s and early 2000s just as the Japanese import craze was calming down and the Euro scene was on the rise. Ty built on his fabrication roots and his ethos of unique concepts heavily influenced by his numerous trips to the US by creating a number of cars showcasing his talents.

    These included a SoCal lowrider W116 Mercedes and a bagged, pure white A4 Avant, also dropped on its guts.

    For his latest car, the stunning E92 M3 you see on these pages, Ty’s inspiration came from a visit to rev-head Mecca: the SEMA modified car show in Las Vegas. This instantly set him on the #Liberty-Walk-E92 body kit course as not only did Kato-san’s (Wataru Kato, Liberty Walk founder) fat creation for the E92 look fantastic but no one had yet attempted it in Australia. Added to this, the build could showcase brands represented by Ty’s business, which gave the project the added pressure of being an advertisement for what his company could do, but the choice of M3/ #BMW-E92-Liberty-Walk was an easy one to make.

    “I’ve always been a fan of Euro cars and I appreciate all different marques, but I’m really selective on the models that I like within a brand,” Ty says. “I remember seeing the first M3 and have enjoyed the evolution of the generations; they always appealed to me. They are a really good package with a real motorsport feel.”

    As purveyors of some of the fattest body kits in the known universe Liberty Walk is at the top of the heap – but a fat rear end alone was never going to set the world on fire. So, in the planning process before Ty even bought his M3, the concept of the build was given great consideration with the main goals for the car to be outlandish on the outside but still feel as good as it did driving off the showroom floor. “The objective with the M3 was that it should look crazy but feel like something that was made right from scratch, like it came from the factory,” Ty explains. “It has the loudest possible exhaust on it. It’s fully decatted to the x-pipe. And it’s all Armytrix Valvetronic, so when it opens up it’s an absolute beast. I had a guy come up to me with a race M3 and he said my car was louder!” And while the body kit is the focus of much attention, it seems the wheels are the starting point for all conversations on Ty’s E92. “Everyone argues about which side they like more and they all have really strong opinions about it,” Ty says. Those amazing wheels measure 10.5x19 inches on the front and 12.5x19 inches on the rear. You definitely can’t get them on eBay or anywhere else in the retail sphere (at the moment) as they are of Ty’s own creation – from concept drawings to tyred-up, forged alloy finality.

    “I own the company Forge Wheels,” Ty reveals. “I went to the States years ago and started my own wheel company because I couldn’t find what I wanted in Australia. The wheels and tyres on this cost $10,000 (circa
    £4800 at the time of writing) and so much work went into them in every single aspect. They are not off-the-shelf wheel; every single element has been engineered, designed and checked by me and my team.”

    As impressive as all that is, wheels and a body kit don’t just attach themselves to a car, so Ty swung the grinder and sparked up the welder for every step along the way of the transformation of the E92 from muscular factory M3 to barking, steroidal, day-glo-wheeled freak. And there was plenty to do – not least to have US documentary filmmaker and good mate Zach Wingfield (whose showreel alone proves he’s car mad like the rest of us) hovering with a camera for three months solid, filming every single part of the build. “I had to put the front wings on about eight times because Zach wanted to shoot it from every angle, change a lens, or change the lighting,” Ty laughs.

    The body work didn’t stop there. Modifications to the firewall ensure that the front wheels actually turn full lock.
    Subsequent work involved plating and body deadened, while the rear of the car was mini-tubbed to accommodate those super-wide rear wheels. Again Ty fabricated and fitted the rolled inner tubs himself, sticking to his ethos of ‘if it’s been done right, it can stay like that forever’. But none of this was without drama, especially with the fitment of the Liberty Walk kit. “People have this perception that these kits come in some IKEA-like kit and you just get the screw gun out and screw it into the side of your car but it’s a lot of work to fit it properly. The instructions from Liberty Walk were pretty much just ‘cut it’,” Ty grins. “Getting the fitment right and making sure the car still drives like it did from the factory was the aim from the start. Whether it was legal or not I was still going to do it but I wanted to do it to specification, so I talked to my engineer and told him what I wanted to do. He reassured me I was on the right track.”

    While cutting into an M3 to put a body kit on sounds like a #BMW purist’s worst nightmare, snatching out the factory M3 suspension and replacing it with airbag units seems a sure way to draw fire from those who would question how anything could replace M-division’s Nürburgring-honed best. But Ty is adamant that it fits the ethos of the build and his car still handles like a real M car. “A lot of people assume that because it’s on air it rides or drives like sheet but everything people perceive about air suspension, sloppy ride, or lack of handling, is eliminated in the AirREX kit,” Ty explains. This is down to the AirREX design combining the best of coilover and airbag designs with what is basically a damper-adjustable-strut on a fully-threaded body but with an air spring on it where a coil spring would normally be. The end result is something that looks like a coilover but with an airbag on it. “With the combination of the valving and the damping you wouldn’t know it was bagged and it just rides like a factory M3,” Ty adds.

    It’s this approach to quality control which marks Ty’s car out from the herd. He’s paid particular attention to how the car now responds dynamically to the mechanical and aesthetic changes he’s made to ensure that it can be used as a daily driver – albeit one that never escapes attention when out in the wild.
    “It’s totally ridiculous and a lot of people are in disbelief that I’ve even done it. You can’t drive it on the highway without someone driving up to you to take a photo or a video. It’s fun. It’s like being in a celebrity car,” Ty says with a smile. “I don’t think people even know what kind of car it is.

    Nobody knows what #Liberty-Walk is and to have people hanging out the window of a car yelling out and giving me a thumbs up is just amazing.”

    It’s not just fellow road users Down Under who appreciate Ty’s M3 either as fans worldwide can now drive this car through the streets of Surfers Paradise in Forza Horizon 3. It’s fitting for a car made on the Gold Coast to appear in a game with an Australian setting. Digital fame aside, Ty has even bigger plans for a ‘Stage 2’ build for the E92, which will see a toned- down colour scheme with the body kit as the sole survivor of the car’s current state in what will be a more track-focused evolution of the current ethos while still retaining street usability.

    “Making huge power figure is not of any interest to us. It doesn’t achieve anything; it’s just a number on a piece of paper,” Ty says. “The next stage with this car is a full roll-cage and supercharger which, with the exhaust, tune, intake and underdrive pulley, will still make it a great streetcar but one that we can take on the track or to social track days and have a bit of fun with.” All we can say is bring it on Ty, we can’t wait to see it.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Liberty-Walk / #BMW / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Liberty-Walk / #BMW-M3-Liberty-Walk-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-M3-M-DCT / #BMW-M3-M-DCT-E92 / #Forge-Wheels / #LB-Performance / #AirREX

    ENGINE 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , intake, custom ECU tune, #Armytrix-Valvetronic exhaust system with de-catted front pipes, x-pipe and ceramic-coated matt black tips

    TRANSMISSION Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox

    CHASSIS 10.5x19” (front) and 12.5x19” (rear) #Forge-Wheels-USA-SV5-FS-spec-SL wheels with 275/30 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Nitto Invo tyres, #AirREX-Performance air suspension struts with #AirREX digital wireless management system in concealed enclosure, #Rolloface-Performance 380mm six-piston forged performance brake kit

    EXTERIOR #Liberty-Walk-LB-Performance widebody kit (version two), Piano black front splitter and ducktail, BMW Performance black chrome kidney grilles and side vents, LED angel eye upgrade, LCI rear light upgrade

    INTERIOR Factory interior

    THANKS Everyone behind the scenes at MODE Auto Concepts that made this project possible, FORGE Wheels USA, Brian and the team from Armytrix Exhaust, Dizzy and the team from AirREX Air Suspension, Ken and the team from Rolloface Performance, Zach from ZWINGFILMS, Trent from TNW Photography for the behind the scenes photos, and Brad my painter for always telling me “no dramas”

    “It should look crazy but feel like it came from the factory”
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    Double Dare

    Owning one street-and track-tuned M3 would be enough for most people. But not Chad Bates – he’s upped the ante with a matching pair. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.

