- Post is under moderationSPACE INVADER 900hp #BMW-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91 / #BMW-335i-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring-900bhp / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91-900bhp
With 900hp from an #N54 with stock internals, this E91 Touring is really reaching for the final frontier. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
The king of fast estates has traditionally always been Audi; its automotive back catalogue is filled with examples of big power load-luggers, from the legendary RS2 Avant, mental original RS4 and equally mental RS6s, though BMW has also had a go, with the E34 M5 Touring and E61 M5 Touring. These days, though, its given up on M estates, so the fastest way to transport dogs, children and sofas, possibly all at the same time, is in something with a turbocharged straight-six under the bonnet. For example, the F31 335d xDrive will hit 0-62 in 4.9 seconds, at which point you have to ask yourself: how fast do you really need to go?
Well, if your name is Marco van Weerd, then the answer is much, much faster than that. Marco’s steed of choice is an E91 335i M Sport Touring, a fine car powered by a fine engine and plenty quick in just about any given situation but, as we all know, the twin-turbo N54 has so much more to give… Marco bought the car three years ago, completely stock, but, with a couple of modified Japanese cars in his motoring past, it was never going to stay that way for long. “From the moment I bought the car, I began modifying it right away, starting with some standard upgrades like a JB4, downpipes, intercooler etc” but that was never going to satisfy his thirst for modifying and his hunger for power. You see, Marco wasn’t interested in owning just a quick car, he wanted to push the limits of the #N54 as far as he could and that’s exactly what he’s done, taking the 3.0-litre straight-six to a staggering 900hp. It takes just a quick glance into this E91’s engine bay to see how he’s done that: with an absolutely gigantic turbo strapped to the side of the engine but, what’s a little scary, is the fact that Marco has left the engine’s internals completely stock…
“I wanted to try and break the 1000 flywheel hp mark on a stock N54 because I want to be the one to set that record,” he grins, and he’s tantalisingly close. The key to that stratospheric power output is threefold, a combination of: massive turbo, fuelling mods and the right fuel. The pictures show a Comp 6465 but that wasn’t powerful enough for Marco, so since the shoot that has been swapped for a Precision 6466 turbo running at a heady 2.5bar, with twin Tial MVS wastegates leading to a pair of screamer pipes located under the car, with that torrent of turbocharged air being passed through a 190.5mm stepped intercooler from VR Speed Factory and into an Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six Bosch injectors. These are fed by an uprated fuel system running a Fuel-It Stage 3 kit consisting of twin Walbro 450 low-pressure fuel pumps plus upgraded fuel lines with a Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content analyser, necessary because the car has been set up by JB4 Tuning Benelux to run on E60, a heady mix of ethanol and 102 octane fuel. Further enhancements include cooler NGK 5992 spark plugs and a custom exhaust, consisting of a 3.5” downpipe leading to twin 2.5” pipes with twin electronically controlled cut-outs located before the rear silencer, and finished off with twin 102mm carbon exhaust tips.
You might be concerned that running that much boost through such a massive turbo means the engine is only heading in one, inevitable direction, but you needn’t worry as a forged engine is on the cards, at which point Marco’s power goal will change from 1000hp at the crank to 1000whp… When that happens, there will be a lot of transmission work going on because, at the moment, everything here, much like everything within the engine, is completely standard and that simply won’t do when the next stage of the project gets underway. In fact, only the standard brakes have been deemed unfit for purpose and have received a seriously substantial upgrade in the shape of a D2 Racing front and rear BBK, comprising 380mm discs with eight-piston calipers and 356mm discs with four-piston calipers respectively.
You might be expecting to find some sort of serious static suspension setup leaning far towards the performance end of the spectrum, but one glance at the photos will tell you that you’d be wrong. Marco has opted for a spot of air-ride, with an Air Lift Performance 3H kit handling the suspension duties and delivering some devastating lows when fully aired out, bringing this E91 to within a whisker of the Tarmac, the nifty controller mounted simply, just ahead of the gear lever inside the car. The interior itself has been left virtually standard, bar the addition of the M Performance gear selector and carbon roundel on the steering wheel, which has also been treated to an alcantara trim panel. What Marco has done is add some serious tech to help him keep an eye on what going on under the bonnet, with a Samsung tablet running the JB4 mobile app and displaying OBD controls and tuning plus a phone equipped with the Fuel-It app, displaying fuel temperature and ethanol content, with both pieces of tech connected to the car via Bluetooth.
While the engine and interior may have been left standard, the exterior has not and here Marco has taken the opportunity to put his personal stamp on the car and really make it stand out. “In my company I have my own car lift where I can work on the car whenever I want,” he says. “I tried to build the car all to my own taste and wanted to use custom parts you cannot buy everywhere,” which is why this E91 looks so distinctive. Up front, and giving this prefacelift E91 a fresh and fierce look, he’s fitted a custom 1M front bumper specially made to go with the facelift bonnet (complete with carbon roundel) and headlights he’s also fitted, and the bumper has been further enhanced with the addition of a custom carbon front lip with custom carbon winglets at the corners. There are matt black mirrors and the side skirts have been embellished with custom carbon extension lips while at the rear you’ll find a custom carbon diffuser and custom carbon fi ns at the edges of the bumper, with all-red rear lights adding the finishing touch. Marco’s custom approach to styling and inherent perfectionism and attention to detail extends to the engine bay, which has also been adorned with a selection of custom carbon parts along with a custom carbon strut brace. The wheels too are, naturally, completely custom items produced to Marco’s exact specifications, 8.5x20” up front and 10x20” at the rear, a striking twin seven-spoke design finished in Sepang bronze. You might think that would be an odd choice to go with such an extensively black exterior, but they really work and just add something to the overall look of the car and the size is perfect too. The extensive use of carbon fibre, the aggressive styling and the sheer blackness of the thing all combine to make this one of the most ferocious-looking E91s we’ve ever crossed paths with. It’s just so mean and intimidating, an utterly ruthless-looking machine and one that has more than enough bite to back up its substantial bark.
