- Post is under moderationM3-STYLED F31 335d
Touring gets M makeover. Some may think that the inherent boxiness of estate cars is fundamentally unsporty, but #PITSTOP Performance has other ideas, as this #BMW-M3-styled 335d Touring proves… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
TOURING DE FORCE F31 335d with #M3-conversion
Estate cars, it’s fair to say, come with a certain amount of baggage. And not just the junk in the trunk, but the whole history of their being, the fundamental point of their existence: take a sensible family car, realise there isn’t enough space in there, and graft on a few extra square feet of glass and steel at the rear. Then you’re well served for carting refuse to the dump, cramming in luggage for family holidays, feeling smug in the Ikea car park while those around you try to squeeze wardrobes into hatchbacks, and everything else that goes with station wagon ownership. You buy them because you need to, not because you want to.
At least that used to be true. Then the 1990s happened, and things started to get silly: Audi began hiding Porsches inside its Avants, Volvo dropped massive Touring Car motors into its turbobricks, and before we knew what was happening the idea of having an estate car was edging away from ‘do I have to?’ and toward ‘I really want to’.
It’s for this reason that the base car for the project you see before you isn’t as embarrassing as it might once have been. Sure, when you note down the layout on a stark and unforgiving set of bullet points, it should be the sort of thing that’d satisfy your grandad rather than your boy-racer cousin: a boxy wagon with a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox. Hardly the stuff of schoolyard dreams is it?
Oh, but it is. For this is an #F31-generation 335d – a car that came from the factory boasting 313hp from a 3.0-litre common-rail diesel straight-six with a pair of turbos strapped menacingly to the side. It’s got piezo-electric injectors and aluminium construction and variable turbo geometry… this is quite a long way removed from the rattly oil-burners of yore.
The only real hurdle here, then, is its boxiness. It’s an estate car, and there’s no escaping the utilitarian vibe of that. But as any of the best tuners will tell you, hurdles are really just upstart opportunities, and Blend Maroof, owner of Sweden’s PITSTOP Performance as well as of this F31, is eager to springboard off that bland reputation and transmute it into something awesome.
The first thing you’ll probably have spotted is that this 3 Series Touring has received a full M3 body conversion. This is a fiery move, as the fabled M badge has a tempestuous relationship with estate cars. The idea of an M3 Touring is one that consistently gets BMW fans whipped up into an excitable lather, the internet bristles with pages upon pages of forum posts and blog entries along the lines of ‘it’s the best car that BMW never built’. It does, after all, seem unfair that the wagons were left off the product planning chart, particularly given the proven global enthusiasm for hot estates; the RS4 and RS6 have paid for more than a few posh dinners in the steakhouse next to the Audi factory. And the E60- generation M5 was offered as a capacious load-lugger – V10 up front, Labrador in the back – so why not the M3? Well, it’s all down to maths, probably. Or physics. But that hasn’t stopped the aftermarket bolting together what #BMW never dared…
“My first car was a 316ti, and from that point on I was firmly in the BMW groove,” laughs Blend. “That car was RWD, red, and a BMW, which was all I wanted at the time.
Since then I’ve owned and modified an E61 535d, an E60 535d, an E60 M5, an E39 M5, an E91 M3, and many others.” It helps that his hobby is also his job, of course, as that provides a handy excuse to constantly be tweaking, refining, and generally getting up to a whole mess of Bavarian mischief.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that this isn’t actually Blend’s first crack at building an M3-alike Touring; regular readers may remember his E91 335i Touring that appeared in these pages some time back, sporting genuine E92 bodywork and a menacing attitude (the eagle-eyed will have spotted his mention of the technically non- existent E91 M3 in the preceding paragraph!). “I sold that car to an amateur, who destroyed it,” he sighs, “so I told myself I needed to build another one. We have to have at least one M3 Touring in Sweden! So I started searching for a good base, and decided on this well-optioned F31 335d xDrive.”
The car was sourced from a German dealer in mint condition, but naturally this didn’t make Blend pause as he was single- minded in his mission; indeed, he went one step further than having a plan in mind – he already had most of the parts for the project before he even took delivery of the car.
“The rear bumper’s probably my favourite modification on the car, as I’m the first one in the world to do that,” he grins. “I also swapped the front carrier, the bonnet, wings, lights, front bumper, mirrors, side skirts, rear panel and rear doors, and then it was all painted in original Sapphire black.” A pretty comprehensive conversion – and you’ll note that he’s cheekily left the M3 badge on the grille too; something we wouldn’t normally condone on a non-M car, but given the effort that’s gone into crafting this machine we reckon he’s earned it.
“The car’s static, running KW coilovers,” Blend explains, “because of the quality of the brand, and the fact that I’ve used them before. Also at the time there weren’t many manufacturers that had coilovers for the 335d xDrive! The wheels came at this point too, and I knew I wanted something deep concave with nice wide rears – I found the ‘right’ wheels a few weeks before the project was finished, they’re Japan Racing JR21s.”
The rears measure a whopping 11x19”, which certainly makes the most of Blend’s newfound hip girth (not his, the car’s), and their smoky finish really works with the overall aggression of the build.
The engine was the next item on the list, and while it may have already been packing a serious horsepower figure backed up by the trademark stump-troubling torque of the modern diesel, Blend had a few ideas to spice things up further. So now you’ll find it running a PITSTOP remap along with the company’s own custom 3” downpipe and exhaust system, along with #K&N induction and a big intercooler. Any of you who are still questioning the impressiveness of a diesel estate car as an M3 tribute will hopefully be gratified to learn that Blend’s creation will now run from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. And that, fittingly, would match an Audi RS6. “The engine work all took about a week,” he explains, with the nonchalant air of someone who truly knows his stuff. “It runs real good, I haven’t had any problems!”
From start to finish, the transformation took around three months, which is really quite hair-raising. Blend’s proud to say that he planned and executed all of the work himself too, with the exception of the installation of the rear panel, which was done by the paint shop while it was spraying it. And it’s impressive to note that when we ask him what more he might have done to the car if money were no object, his response is a humble “Nothing, I’ve done everything I wanted.” Although, when we press him further, he does admit that he’ll be sprucing up the interior to matching M3 spec in the coming year.
This, then, is the product of a man unafraid to build the cars that BMW didn’t; a singularity of vision that dismisses the notion of the estate car’s perceived lack of coolness with nary a second thought. And before we have time to catch breath, he’ll be starting down the path to creating an M2 hatchback. The fella clearly has an axe to grind with BMW’s product planners, and he just cannot be stopped.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-335d-Touring / #BMW-335d-Touring-F31 / #BMW-335d / #BMW-335d-F31 / #BMW / #Wagner / #Akrapovič / #Akrapovic / #BMW-M3-styled / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled / / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo diesel #N57D30T1 / #N57 / #BMW-N57 / #N57D30 / , 3” downpipe, #DPF and #EGR delete, 3” #PITSTOP custom exhaust system with #Akrapovič tails, #Wagner-Evo intercooler, K&N induction, PITSTOP custom remap, eight-speed #ZF-BMW-Sport-automatic transmission ( #ZF8HP / #ZF )
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET22 (front) and 11x19” ET25 (rear) #Japan-Racing-JR21 wheels with 255/35 (f) and 295/30 (r) tyres, #KW-V2 coilovers, MSport brakes
EXTERIOR Sapphire black, full M3 body conversion including custom rear bumper
THANKS Thanks to my wonderful wife, PITSTOP and Schmiedmann – without them the project wouldn’t have been possible, Streetwheels for the fast job on the wheels, and to all of you out there who stood by my side from the start and helped me with everything
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Retro #BMW-R75/6 hits ’em high, bagged F31 hits ’em low. The bike’s cool. The wagon’s cool. Hell, even the trailer’s cool. Step right up, folks, and enter Stan Chen’s wacky world of eight-wheeled wonder… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Peter Wu.
THREE’S COMPANY F31 Touring and classic bike combo
There’s a fairly natural crossover between cars and motorbikes. Okay, two-wheeled mischief may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and undoubtedly for some of you it won’t be – you’ve actively shelled out your hard-earned on a car mag, after all, so you probably quite like cars), but the visceral thrills of opening the throttle and heading for the horizon are shared by both groups of enthusiasts with equal aplomb. Swapping an accelerator pedal for a twist grip, and four wheels for two, is largely immaterial in the greater pursuit of letting it all hang out, forgetting the world, and just heading out to burn some rubber. Whether your journey’s end falls at a Cars and Coffee meet or a greasy, down-low biker bar, the strength of passion is just the same.
Sitting right in the middle of this cars/bikes Venn diagram is Stan Chen, events and sponsorship manager for Toyo Tires and all-round unassailable petrolhead. If it’s got a motor and makes shouty noises, he’s in. So it makes perfect sense that he’d have a matching set of machines; that way he’s covering all bases. And when this eight-wheeled carnival sideshow rolls into town – yes, we’re counting the wheels on the trailer, as that’s very cool, too – all heads turn and Stan finds himself torn between which machine to cause mayhem with first. It’s not a bad way to live.