    DOUBLE IMPACT

    Fierce E92 M3 and F80 M3 tear up the Tarmac / Stunning twin M3s

    The two cars you’re looking at here – the E92 M3, and the F80 M3 – may be just a single generation apart, but they couldn’t be more different. The E92 features a thudding Goliath of an engine, a brutal, highrevving V8 with a soundtrack that can strip paint off cheap houses. It is (relatively speaking) an old-skool bruiser.

    The F80, conversely, is a smart representation of modern technological advances; a focus on combining performance with efficiency – plus the everpresent emissions Sword of Damocles – has seen to it that the motor is now a twin-turbo straight-six. Furthermore, this generation finally broke the M3 chain, hitherto being a badge glued to the two- and four-door variants: whereas the E92 M3 we have here is a coupé, the F80 is a four-door saloon. If you want a two-door coupé version of the F80, you will find yourself with an M4. Which is actually an F82. Such is progress, such is life.

    They are, of course, tied by an indelible bond, each an exciting chapter in the ongoing M3 saga, and their owner, Chad Bates, has artfully augmented these ties with tasteful upgrades to further accentuate their kinship: they both wear BBS wheels, they both roll on KW suspension, they’re both painted in subtle shades of grey. This measured approach is the result of a lifetime of modifying for Chad – although he admits that BMWs are, in the grand scheme of things, reasonably new territory for him.

    “I bought my first car, a 1984 Jeep Cherokee, at the age of 16,” he explains. “Ever since that point I have embarked upon making a personal statement with my cars.

    The Cherokee got stripped down and repainted, and received one of the most insane sound systems that money could buy. It was a fun little first car that got me around during my high school years! My second car was a heavily modified 1992 Honda Accord, which I kept for a couple of years before purchasing an Acura Integra GS-R – that, again, was heavily modified, although it got stolen and vandalised in 2002, and that left a horrible taste in my mouth.”

    Disheartened by this turn of events, Chad just didn’t feel his place in the modifying scene any more, so he pulled the ’chute and drifted out of it. Fast-forward to 2008 and he’d become a family man, so he acquired his first BMW – a shiny new 550i – to ferry the kids around in. It was wellequipped and had a bit of get-up-and-go, but he never felt any desire to modify it. But then, in 2011, the lease expired and Chad found himself yearning for something more… offbeat. And that’s when a voice in his brain reminded him what sparked the interest in Bavarian machinery in the first place. “My initial interest in BMWs began in 1996, when a friend of mine bought an E36 M3 and began modifying it,” he reminisces.


    “At that time, there weren’t a lot of young people from my hometown who could afford that type of vehicle, let alone modify them. So the car quickly became a local legend.” Chad felt that it was the right time to grab a handful of that stardust for himself, so he did the decent thing and ordered himself a brand-new E92 M3.

    “It started as a Jerez black 2012 E92 that I E92 M3 planned to keep pretty much stock, but thanks to magazines, forums and friends, that desire to keep it stock quickly passed,” he laughs. “I began modifying just about everything that could be touched on the car, and spent quite a bit of time on the track. After about three years owning the car, however, it was beginning to show signs of wear from all the track abuse, and I decided to make a pretty dramatic change. So I stripped it down in my home garage…”


    Yep, you read that right. No mucking about here, it’s all hands-on. In fact, Chad’s proud to explain that he’s carried out as many of the mods as he was physically able to on both cars. But we’ll get to the F80 in due course. First, we have a stripped down E92 to deal with: “All the body panels were removed and the entire interior was gutted,” he continues. “I shipped the shell to the guys at Strassesport in Irwindale, CA, where they painted it in Audi Nardo grey – something I hadn’t seen on a BMW before. Once the paint was finished the guys allowed me to work in their shop putting the entire car back together with my own hands.”

    The finished product, as you can see, is pretty meaty: staggered BBS E88s, copious carbon fibre touches, Recaro Sportster CS seats – and the rear bumper’s pretty jazzy too. Built up by Strassesport, it has aftermarket diffusers and flares smoothed right in, appearing like an OEM factory piece to all but those who know what they’re looking at. Classy, huh?

    After a year, however, Chad got itchy feet. He was loving the street racer thrills of the E92, but he wanted to add to his collection. Something unusual, something different. And the answer came in the form of, er, another grey M3.

    “A unique 2015 F80 M3 came up for sale,” he grins. “It had been ordered from BMW Individual and no expense was spared. It was the first of its kind to be painted in Fashion grey; a colour borrowed from Porsche. The interior was trimmed in contrasting Fjord blue and Silverstone leather. It was probably the most expensive M3 built at the time, with just about every option – and of course all the extra individual costs associated with the paint and interior. I knew that if I was going to purchase the new F8x model, the car had to be something special, and I knew that this car would fit the bill.” And, naturally, with those old modifying urges now firmly in overdrive, this was never going to be a case of simply finding a wellspec’d car and keeping it standard. Just like with that schoolboy Cherokee, Chad needed to make his personal statement.

    Like the E92, the engine’s had its management breathed upon, while the exhaust has been replaced with something that allows the brutal motor to bark with more ferocity. KW coilovers offer a neat balance between track prowess and streetable durability, and a handful of carbon-fibre exterior mods really set off that Fashion Grey hue in style.

    “Both of these cars were purchased to be promotional tools for my business, MotorRennGruppe, a manufacturer of titanium wheel hardware,” he explains, and that’s the logic informing the look-at-me wheels on both cars. The E92 wears 18” BBS E88s in staggered widths, while the F80 has a set of genuinely mighty custom-built BBS LMs, the rears measuring an eye-watering and arch-busting 12x20”. Just check out those Michelins, they’re a 305-section at the rear. That’s supercar wide!

    “For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups that push the limits of the stock arches without making the cars look out of place or hacked up,” says Chad. “The E92’s E88s were rebuilt with new inner and outer barrels to widen the fronts to 10” and the rears to 11.5”, with offsets that brought the faces of the wheel nearly even with the arch lips. Then I knew I had to do something special with the F80, so I had a set of stock BBS LMs rebuilt to 10” and 12” widths. To my knowledge, this was the first set of 20” LMs done for the F80 M3.”

    What particularly strikes us about Chad when he’s describing his modifying journey with this grey duo is that it’s all very considered and thoughtful; he’s not the type to rush in and overdo things. Perhaps it’s the background of getting his hands dirty and doing everything himself, but there’s not an iota of effort wasted here.

    Take the engine tuning, for example. It’s easy to go a bit mad with M3s, but it’s good to remember that they’re pretty formidable in stock form, and sometimes less is more. “Both cars maintain stock engine internals, and were treated with tunes and bolt-on accessories,” he points out. “The E92 has a Stage II tune from BPM Sport, while the F80 has the E-Flash Tuner from ESS. Both cars have uprated intake systems from Macht Schnell and Maximum PSI, and the F80 has BMS charge pipes bolted up to the stock turbos. The ESS tune on the F80 bumps up the power considerably over stock with race fuel, and is extremely capable on the track – although I prefer driving the E92 over the F80 for the raw sound of the V8!”