For most people, a 900hp E91 Touring would be their final goal, but Marco’s just getting warmed up and there’s a lot more to come. “I want to make a custom wide-body kit for the car,” says Marco, running through his future plans for the Touring, “another set of custom wheels, wider this time, at least 10s up front and 12s at the rear, and I’ll also build the forged engine I want so I can hit 1000whp and that will also need an upgraded gearbox, axles and diff.” Judging by what he’s accomplished so far and his dedication and determination to extract as much power as physically possible from the N54, we don’t doubt he’ll achieve his goals and the end result is going to be something truly out of this world…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Single-Turbo E91 335i / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #N54-PTE6466 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-E91 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #N54B30-tuned / #N54-swapp , #PTE-6466 1.0 A/r T4 turbo ( #Comp-6465 turbo shown in pictures), twin #Tial-MVS wastegates with twin screamer pipes, custom intake piping, #VR-Speed-Factory 190.5mm stepped intercooler, Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six #Bosch injectors, #Fuel-It-Stage-3 kit with twin Walbro 450 low pressure fuel pumps, upgraded fuel lines, in-line Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content reader, #NGK 5992 spark plugs, custom exhaust with 3.5’’ downpipe to twin 2.5’’ piping, twin electronic cut-outs, twin carbon 102mm exhaust tips, custom carbon engine parts. Standard #ZF6HP six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) custom wheels finished in #Sepang-bronze with 225/30 (front) and 265/25 (rear) Hankook Evo S1 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3H #Air-ride system, custom carbon fibre strut brace, #D2-Racing #BBK with eight-pot calipers and 380mm floating discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 356mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR LCI bonnet, LCI headlights, custom 1M front bumper, custom carbon front lip with custom carbon tips, carbon roundels, matt black mirrors, custom carbon side skirt extensions, custom carbon rear diffuser, custom carbon fi ns, all-red rear lights
INTERIOR #M-Performance gear selector, carbon steering wheel roundel, alcantara steering wheel trim panel, Samsung tablet running JB4 mobile app, phone running Fuel-It app, 3H controller, single air tank in boot
THANKS Andreas Bäckström at PPF Racing, JB4 Tuning Benelux, custom parts by Ventura Motorsports USA, Ritchino Lippelt at MALS, carbon parts by Wheelclinic Lightweight Performance, Mike Kluinhaar at Kluinhaar Bandenservice & Design, Tim Maatman for the welding, N-XTC.com/Chemical Guys for the Quartz Coat paint protection, High Quality Detailing, Tiago Vieira at VR Speed FactoryStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThere’s nothing quite like the feeling of sheer joy that some feature cars cause you to experience. You might wonder if, after so long looking at and playing with modified BMWs we ever get a bit jaded, and while it’s true that not every single modified #BMW we come across – and there are so very many of them out there – causes our collective pulse to race, but there are certainly some that just make us smile and feel happy.
The supercharged S14-powered 2002 rat rod in this issue is one such car; it goes against just about everything we should believe in and uphold as BMW enthusiasts, but we absolutely love it. There’s just something about it, it’s just so outrageous that it’s impossible not to, really. It’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone, but it’s also definitely going to get a reaction, no doubt about it, and we love that too.
Don’t worry though, there’s plenty more down-to-earth stuff in this issue that will definitely keep everyone happy, like our incredible cover car, that 900hp single-turbo #BMW-E91 / #BMW-335i . It’s a mental machine, no two ways about it, but it also looks absolutely spectacular, about as mean and moody as it’s possible for a car to look. Then there’s the perfectly-modded E46 M3 over on, the awesome S54-swapped E36 M3 on p66 and that E39 540i on p8 that’s had a Jaguar Eaton supercharger strapped to its V8, and that’s just scratching the surface of what we’ve stuffed into this month.
We’ve also got a Tech Guide to poly bushes, a couple of show reports and, if you haven’t seen, we’re hosting a track evening at Brands Hatch at the end of April – head over to p104 to check out all the details and to book a space. As the old saying goes, no rest for the wicked, and no rest for magazine editors either as the May issue is already gathering pace, so we’ll attend to that while you enjoy the fruits of our labours and we’ll see you next month.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSCANDINAVIAN SLAM Air-ride E91 Touring
Who says diesel Tourings need to be boring? In the land of outrageous turbocharging, one Norwegian cares more about the air-ride stance. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Erik Berg-Johansen.
Stance is everything, right? Feel free to lust after an M2, M3, M5, whatever, but get the stance right on any run-of-the-mill #BMW and you can turn just as many heads. This fact gives us all hope. We can’t all drop tens of thousands on a new M car, nor employ an expensive specialist to bolt on a giant turbo and associated upgraded parts to create a street weapon. But get a car sitting just right and for comparatively little coin you’re a show favourite.
Which makes this Norwegian E91 something of a rarity. You see, our Norwegian cousins have not only an enviable quality of life, but most of them have a fair chunk of disposable income too. Sure, it costs a lot to live in this beautiful Scandinavian land, but locals are well paid to compensate. I’ve met plenty of 20- something Norwegian car modifiers who think nothing of owning both a city flat plus a holiday home by the lakes to retreat to each weekend.
It means many have the money to drive around in new German cars, and often make their mark by adding top-end aftermarket body parts, chassis upgrades and engine mods. Think back to all the 1000hp+ BMWs we’ve featured and many will be from Norway or the equally bountiful Sweden. And just to complete your jealousy, these Scandinavians sure know how to drive too. A thousand horses through the rear treads?
Wheels spinning in fourth gear? No problem. It’s as if they’re born knowing how to control it. Just check out the names of those who mastered the Too Fast To Race Group B rally cars of the 1980s. Yep, the Scandinavians. Showing there are more strings to their bows than just bonkers turbo beasts, Kim Arild Grindermoen has chosen pure stance over performance with his 3 Series Touring. It’s all about air suspension, something he insists is nothing to be afraid of in terms of ease of fitment and even practicality thanks to the easily adjustable ride height. Yes he’s a tad biased as he set up and runs a company called StanceShop – a dealership for Air Lift Performance suspension and AccuAir air suspension management – but he’s a man worth listening to when he can make a humble estate car look this damn perfect on the stance front.