There are, in fact, three protagonists in this tale aside, of course, from Stan himself: Von Doom, Lil’ Doom, and The Raft. While these may sound like characters from a pastel-hued CBeebies animation, there’s a simmering aggression beneath it all. And just for the hell of it, we’re going to start with the bike.
Stan’s motorcycle is a #1973 #BMW R75/5 . Nicknamed Lil’ Doom, it was originally acquired from a mate of his who let it go on the understanding that he thought Stan could be trusted with it. He was right. What followed was a lengthy and thorough frame-off restoration at the hands of Jay from Lossa Engineering. The frame has been detabbed, which is basically the motorbike equivalent of a shaved engine bay; every superfluous tab and bracket has been ground off and smoothed, allowing all the oily bits to sit more artistically within the scaffolding of the bike’s architecture. The mudguards have been bobbed – that is, chopped shorter to look more pert and racy – and the finish of the bike is just gorgeous: it’s all been painted in BMW Mineral white, with dual pinstripes in Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green. And the motor? It’s the biggest of BMW’s /5 Series, being a 749cc boxer twin that offers an entertaining mix of rasps and rumbles through its retro black chrome exhausts. It’s a beautiful mid-Seventies sculpture, fastidiously restomodded to be 21st century useable.
Oh, and it’s been lowered, obviously. The shocks are shorter, as it has to match the car. But before we get to that, let’s look at the second character on our amusingly peculiar script: The Raft.
Now, this might be the first time we’ve featured a trailer in Performance BMW. It might be the last. But this one, The Raft, is no ordinary trailer. You see, Stan’s aim was to marry all of these ideas cohesively, and if you’ve put this level of effort into crafting a custom motorbike to match your custom car, it’d be a bit dumb to just nip down to Brian James Trailers and pick up any old generic tangle of aluminium. What Stan’s done here, then, is to create a one-off carriage for his prized and jewel-like bike. Built by Laodies Kustomz in Iowa it comprises a minimalist tubular frame, wheel arches painted to match both vehicles, a pair of HRE wheels, and a custom Kelderman air-ride system that’s controlled from the car. That’s right. Your eyes do not deceive you. When Stan airs out the wagon, the trailer airs out too. And that’s just about the coolest thing we’ve seen this year.
Ah yes, and there’s a car here as well! Can’t forget that. The reason the bike’s named Lil’ Doom is that it’s a pint-sized companion to its larger stablemate, Von Doom. This imposing creation is a 2014 F31 Touring, a 328i xDrive, and you’ll no doubt have spotted that it’s rocking the same BMW/Audi/Porsche colour scheme as both the bike and The Raft. Interestingly, it was actually bought to be a sensible car…
“This is my fourth BMW,” Stan explains. “My first was a ’95 E36 M3, which was the first car I began modifying; I went as far as putting the Rieger wide-body kit on it with custom-drilled MAE three-piece wheels. It was a must-have, as the European tuning market was getting bigger in the US during that time. But this F31? Well, my wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit for us.” At this point, it’s probably best if you just take a moment and think back to the car you were ferried about in as a tiny child. For some of you it’ll have been something cool, for many others something mundane, but we’re happy to wager that few would have been as awe-inspiring as this unique triumvirate. What a way to build childhood memories!
All of the sensible family-car touchpoints are present: it’s an xDrive model, meaning four-wheel drive and thus a reduced likelihood of getting trapped in snow or quicksand on the school run (hey, y’know, it happens). And the sizeable Thule roof box supplements the colossal boot to ensure ample stowage for nappies, spare babygrows, and unchewed copies of The Jolly Postman. And yet… something here is not quite as sensible as BMW intended.
“I definitely wanted an aero package on the car, there was no doubt about that,” Stan grins. That’s why, along with the M Sport bumpers, you’ll spot the rakish M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser and, of course, roof spoiler ramping up the aggression here. “I went with the M Performance aero package since it was a cleaner look than the other brands available,” he reasons. “It also had the very subtle but noticeable roof spoiler, and that was a must.” It’s in-keeping with the car’s sportwagon intent, too, as Stan’s opted for the 328 variant which features the N20 motor – a four-cylinder petrol, but bolstered by a perky twin-scroll turbo and considered by many to be a truly appropriate successor to the old N52 straight-sixes. Stan’s tickled it a bit, naturally, with an optimising remap and a throaty quad exhaust to help the thing breathe a little more vocally.
“The build of the car was a two-stage process,” he says. “The first stage was the aero along with the KW coilovers, something I’ve used on all my previous builds. But then I decided that air-ride would better match the overall theme of the project, so the second stage included fitting the air suspension, and custom-building the motorcycle trailer that was also on air, and that could be controlled from inside the car.
I went with HP Drivetech struts with AccuAir E-Level air management. It’s my favourite part of the build; it allows me to go as low as possible but air up as needed when going over speed bumps and into steep driveways, which I always found to be a challenge with coilovers.” Impressively, what Stan’s achieved here is to convince us that fitting air-ride to his car and making a bagged trailer to match has all been done in the name of sensibleness and practicality, and that’s exactly the sort of world we want to live in.
The wheels are 20” HRE 501s, plucked from the Vintage Series line and sporting staggered widths; Stan chose them because he likes the classic style, and we can really see where he’s coming from. Mesh wheels always suit BMWs (well, within reason), and HRE’s timeless cross-spokes flatter the F31 down to a tee. The same can also be said for the Recaro Sportster CS seats, which were selected in order to retain an OE feel but provide more of a sporty aesthetic. And that’s pretty much the ethos of the project in a nutshell. What at first seems to be a well-kept modern BMW with a classic bike on a trailer may not immediately trigger sirens in the brains of passers-by but the more you look, the more details you unearth. What Stan’s done is to fuse the practical chores of day-to-day family life with the slap-in-the-chops ability to stop the show when he rolls into town. Furthermore, he’s got a badass ’bagged BMW for cruising, as well as a zingy custom retro motorcycle for canyon-running and B-road blasts. The package deal really does tick a lot of boxes. People often talk about their ideal three-car garage but Stan’s vision of the ultimate answer only actually involves one car: with Von Doom, Lil’ Doom and The Raft working together in slick, colour-coded harmony, there’s no situation that this family can’t deal with. If only we could all have life so neatly figured out.
Both the Touring and trailer air-ride systems are linked and controlled from the car.
/ 1973 / BMW-R75/5 has been colour-coded with the Touring and trailer perfectly.
Left: frame has been detabbed for a cleaner look.
“My wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit”
DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring ʻVon Doomʼ / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #HRE-501 / #HRE / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #MXP quad exhaust system with dual-wall black chrome tips, dual tune by ECU Tuning Group, full European coding by Alpine Coding, eight-speed auto ’box
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 9.5x20” (rear) #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, #HP-Drivetech struts and #AccuAir-E-Level air management system, #M-Performance big brake kit, R1 Concepts dimpled and grooved discs
EXTERIOR BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, M Sport front and rear bumpers, M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser, side panel blades and roof spoiler, Thule Sonic roof box, Thule AeroBlade Edge rack system, Huper Optik ceramic window film by STM Advanced Window Film Solutions
INTERIOR #Recaro-Sportster-CS seats, custom #AccuAir-E-Level control pad mount
DATA FILER 75/5 ʻLilʼ Doomʼ / #BMW-R75 / #BMW-R75/5-Lil-Doom
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 749cc air cooled four-stroke boxer twin, #K&N filters, Motul 7100 4T, cast aluminium BMW2Valve.com café racer starter cover, black chrome exhaust with Heatshield Cobra exhaust wrap, Shorai lithium-ion battery
CHASSIS Audi Charcoal grey wheel spokes with Porsche Irish green lips, Firestone Deluxe tyres, Lossa Engineering subframe, Charcoal de-tabbed frame, shortened front suspension with Progressive Suspension springs, #Progressive-Suspension-412-Series rear shocks
EXTERIOR #BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, R100 fuel tank with custom dimple die fuel cap recess, Crafty B brushed aluminium Mini Racer fuel cap, BMW2valve.com cast aluminium starter cover, Lossa Engineering custom mudguards, vintage brushed aluminium tail-light
INTERIOR Black leather with grey selvedge denim seat, Renthal Ultra Low handlebars, Tommaselli grips
DATA FILE #Trailer-The-Raft / #Trailer
CHASSIS 8.5x18” #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels, 225/45 Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, custom #Kelderman airride system (controlled from car), custom Irish green control arms
EXTERIOR Custom tube frame, arches painted BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, #Ford-Model-A-tail-lightsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTest location: Shingay cum Wendy, Cambridgeshire. Photography: Aston Parrott #Mercedes-AMG-C43-Estate-S205 vs. #BMW-340i-Touring-F31 . Which of these performance compact estate rivals delivers the fullest package? / #BMW-340i-Touring / #BMW-340i-F31 / #BMW-F31 / #BMW / #BMW-340i / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-S205 / #Mercedes-Benz-S205 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-205 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Klasse / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Klasse-205
It’s going to take a while for us to get used to this new breed of AMG-lite. We’ve come to expect that cars from Affalterbach will be slightly unhinged, wild, tyre-smoking hooligans. The new C43, however, feels like it’s been created by a different branch of AMG, one run by engineers who value speed and grip over enjoyment, engineers who haven’t had one too many steins of Weissbier. Engineers who created the A45 AMG. But perhaps we shouldn’t get too hung up on that, because by forgoing an exotic V8 engine in favour of a 367hp twin-turbo 3-litre #V6 , the C43 brings an AMG C-class within reach of a wider audience…
The 340i replaces the 335i in the 3-series F30 line-up, and uncharacteristically for a BMW, it isn’t adorned with a plethora of ‘M’ badges. It isn’t even part of BMW’s semi-hot ‘M Performance’ range. It’s just a normal car, albeit quite a powerful one.