    Ah, the agony of choice, eh? But despite the obvious similarities between Chad’s two M3s, there’s a clear ideological split: the E92 has been built to be sporty and trackfriendly, while the swankier F80 is the luxurious daily driver that just happens to have Continent-crushing GT potential as well as track-slaying physical drama. Between them, they tick a lot of boxes.

    So where does he go from here? “Well, I’d like a Porsche GT3 next,” he tells us. Yeah, he says that… but with two entirely different M3s to choose from – one modern, sensible and cosseting, the other an old-skool badboy track monster – we suspect he’s going to have his hands pretty full for a while.

    “The F80 is capable on the track, but I prefer the E92 for the raw sound of the V8!”
    “The car had to be something special… I knew this would fit the bill”

    “For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-E92 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Macht-Schnell-Stage-2 intake, #BPM-Sport-Stage-2 tune, #Megan-Racing exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.

    CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #BBS-E88 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot SuperSport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #StopTech Trophy big brake kit with six-piston callipers and 380x35mm discs (front) and four-piston callipers with 355x35mm discs (rear).

    EXTERIOR Audi Nardo grey paint, OEM Euro-spec front bumper, iND grilles, bonnet vents and side gills, Mode Carbon GTS V1 carbon fibre front lip and side skirts, BMW carbon fibre mirror caps (painted Nardo grey), custom-moulded BMW M Performance spoiler, custom-moulded rear bumper with integrated diffuser.

    INTERIOR Recaro Sportster CS seats, BMW Performance steering wheel, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate and paddle shifters.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-F80 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #S55B30 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 , #ESS flash tune, #Eisenmann valved exhaust system, #BMS charge pipes, #Maximum-PSI charge intakes, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.

    CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) custombuilt #BBS-LM wheels with 245/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW-HAS coilovers, M carbonceramic brakes, #MRG titanium stud conversion.

    EXTERIOR Individual Fashion grey paint, Mode Carbon carbon-fibre Trophy S1 front lip, rear diffuser and M4-style rear spoiler, iND cosmetic package, modified M4 #BMW-M-Performance side skirts.

    INTERIOR Individual Fjord blue and Silverstone extended leather interior with contrasting stitching, BMW M Performance steering wheel, factory carbon fibre interior trim, head-up display, Mode Carbon carbon fibre seat-back replacements (front and rear), P3 Cars digital boost gauge, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate, and paddle shifters.
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    That a car built by the owners of S6 Wraps would be wrapped is no surprise but there are plenty of choice mods on this E92 that make it stand out from the crowd. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Adam Walker.

    ALL WRAPPED UP Wrapped and bagged E92 335i


    The E92 3 Series has one of the most appealing shapes going. It’s lovely and smooth, sleek, streamlined and perfectly proportioned. It still looks as good today as it did when it was launched back in 2006 but that’s not to say that it can’t be enhanced with a few tasty styling additions. The E92 has such a vast range of aftermarket support that it’s crying out to be modified, especially if it happens to be a 335i with that eminently tuneable turbo straight-six.

    That’s certainly what Dan Roache and Paige Walton, owners of S6 Wraps in Pickford, thought when buying their E92 335i but, then again, that’s no surprise considering it was always destined to be modified and built up into a show car. The pair have both owned and modified BMWs for the past four years, with a 120d and E91 320d having undergone dramatic transformations at their hands before the 335i came along. “We decided to sell both Paige’s E91 and my Audi TT to buy a joint car to turn into a show car and we knew it was going to be this 335i,” says Dan. “Paige’s uncle owned it from new, and since I had a ride in it on the first day he got it I knew I wanted to buy it from him when he was finished with it. He called me one day and gave me the first refusal so we couldn’t say no.” With the intention always being to modify the 335i, Dan and Paige had actually started buying parts before they had even bought the car, and work began almost immediately.


    As we’re sure you well know, the turbocharged straight-six in the 35i models is so keen to make more power that you’d be silly not to turn the wick up a touch, and the later single turbo N55B30 as fitted here is no less receptive to a bit of underbonnet tinkering than its twin-turbo predecessor. “The second week of owning the car we took it over to our friend Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop for a full custom 3” stainless exhaust system with a cat-less downpipe and the rest straight-through with just a back box and 4” tips,” says Dan. These would help the engine breathe and bring some extra ponies to the party but there was still more to come. “We got chatting with Burger Tuning who sent us the JB4 and BMS intake direct from the States, and our friends at Forge helped us out to get the FMIC changed for a bigger one and the car is now running approximately 400hp,” which a nice increase over the stock output of 306hp for not much effort.

    Belonging to a wrap company meant that the E92 was destined to be wrapped and aesthetics were always going to be an important aspect of the build for a company whose primary focus is how cars look. “We have always been into the clean and simple styling with nice subtle mods like carbon fibre,” says Dan, “so we knew straight away what direction we were going with the car.” That’s the sort of approach to styling that works really well with the E92’s natural clean lines. The pair’s taste for carbon fibre means that a few of the exterior elements have been touched by the exotic weave, with carbon grilles, carbon mirrors and a carbon boot spoiler plus the most impressive addition of all: the custom-fitted genuine E92 M3 carbon roof. In keeping with Dan and Paige’s appreciation of clean styling, the front bumper has been smoothed and then there’s the wrap. The colour is limited edition Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite and it is insane; at first glance it looks like just another shade of grey but then the light hits it and you realise that it’s covered in a dazzling glitter flake, which really adds an extra dimension to the colour and definitely makes this E92 stand out.

    Such a dazzling colour deserves some suitably dazzling wheels and here Dan and Paige went for a set of fully polished 19” Rotiform TMBs for the car: “We wanted the car to be a head-turner so as soon as we saw the fully polished TMBs we couldn’t say no to them,” says Dan. “At the time Rotiform was the only way we wanted to go wheel-wise and the TMB design really suits the shape of the car.” They do look fantastic on the E92 but wheels are nothing without a drop and that’s where the Air Lift 3P kit comes in. “We would only use Air Lift on the E9x platform as it’s the safest and most reliable system you can buy,” says Dan, “and we also fitted new uprated rear arms.”

    Considering how spectacular the outside is you’d be forgiven for thinking that the interior would have a hard time topping that but, if anything, the interior is even more impressive. For starters, it’s finished in stunning Dakota red leather, which make such a nice change from boring old black and works perfectly with the grey exterior. The most impressive aspect of the interior is the addition of a pair of M4 front seats, which look fantastic, are incredibly comfortable and supportive and so much more special than even the E9x M3’s seats. The plan had actually originally been to fit a pair of Audi RS4 seats but Dan and Paige didn’t like the fact that it wouldn’t have been in-keeping with the OE look, so decided to stay within the BMW family and it was definitely the right decision. There’s also a BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, complete with matching Dakota red centre stripe, while the controller for the suspension has been neatly mounted in front of the centre armrest.