The 26-year-old from Otta in rural Norway is a welder by trade, and bought this totally standard 2011 320d Touring with an M Sport pack to make what he says is his “own statement; something I have never done before by taking it all the way with air-ride”.
It certainly isn’t Kim’s first time at the rodeo. Modifying cars since the age of 16, he cut his teeth on an old Mitsubishi with the usual aftermarket wheels and lowering, before progressing to BMWs a few years later. He’s been very active since then. An E36 was first, then an E30 followed by five more E36s, four more E30s, two E32s and five E34s. Busy boy.
While Kim is one for big power too – he’s currently at work creating a madman E34 Touring with turbocharged M50B25 turbo engine – the 320d Touring has to serve as a daily driver, so the frugal diesel engine has been left practically untouched. An updated ECU helps the four-cylinder realise 207hp now – up from the standard 184hp – which Kim says is “enough for the street to lose your licence.”
Visual clout comes from the ride height, and Kim says the kit is “plug and play and fits without modifications”. We all like the sound of that. “It took a couple of days to get it up and running because of the wiring and air lines,” he explains, “but the struts are as easy as coilovers to install.” Kim says it’s all bolt on with no need for further modifications to the chassis or body.
Slammed on the ground the Touring looks fantastic, and the rear end in particular looks far fatter with the back wheel arches seeming to nicely bulge with the deep-dish 10x19-inch ADV.1 three-piece rims swallowed up by them. But no, those rear arches are completely standard. Up front the 9-inch rims with skinny 225/35 Falken FK453 rubber are ideally placed in the front arches.
Improving things are the 320d’s front arches making way for M3 items with the side indicators replaced by gunmetal stripes. It’s a subtle addition, but adds some front end sportiness to otherwise plain 320d sides. The exterior stays true to BMW’s original Touring shape with Kim going for subtle enhancements to the black body. Most obvious is smoked tape – from Norwegian company Fantasy Factory – to coat the lights around the car, once again this being most obvious at the rear which now looks very mean-looking in its darkness, complemented by a 335i diffuser. A pair of 335i-look Ragazzon exhaust tips pop out from the diffuser, but other than that the bumpers are just factory M Sport items.
While owning an estate car means plenty of room for an outrageous air install, this has to serve as Kim’s practical daily, so that wasn’t an option, but what he has done is put together a very smart, simple install while still leaving plenty of useable room in the load area. He’s running a single, black tank, which ties in with the rest of the car’s mean and moody appearance and is running twin Viair compressors plumbed into an AccuAIr VU4 four-corner solenoid valve unit. In the boot’s side compartment Kim’s added a fibreglass eight-inch subwoofer box, backing up Rockford Fosgate speakers and updated head unit in the main cabin. He has also wired in a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor which works as an OEM integration ‘black box’ for much improved audio control. While the interior has been kept practically standard, the addition of an OEM Alcantara M Performance steering wheel is a rather welcome upgrade.
The cabin-mounted AccuAir controller offers quick and easy ride height adjustment allowing for seamless transition from slammed show car to practical grocerygetter. Kim also says he’s given the Touring a bash on Norway’s Rudskogen raceway, reporting back that it handles just fine.
Good modifiers are always looking to move on to the next challenge, and Kim says his air-ride E91 will soon serve as practical family transport as his first child is due by the end of the year. He says as a result he’ll be closing down StanceShop, also partly due to how difficult it is to get air-ride cars approved for Norwegian roads, which makes his creation all the more impressive. “I’ll be focusing more on the family life, but you’ll still see cars being modified in the future by me,” he says, reminding us that his E34 is going to be a boosted show special with plenty of fast road potential. So this airride E91 will soon be the official family wagon. Not only will it be the coolest thing rocking up at kiddie daycare, but just think of the endless hours of fun the kids will have raising and lowering this Touring via that control pad. Who needs babysitters?
DATA FILE #Air-ride E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring-E91 / #N47D20 / #N47 / #BMW-N47 / #BMW-320d-Touring-Air-ride / #BMW-320d
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel N47D20, #Ragazzon exhaust system, uprated ECU, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #ADV.1 three-piece wheels with 225/35 (front and rear) Falken FK453 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance suspension and #AccuAir management
EXTERIOR M Sport bumpers, E92 M3 front wings with side indicators replaced by gunmetal strips, Fantasy Factory smoked tape for lights all-round, OEM 335i rear diffuser, M tricolour stripes on kidney grille
INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, updated head unit, twin Viair compressors, single air tank, AccuAir VU4 valve unit, fibreglass 8” subwoofer box in boot, Rockford Fosgate speakers, Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor
“[I wanted to make my] own statement; something I’ve never done before”
Interior has been treated to an M Performance Alcantara steering wheel and the in-car audio has also been upgraded. Boot area houses the smart and simple air-ride install; 19” ADV.1 three-piece wheels look fantastic and really suit the E91 shape.
2.0d engine may be nothing special to look at but it’s the perfect mill for a daily driver and a remap has resulted in a healthy 207hp.
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- Post is under moderationGOING ON TOUR
BMW never made an #BMW-E91 M3 Touring, so this owner decided to build his own… BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring, but if it did, it’d probably look just like this… only not as low and on smaller wheels! Words: Andy Basoo. Photos: Antony Fraser.
It was back on the 22 February 2011 the euphoria started, at 1.15pm to be precise. A build thread began on the popular M3Post forum, which within a matter of days had 35,000 views from around the globe. A dozen or so photos and a handful of words was all it took to spark such excitement; the BMW community was witnessing something special.
The username was #63NP. The thread topic: ‘!!E91 M3 V8 DCT Estate / Wagon Full Conversion..!!’. We don’t need to tell you that BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring. In fact, the German manufacturer has never built an M3 Touring full stop. Coupés, Saloons and Cabriolets yes, but never a Touring. And that’s somewhat surprising considering how much we love estate cars here in the UK. The Audi RS4 has never struggled for sales and the majority of examples you see on the road are wagons. If Audi can make it work, why can’t BMW?