The 340i’s new 3-litre, twin-scroll single-turbo engine produces 325hp and 450nm of torque, which make it good for a 0-100km/h time of 5.1sec. not bad for a non-M model.
Its supple, cosseting ride quality certainly doesn’t make it feel much like a performance car, and when trundling down the road with the driving mode set to Comfort, the 340i is a very pleasant place to be. on the move the chassis feels noticeably sharper when you select either of the Sport or Sport+ driving modes.
Thanks to a more aggressive throttle map, the engine feels more urgent too. Some of the ride quality diminishes, but the 340i now reacts more eagerly to steering inputs thanks to less body roll. The engine also makes more noise, but while the exhaust emits a deep but subtle growl for those outside, the soundtrack inside the cabin is mostly breathy. Stretch the engine to its lofty – by today’s standards – 7000rpm rev limit and it begins to emit a more satisfying timbre, although it’s still far from spine-tingling.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox slots each gear into place almost instantly, but despite the speedy changes the drivetrain never feels that urgent, even when cranked up to its highest setting; stand on the throttle and you have to wait momentarily for momentum to build before there’s a reaction. Once the power has found its way to the rear wheels, though, you can really feel them helping the back of the car around a corner. These transparent and innately rear-drive characteristics are so delightful to exploit that the BMW encourages you to push harder and drive faster.
Sadly the chassis begins to show its humble, estate-car roots the quicker you go. The front-end doesn’t possess the sort of grip we’ve come to expect of a modern performance car, and unless you’re very careful and measured with your steering inputs the 340i readily stumbles into understeer. Proportionally, there’s more rear-end grip than front, but that means the influence the throttle has on the back axle rarely escalates into anything very exciting. Try really hard to induce a slide and the rear feels very heavy, leaning considerably over the outside wheel. Then once grip has been lost, the body roll and lack of a limited-slip diff mean the resulting slide is scruffy, making you feel ham-fisted.
The BMW runs on a Bridgestone Potenza S001, a tyre we’ve been impressed with on other cars. However, whether it’s the weight of the 340i or the alterations BMW has made to the tyre (the star on the sidewalls denotes it has been specifically adapted for BMW), these Potenzas feel less like an ultra high performance tyre and more like a summer touring one.
this new AMG C43 shares its spangly grille with lesser C-classes, so it looks pretty sober. only the four exhausts give the game away that this is no ordinary estate. Inside there’s hardly an abundance of AMG cues, either, but the car’s intentions are clear from the moment you drive off. The chassis is much firmer than that of the BMW, even in its more comfortable modes, and the steering, although light, is very quick.
On paper the Mercedes has the BMW covered, with that 367hp supported by 520nm of torque, resulting in a 0-100km/h time of 4.7sec. this is reflected by an eagerness to the C43’s drivetrain that the 340i could only wish for – the rev-counter needle dashes around the dial as if on a vacuum – although the twin-turbo V6 doesn’t rev as high as the BMW’s straight-six. The nine-speed auto gearbox is quick, with sharp, crisp changes that better those of a lot of double-clutch systems. Sadly, to avoid confusing the drivetrain and causing a long pause before the power comes back in, you need to change up by around 6200rpm.
The C43’s chassis doesn’t change dramatically between each of its drive modes. However, the dampers can be softened off separately should you want the slightly more pliant ride with the more immediate throttle map. Keep the engine, gearbox and suspension in their sportiest settings and there’s almost no slack in any of the controls. The C43 changes direction instantly, the chassis more than capable of keeping up with the quick steering.
But as taut and responsive as the Mercedes is, it’s the sheer speed of the car that’s most remarkable. The 4Matic four-wheel-drive system contributes to an incredible amount of grip that means B-roads can be dispatched with disconcerting ease.
You can throw anything at the C43 and it remains unruffled, but this incredible competence comes at the expense of any real interaction. The throttle doesn’t change the attitude of the car: a lift is as ineffectual as standing on the accelerator midcorner, the C43 staying glued to its original trajectory. Only a lot of speed and some tactical left-foot braking will eventually induce some reluctant movement from the rear axle. The AMG’s incredible capability goads you to drive faster and faster in an attempt to instigate some sort of reaction, but it’s near impossible to maintain the speeds needed for the C43 to come alive on the road.
Having such performance available in small estate cars is, in itself, fantastic, and both the BMW and AMG are talented in their own ways. The #BMW doesn’t purport to be a performance car and it doesn’t quite have the power and pace to match the overtly sporty #AMG , but it certainly holds its own in this test, being involving and rewarding to drive if kept within its limits. By contrast the C43 can be aloof. With unrelenting grip and composure it never shows a playful side, making it difficult to fall for. Its sheer competence means it wins this test, but it wins few friends in the process.
‘An incredible amount of grip means the C43 can dispatch B-roads with disconcerting ease’
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #Mercedes-AMG C43 #4Matic Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-T-Modell / #Mercedes-AMG-T-Modell / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-T-Modell-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-T-Modell-S205
Engine V6, 2996cc, twin-turbo / CO2 181g/km
Power 367hp @ 5500-6000rpm DIN
Torque 520nm @ 2000-4200rpm DIN
Transmission 9-speed auto
0-100 km/h 4.7sec (claimed)
Top speed 250km/h (limited)
Weight 1660kg (225hp/ton)
Basic price tba contact Cycle & Carriage 6298 1818
+ incredibly fast and composed
- difficult to engage with
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #BMW-340i-Touring
Engine in-line 6-cyl, 2998cc, turbocharged CO2 158g/km
Power 325hp @ 5500-6500rpm DIN
Torque 450nm @ 1380-5000rpm DIN
Transmission 8-speed auto ( #ZF8HP / #ZF )
0-100 km/h 5.1sec (claimed)
Top speed 250km/h (limited)
Weight 1615kg (205hp/ton)
Basic price Special indent only
Contact Performance Motors, 6319 0100
+ Feel some rear-drive chassis
- Easy to drive it beyond its BMW 340i Touring #BMW-F30 comfort zone
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- Post is under moderationWunder-Wagon AC SCHNITZER 340i TOURING
AC Schnitzer’s taken a 340i xDrive Touring and turned it into a superb one-car-fits-all weapon. AC Schnitzer has taken an xDrive 340i Touring and turned it into a brilliant one-car-fits-all performance estate. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.
There’s something ever so slightly confusing about the new 40i nomenclature that’s currently running riot through the BMW range. It used to be the preserve of the larger models – Fives, Sixes and Sevens – and since 1991 and the arrival of the E32 740i it used to point to the fact that there was a creamy smooth V8 nestled under the bonnet with at least a 4.0-litre capacity. Sadly, naturally aspirated V8s aren’t cool any longer and with the inevitable downsizing of engines that’s come about thanks to the turbocharger coming back into vogue the ‘40i’ badge looked like it would be consigned to the history books. Until the ‘35i’ needed an injection of new life. Thus the 335i has morphed into the 340i, the 435i into the 440i etcetera… and we believe even the M135i will eventually become the M140i.