    You may have also noticed the custom doorcards, which house four speakers each plus a tweeter by the door mirrors. These form part of the serious audio install; one of Dan’s favourite modifications on the entire car. But you need to look in the boot to find the real meat of the audio upgrades. The twin air tanks have been mounted in the sides of the boot while the twin Viair compressors and Air Lift manifold sit in a recess in the boot floor. Then there’s the Audison bit One digital audio processor and mono block amp powering a pair of Gladen 10” subs mounted behind the rear seats, and a four-channel amp for the two sets of Rainbow 6.5 components and Harman Kardon speakers in the front doors. It’s clearly a serious audiophile setup that has not only been beautifully installed but we wager sounds pretty incredible too.

    A lot of work and thought has gone into this E92 but, amazingly, it only took two months to build from start to finish, with everything bar the custom exhaust having been done in-house at S6 Wraps. As far as future plans are concerned, there aren’t any, because the 335i is currently up for sale, but such is the life of a project car, especially when it’s a company demo build. But that does make it easier to move on and start the next project, which we anticipate is going to be something equally eye-catching.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55B30 / #N55 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 , custom 3” turbo back de-cat exhaust system, #Forge-FMIC , #BMS intake, JB4 , six-speed auto gearbox

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) fully polished #Rotiform-TMB wheels with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Falken tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3P air suspension, EBC RedStuff pads all-round

    EXTERIOR Full wrap in Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite, smoothed front bumper, custom fit genuine E92 M3 carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre door mirrors, kidney grilles, #BMW-M-Performance spoiler

    INTERIOR M4 front seats retrimmed in Dakota red leather, custom doorcards with speaker pods housing two sets of 6.5 Rainbow components and Harman Kardon speakers, #BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, custommounted 3P controller, custom mounted Audison bit One controller, boot build for air-ride and audio including Audison bit One digital audio processor, Audison mono block amp, Audison four-channel amp, Gladen 10” subs mounted behind rear seats, twin air tanks, twin Viair compressors

    THANKS #S6-Wraps , Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop , #Burger-Tuning , #Forge-Motorsport

    “We knew straight away what direction we were going with the car”
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    LOU’S E92 M3 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    The E9x M3 models are very special indeed – the #BMW-S65 / #S65 4.0-litre #V8 under the bonnet is not only derived from the legendary V10 found in the E60 M5, but it’s also the only V8 ever fitted to an M3 and it’s the last naturally aspirated engine to go out of production at BMW. That alone, means this generation of M3 has a good possibility of becoming a highly desired classic.


    Despite the fact refuelling is a constant occurrence, the V8 in itself is reason enough for any true #BMW fan to buy an E92 M3. It revs up to 8250rpm and the throttle response is instantaneous. But there’s just one drawback. In my opinion it is way too quiet for a V8 – go through a tunnel, windows down and throttle pinned, and it is a bit disappointing. There was only one solution to that: upgrade the exhaust. There’s always the worry that it’s going to be too loud – like the system that ex- #PBMW editor Iain Curry fitted to his E30 320iS. It used to set off car alarms and that is not cool. So, I did a lot of research to see all the options available to me before making my decision.

    I whiled away hours checking out various compilation videos on YouTube from the likes of #Quicksilver , #Remus , #Eisenmann , #Milltek and #Akrapovic , and scouring forums to see what fellow M3 owners were recommending. As it’s used for the daily commute and at weekends, I wanted it to be fairly civilised, and eventually decided on #Eisenmann , which is responsible for designing the OEM systems on Porsche and AMG cars, and builds its exhausts by hand.

    Via Eisenmann’s UK agent CA Technologies, I ordered its back box and connecting pipes, which allow you to install an aftermarket system without the need to cut the OEM piping. All I had to do was decide on what tips and sound level I wanted. MD Roy Carvalho said that around 80% of M3 owners opt for Race over Sport, and although it’s 20db louder when the car is on the move I decided to take the chance, together with 83mm round perforated tips.

    I was intrigued as to whether fitting an aftermarket exhaust would improve performance so before I handed the car over to #BMSport to install the system I put it on a rolling road. The end result showed 300lb ft of torque, which is five more than the book figure, but sadly it was over 37hp under what BMW quotes, at 382.7hp. However, when you take into account that grade of fuel, tyre pressures and atmospheric conditions can influence test accuracy, a loss of around 9% isn’t actually that bad. Tune in next month to see if it made more power and what I think of the new exhaust note.
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    Like Hell Rocket Bunny-kitted 335i

    Patrik Korpi’s 335i is as wide as a freeway and it goes like a freight train. Is he content to follow the crowd and follow conventional wisdom? Like hell he is… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.

    “The police really like the car… they pull me over three times a day sometimes!”

    Anthropomorphising cars – that is, applying human characteristics to them – is easy to do. After all, you can’t really escape the fact that most cars have a pretty obvious face: the headlights act as eyes (look at the Lamborghini Miura, they can even have pretty eyelashes), there’s a grille that looks like a mouth, and in the case of BMWs you get the handy kidney grilles to represent a pair of flared, snorting nostrils, too.

    It’s no surprise that a lot of people give their car a name, refer to it as ‘he’ or ‘she’ and treat it as one of the family. It helps that so many cars have been artfully anthropomorphised in the movies. Herbie, for example, the mischievous VW Beetle that likes to muck about like an unstoppable nincompoop. Or Christine, eponymous star of the Stephen King thriller, the frankly terrifying Plymouth Fury that likes to squish people. Take a lingering look at this matt black E92 335i, then, and see what sort of personality it might have. A cheery one? A happy-go-lucky sort that tips the milkman at Christmas and helps its elderly neighbour with their weekly shop? No, very far from it.

    This car exudes a simmering, malevolent evil, its hellish red highlights serving to accentuate the inky blackness of the swollen flanks. If this car had a name, it’d be Obsidian or Romulus or Leviathan. It scares children wherever it goes, and you’d better not get too close to it in case it tears your face clean off. Frightening, angry thing. It’s the work of serial Swedish BMW perv Patrik Korpi and, impressively, it stands as a sort of showcase of his own personal mission to see how cool he could make the car on his own in his garage. Yep, aside from a few mates mucking in, this is a build worthy of those annoyingly gloating ‘built, not bought’ stickers you see everywhere nowadays; a triumph of vision, trial-and-error, and doing things just for the hell of it to see what happens.

    ‘For the hell of it’ – that’s an appropriate phrase here, isn’t it? And it’s one that’s informed Patrik’s modifying career from the very start. “I’ve had five #BMW s before this one,” he explains. “Three E36s, one of which was a 325i turbo, and two different examples of the E46 330i, all of which received various modifications, although I’ve never gone quite as far with a car as I have with this one.” What happened then? What was the catalyst for change that made the man experiment with something extraordinary?

    “It was a track day,” he grins. “A friend of mine took me to a race track and we spent the day driving Ferraris and Porsches and what-have-you. This was back when I had a 330i, and he pointed out to me during the day that the E92 335i could produce incredible power from its N54 motor; I took him at his word and bought one! Having tried one on track that day I could see the potential and I really liked the car. I wanted a good base for my next project, and I realised that the 335i was the ideal car for that.”

    The decision-making process was as simple as that. Patrik found a completely stock example at a Swedish dealer, in good original condition, still wearing its factory wheels and in its 306hp state of tune, and he started making a few plans. “I just thought it’d be really funny to build the car up this way,” he grins, impishly. “It was kind of hard for me having had no experience with tuning E92s before – swapping the turbos, for example, was a real pain in the backside – but the challenge is what made it fun.”