To be fair, BMW has tried its hand at highperformance estate cars in the past. The E34 and E61 M5s were available in Touring format, and BMW even tested the water with the E39, building a one-off Touring version.
They just weren’t big sellers though. It’s difficult to pin down exactly why not, but they didn’t capture the imagination of the public. Maybe it was because they didn’t look different enough from any other M Sportkitted model? The RS4 is wide, beefy, has distinctive aluminium mirrors and looks like it’s on steroids, while the M5s of the past have been much more understated.
The 5 Series was also significantly larger and perhaps that’s where the downfall lay? Audi produced a larger RS6, too, and while it’s admittedly a fine machine in its own right, it was never the big seller like the RS4. So maybe 3 Series Touring M cars would have been the way to go? Nicholas Pritchard (aka 63NP), the man who instigated that build thread certainly seems to think so, hence the reason he’s built his own example. And before we go any further, let us tell you, it’s truly OEM quality in its execution.
Nick’s a heavy goods vehicle driver and has always had a thing for estate cars. “I’ve had loads,” he confesses. “I’ve had a B7 RS4, an E61, an E36 and an E30 – that I fitted Montego Countryman roof rails to because the E30 never came with roof rails! I even had a Rover 400 estate. I just like estates!” Which is why when he saw this one, he simply had to have it.
“I was doing a 997 Porsche at the time,” he continues. “This was back in 2009. I used to pop down to a local bodyshop from time to time to see a mate of mine. The owner of the bodyshop had this car tucked away in the corner and covered in dust. It didn’t have any wings or doors or an interior. It was just a shell, although it did have an M3 V8 sitting in the bay but it wasn’t running.”
Nick was interested and asked the owner if it was for sale. He got a firm “no” in reply. The car was a 2007 318i auto, although the original engine and transmission were nowhere to be seen. The cabin was filled to the roof with parts and the wiring loom was in a heap in the corner of the bodyshop.
“Are you sure it’s not for sale?” Nick persisted. “Quite sure, thank you very much,” came the response.
Bearing in mind it was 2009 and this was a #2007 Touring, it was a relatively new car to be chopping about as extensively as this one had been. Not many of us would have the confidence to be so brutal to a BMW that was barely run-in. Nick was so taken with the car that he would drop in occasionally and the two would have the same brief but very polite conversation.
“I noticed towards the end of the year, that the guy’s enthusiasm for the car was waning,” Nick explains, “so at the start of 2010 I asked him again, and amazingly he said ‘yes’. He’d been slowly building it up, so by the time I got it the panels were back on and an M3 interior in it, but it still wasn’t running. I think one of the guys down there had put a jump pack on it to get it started, but a power surge had fried the ECU and a few other things. I would say it was probably three-quarters complete.”
The previous owner had sourced the V8 from a donor car, an E90 M3 Saloon LCI with a slick DCT gearbox. Amazingly, the platforms of the Saloon and Touring are virtually identical. In fact, from the nose right the way back to part way down the rear doors is the same. The rear ends of the rear doors are a slightly different shape to conform to the different boot layout. But apart from that, the layouts remain the same. So, despite there being countless views and rumours about the complexity of an E91 M3 conversion, it’s actually pretty straight forward.
The donor car had been stripped. We mean, completely stripped down to its shell. Engine, gearbox, prop, body panels, interior, dash the lot. The same had then been done with the Touring. As you’d expect, priority had been given to the fitment of the M3’s beautiful 4.0-litre 32v V8 ( #S65B40 ) and its #DCT gearbox. It’s hard to comprehend and perhaps it sounds like we’re dumbing the process down, but there was no fabrication or adjustment made to any brackets. Using the S65’s OEM mounts, the V8 slotted easily in to place, the gearbox aligned perfectly, too, as did the driveshafts and propshaft, and all bolted straight in.
Even the standard Saloon exhaust system fitted. All that the previous owner had to do was to add two thread bolts for the rear box hangers, readily available from BMW, and the quad exhaust sat perfectly.
With the intention being to swap over and utilise every possible optional extra fitted to the M3 donor car, the complete Saloon wiring loom, fuse box and dash were fitted. This meant the all-important iDrive system was also available to the driver.
Regarding the body panels, the complete front end is M3 Saloon. The front bumper, kidney grilles, vented bonnet, and wider front arches were all bolted straight on, and the shut lines matched perfectly. Obviously, a wider front end meant the Touring’s original undertrays and arch liners no longer fitted, so these had been swapped over from the M3, too. Incidentally, before the all of the panels were fitted, the V8’s ancillaries had all been set in their rightful place, including the relevant coolers and bottles being placed in the wings. The goal had been to make this car as OEM as possible.
As you can imagine, this was harder to achieve at the rump end of the Touring. With the car having a wider track, the rear arches needed widening, so M3 Saloon rear quarters had been grafted in and expertly reshaped to meet the lines of the Touring.
The rear bumper is a combination of M3 Saloon and M Sport Touring. It would have been easier to modify an estate bumper, but the previous owner aimed at retaining as much M3 styling as possible, and as such the central vent, angles and lines had all been adopted from the Saloon parts.
Inside the cabin, the Touring’s carpet and panoramic roof had been retained as neither of these were available in M3 guise, but just about everything else you can see and touch is M3 Saloon. Even the rear bench bolted straight in. The rear seat back, however, is Touring, well… kind of. The seat foam had been reshaped to fit and match the bench, and then M3 Saloon covers added.
It was in this overall state that Nick bought the car. “As I said, it was about three-quarters complete when I got it,” he continues. “He’d done a great job. But, obviously the car wasn’t running and it felt tired and a little loose.
So the first thing Nick did was to order a new ECU and cache unit from BMW. After sorting the coding, to his joy the V8 barked into life, enabling Nick to turn his attentions to tightening the whole car up. “There were so many little things that needed sorting,” he explains. “I half stripped the car back down again. As I said, it didn’t feel tight. Things like the doorcards felt a bit loose, some of the trim was slightly squeaky, that kind of thing. As I was taking it apart, I started noticing that a lot of the clips were missing or broken. Some of the trim was scratched or damaged, the screws didn’t match, as you’d expect I guess. That’s what happens when you take a car apart.