The reason we mention this is that our brains have been a little slow to react to the change and for some reason when we stab the starter button of a 40ibadged machine there’s a momentary flinch of confusion when a straight-six erupts into life rather than a lusty V8. Not that there’s anything wrong with the 40i’s vital stats – 320hp and 332lb ft aren’t to be sniffed at, especially when combined with a claimed economy figure hovering around 40mpg, depending on model. Most UK buyers won’t be convinced by the arrival of the 340i though – BMW UK expects less than five per cent of buyers to opt for this model with the larger-engined diesels taking the lion’s share of big power UK 3 Series sales. That doesn’t make the car here any less interesting though – a 340i Touring no less, and a model that’s denied to UK buyers as this one’s drivetrain is hooked up to BMW’s excellent xDrive four-wheel drive system. For once thumbing the starter button doesn’t elicit that confusion as in the confines of Schnitzer’s Aachen workshop there’s a throaty rumble and burble emanating from the twinexit exhaust as the car goes through its cold start routine. This sounds like it’s going to be fun…
Even before we’ve experienced the cold-start cacophony, the ACS3 Touring has a lot going for it – it has a brooding and slightly malevolent presence crouching in the corner of the workshop and while we tend to shy away from using the word ‘stance’ there’s no getting away from the fact that this car looks perfectly poised. Even when cruising the UK’s motorway’s it’s easy to spot an xDrive-equipped 3 Series as they tend to sit ever so slightly too high but this machine certainly couldn’t be accused of looking like it’s on stills by any measure. It looks great in its Sapphire black paintwork, combined with Shadowline trim and a smattering of AC Schnitzer carbon fibre additions. We’ll get a closer look at the car once it’s out in the open while Smithy’s getting his pictures so without further ado it’s time to hit the road…
While this model’s definitely going to be a performance powerhouse it also needs to be everyday usable so the slow trudge out of Aachen allows us to check its comfort credentials. Bar the occasional hint of a more strident than expected exhaust you really could be forgiven for thinking this is a standard production BMW. It rides well, soaking up road imperfections perfectly, with only the largest of potholes eliciting a shudder from the shell, but we reckon it’s no worse than a standard machine in this respect. We’ve not read the car’s full spec yet so it comes as something of a surprise to discover from my AC Schnitzer host who’s accompanying us that this Touring is fitted with the full-on Schnitzer Racing suspension – proof if any were needed that a well set up suspension can be comfortable as well as sporty.
The outskirts of Aachen seem to be littered with speed cameras and unlike in the UK they’re not painted bright yellow and accompanied by plenty of warning signs – here they’re a drab green in colour and located where you don’t spot them… until you’re right on top of them. Sneaky. As a result our pace is pegged back as we travel through several local villages until we can let the 340i off the leash when we reach the outskirts of the Eiffel mountains which is our photoshoot location for the day. We know this is an extensively modified machine but to all intents and purposes when pootling about it’s every bit as refined as the standard BMW on which it’s based. The OBC in front of us is registering around 7.0-litres per 100km as our average economy which equates to around 40mpg in old money – impressive stuff. Especially when you consider this car is running a development version of the performance upgrade that Schnitzer will soon be offering for the 40i engine in the 3 Series. Vital stats are 380hp and 398lb ft of torque – gains of 54hp and 66lb ft respectively.
We’re finally on the undulating and winding roads that signal that we’re approaching our playground for the afternoon and in typical fashion the taking of pictures takes precedence over hooning about. This being the Eiffel the weather’s looking changeable so there’s no point in getting the car filthy before we’ve taken any pictures so we park up and give the Touring a quick wipe down while Smithy gets his cameras out.
It really is a handsome beast – we’re a sucker for the Touring bodystyle – it always seems to be better looking that the equivalent Saloon – and with a few Schnitzer embellishments it looks suitably sporting, too. We’ve mentioned the lowered ride height thanks to the Racing Suspension setup and this kit is height adjustable as well as offering adjustable bump and rebound settings. It’ll lower the car by a maximum of around 35mm at the front and 30mm at the rear on this car. Setting things off nicely are a set of Schnitzer’s latest wheel design, the AC1, here in a bi-colour finish and measuring 8.5x20-inches all- round, with the fronts being fitted with 225/35s and the rears getting a slightly larger footprint with a set of 255/30s. The tyres are Michelin’s excellent Pilot Super Sports.
Elsewhere there are a pair of front spoiler extensions made from carbon fibre which help to give the front end that hunkered down appearance. Moving along the car there are a pair of Schnitzer mirror caps – also in carbon – while at the rear there’s a subtle spoiler extension at the top of the tailgate. Completing the package are a pair of Schnitzer black tailpipe trims adorning the bespoke rear silencer. The complete package certainly looks good, although if we’d ordered a black car we may have settled for the front spoiler additions made out of a less-costly material as it’s harder to see they’re made from carbon on a black machine than on a lighter one.
Interior upgrades are kept to a minimum, with a simple Schnitzer handbrake handle, a pedal set and floor mats and last, but not least, a Schnitzer key holder set into one of the cup holders in the centre console which is a nice touch, as unlike on the Fives and the Sevens there’s nowhere obvious to put the key in the car. Under the bonnet Schnitzer’s also spiced things up a little with its ‘engine optics’ – painting the black plastic engine cover to add a little bit of drama under the bonnet which is much more pleasing on the eye than the swathes of black plastic that usually greets you when you pop a BMW’s bonnet open these days.
Finally we’re done with the pictures and it’s time to get some action shots in the bag. The stretch of road we’re using is one of our favoured locations near Aachen as it has just about everything. There are some longish straights, a series of hairpin bends and plenty of different road surfaces ranging from billiard smooth to nigh-on typical UK B-road – if a car’s not perfectly set up these roads will get to the bottom of any shortcomings. Despite having driven these roads many times in the past it always pays to do a few slow-to-medium pace runs first, just to ensure that there aren’t any mobile speed cameras and to make sure there aren’t any farmers about to emerge towing heavy trailers or any other unexpected hazards lurking around one of those hairpins.
At this relatively moderate pace the Touring simply takes everything in its stride and flows beautifully with the road – the eight-speed auto swaps cogs perfectly and the enhanced engine with its liberal torque output makes light work of the inclines, even if the ‘box is holding onto a higher gear. The ride’s refined and composed and you get the feeling that this would be a marvellous machine to dispatch large distances at a decent speed without breaking into a sweat. Hell, it’s so good it wouldn’t even gently perspire.
But what we really want to know is how the 340i copes when you start pushing a little harder. We ramp the settings up to maximum attack – Sport Plus on the Drive Performance Control Switch and knock the gear lever over into its sporting side and unleash the Touring. The first impression is that used in a spirited manner the 340i sounds utterly sublime, with a throaty bark that’s reverberating around the hills as we storm from one hairpin to the next. As you’d expect with 380 horsepower at one’s disposal it’s hugely quick on the straights and the (optional) M Sport brake kit does a great job of washing off speed for each hairpin, but it’s at the corners that you need to really experience this machine to get to grips with its abilities. Don’t forget that this car uses BMW’s excellent xDrive platform and it proves to be virtually unstickable. It you drive it like a typical rear-drive machine you’ll probably encounter more understeer than you might have been expecting, but get on the throttle earlier than you would normally and you really bring the front wheels into play, helping to drag the car around the corner as well as push it from the rear.
Once you’ve got into the groove the amount of speed you can carry through the corners is quite simply staggering. It might sound a little undramatic and for sure if you like to travel sideways all the time then the xDrive version won’t be for you, but as is ably demonstrated when the threatened rain arrives it doesn’t seem to matter too much to the 340i xDrive whether the road is dry or wet – it simply goes about its business of providing indecently rapid transport. It really is quite a stunning package and as an everyday machine – a Jack-of-all-trades if you like – this really is brilliant.
Its Jekyll and Hyde character is ably demonstrated as we head back into Aachen with all the ride comfort and composure you could possibly want, with just the slightly hot smells coming from the brakes and exhaust the only hint that this car has recently been travelling about as quickly as we’d want to on a quiet piece of public road. No, this 340i doesn’t have a V8 under the bonnet, but the Schnitzer-enlivened ‘six is just as tuneful and probably more powerful than most naturally aspirated #BMW V8s ever were. We think we’ve just found our favourite everyday machine.
CONTACT: AC Schnitzer UK
Tel: 01485 542000
AC Schnitzer Germany
Tel: +49 (0)241 56 88 130
The 340i sounds utterly sublime, with a throaty bark that’s reverberating around the hills.
The ACS3 Touring has a lot going for it – it has a brooding and malevolent presence.
TECHNICAL DATA #AC-Schnitzer-ACS3-4.0ix-Touring / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS3-4.0ix / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS3 / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-340i-Touring / #BMW-340i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #BMW-F31-AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-F31 / #BMW-340i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-340i-Touring-F31 / #BMW-340i / #BMW-340i-AC-Schnitzer /
ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbocharged #BMW-3-Series
MAX POWER: 380hp
MAX TORQUE: 398lb ft
ENGINE: AC Schnitzer Performance Upgrade – £TBC; AC-Schnitzer engine optics – £378.73
EXHAUST: AC Schnitzer silencer with ‘Sport Black’ tailpipes – £1999.00
SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer Racing suspension – £2095.62
WHEELS & TYRES: AC Schnitzer AC1 Bicolour, 8.5x20-inch (all round) with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) tyres – £3255.83
AERODYNAMICS: AC Schnitzer front spoiler elements (carbon) – £888.50; AC Schnitzer mirror covers (carbon) – £430.79; AC Schnitzer rear roof spoiler – £242.73
INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer aluminium pedal set – £135.59; AC Schnitzer aluminium foot rest – £149.82; AC Schnitzer key holder – £79.88; AC Schnitzer floor mats – £181.03 All prices are for parts only but include VAT. For further information please contact AC Schnitzer UK.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-F31 / #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 / #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW F31 TOURING Slick, slammed 328i xDrive
A slick, seriously slammed and sexy Stateside F31 Touring.