    Having seen some photos circulating online of a wide-body E92, Patrik’s interest was sufficiently piqued and he knew that was the aesthetic direction he wanted to go in. And after a decent amount of research he decided on the Rocket Bunny kit, which offers the twin victories of making the car lot wider, and also an amusing amount longer thanks to its jutting spoilers. You can’t really argue with the aggression of a Rocket Bunny look, but that was only to be half the story…

    “I wanted to get it done in time for my holiday, so I ordered the parts in smartly from CIKAB Garaget – my friend’s father’s company – and we put the car together in four days! There was a lot of cutting and welding at the rear to make room for the wheels, and when the kit was all fitted it was coated in matt black Plasti Dip, and then I brought it back to my garage for me to do the rest.”

    Plasti Dip, incidentally, if you’re unfamiliar, is an air-drying rubberised coating that you can spray on with minimal prep work, and then peel off again if and when you get bored with it. It’s a sort of modern miracle. And with the body dealt with, Patrik turned his hand to the mechanicals.

    “I upgraded the intercooler to a 7” #VSRF item,” he says, “as well as adding an #aFe-Power cold air intake system, Fuel-It Stage 2 low-pressure fuel pump, BMS charge pipe with blow-off valve, and straight 2.5” pipes. The biggest and hardest job, however, was the turbo upgrade. It’s now running a pair of Schmiedmann Stage 2 turbos but I’ve had so many problems with the install I’ve had to swap the turbos three times!” He furrows his brow before erupting in slightly manic laughter as he tells us this. “It all seems to be working well now, though, and it’s been mapped by TM Racing in Katrineholm, Sweden. Power is upwards of 400hp, and I have plans…”

    Patrik’s eager to talk about these plans, as this is a build that’s constantly developing and evolving. You see it here not in its ultimate state but in one of many transitional phases. Since the shoot, he’s added a rollcage and bucket seats to further accentuate its track aspirations and, over the winter, Patrik intends to strip out as much weight as he can by junking anything superfluous. He also wants to flash the paddle-shift autobox with Alpina B3 software, as well as upgrade the brakes in some manner.

    “I’ve had the car for about a year now,” he says, “and it’s certainly a lot lower and wider than it was! In terms of suspension, it’s now running D2 coilovers – I’ve lowered it as much as is practical but Sweden’s roads are completely terrible and this is my daily driver, so it’s not quite as low as I’d like. But it is usable! I use it for holidays, too, and I’ve also had it on track many times – it always runs great, and I’ve never been overtaken at Mantroppark! Well, I did have some overboost issues at one point but those overtakes don’t count… Anyway, for now the plan is to get the weight right down and start driving it in Time Attack – and then take it out on the road afterwards to go and get ice cream.”

    He laughs manically again at this point, the evil spirit of the 335i evidently coursing through his very veins, intertwining with his DNA’s beleaguered helices, urging him on to ever darker behaviour. “Some people really like the car,” he muses, “and some really don’t. And they’re the comments I like best; they say it’s mad crazy and I just love the hate. The police really like the car, too, they pull me over three times a day sometimes!”

    Patrik’s enthusiasm for his car is infectious; he might be slightly scary, he’s certainly a little unhinged, but dammit he knows how to put a car together. And the fact that he taught himself how to do all of this just for the sheer mischief of it is admirable indeed. As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and if this E92’s anything to go by, Patrik’s going to be arriving in hell far quicker than most. Probably sideways. And on fire. And he’ll be cackling like a lunatic.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW / #BMW-335i-E92 / #Japan-Racing / #VRSF / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #VRSF-7 ” intercooler, #aFe-Power cold air intake system, #Fuel-It-Stage-2 low-pressure fuel pump, #BMS chargepipe with blow-off valve, 2.5” straight pipes, #Schmiedmann-Stage-2 turbos, mapped by #TM-Racing in Katrineholm, Sweden, approx. 400hp+, six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shift

    CHASSIS 11x19” (front and rear) #ET0-Japan-Racing-JR11 wheels with 35mm spacers (front) and 55mm spacers (rear) with 275/30 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Hankook tyres, D2 coilovers, stock 335i brakes with YellowStuff pads (front and rear) / #Japan-Racing-JR11

    EXTERIOR Rocket Bunny arches, wings, lips and spoilers, matt black Plasti Dip

    INTERIOR Red leather interior, all chrome wrapped in black

    THANKS I really want to thank my best friend Bobby for all the hard work building the car night and day in the garage. And thanks to Korpi Bygg Och Plåt AB (sponsor), and Thomas from TM racing AB

    “It’s now running a pair of Schmiedmann Stage 2 turbos …power is upwards of 400hp”
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    Be it road or track, Thorney Motorsport’s well-sorted and utterly furious E92 M3 will crush all-comers and all corners. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson.

    THORNEY E92 M3 Ferocious 455hp track beast.

    TARMAC TERRORIST Track-honed E92 M3

    Never pass up the opportunity to drive an E9x M3. Of course, we can’t imagine you would because when you’re presented with the keys to arguably one of BMW’s finest-ever M creations, you’d have to be silly not to. And in the case of Thorney Motorsport’s M3 it wasn’t a suggestion but rather an insistence that I see what the car is capable of and it would be downright rude to refuse such a generous offer. I return a little while later, slightly weak at the knees and feeling like I need a cigarette after the experience I just had. I don’t even smoke…

    Thorney Motorsport has been around for 16 years and eponymous owner John Thorne has been involved in the BMW game for as long as anyone can remember. The company did briefly take a hiatus to go racing and add fettling Vauxhalls to the its many talents before returning to its roots a few years ago and taking up the #BMW tuning mantle once more. Its certainly been busy since then as, aside from working on countless customer cars, it has produced a number of awesome demonstrators including a monstrous X5 M, F82 M4 that you’ll be able to read about in a future issue and the car we’re about to get under the skin of today, this magnificent E92 M3.

    This is Thorney’s second E92 M3 and represents the final stage of the company’s tried and tested development programme. When a new car is welcomed into the Thorney fold it first spends some time being driven so John and the team are able to really get to know it before stage one can begin. This is the road car development phase which can take up to two years, with numerous modifications and combinations of components being tested, refined and developed in-house in order to get the car and the modifications up to Thorney’s standards. The company’s previous car had undergone the fast road development process before it was sold and when John acquired this 2008 M3 it was specifically to develop and build it up into a track car.

    “There’s a big difference between a racing car and a track car,” he explains, “this specific car needs to be comfortable, road legal with an MoT and fun on the road but also track-focused, so it’s a more challenging build. Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better, and make the bad bits less bad.”

    The end product is a car that, while still trackbiased, you can comfortably drive on the road. It excels in both disciplines. “The whole car,” John continues, “has been inspired by the E92 M3 GTS but we’ve made it better.” That might seem like a bold statement, but having the GTS as a template meant that the Thorney team knew what it needed to do to surpass the BMW-built track special and that’s exactly what it’s done.

    Obviously, if you’re building a track car it’s got to have plenty of power, and the M3 certainly isn’t short on that front. On a high compression, naturally aspirated engine you’re always going to struggle to get big gains but, where the GTS had an engine capacity increase up to 4.4-litres to make 450hp, the Thorney M3 makes a dynoproven 455hp from the stock displacement. It also develops 40lb ft more torque than stock with 360lb ft on tap, a significant gain and Thorney has worked to overcome the S65’s lack of low-end torque. The secret to its success is a custom, larger capacity carbon fibre intake plenum, a custom map designed for low-end gains and a Thorney 3” bore exhaust, designed in-house, which John says is perfect for the rev-hungry V8, with one set of silencers and repeaters, enough to pass all track noise tests with minimal exhaust flow restriction, finished off with carbon tips.