“For me though, the whole point of the car was for it to be OEM quality, so I ordered about £1000 worth of clips, screws and trim from BMW. I’ve also got a friend who works in a BMW dismantlers and he was able to help me out with various other parts that were missing or damaged. Things like the membranes in the doors weren’t sealed, so they would have leaked and filled with water if I didn’t seal them. Essentially, the car needed finishing. The bulk of the work was done, but I think it’d been rushed back together when the guy lost interest.”
Nick has therefore invested heavily in transforming this car from the one that he bought. He primarily concentrated on the chassis, replacing the Touring’s factory-fit suspension with a full set of top-spec Variant 3 KW coilovers. He then ordered a set of gorgeous 20” Breyton Race GTS RM forged wheels to tuck under the wide arches, with M3 offsets, of course. Sizeable 9.5x20” wheels fill the fronts, shod in 245/30 Continentals, with broader 10x20” versions out back wrapped in 285/25 rubber by the same brand. He’s is considering nudging the front suspension down just a fraction more, but we have to say the E91 sits beautifully.
Nick then approached Reyland Motorsport for help sorting the front brakes. “I sourced a set of six-pot Brembo calipers from a C63 Mercedes,” he relates. “They’re basically the same as the BMW Performance calipers, just with different mounts on the back. I dropped them off at Reyland along with an M3 suspension leg so they could get all the brackets right and come up with suitable discs and pads. They used 380mm discs in the end and had my car in for a few days fitting everything up and testing it for me. All the brake warning sensors are still connected and functioning. I want to get a kit for the back now.”
We could go on all day about the fact Nick’s retained the Touring’s loom from the rear doors back because certain things are wired differently; how he’s removed individual pins from the loom plugs to ensure nothing is in place that isn’t needed; how he’s retro-fitted a CIC sat nav system that now runs ‘DVD in Motion’; details of the countless trips to the bodyshop to have blemishes removed, lines redefined and exhaust tips powdercoated in black; and why he’d only settle for BMW Performance front seats, but hopefully by now you’ve realised what an exceptional build this is.
Learning how identical the platforms are, it would appear relatively straightforward to swap all the parts across from one car to another. And to his credit, the previous owner has done phenomenally well in doing just that, but it’s finishing the job properly that takes time and patience to get right, and Nick has those qualities in abundance.
Without his input, this would feel like a fast, yet slightly tired, rattly estate. Thanks to Nick’s input it now possess a true OEM quality. It feels like a genuine M3 with full M car pedigree, not simply a modified 3 Series and that’s a difficult feat to achieve. Despite the photos posted on M3Post, some members still questioned whether or not this car was real, and demanded further evidence. Even the official #BMW staff and technicians at Nick’s local dealer were left puzzled when he first popped in to pick up a few parts. Other impressive E91 Tourings have been built around the world and yet more are in the pipeline, but Nick’s M3 converted example is by far the most wellknown.
Over 100,000 views of his build thread prove that. If you get the opportunity to see this machine in the flesh try and find fault with it. After we spent the day with car, we can assure you, you won’t find any.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-E91 / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-DCT-E91 / #DCT / #V8 / #BMW-3-Series-V8 / #Breyton-Race
ENGINE: #S65B40 4.0-litre 32v V8 from E90 M3 LCI Saloon / #BMW-S65 / #S65 / #BMW , standard #BMW-M3-DCT transmission and LSD, full M3 Saloon manifolds and exhaust system with Saloon hanging threads added to back box
CHASSIS: 9.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Breyton-Race-GTS-RM wheels shod in 245/30 and 285/25 Continental tyres respectively, Bimmerworld bolt-to-lug conversion, fully adjustable #KW-Variant-3 coilovers all-round, six-pot orange #Brembo calipers from Mercedes C63 with 380mm discs
EXTERIOR: Complete E90 M3 Saloon front end comprising wings, inner arches, bonnet, front bumper, undertrays and headlights, rear arches widened using E90 M3 Saloon quarter panels, custom rear bumper fabricated from M3 Saloon item and E91 M Sport Touring bumper
INTERIOR: #BMW-Performance seats, M3 Saloon dash, consoles, trim and wiring, M3 Saloon door cards and rear bench with Touring rear seat back foam modified and retrimmed in black nappa leather to match, M3 Saloon steering wheel, M3 Saloon iDrive with CIC sat nav, AC Schnitzer pedals
THANKS: Reyland Motorsport (0121 458 6010 or www.reyland.co.uk) TRS Motorbodies (0121 4548300)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBUYING GUIDE #BMW-E90 #BMW-E91 #BMW-E92 #BMW-E93 #Alpina-E90 tuning B3 and B3S
All the important things to know about buying an E9x #Alpina-B3 . With plenty of power and performance capabilities that gave the M3 a hard time the Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo was a very special car. Indeed, they still are today… Words: Simon Holmes Photography: Dominic Fraser and Dave Smith.
When the #Alpina-B3-Bi-Turbo burst on to UK roads back in #2008 it came in with a bang. Based upon the 335i, Alpina had transformed an already very capable road car into an M3-chasing monster but with even more diversity and subtlety than its M-badged brother. Plus there was the extra air of exclusivity that comes with #Alpina . The B3 was available as a saloon, Touring, coupé or convertible straight from the off and, typical of Alpina, there was little to give the game away from the outside except for a couple of small spoilers and the classic Alpina wheels.
But underneath there had been plenty of smaller changes that equated to a vastly improved overall package. It helped that the 335i was a good starting base but with room for improvement Alpina began with the engine. Powered by the glorious #N54 3.0-litre straight-six fitted with two turbochargers, in #BMW-335i-E90 form it made a healthy 306hp and 295lb ft. But with more in mind Alpina first of all replaced the pistons with bespoke items from Mahle in order to lower the compression ratio down to 9.4:1. This was to ensure the engine would be able to withstand the extra boost pressure it added, now peaking at 1.1bar. To keep everything running smoothly an additional oil cooler was added to maintain optimum running temperatures, even in extreme conditions. It was then coupled to a modified version of BMW’s six-speed sport automatic transmission, which now included Alpina’s Switch-Tronic buttons located behind the steering wheel to change gear if required.