If you haven’t caught F30-fever yet, be warned this beautiful blue Touring is highly infectious. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: @vossen.
Despite having been launched a good few years ago now, you could count the amount of non-M F3x cars that have been featured in DRIVE-MY on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over for whatever it is you might want to do with them. Perhaps it’s the looks that haven’t won people over or it’s simply the fact that they’re still quite expensive to buy. We’ve had plenty of M3s and M4s in our pages, but the lesser F3x models remain something of a modified rarity. Seeing a nicely-modified example, then, is reason to be happy and when it’s something as well done as this tasty Touring, it’s broad grins all-round. As the disgustingly sunny photos might suggest, this Touring is not a UK resident.
You will find it and its owner Kat Azadi cruising the streets of Miami Florida, turning plenty of heads as they go because this Touring delivers a tasty styling combo that’s hard to beat. Kat got herself off to a good start as an Estoril 328i xDrive is a mightyfine machine, the classic BMW hue looking very at home on the current models, and the 28i engine is both punchy and decent on fuel, making it a great all-rounder.
Of course, it’s practical too and that was part of the reason why Kat was drawn to the 3 Series wagon, as she explains: “I visited Europe in 2014 and caught the wagon or as you call it ‘estate’ bug! In the USA, it’s very hard to find a wagon and there are even fewer choices if you want a luxury brand. After owning sedans previously, I wanted a car with more cargo room for my dogs and moving around merchandise for the Vossen store. I travel frequently to car shows, events and visit vendors on a regular basis with my boot filled! I didn’t want a SUV and in the USA wagon choices are pretty limited.
BMW really has a winner with the 328i xDrive wagon and the Estoril blue colour was a must-have with the M Sport package! After a nationwide search, we found three Estoril blue M Sport Tourings in the USA: one in California, one in Georgia and one in Colorado. My dealership, Braman BMW, negotiated a swap and I got my car sight unseen from Colorado. The funny thing is that with Colorado being a colder part of the USA my BMW has the Cold Weather Package, which I will never use in Miami!”
Working as Vossen’s merchandise store director means that Kat is surrounded by car people and, working in that sort of environment, it would be impossible to own a standard car. Indeed, she’s no stranger to the pleasures of modified metal, having previously owned a 2013 Lexus GS, which she treated to some Vossen wheels (natch), RS-R suspension, an F-Sport front bumper and a mint wrap (literally) for good measure. The chances of the F31 remaining standard were therefore about zero…
Plans started simply enough, with Kat obviously deciding a set of Vossens were needed along with a drop in ride height. However, after a bit of internet research and talking to co-workers, she realised just what was available out there and it would have been rude not to indulge a bit…
Kat’s goal was to keep the car looking clean and subtle but at the same time make sure it stood out from the crowd. We’d say she’s definitely stuck to her brief and nailed it with the end result. The car is subtle, but once the wheels grab your attention (and they most definitely will) you’ll spot the changes that help make this Touring stand out. Rolling on Vossens was a given, but Kat was spoiled for choice when it came to choosing the right rims for her ride. “Having rocked a few different sets of Vossen wheels, I really wanted something custom this time around,” she says, “so I went with a set of new Vossen Forged LC Series wheels. The model is LC-107 in a colour called Patina gold in 9x20-inch and 10x20- inch. The team engineers the wheels for each specific vehicle so they put my car on the lift and took precise measurements before making their recommendation.”
The single-piece ten-spoke wheels look fantastic; with that wide edge running round the lip they’re just that little bit different to traditional designs, and the 20s are the perfect size for the F31 Touring. Kat’s choice of hue sits perfectly against the Estoril bodywork, Subaru having taught us many moons ago that blue and gold really complement each other. The faces of the wheels are brushed, with polished detailing along the edges of the spokes. Multi-piece offerings might be the darlings of the modified scene, but when it comes to single-piece wheels Vossen knows its onions.
“They are wrapped in 245/35 and 275/30 Toyos,” says Kat, choosing to have some rubber on the road rather than stretch, “and I love how the Brembo brakes are framed behind these wheels!” Because the calipers aren’t painted a lairy shade it’s easy to miss them, but this Touring is rocking a Brembo GT BBK front and rear, with heavy-duty calipers clamping massive 381mm crossdrilled discs up front and 343mm items at the back.
That might seem like overkill but with the high levels grip and traction, this Touring can be hustled along at a fair old pace and, with a turbocharged engine that’s responsive to tuning, Kat’s running a little more than stock power from her 328. “I had a Dynamic Turbo engine tune,” says Kat, “and it’s now making 310hp and 330lb ft of torque up from the stock 240hp and 258lb ft. I’m very happy with the results, the car now is noticeably quicker with hardly any difference in mpg.”
With brakes, wheels and performance taken care of, the suspension needed attention and Kat knew exactly what she wanted: a fully adjustable setup. For this, she turned to KW and went with a V3 coilover kit. Judging by the pictures, the suspension has been wound down to within an inch of its life, as there’s nary a gap between the tops of the tyres and the bottoms of the arches, the 20-inch Vossens tucking right up and giving this Touring an awesome look.
The final part was sorting the styling and here too Kat had a clear idea of what she wanted. “The idea was to make my wagon stand out without screaming ‘look at me!’ in regards to exterior modifications. After reviewing multiple body kits I felt the BMW M Performance kit really complemented the stock M Sport body. This included a new front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser.
“After going back and forth over the big rear wing, I decided against it. Dynamic Turbo installed the parts which were very easy to do in regards to the front bumper and side skirts. Since I had a GT Haus Meisterschaft exhaust with quad pipes the install didn’t go as planned, as Dynamic Turbo had to make some modifications to make it work. But the team there managed it and it came out amazing and I now have the only 328i xDrive with the GT Haus Meisterschaft quad exhaust! It is very loud which I love, but so I don’t want to wake the neighbours up, I ordered it with the GTC valve control which allows me to open and close the valves.” The styling is subtle, but it definitely gives the Touring more aggression and presence, plus the quad exhaust looks awesome tucked up in the rear valance.
While Kat’s kept her daily relatively sensible in some respects, she’s not compromised when it comes to ride height, picking the right wheels or the volume of her exhaust and she’s ended up with an exceedingly smart 3 Series Touring that looks good and does everything she needs. She’s not done with it yet, either, and like all of us can’t help but wonder about what’s next… “If money were no object I would bag my car on AccuAir and maybe get it painted matt blue, but I’m thinking of possibly wrapping it with the new matt clear colour that is out. And of course treating it to another set of Vossen Forged Wheels,” she laughs and hey, why not? Whatever she decides to do, things will only get even get better for this tidy Touring.
DATA FILE F31 #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-F31 / #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 / #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #Dynamic-Turbo engine tune, GT-Haus-Meisterschaft-GTC exhaust with quad Pipes and valve control, eight-speed automatic gearbox. 310hp, 330lb ft
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 wheels in Patina gold finish with brushed faces and polished windows and barrels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Toyo T1 Sport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #Brembo GT #Brembo-BBK (front and rear) with 381mm cross-drilled discs (front) and 343mm cross-drilled discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Estoril blue, BMW M Performance kit consisting of front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser
INTERIOR Stock black M Sport interior with blue trim
THANKS Jav and Mike at Vossen, Jose and Chris at Dynamic Turbo, Greg at Race Technologies, Braman #BMW and my wonderful doggies, Jetson and CharlieStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationI was talking to a fellow motoring journalist the other day about our respective jobs. I mentioned my E39 and the shows I go to and she was impressed by what she called my ‘level of dedication’. The thing is, it doesn’t feel like that to me and it got me thinking that perhaps that’s the difference between motoring journalists working on mainstream titles and those of us writing for specialised magazines like this one. Obviously, the people who write for the big, multi-make titles love cars, but pick up a copy of PBMW or PVW or Banzai and you know you’re getting a magazine written by people that live what they write about. We’ve got project cars and we go through the same highs and lows as you do; we go to shows, we chat about cars with friends, we do the same things you do. If you see me at a show and you want to talk to me about wheel nuts or air-ride or even what detailing spray I’m using, I will happily have that conversation with you because those are all things I’m interested in. Perhaps knowing that you might now avoid talking to me at a show in case I do decide to start having an in-depth conversation with you about wheel nuts, but my point is that we’re at shows not because we have to be, no one pays us to go, we go because we enjoy going. We want to show our cars off just as much as you do and we want to see what you guys have been busy building. We’re not just doing a job, we’re living our passion and that’s the gospel truth.