    “When it comes to building a track car the three most important areas are handling, brakes and seats,” explains John and as a result of that everything on board this M3 has been fitted to make it stop harder and handle better. Nothing fitted to this car is a frivolity and nothing has been left to chance, these mods have been carried out because they work. The wheels are Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2s: “Bulletproof,” says John, “very light and very strong. We run 18s as the E9x handles much better on smaller wheels and it’s the same size that the GT4 uses. We generally prefer to run a square setup but the car is currently on 10s and 11s front and rear with Toyo R888 RR tyres.” That wide rubber means monster grip and traction but that’s not all, it’s backed up by a race-proven aerodynamic package. “The front splitter and adjustable rear wing are both from the GT4; we found that these consistently work well and are genuine motorsport parts. The only difference here is that the GT4 spoiler uses thinner steel upright and this version has thicker alloy ones.”

    When it came to suspension, there was only one option as far as John was concerned: “We always work with Bilstein. It’s the most consistent, the best on warranty, it offers excellent support and the R&D process is open enough to listen to suggestions and work with us. We developed the Bilstein Club Sport kit in conjunction with Bilstein, and the one fitted to this car was the first kit in the UK. What sets it apart is that it’s been tuned for UK roads and circuits, which are smoother than the ’Ring, so we can run a stiffer setup, and the dampers are matched to H&R springs.

    “For the brakes,” he continues, “we went for Performance Friction discs, bells and pads with our own in-house braided hoses with race fluid. This setup performs very well. It’s 85% of a big brake kit for a third of the cost, with everything coming to £1800 fitted. So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-brake us on track with a BBK.”

    While the interior has been lightened to a degree, it’s not the bare, barren, stripped-out environment you might be expecting. “We have stripped some weight out; the rear seats have been removed and the area has been custom-trimmed but it’s not been stripped and gutted because while it is a fun car that’s been designed for the track it can still go on the road so we wanted to retain a degree of comfort. In a track car, harnesses will save your life and decent seats mean you won’t be holding on for dear life when you’re cornering. We went with Cobra for both of these, with an Ultralite motorsport seat for the driver and a Nogaro sport seat for the passenger. We had to re-engineer the whole seats to make them fit and designed our own mounts. We also fitted our own design of half cage, which was inspired by the GTS, but where the GTS cage weighs 70kg, ours is custommade from T45 steel and weighs just 21kg.”


    It’s an insanely comprehensive build and while we don’t have a track to hand, I still can’t wait to see how this build feels out on the road. The serious-looking Cobra Ultralite driver’s seat is a little snug for a slightly broader-hipped lady such as myself but hey, at least it means I won’t be going anywhere through the corners. Mercifully there are no harnesses to faff about with for the road either, and the view from where I’m sitting is ordinary, with the stock M3 steering wheel and gear knob having been retained.

    The V8 fires with a brrraap and settles into that familiar, busy idle, but with the volume turned up a few notches. It’s loud, and sounds lush, but even with this minimally silenced track arrangement it’s not obnoxious. These first few minutes of normality do lull you into a false sense of security, though, because the minute I get out onto the road and go for the throttle, all hell breaks loose. The Thorney M3 feels apocalyptically fast and while the on-paper figures might not seem all that impressive, it’s the combination of that huge gain in torque and low-end response along with the improved top-end breathing that makes it so much faster. The mid-range performance is now utterly explosive and, where you’d normally find yourself wringing the V8 out all the way to the redline to eke out every last drop of performance, I actually find myself short shifting well before the redline a couple of times as the newfound response and sheer punch of the engine lower down the rev range means that you can make indecently rapid progress without even having to try. Wind the engine all the way out, though, and the relentless acceleration is astonishing. The S65 is doing its exponential power delivery party trick but now there’s a whole lot more fireworks involved and the top end is, frankly, just a little obscene.


    The brakes are phenomenal and I can’t imagine a BBK delivering significantly better braking performance than this setup does, the pedal remaining firm and the brakes biting hard corner after corner. But, more impressive than any of that, is the way this M3 changes direction and the way it rides. John said that on a track with warm tyres this car would not understeer, but out on the road and pushing hard it absolutely refuses to let go from either end. Turn-in is instant, there’s no pause as the chassis catches up with your steering input. It responds immediately to every single adjustment you make and its cornering performance and ability are mesmerising. I’m instantly grateful for the snug-fitting seat as it makes such a difference to how hard you can push. The ride is also sublime, with the 18s soaking up the worst of the road surface through those generously-sized sidewalls, while the suspension keeps the car so incredibly planted it’s breathtaking. It feels like it’s physically attached to the road surface and is so incredibly controlled over every dip and undulation. I’ve driven a lot of different E9x M3s on a lot of different roads but this might just be one of the best driving experiences I’ve ever had and having to stop and hand back the keys was genuinely upsetting.

    Considering just how much equipment this car boasts the price is possibly the most impressive thing about it; John says that to do everything on this car would cost about £12,000 – that’s the lightweight cage, the full exhaust system, the Bilstein Clubsports, the seats, everything. Cherry pick only what you really want and you could come away with a very capable track car that’s still happy on the road for less than that and, with E9x M3 prices continuing to fall, if you’re serious about track driving then it would be a tempting prospect.

    It’s relatively easy to make the E9x M3 go faster, stop harder or handle better but to elevate an already capable car to another level of ability and to make such huge improvements across the board, to hone every aspect of the car’s character to the Nth degree, is impressive and exactly what Thorney has achieved.

    “So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-break us on track with a BBK”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Thorney-Motorsport / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / , #TMS carbon induction kit, TMS stage three ECU custom map, TMS 3” custom built mandrel bent full exhaust system, FIA race cats, carbon fibre quad tail trims. Six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #Team-Dynamics-Pro-Race-1.2 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo R888 RR tyres, #Bilstein Clubsport kit with #H&R springs, #Performance-Friction discs and bells (front), Performance Friction PF11 pads (front and rear), TMS braided brake lines (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR BMW GT4 rear wing, BMW GT4 front splitter

    INTERIOR TMS GTS custom built bolt-in rear cage, TMS front race seats, TMS five-point harness, rear seats removed and interior retrimmed

    “Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better”
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    FROZEN IN TIME / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3-GTS / #BMW-M3-GTS-E92 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-Frozen-Edition / #BMW-M3-Frozen-Edition-E92 / #BMW-M3-SA / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-E92

    Frozen in Time South Africa didn’t get the #BMW E92 M3 GTS so it made its own limited edition performance model.

    BMW made a plethora of special edition of E92 M3s but this one of the most exclusive, the South African Frozen M3 Edition, limited to just 25 examples. Words: Johann Venter. Photography Mahomed Abdulla.

    Come on feel the noise.’ Those words uttered by Quiet Riot couldn’t be more appropriate as the M3 charges down the straight, the shifter being blipped in quick succession, the noise incessant, the speedo racing towards 240km/h.