Power rose to 360hp at 5500-6000rpm and torque was up to 369lb ft over a range from 3800- 5000rpm, some 74lb ft more than an M3, and the engine was happy to rev all the way to the 7000rpm redline. The spread of power also was also very broad and it made 294lb ft as low down as 1300rpm, the kind of power band usually reserved for diesels. On the road that led to sensational performance. 0-62mph came in just 4.8 seconds for the saloon and coupé versions, the same as a manual M3, whilst the Touring took 4.9 seconds and the convertible 5.0, presumably due to their extra weight. As they weren’t limited like BMWs were, top speed was a blistering 177mph for the saloon and coupé whilst the Touring managed 175mph and the convertible 174mph.
Emissions took a little bit of a hit, ranging between 232 and 237g/km, but it was a small price to pay for the level of performance, and when it comes to an Alpina then emissions aren’t one of the first things that comes to mind anyway. Economy is a little more important and all of the models hovered around the 28.8mpg mark as an average, dropping down to the high 19s or low 20s depending on the model, a touch behind a regular 335i.
Aside from the power and performance hike there was much more to the B3, as you would expect. Alpina had spent plenty of time fine-tuning the chassis setup to deliver a superior handling package that was still practical. Uprated springs and dampers were fitted in place of the originals and although the ride was slightly firmer, it was far from harsh or uncomfortable. The ride was helped by the use of softer non-run-flat tyres fitted to the classic Alpina multi-spoke wheels measuring 18-inches in diameter and eight-inches wide at the front and nine-inches at the rear. They were fitted with 245/40/18 and 265/40/18 tyres and 19-inch Classic or Dynamic wheels were an optional extra.
Exterior styling was typically Alpina. There was a small lip spoiler added to the bottom of the front bumper and four exhaust tips emerged from underneath the modified rear bumper. All but the Touring models featured a subtle lip spoiler mounted on top of the bootlid, which finished off the additions nicely.
On the inside the dials were, of course, blue with red needles, as with all Alpinas, and the analogue mpg indicator mounted below the rev counter was replaced with an oil temperature gauge showing from 70 to 170º Celsius. The digital display between the clocks showed a speed readout as well as all of the usual mpg calculations. Alpina logos were fitted to the backs of the seats and the steering wheel featured green and blue stitching, finished with a centre Alpina badge to replace the BMW roundel. There was also a build plaque with an individual build number fitted, too. The price for all this was £44,500, which was a lot of money but then you were getting a lot of car.
After two years of production along came the B3’s replacement. Named the B3 S, it was an evolution of the previous car that seemingly did the impossible by coupling improved performance, power and torque with reduced fuel consumption and better emissions. Based upon the face-lifted E9x range it was available in the same choice of platforms as before. However, whilst BMW chose to move on to the newer, updated #N55 engine, which did away with the twin-turbo setup in favour of a single twin-scroll turbo, Alpina instead decided to stick to what it knew. So the same N54 engine found in the B3 was kept on but further modified. The key changes were to the air intake and filter setup which were redesigned to optimise minimal pressure loss. The exhaust system was also improved to address backpressure and together the modifications effectively allowed air to pass into the engine more efficiently and gases to leave more efficiently. Boost pressure was also slightly increased, again to 1.2bar.
Despite the relatively minor touches the end result was a class-leading 133hp per litre, or 400hp peak at 6000rpm. Torque was also up to 397lb ft at 4500rpm and the same 294lb ft of torque available at just 1300rpm. That equated to an even faster 0-62mph time of just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of a truly staggering 186mph for the saloon and coupé versions. The convertible again trailed slightly behind, at 185mph, but the Touring was quoted as touching 189mph, which were all supercar-baiting speeds not so many years ago.
On the outside the front lip spoiler was of a different design to match the BMW’s face-lifted front bumper and whilst the rear lip spoiler was the same there was now a matching diffuser fitted at the rear underneath the bumper to house the four exhaust tips. The wheels, tyres and interior details remained virtually the same though.
The car didn’t come cheap: a convertible cost a whopping £55,250 back in 2010. The B3 S wasn’t quite as successful as its predecessor, largely due to the D3 Bi-Turbo diesel version now accounting for a majority of Alpina sales. It was replaced in 2013 with the new F3x model.
The E9x range isn’t really affected by rust issues so when it comes to the B3 and B3 S it’s far more important to make sure everything is present and correct. Replacement spoilers are available but they are very expensive and if the car has been in an accident before they may not have been replaced with the correct item, so check carefully. Both the B3 and B3 S models should have an Alpina front lip spoiler below the front bumper although they are different in design between the two models due to the shape of the front bumpers. Check to make sure it’s not damaged as they do lower the car’s front-end ground clearance. There should be a small lip spoiler on the bootlid for all models except the Touring and the B3 will have what looks like a standard 335i rear bumper but with larger cutouts for the four-tailpipes. Only the B3 S has an additional diffuser added to the bottom of the rear bumper. Items such as graphics/stripes can still be ordered from Alpina.
The big concern with buying an Alpina has always been to make sure you are actually buying the real thing and not a replica. It’s a lot easier to tell nowadays than it used to be but you should still make sure you know what you’re looking at as some cars are particularly subtle. Aside from the front and rear spoilers, key signs will be on the inside. Look for the blue dials and an oil temperature gauge in place of the mpg indicator. Make sure the correct Switchtronic buttons and build plaque are there. The plaque is mounted up on the roof by the interior lights. If any of these aren’t present find out why. The other easy way to tell should be by the engine. From opening the bonnet, the B3 should have a badge on the front of the engine cover, and the B3 S will have an Alpina badge in place of the BMW roundel with Alpina Bi-Turbo written on the cover to the right-hand side. It should be obvious from the way it drives, too. On the road, it’s a very fast car and it should feel every bit of it with a pleasant accompanying soundtrack to go with it. Although they are quite heavy cars they hide it well and in the real world they can hold their own against an E9x M3 in most scenarios. The steering is sharp and the ride is still firm enough to be fun but usable on even the bumpiest roads.