So, to this month’s passion-filled pages, and we’ve got a real pick ’n’ mix bunch of goodies for you. If your views on more-doors are that they allow the acquisition and transportation of larger quantities of ladies, then you’ll surely appreciate our spectacular bagged E60 from the States and fans of practical motoring will enjoy the Vossen-wheeled #BMW-F31 / #BMW / #2016 we’ve got for you. There are also no less than three E30s to enjoy this month and all of them are very different: there’s the Chevy V8-equipped twin-turbo beast gracing our cover, an obscenely low body-dropped E30 Cab and a retro-tastic S50 swapped two-door as well. So, sit back, relax and let all that modified #BMW goodness wash over you and we’ll see you, squeaky clean, next month! #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWe’ve always liked the Touring models but what do we make of the 318d version in Luxury spec? Words: Shane O’Donoghue. Photography: Max Earey.
All car makers partake in the mid-life refresh way of doing things. It’s quite understandable why: if a model is to remain in production for any meaningful length of time then it is likely to span a few buying cycles of the typical owner, especially those spending company money or on a leasing or finance plan. We humans like change, but not too much change, and that, it seems, extends to our cars. The manufacturers know this (they’ve no doubt spent millions paying highly qualified consultants to tell them so), which is why they subtly update their models every few years, making them not so different as to scare away existing owners, but enhanced enough to give those same people reason to want to change up.
So it is with the evergreen 3 Series. #BMW calls its mid-life update ‘LCI’, standing for Life Cycle Impulse, and though we reported on the 340i when we attended the international launch of the LCI 3 Series back in the September 2015 issue this is our first chance to drive a 318d version. This Luxury Touring, fitted with the eight-speed automatic, is hardly bargain basement BMW buying, with a £34,035 sticker price, but it is one that should appeal to those spending their own money on a 3 Series Touring. I.e those that won’t be obsessing over every gram of carbon dioxide and the resultant benefit-in-kind taxation – and inevitably opting for the 320d EfficientDynamics Plus.
Not that the 318d is exactly profligate. This automatic version is officially the most efficient, emitting 119g/km and returning 62.8mpg on the combined cycle. An average driver should see the right side of 50mpg without too much effort as well, especially if they make full use of the Eco Pro mode in the driving settings and heed the efficiency tips popping up in the dashboard. Naturally they’ll need to stay away from Sport mode, but our feeling is that those that go for the 418d over the 420d will be less inclined to experiment with those settings in any case.
And they should also be perfectly happy with the tweaked suspension. BMW talks about increased stiffness in the system, from the body shell fixings to the dampers to the steering mounting, but what that has seemingly enabled is a softening of the suspension itself, adding more comfort into the mix. That’s obvious even on the lovely 18-inch alloys that come as standard with the Luxury specification, though unquestionably this model’s dynamics have been refocused on comfort and stability.
Whisper it, but there’s even some stabilising understeer built into the chassis. Enter a corner with a little too much speed and the front tyres gently edge wide of the mark, hinting that you may want to slow down a tad. Only after that does the age-old 3 Series neutral balance come to the fore. Of more importance for the mass market, the sometimes twitchy nature of a rear-drive chassis that is evident in low-grip conditions has been cleverly dealt with. The 318d still carries as much speed as before, but that’s now available even to those that only have a vague sense of which end power is sent to. The DSC stability system is quicker acting than ever, but also, crucially, unobtrusive with it, allowing keener drivers to maximise the available grip while giving everyone else the confidence to push on feeling safe and secure.
As ever, we’d recommend the automatic gearbox for your diesel-fuelled 3 Series Touring, but not only because it’s the sensible option in terms of resale value and efficiency. The eight-speed unit was already a polished piece of kit, but with the LCI, BMW launched an updated transmission. Thankfully it shifts with all the smoothness it did and it allows the driver to choose modes depending on the situation and their mood – as before. The modifications centred on improvements in efficiency. Reduced torque converter slip and a wider spread of ratios help contribute to a claimed three per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the gearbox alone. The automatic model betters its manual sibling on that regard, 119g/km playing 122g/km. That won’t really affect private buyers, but it’s a one per cent difference in benefit-in-kind.
The automatic gearbox shifter is also more tactile to hold than the manual one and better suits the luxurious cabin with its Dakota leather and ‘exclusive stitching’. In fairness, it does feel a step up from the SE and Sport model in that regard and if you look closely there are loads of little detail enhancements to make sure you agree that the Luxury version is worth the premium. Chrome trim can be found surrounding the air conditioning and stereo control areas, while ambient lighting is included in the package as well. A ‘Sport’ multi-function leather steering wheel is present too, but we’re less impressed with this item. The leather is hard to the touch and the boss is oversized. Obviously the front seats are where you’ll want to be, but those in the back won’t complain too much (so long as they’re not in the middle, battling with the tall transmission tunnel), and of course you buy a Touring because you reckon you need a lot of luggage space. The 3 Series Touring’s boot measures from 495 litres to a maximum of 1500 litres with the rear seats folded. The minimum is only 15 litres more than a 3 Series Saloon’s boot, but of course much more can be fitted in above the window line if needs be. On top of that, it’s far easier to access the luggage in the estate, plus the glass in the rear hatch opens independently for when you want to quickly drop something in.
This variant of the #BMW-3-Series Touring won’t be for everyone. Its price encroaches on the bottom of the 5 Series Touring line-up, for example, as it does on the X3 – while others may be happy to technically trade down to a high specification X1 for the SUV status. But those that get the whole 3 Series estate thing and are ready to upgrade their three-year-old example will be very happy indeed with the new model.
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW F31 318d Luxury Touring Auto / #BMW-F31 / #BMW-318d-Luxury / #BMW-318d-Luxury-F31 / #BMW-318d-Luxury-Touring-Auto / #BMW-318d-Luxury-Touring-Auto-F31 / #BMW-318d-Touring-F31 / #BMW-318d-Touring / #BMW-318d-F31 / #2016
ENGINE: Four-cylinder, turbodiesel / #B47B20 / #B47
MAX POWER: 150hp @ 4000rpm
MAX TORQUE: 236lb ft @1500-3000rpm
0-62MPH: 8.8 seconds
TOP SPEED: 130mph
PRICE (OTR): £34,035Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTouring the Slopes / #BMW-330d / #BMW-330d-F31
A trip to the Austrian Alps for a lesson in driving and to put an xDrive 330d through its paces. We put an xDrive 330d Touring through its paces on a road trip to BMW’s Winter Driving centre in Sölden in the Austrian Alps Words: Ben Barry /// Photography: Richard Pardon
Every time it snows, the news likes to show a BMW 3 Series helplessly spinning its rear wheels on a suburban road. And yet here we are, powering our 330d Touring up an entirely snow-covered mountain pass in the Ötztal Alps. I’m pretty busy at the wheel, but I reckon we’re doing 35mph, maybe more. It’s all down to our two secret weapons: Pirelli Sottozero winter tyres and four-wheel drive.
The four-wheel drive 3 Series is something of a mythical beast for British BMW enthusiasts. It’s been around for decades – indeed, 1985’s E30 325iX was the first four-wheel drive BMW – but Munich never got around to putting the steering wheel on the right for E30, E36, E46 or E9x generations, leaving archrivals Audi unchallenged with the Quattro in the UK. That’s all changed with the latest F3x xDrive 3 Series. Early sales figures must make BMW wonder why on earth it didn’t do it sooner: the xDrive 3 Series is already outselling the A4 Quattro by almost two-toone in the UK. And it’s Touring buyers who’ve proved the real early adopters: despite only going on sale in March 2013, xDrive Tourings accounted for more than 20 per cent of all UK Touring sales. For a brand that built its reputation on rear-wheel drive, that’s a pretty significant shift.
To find out what all the fuss is about, we’re driving BMW UK’s 330d Touring to a ski resort in Sölden, Austria. The trip is a test in itself, but it’s all about the destination: Sölden has been home to BMW’s winter training programme for over a decade. It’s billed as the highest automotive winter training ground in the world at just under 3000 metres above sea level, and the one- or two-day courses take place each winter, offering something for everyone, whether you’re an amateur or an expert.
First though, we’ve go to get out of Britain. We leave early one Sunday, catch a Eurotunnel train in the darkness and roll out on to smooth, deserted French autoroutes by 9am. It’s hard to think of a better place to be than in a 330d Touring: it’s swallowed all our luggage and camera gear, and it’s hushed, comfortable and effortlessly quick. In fact, it’s so effortless that it’s hard to stick at the posted 130km/h speed limit. I peg the cruise control at 150km/h and keep my foot poised over the brake pedal, ready for the dreaded gendarmes on motorbikes – it’s when, not if, these days!
Crossing into Germany near Strasbourg and we’re soon free to give it all we’ve got on a derestricted stretch of autobahn. I accelerate and the six-cylinder turbodiesel’s thumping 413lb ft picks us up in one easy swoosh of boost until we settle at an indicated 155mph, just a little higher than the winter tyres’ maximum rating – I reason that both a conservative tyre rating and a slightly optimistic speedo will be on my side.