    Then it’s hard onto the brakes, the nose digging into the Tarmac. The rear feels like it wants to pole vault to the sky. The turn-in to the hairpin is sharp. Full throttle on the exit, creating the perfect power-slide. Thankfully the electronic nannies have retired for the day. Quick counter-steer is needed, though, to make sure it doesn’t all come undone. Then it’s onto a short straight, then a left kink, requiring just a slight lift off the throttle, into the next hairpin, followed by another short straight and a swooping left-hander onto the pit straight, that thunderous F1 noise of old returning, as the right paddle is relentlessly tugged. Hard onto the brakes again going into a left hairpin, blip the throttle for the short straight that follows and then a full power-slide through the 90-degree right hander. Get the nose straight long enough to make the last hard right turn, onto a flowing section with one swooping right turn, clip the right apex on the final straight, and finally we’re back on the long straight where we started. Hopefully we set a new lap record on this short 2.6km Midvaal Raceway track. This is heartpounding stuff. Get it right and you feel like a Top Gun ace; get it wrong… well, we don’t even want to think about it. This is the allure of the E92 M3, dialled-up to 11 if it is the limited Schnitzer Frozen Edition. Quiet Riot was right, it did get rather wild. We’re sold. Where do we sign?

    How is it, though, that BMW SA was once again able to have a model specifically developed for the South African market? In 2010 South Africa was deemed the seventh largest M market for BMW and local M enthusiasts were therefore understandably cheesed-off when the E92 M3 GTS, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the M3, did not come their way. Fortunately BMW SA was able to convince BMW AG that it should have its own unique commemorative M3 for the South African market. Not a new feat by BMW SA as developing unique models for the South African market had already reached legendry status with the likes of the E12 530 MLE, E23 M-powered 745i, E30 333i and E30 325iS all garnering plenty of aficionado followers.

    So what made this Frozen Edition so special? For starters, BMW for the first time offered an M3 with blatant Schnitzer badging on the outside (underneath the right tail-light) and even under the bonnet (the Schnitzer crest found on the carbon fibre intake manifold). This was no ordinary Frozen Edition, though. To the rest of the world a Frozen M3 means an exotic paint finish and some stitching on the seats.

    This Schnitzer package, on the other hand, comprised a high performance exhaust, including a de-cat, a carbon fibre Schnitzer intake manifold, and the DME (Digital Motor Electronics) was reprogrammed to ignore the de-cat and allow for a top speed of 180mph (290km/h). The 0-62mph dash, achieved in 4.5 seconds, shaves off a few tenths from the standard M3’s time. Power was up by 29hp (21kW), with a maximum of 449hp (330kW) reached at a hefty 8400rpm. The torque band was also increased by 15lb ft (20Nm) to 310lb ft (420Nm) which peaked at 3900rpm. What is significant is that the cars were not imported from Germany with the Schnitzer upgrades. Instead BMW SA entered into an agreement with JSN Motors, the sole importer and distributor for AC Schnitzer on the African continent, to carry out the conversions at the Rosslyn plant.


    We caught up with BMW/Schnitzer technician, Shaun du Plessis, from JSN, who was responsible for carrying out the conversions at the VDC (Vehicle Distribution Centre) at the Rosslyn plant. He explains: “The M3s were imported just as they rolled off the production-line in Germany. All Schnitzer components were shipped separately. A colleague and I removed the rear exhaust boxes and carried out the de-cat. We swapped the intake manifold for the Schnitzer carbon fibre item and removed the DME.” Sounds rather straightforward? “Yes, except for the fact that we had to ship all the DMEs to Schnitzer to be reprogrammed.” We would have thought that BMW AG could have arranged that, and du Plessis concurs: “You and I both. That was the lengthiest part of the conversion. Our colleagues at Rosslyn only assisted with welding on the rear Schnitzer exhausts.

    “This special SA Frozen Edition was limited to 25 cars to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the M3. There was one additional car for the press that most people don’t know about. It took two weeks to complete all the conversions. Eight lucky owners took delivery in late 2010 and the rest were delivered early the following year.” These Frozen M3s were only offered in two colours – 20 were black (including the lone press car) and just six in grey.

    Du Plessis is obviously a fan of these cars he helped to create and gives us his impressions of the car: “Stavros Neophitou, the dealer principal and owner of JSN, owned one for a short while. My most lasting impression is the noise, it was proper! So loud that it would rattle your neighbours’ windows. Start it cold and it exploded. The throttle response was definitely sharper than the standard M3, the power gains were down to the manifold, de-cat and rear Schnitzer exhaust and not really the DME. The top speed was raised to the limit, and I can testify to that, the 290km/h (180mph) is genuine!” Definitely a collector’s item then? “Without a doubt! The only fly in the ointment is that BMW SA never issued limited edition plaques to authenticate each car as a limited edition and to specify the number, which I think will lower the values of these M3s somewhat.”

    When sold new in 2010/11 it retailed for R1,180,000 (£114,563) – a whopping R215,671 (£20,939) premium over the standard M3. Let’s put that into perspective. The M3 sold new in the UK in 2010 for £51,000 and some change. The M3 GTS sold for £117,630, so in essence South African buyers were paying just £3000 less than the cost of a GTS for the Schnitzer and also almost double for the standard M3 over UK buyers.

    So what did your £114k buy you? A 10mm lowered suspension, 19-inch high gloss alloys (unfortunately not the Y-spoke CSL-style rims) wrapped in 245/40 ZR19 Pirelli rubber in the front and 265/40 ZR19 at the rear, and contrasting fiery red brake callipers. Electronic Damper Control came as an optional extra. Damn that is cheeky. Wasn’t the price high enough already? Fortunately, all the other goodies came free, which included the seven-speed M Dual Clutch Transmission, dark chrome kidney surrounds, matt Shadowline exterior trim, carbon-like central insert in the dash and vibrant red stitching on the leather. Unfortunately the Alcantara steering got left out of the equation… pity.

    Turning to the grey example adorning the pages in front of you, it is one of only six in this hue. With only 24,000km (14,913 miles) on the odometer, it is in superb condition. The grey, in our opinion, is the better colour option over the black, achieving that frozen (frosted) look much more convincingly, and accentuating the lines, curves and creases much better. Truth be told, the Frozen Silver is the one that gets our hair to stand on end. Although this M3 does not get much road time, it is very practical as an everyday steed. The award winning, naturally aspirated V8 engine (the last of its kind) is capable of dealing with traffic, blasts through the countryside and the occasional track day, so quite versatile in all respects. This M3 is best enjoyed on a charge, though, the freerevving engine making it easy to keep it in the sweet spot, with the flexibility to either have all of the drive aids fully switched on, or just enough to burn rubber as you power-slide or, for the brave, the option of no safety net whatsoever. The steering is well weighted with a precision that allows you to tackle S-bends and hairpins with confidence. The cross-drilled ventilated rotors and single-piston callipers provide neck snapping deceleration. All of which is achieved in a comfortable, luxurious, Germanic cockpit with worldclass ergonomics and a sizable luggage compartment to boot.


    The matt paint finish on this M3 has been perfectly preserved, unlike a large number of the remaining 25 that were sold. Most have succumbed to the blotchy gloss effect that is caused by cleaning the cars with exotic shampoos and by applying waxes and polish. Only regular shampoo (naturally BMW recommends its own brand) is needed; no sealants, waxes and polishes are to be used. Even a microfibre cloth is a no, no. Residues such as tar and bird lime is to be removed immediately. We’re not sure if the initial owners were given a thorough enough briefing with regards to cleaning or if they simply ignored it. By now the cars are in the hands of second or third owners and we doubt if they were alerted to the dos and don’ts. BMW, however, seems to be on a roll with the Frozen paint effect and has extended it to a wider range in its line-up. It all started with the M3 in 2010 and, according to BMW, all 30 units of the grey M3 Frozen Edition sold out within 12 minutes. The Frozen effect is achieved by applying a different clear-coat mix ratio, in terms of hardeners, reducers, application methods, and drying options. Different panels of the vehicle require different clear-coat ratios. A Frozen finish reflects about 20 percent of the light that penetrates, so make sure your air-con is working.