Your other big concern when buying a B3 or B3 S will be finding one. As mentioned, the more practical D3 Bi-Turbo was available at the same sort of time and it outsold the B3 by ten to one in some cases. As a result, the petrol versions were rare cars when they were new so be prepared to take what you can get if you want one. The earlier B3 was the more popular of the two but only 111 examples were sold in the UK, made up of 50 coupés, 44 convertibles, 15 saloons and just two Tourings. The B3 S was even rarer and only 43 UK examples were sold, made up of 24 convertibles, 12 coupés, four saloons and three Tourings. Based on those numbers and how rare they are it’s best to have an idea of what model you want, be realistic about how likely you are to find one and then keep an eye on what comes up and be willing to compromise. Price-wise, there are never many for sale but search the internet and specialist forums enough and you should find one or two pop up. The cheapest we found was £18,995 for a 2008 B3 saloon with 57,000 miles on it and some nice options fitted. We also found a 2008 B3 saloon in white with the optional 19-inch wheels and 38,000 miles under its belt for £22,950. Top of the pile was a 2011 B3 S convertible with just 13,000 miles for a wholesome £33,000. If you’re after a Touring be ready to wait it out.
On the road, it’s a very fast car and it should feel every bit of it with a pleasant accompanying soundtrack to go with it.
Alpinas have always been famous for the sometimes extravagant choice of their interior colours, so don’t be surprised if the leather trim is finished in a loud colour, although most of the time it will be black. If the steering wheel is worn or stitching is discoloured you can still order a replacement direct from Alpina, but be warned, it is extremely expensive.
Have a good look over the interior’s general condition; these cars are usually well-looked-after with low mileages but make sure it’s all as it should be and all of the individual Alpina items are in place. Also, make sure the convertible and coupé models hand you the seat belt as you close the door as this mechanism can fail.
Steering and suspension
The suspension setup on the B3 models was specially modified by Alpina and doesn’t use regular #BMW components for the important bits. Instead, it features Bilstein dampers with Eibach springs to give the firmer ride and although most B3 and B3 S models haven’t covered many miles, those that have might find these becoming a little tired now. It’s not hard to get replacements though as these can still be bought direct from Alpina.
Aside from any unusual noises to listen out for there shouldn’t be too much to worry about otherwise, although be aware the stiffer suspension and larger wheels with lower profile tyres will give a harsher ride than you perhaps might be used to, although it’s still good for a sports saloon.
Also, brakes always seem to wear out quickly on the E9x models and the Alpina puts added strain on them due to it enhanced performance, so expect brake wear to be a common occurrence.
Wheels, tyres and brakes
Needless to say all cars came with Alpina wheels and the standard fit items were the multi-spoke Classic in 18-inch diameter with staggered rears an inch wider. Also fairly common were the upgraded 19-inch wheels in either the Classic or Dynamic design, the latter featuring spaced spokes in a star-shaped pattern. All Alpina cars ran Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres from new and none were run-flats, so make sure there are provisions in case of a flat tyre as the E9x was never designed to carry one.
Alpina B3/B3S Bi-Turbo
ENGINE: Six-cylinder, twin-turbo #N54B30
MAX POWER: 360hp (400)
MAX TORQUE: 369lb ft (397)
PRICE (NEW): From £46,950 (49,250)
0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds (4.7)
TOP SPEED: 177mph (186)
ECONOMY: 28.8mpg (29.1)
EMISSIONS: 234g/km (224)
0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds (4.7)
TOP SPEED: 177mph (186)
ECONOMY: 291.mpg (29.1)
EMISSIONS: 232g/km (224)
0-62MPH: 4.9 seconds (4.8)
TOP SPEED: 175mph (189)
ECONOMY: 28.5mpg (29.1)
EMISSIONS: 237g/km (225)
0-62MPH: 5.0 seconds (4.9)
TOP SPEED: 174mph (185)
ECONOMY: 28.5mpg (29.1)
EMISSIONS: 237g/km (225)
Figures in brackets (in all above panels) refer to B3SStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLOAD RUNNER
You can’t go wrong with a fast estate and SSP’s #BMW-E91 M3-styled #BMW-335i-Touring is a serious piece of kit, packing a 415hp punch and xDrive, making it rather special. Everyone loves a hot estate, and they don’t come much hotter than SSP’s wild M3-styled 335i Touring… Words: Seb de Latour. Photos: Sam Dobbins.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had a soft spot for fast estates for many, many years now – in fact I developed a strong affection for them long before I had any right to be thinking about practical, family wagons. Even now, I don’t have a family, but every now and then I’ll spot a weird, obscure, high-performance estate and start feeling all funny.
It would seem I’m not the only one (thankfully), who suffers from this particular affliction and whenever BMW launches a new M car but chooses not to offer it in Touring form, the cries of protest and frustration can be heard across globe.
All you need to do is take a look at the number of people who have created E46 M3 Tourings and E91 M3 Tourings to understand the lengths many will go to in order to combine performance with practicality in the ultimate sleeper package.
Heck, even Gerhard Richter, director of development at BMW M, had an E39 M5 Touring for himself. BMW relented with the E60 M5 and produced a Touring, though with just 1025 cars made and only 222 righthand drive examples, it proved to be an expensive exercise and we’re unlikely to see another M Touring for some time, if at all.
But no matter because thanks to companies like Norwegian fast-masters SSP, if you throw enough money at your Touring you can come away with something that, to all intents and purposes, is basically an M3 wagon, and that’s no bad thing. In fact, in this particular case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the final product might actually be better than an M3. Crazy talk perhaps, but stay with me.