My E36 M3 always felt a bit wayward north of 140mph, but the 330d feels incredibly secure; I’d be happy sitting at this speed for as long as conditions allowed. In the event, heavy rain limits our progress and then the big gobs of rain turn to sleet and then snow. We slow dramatically, but the tyres in particular give me confidence to stay out in the slushier overtaking lanes rather than stick behind the lorries.
BMW’s four-wheel drive system has come on a lot since 1985, and my first chance to really feel our 330d’s xDrive setup working comes on the Fern Pass, which winds over the Tyrolean Alps. Back in 1985 you got a permanent torque split biased 38/62 per cent front-to-rear. xDrive changed all that when it debuted on the X3 in 2003. So while the typical torque split is a similar 40/60 per cent, xDrive’s electronically controlled multi-disc centre clutch can shuffle torque front-to-rear as the conditions dictate, with as much as 100 per cent going to either axle in extreme conditions. It reacts within 100 milliseconds, but then a ponderous four-wheel drive system wouldn’t be much use…
The Fern Pass isn’t a scenic diversion, it’s a major route, so it’s pretty fast and very busy with cars and lorries, but it also features the twists and turns you would expect. As we descend into a valley with the sun setting, we can just about make out the tops of the vertiginous mountains that loom above. It’s the last leg of our journey, and the leg that requires the most concentration.
Despite being four-wheel drive, the xDrive 330d retains its rear-drive siblings’ fluidity through these heart-in-mouth sweepers. I can’t even detect the extra pair of driveshafts causing any additional steering interference. I think I’ll always prefer the hoon factor of rear-wheel drive, but in these conditions xDrive just moves the game on, combining trademark BMW sensations with Quattro levels of reassurance and traction.
After so long on the road and such tricky weather, it’s a relief to reach Sölden by 5.30pm. We’ve covered 850 miles in just 12 hours, averaging an impressive 37mpg despite some high-speed autobahn work and a boot crammed with luggage. Door-to-door, it would’ve cost more for two of us to fly; probably wouldn’t have been much quicker either. There’s a variety of winter-driving courses on offer in Sölden, but anyone opting for the overnight option will stay in Das Central Hotel. It’s an impressive place, with nice rooms, a large health spa complex and some top quality food too. The only skimping going on here involves the Austrians’ (lack of) sauna attire.
BMW has been running winter-driving courses at Sölden for six weeks a year since 2003, and uses purely xDrive models. The night before the course you’ll get a quick introductory talk, then a briefing on what to expect from the timetable early the morning after. Then it’s up the road out of Sölden, following the twists and turns of a mountain road until you get to what looks like a motorway toll booth. The barriers lift at 9am and you drive into even more breathtaking scenery, with steep drops off to your left and snowcapped peaks above. I wouldn’t dare venture up it in a regular 3 Series on summer tyres, but we sit at an easy 60mph with xDrive and the Sottozeroes. At the top, where everyone else switches to ski lifts, you will stick in your car. There are several courses carved out of the snow: an off-road course, some cones on a wide, flat area to give you the chance to experience oversteer in a risk-free environment and, best of all, a huge run that culminates in you driving up a narrow snow-covered mountain between snowbanks.
You split into groups to rotate through the various courses, around 20 people taking part and pairing up in a car each. The instructors are highly skilled drivers, many of them #BMW test engineers, including Albert Maier who’s doing his fifth season in Sölden.
Chassis engineer Maier has been with BMW since 1984 and was responsible for the first 1 Series, along with 3 Series, Z4 and X1 models. His testing schedule has taken him to Sweden every winter from 1986, where he’s also trained up-and-coming BMW engineers. You’re in safe hands, basically, and he’s better than you. He is. Definitely.
Pretty much every xDrive BMW is available for you to drive in Sölden: during our trip we spot a 7 Series, a 5 Series Touring, a 4 Series and even the left-hand drive-only xDrive M135i, which Maier cites as his current favourite.
“For a chassis guy, the best will always be a small, agile car with a high-performance engine,” he informs us. “Not that you need very much power on a lowfriction surface!”
Maier says he aims to get his students to understand how modern cars perform in tricky conditions and to give them some scope for reacting to dangerous situations in normal driving.
“Most of the students have no idea of the possibilities and performance available in their car,” he says. “Sometimes they’re getting a completely new experience on a low-mu surface and are quite cautious, but some start off going too quickly for normal physics. Nobody can master everything in the time available, but the course will teach them how to drive in slippery conditions as well as what to do in dangerous situations. If they can transfer that to a bad situation on the road, it’s much better than not reacting at all.”
The cars queue up for the junior courses and get to tackle them one-by-one. It’s immediately clear both how capable our xDrive 330d is and how much of BMW’s ultimate-driving-machine ethos it still retains; there’s a very clear rear bias as you swing through the sets of cones, winding on opposite lock and dabbing at the throttle, but that’s combined with the sense of the front end adding to your progress and stopping things becoming ridiculously wayward. It’s undoubtedly faster than rear-wheel drive, yet similarly fun too. Everyone seems pretty eager to return to the back of the short queue and repeat the process all over again.
After a while, the groups switch round, and you’ll convoy to the next stage. For us, it’s our chance to do the big course, and with the extra space, comes extra speed. It starts with a relatively short acceleration run that funnels into a tight run downhill, then flicks uphill and through a coned slalom. The 330d’s traction from a standstill is deeply impressive, and so is its balance; give it an early turn into that tight downhill section and you’ll be set up for a drift right the way through. And if you get it wrong, well, you’ll only nuzzle into the snowbanks which are pretty soft and forgiving; I know, I tried it. The fast and tight slalom proves how much control you’ve still got with winter tyres and xDrive in conditions that’d bring Britain to a standstill: you can really brake hard and use the traction to power on and flick the car from left to right with real precision.
But it’s the run up and down the ‘road’ that’s been carved out of the mountain by snow-chain-wearing tractors that’s most fun. Short of finding yourself strapped in a WRC car at the start of Rally Sweden, driving on snow doesn’t get much better than this. And it’s here, with the potential for even greater speed, that you really get to feel the xDrive’s performance benefit. To get up the hill quickly on a surface this slippery inevitably involves oversteer; it’s not showboating, it’s just the key to maintaining momentum. You need to exploit it and maintain it to help the car turn into corners. That’s because braking hard and making violent pointy motions with the steering wheel doesn’t work in the same way it does on dry Tarmac; the front end just doesn’t bite as positively. But if you get the rear end swinging, you can use the pendulum effect to turn the front end instead. So, out of a right-hand corner with a bit of oversteer as you head towards a left-hander, then a quick stab at the throttle before backing off entirely and the rear will want to swing in the opposite direction; you just use that natural weight transfer to get the car turned in. And when you do and you accelerate again, you can feel the centre diff start to push more torque to the front tyres, dragging you up the hill and piling on speed all the while. It’s incredibly satisfying and as fast as you’d ever want to be travelling in these conditions.
It helps you to be a safer driver and it’s addictive too; if they hadn’t made me stop, I’d still be there. Maybe next year. For now, the car that’s just given us two days of solid entertainment is about to deliver us the 12 hours home with a combination of comfort, speed, frugality and safety. Really, there are few more complete cars than the xDrive 330d Touring.
“Nobody can master everything in the time available, but the course will teach them what to do in dangerous situations”
BMW Winter Training
BMW’s winter-driving courses start from €390 for a half-day ‘snow drift training’ and stretch to €1590 for intensive training with two nights’ full board.
For more information visit: www.bmw-drivingexperience.com
TECH DATA #2015 #BMW-330d-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-F31 / #BMW-330d-F31 / #BMW-330d-xDrive-Touring
ENGINE: #N57 six-cylinder turbodiesel, DOHC, 24-valve / #N57D30O1
MAX POWER: 258hp@4000rpm
MAX TORQUE: 413lb ft@1500-3000rpm
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
“Most of the students have no idea of the possibilities and performance available in their car”
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- Post is under moderationStyle Council Sampling a #BMW-F31 #BMW-335i-Touring that’s been equipped with a load of BMW M Performance goodies. The Touring is one of the best-looking versions of the 3 Series and with a smattering of M Performance accessories we reckon it looks even better Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith. #BMW-335i
It’s not that long ago — and I know this because we’re talking about during my lifetime and whatever my kids might think I’m really not that old — that a BMW was seen as a very exclusive machine. Only the well-heeled could afford one and while dynamically they knocked the spots off offerings from the British manufacturers it wasn’t as if any Tom, Dick or Harry could wander into their local showroom and buy one. Back in 1973 if you fancied a large saloon with a decently sized engine you had plenty of cars to choose from; how about a 3.3-litre Vauxhall Ventora for less than £2000, a Ford Granada 3.0 GXL for £2300 or a #BMW 3.0S Saloon for an eyewatering £4900? No wonder there aren’t a huge number of E3 Saloons left on the roads these days.