    All rather complex, and what self-respecting car-nut doesn’t occasionally want to apply some wax or polish to his pride and joy, and buff it until a mirror finish has been achieved?

    BMW caught on to the limited/special edition trend with the first generation M3 and has not looked back since, with the highly anticipated M4 GTS now available in Europe and North America. South African M devotees are rejoicing, as this time around the GTS will be gracing their shores. However, only 25 customers were invited to the GTS party, with a price tag of R2,134,500 equating to £99,510 at an exchange rate of R21,45 (the exchange rate is more than double what it was in 2010). In the UK, however, the GTS is priced at £121,780 (who’s laughing now?).


    Clearly South Africa has become an M market that cannot be ignored; indeed it’s now ranked fifth in the world in terms of overall M market share. It doesn’t hurt that on the 7 April 2016, Dr. Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing and former boss of BMW SA, unveiled the second largest standalone M showroom in the world: Zambesi Auto in Pretoria. We have mixed feelings about the GTS, and the M4 in particular. We much prefer the four-door M3; it’s a much better balanced and cohesive shape as far as we’re concerned. It all goes horribly wrong aft of the B-pillar on the M4; the rear wing is way too long and the tail-lights disproportionally large. In my opinion the previous E92 M3 Coupé hits the spot. It is a rather handsome devil that cuts a suave figure, its design well balanced and proportioned.


    Cosmetically the Schnitzer Frozen M3 Edition is a bit of a mixed bag; some key elements, such as the Y-spoke CSL-style rims and Alcantara steering, were omitted. But it is a cracking limited M3. And even though it doesn’t have a plaque declaring its rarity, it will definitely increase in value over the years. BMW made a plethora of limited edition E9x M3s; whether they will all be worth the investment, only time will tell. What is certain, though, is that we’re all suckers when it comes to these M limited edition runs.

    THANKS TO: Ron Silke

    “The noise was proper! So loud that it would rattle your neighbours’ windows”

    “It took two weeks to complete all the conversions, eight lucky owners took delivery in late 2010 and the rest were delivered early the following year”

    THANKS TO: Midvaal Raceway or the use of the circuit. / Web: www.midvaalraceway.co.za / Tel: +27 82 774 4285
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    LOU’S E92 M3 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-E92

    Desperately trying to hold back my tears and keep it together as my husband, Dan, read out his beautifully penned renewal vows to me, I thought I misheard the last line: “And how could I not buy the 911 girl the Porsche of her dreams?” Gasps of surprise washed over the close gathering of family that were there for the ceremony. I don’t think they could quite believe his words either.

    Later, having signed the certificate, posed for the obligatory photos and comforted my father and mother-in-law, who by now were in floods of tears, I asked Dan if he was joking. He wasn’t. I only bought him a set of personalised cuff links for his wedding present!

    As you’re reading a BMW magazine, I’m assuming you’re wondering why I’m talking about Porsches. After five or so years of being editor of this very title, I went on to head Total 911. Having driven and owned cars from the Bavarian stable for eight years, it was a strange transition going to a rear-engined layout, but after getting used to the driving style I began to fall in love with them.

    Despite my new affair I remained loyal to the Blue and White Roundel, having bought another E36 M3 Evo (which was sadly short-lived after it was written off just a few months into ownership) followed by my Z4 2.5 Convertible. Not only that, but I had also managed to persuade Dan to trade in his Jaguar XFR for a 1M Coupé – this is a petrolhead who had previously refused to even drive a BMW, never mind buy one.

    So, it’s fair to say that I was not totally converted to the way of Stuttgart, and while I always had a dream to own a 911 before I was 35, I decided that an E92 M3 should at least be in the running for when we went car shopping. And that’s exactly what we had lined up to drive one Saturday – that and a 997 Carrera 4. We went to nearby specialist Paragon Porsche in East Sussex, who had one in the exact spec that I wanted. Being back behind the wheel of a 911 again felt good and I was positively beaming after our test drive. Dan however, had his doubts, as he did when we weighed up the 1M against a 997 Turbo.

    “It feels too light at the front end and it doesn’t turn in properly, it’s almost as if you’re steering from the throttle. It doesn’t give me confidence to push it like an M car does,” he complained. I tried to justify it by explaining that the Porsche is a totally different machine and that when you got accustomed to it, it was still as rewarding. He retorted that you shouldn’t have to get used to it, and that a BMW is instantly intuitive. He was right, of course.

    And so it was with much anticipation that we headed to Munich Legends to test drive a Frozen grey E92 M3. The last time I drove one of these was some years ago when Joel Newman (my then features writer) and I had a convertible on test for a week – I recall that between us we spent a few hundred quid in fuel, such was our enjoyment of the car.

    The owner of Munich Legends took us out first before handing us the keys and by God he showed us the capabilities of the car, and indeed his own talents. The sound of the V8, the acceleration, its willingness to let go of the rear end; I loved it and almost felt guilty for wanting a Porsche. It was by far the better car – in terms of handing, performance, practicality, and it was quite a few grand cheaper, too.

    Sadly, that particular car wasn’t for me – I was unsure of the paint finish and despite having low mileage it had already been in to the dealership for some considerable engine work – which in my mind either meant it would never have problems again or it was jinxed; also it didn’t feel anywhere near as quick as it should be.

    Mulling over it in a nearby country pub I decided to widen up my online search to 30 miles, determined to see another one that afternoon. Sure enough, up popped two Limited Edition 500 models from Cooper Croydon – I had totally forgotten about these. They came packed with £4000 worth of optional extras including gloss black 19-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, bespoke leather, piano black trim (with laser cut designation showing you’re driving one of the 500 models) and in three unique paint colours: Imola red, Mineral white or Santorini blue. I had already decided that it had to be blue – it’s the best colour in my opinion and really makes the car stand out. But as soon as I opened the door on the one at Croydon’s dealership and I saw the tan colour hide against the paintwork I knew it wasn’t right. Call me spoilt, but it seriously would bug me every time I got in it. Besides, if you’re going to shell out that sort of money it’s got to be right.

    So, that very evening I did a search for one with black leather (which comes with blue stitching) on Autotrader and Pistonheads, and just one came up – it was at Prestige Performance in Yorkshire – some 234 miles from our home in Kent. The hubby wasn’t too happy about it, but some gentle female persuasion won him over and the next day we were heading up north in the Zed. The nine hour return journey was somewhat softened after he got to drive an Aston Martin Vantage V12 S – a simply astonishing car that blew us both away.

    The M3 was perfect in every way and a few weeks later it was trailered to our home – a day I’ll never forget, and second best to my wedding day. I must confess that in some ways I wish had the Porsche – only because Dan loves the M3 so much that he’s in the driving seat far too much for my liking! It’s a great all-rounder, and with two young stepsons, it’s the perfect daily. Suffice to say the Z4, is now gone as she was surplus to requirements somewhat – and while I miss her, especially (as I write this) with the recent heatwave we’ve been having, any hint of sadness instantly turns to feelings of elation when I hear that V8. Talking of which, I already have plans in the pipeline to enhance that fabulous sound – stay posted.
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