First things first, this M3 Touring isn’t really an M3. It’s got all the M3 looks but under the bonnet, rather than the thumping S65 V8 you’ll find an N54 straight-six. This is because this conversion has been carried out on a 335i Touring, and it’s stayed true to its origins. But that’s no reason for disappointment, because the N54 is an awesome piece of kit and SSP’s founder, Tarjei Christiansen, not only agrees but has the know-how to get the most out of it. “In my opinion the N54 is one of the best BMW engines that the company has produced in the last eight years. I’m not so keen on the V8, it makes the M3 too much like an M5, so we wanted to keep the six-cylinder engine, and the N54 offers a lot of performance.
“We built this as a demo car for SSP,” Tarjei explains, “and we have always made M3 Tourings – we started with the E36, made an E46 as well obviously, and when the E91 was launched we wondered how to make a good M3 Touring from the new model. We decided we wanted to make a sport family car that you could also drive to the mountains in winter,” and that’s why this 335i boasts xDrive, which suddenly makes it a whole lot more interesting.
“We wanted to give the car enough power to match the M3, so we took it to 415hp and it has more torque at 420lb ft. We offer a 450hp kit with a bigger intercooler, but the automatic gearbox doesn’t work so well with that much power so we only recommend it with a manual gearbox, but 415hp is perfect with the auto.
“For the styling we used the bodywork from the four-door M3 and while it’s an okay conversion to do, it’s not easy. Nothing bolts straight on and we have to change all the mounting points for the bodywork on the car to make them fit. We don’t cut corners at SSP and we wanted to make sure we did the conversion properly. The body conversion takes a long time – around 60 hours of labour, so it’s a pretty big job and just the rear bumper takes 25-30 hours of that as we have to basically build it from two different bumpers. On this car we have also added a Vorsteiner front spoiler and rear diffuser plus we’ve added carbon grilles and a few other styling elements as well.
“We fitted KW Variant 3 coilovers to the car, as we do with all our cars. We only fit the V3 kit as it’s the only one that’s handbuilt at the KW factory, as well as offering the most adjustment. I’ve been to the factory and seen how they mechanically test the kits, with 1200 compressions on the dampers, so I know it’s the best kit. We changed the brakes for E60 M5 front discs, as they fit on the xDrive hubs perfectly, with AC Schnitzer callipers. The car uses a GS Performance exhaust that was custom-built for the 3.0-litre straight-six and we finished the it off with a set of 20-inch BBS CH-R summer wheels, though in winter we use a set of 19-inch wheels with studded tyres.”
As far as looks are concerned, in my eyes you really can’t go wrong with an M3 Touring, so SSP was on to a winner from the very beginning and the subtle styling additions really help to add the finishing touches. The Vorsteiner front lip and rear diffuser add a touch of muscle to the styling, and those 20” #BBS rims really suit the car, filling the arches perfectly. If you like the looks of the E9x M3, which I do, you really can’t find fault with the SSP Touring.
The combination of four-wheel drive and 415 turbocharged horses must be more than a little potent and I’m keen to know how the car performs. “On track it’s no race car,” Tarjei says, “but it’s good fun. It feels very different to an M3, though; the M3 is more focused while this car more like an Audi S4 in the way it feels, but our Touring handles much better.”
And what about on the road against its inhouse rival? “From 0-80mph it’s faster than an M3,” he says. “It handles very well with xDrive and we’ve also added a software upgrade for the gearbox which gives faster shifts and also allows us to take advantage of the torque. Here in Norway, we have snow on the ground five-six months of the year so a car like this is not just useful, it’s also a lot of fun with so much power and xDrive,” Tarjei chuckles.
This car is currently for sale and while the price tag of just over £94,000 might seem like an awful lot of money, a new F30 335i xDrive will set you back the equivalent of £90,000, so for the extra performance, the extremely generous list of additional options and the numerous performance upgrades along with the M3 styling, you’re more than getting you money’s worth.
So far, SSP has produced four examples of its M3 Touring – two rear-wheel drive examples and two xDrive versions – with one out of the four being an auto and whoever is lucky enough to be able to afford one of these is definitely in for a treat.
The E90 M3 is a pretty awesome allrounder as it is – one of the most perfect blends of performance and practicality that the automotive world has ever seen, but SSP’s Touring manages to trump it on just about every level. You get to enjoy the M3’s looks but in Touring form, which ultimately makes it just that little bit cooler, and even more practical as well as being faster and more economical too. And then you have the surefootedness of xDrive, which means you can safely and comfortably deploy all that power and torque whatever the weather, which make this one ferociously fast cross-country weapon and in winter with a set of studded tyres, nothing can touch it.
While the M Touring has died a death, at least for the time being, it’s reassuring to know that there are not only individuals out there flying the flag for fast #BMW estates but companies like SSP that are more than happy to make your M3 Touring dreams into M3 Touring reality and with this creation, SSP has made just about the most complete car you could hope to own.
E60 M5 front discs and AC Schnitzer calipers offer serious stopping power.
We have snow six months of the year so it’s not just useful it’s also a lot of fun with so much power.
M3 body panels require an obscene amount of effort to fit, but the results are well worth it.
DATA FILE #BMW-335i-Touring-E91
ENGINE: 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54 , remap, custom GS Performance M3 exhaust
TORQUE: 420lb ft.
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed Steptronic, shift software upgrade. #BMW-335i-E91
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) BBS CH-R summer wheels 8.5x19” (front) and 10x20” (rear) winter wheels with 235 (front) and 265 (rear) studded tyres, KW Variant 3 fully adjustable coilover kit, E60 M5 front discs with #AC-Schnitzer calipers.
EXTERIOR: Full genuine E9x M3 styling with bonnet, front wings, front bumper, door mirrors, rear arches, rear bumper, carbon kidney grilles, #Vorsteiner front lip spoiler, Vorsteiner rear diffuser.
INTERIOR: Standard E91 interior with #Webasto remote heater, Professional sat nav, leather sport seats, panoramic sunroof, matt carbon interior trim.
Tel: +47 4810 1020
We decided we wanted to make a sport family car that you could also drive in winter.
It might not look like much, but there’s 415hp under here.
In my opinion the #N54B30 is BMW has produced in the last eight years one of the best engines.
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