Fast forward a little over ten years though and we can already see BMWs becoming more competitively priced and while you might think that BMW’s entry into the company car market is a relatively recent phenomenon a glance at an Autocar road test of the four-door E30 318i from 1984 shows that even 30 years ago BMWs were starting to be seen as a leftfield entry into the fleet market. “We have tended to look at the BMW 318i as a company car,” said Autocar, “and there is no doubt that it is being aimed strongly at that sector of the market.”
Perhaps what comes as the biggest surprise though is that with a base price of £8250 the 318i was actually cheaper than a Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8CDi.
Admittedly you’d have to pay extra for just about everything on the BMW – you didn’t even get an aerial for over eight grand in those days, let alone a radio – but in the space of ten years the company had come from being over twice the price to almost on a parity with Luton’s finest. And in the ensuing years BMWs have become more prevalent on our roads and while once upon a time they were viewed as an expensive and rarely glimpsed oddity you now can’t drive down the road without tripping over one. Yet even though BMWs are now a common sight and bordering on the mainstream, BMW has been careful to retain that ‘premium’ branding and feel.
Even though this is the case, chances are that virtually whatever modern BMW you drive it won’t be long before you see another on the road that’s identical to yours. Sure, if you order an M6 Gran Coupé in a particularly wild BMW Individual hue you should be safe, but for the rest of us who are more likely to be in the 1 or 3 Series end of the market you can be pretty sure that it won’t be long before you spot what appears to be an identical BMW to your own steed out on the road. However, opting for a Touring version of the 3 Series will inevitably increase your chances of standing out from the crowd as the Saloon outsells the five-door by nearly three-to-one.
And opting for the ‘Estate’ shouldn’t really be a hardship as out of all the versions of the 3 Series it’s perhaps the Touring that’s most appealing. To my eyes it’s just that little better proportioned than the Saloon and that’s something that holds true no matter which incarnation of Three you’re talking about. And with the latest F31 generation somehow the extended roofline endows the car with a longer, lower, sleeker profile and it’s a machine that looks good from virtually every angle. The fact that it has a significantly larger load carrying ability than its siblings is an added bonus that can’t be ignored, too. And if it appears smart and dashing in its standard form it can look even better with a generous application of BMW M Performance accessories as can be witnessed by this rather fine 335i example we have here.
It’s perhaps more usual to see a Saloon or Coupé fitted with items from BMW’s M Performance catalogue but I reckon that Touring owners are missing a trick because to my eyes this Estoril blue example really does look stunning. I’ve been having a meeting with some of the chaps at BMW UK while snapper Smithy has taken the Touring off to get cracking on the photos and when I arrive at our prearranged photo location I’m struck by just how stunning this 335i looks. I can’t quite put my finger on which individual component it is that’s making it look so good, so can only assume that it’s the entire package that’s giving it such visual appeal.
Kicking things off at the front is the lower front splitter which endows the Touring with a hunkered down appearance and on this machine the moulded black plastic has been left in its natural state but it can also be painted, too. This seems to be a personal choice and having seen plenty of cars fitted with this type of front spoiler setup it does seem to be colour dependant, too – it works better painted on some machines than others. Also at the front is a pair of black kidney grilles which again is a matter of personal taste. I like them on just about all colours apart from black but I know plenty of people who think a black car needs a set of black grilles! On this Estoril machine I think they work particularly well.
Moving down the car and we have a set of the M Performance carbon mirror caps which I’m a sucker for – show me some sexy carbon weave and I’m sold. Along the sills you’ll find the second part of the M Performance Aerodynamic Package, the black plastic blades that run along the bottom of the sill trims and just above these we have the black stick-on film with the M Performance logo and I still can’t 100 per cent make up my mind whether I’d fit these on a car or not… the good news though is that they’re optional so you have the choice of fitting them or not.
At the rear the Touring’s finished off nicely by an attractive spoiler that fits to the top of the tailgate while in between the twin-exit exhausts you’ll find a black plastic diffuser which helps to complete the sporty look of the car. The roof spoiler is painted (it would look really odd if it wasn’t!) and like the front splitter the rear diffuser can also be painted in body colour if you so desire. Incidentally BMW does recommend that if you’re going to fit the front splitter then the rear spoiler should also be fitted (and vice versa) or it could result in an aerodynamic imbalance.
Before we move on to the rather fine set of alloys the Touring is wearing we should also mention the exhaust system that emerges from the rear valance either side of that diffuser. The M logo etched into each of the twin pipes gives the game away that this isn’t your regular 335i setup as this machine has the M Performance rear silencer that promises an improved sound as well as looking good, too.
We’ll put it to the test momentarily but before we do we should just mention the rather arresting set of alloys the car’s fitted with. Their official title is M Performance Dual Spoke 624M and they come in a 20-inch diameter and come clad in a set of run-flat tyres; in this instance a set of Pirelli P Zeros. The wheels themselves measure 8x20- and 8.5x20- inches (front and rear respectively) and the tyres are 225/35s and 255/30s. They’re a forged design and weigh around a kilo less per wheel than a normal cast BMW 20-inch wheel which obviously has an effect on the car’s unsprung weight and should consequently give an improvement in handling. The 624M wheel and tyre set is available in two finishes – matt black or polished – and it’s the former we’ve got here.
While I’m generally not a huge fan of black alloys these ones have partially polished faces to their spokes and I actually really like the way they sit with the car and they catch the light as they turn, looking good in motion where so many black alloys just look like a dark blob within the wheel arch.
So this Touring certainly looks great, but how does it translate to the road? Despite the its good looks I don’t think I’m going to feel any additional downforce that may be generated by the aero kit, but what we need to look at most closely is the how the bigger alloys affect the car and whether that M Performance exhaust is worth its £800 price tag. Over a variety of different roads the 335i proves to ride well, and while there’s always a concern when you install larger wheels that there’s a possibility of upsetting the car’s dynamic balance this doesn’t seem to be the case here. Sure, if you hit a particularly huge pothole you do feel it, but on what I’d term ‘normal’ UK roads the 335i rides comfortably. That there’s plenty of grip should be a given, but unless you really provoke the Touring it simply remains utterly planted. While we don’t tend to get quite so much feel through the steering wheel these days with the latest generation of electronic power steering systems, this car actually feels better than most, and perhaps that’s down to the slight reduction in unsprung weight? Either way the 335i is still a very impressive piece of kit to hustle along a decent road; the eight-speed ‘box proving the perfect match for the turbocharged straight-six.
The #BMW-M-Performance exhaust also seems to work very well, offering a little bit more with its vocal repertoire than you’d get with the standard system, most notably at higher revs and it does elicit a delicious burble and the occasional pop and crack on the over run or when swapping cogs on a charge. Notch the pace back a tad and it’s a perfectly civilized companion on a longer drive and on the motorway run back to BMW’s new Aldershot HQ it’s quiet and subdued, which is just how it should be. For my taste the exhaust offers a perfect blend of subtle aural delights but I would hasten to point out that if you’re looking for a significantly louder-than-standard setup you’d better look elsewhere.
All-in-all, the M Performance 335i Touring certainly ticked all my boxes. I love the Touring shape and the M Performance additions enhance it to my eyes. The best thing about BMW’s accessories program, though, is that you can pick and choose what you want. For example this machine didn’t have any of the interior goodies we’ve seen on other M Performance demo vehicles so you really can cherry pick the upgrades that most suit your needs. As you can see from the prices in the spec panel on page 53 the individual prices aren’t unreasonable and don’t forget that many dealers will be offering reductions for ‘kit’ prices where several items are purchased and fitted at the same time. In the final analysis, what the #M-Performance range of accessories offers is the ability to make your BMW look out of the ordinary, to be just that bit more individual than the other similarly spec’d machines you’re likely to see on your daily commute. And in this increasingly homogenised world that’s no bad thing at all.
The 335i is an impressive piece of kit to hustle along a decent road; the eight-speed ’box proving the perfect match for the turbocharged straight-six.
Opting for a Touring version of the 3 Series will inevitably increase your chances of standing out from the crowd.
DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-335i-Touring-F31
ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbocharged #N55B30 / #N55
MAX POWER: 306hp @ 5800-6400rpm
MAX TORQUE: 295lb ft @ 1200-5000rpm
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
0-62MPH: 5.2 seconds
M PERFORMANCE PARTS FITTED: Front splitter, matt black (can be painted): £486. Rear diffuser, matt black (can be painted): £440. Rear roof spoiler, matt black (can be painted): £319. Black kidney grilles: £95. Side sill attachment trims, matt black (can be painted): £294. Side sill decals: £98. Carbon door mirror covers: £504. 20-inch 624M complete wheel and tyre set, matt black: £2800. M Performance exhaust system and tailpipe trims: £800.
All prices quoted are for parts only but include VAT. Contact your local dealer for painting and fitting costs, plus details of any promotions running on M Performance packages.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.