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    THE FIFTH ELEMENT Schmiedmann’s 532hp F10 S5 / #BMW

    With its F10 S5, Schmiedmann has unlocked all the potential hidden within the #BMW-550i-F10 and created a bit of a beast… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Schmiedmann.

    F10 S5 Schmiedmann’s 532hp super saloon

    The F10 #BMW-550i is unquestionably a modern muscle car. It’s big, it’s got a 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 and it’s fast. Not M5 fast but, with 407hp and 443lb ft of torque on tap, it’s certainly not a slow machine by any standard. There’s a but coming, though, and that’s to do with the N63 engine because, much like its smaller, turbocharged straightsix cousin, it’s an engine with plenty more to give if you’re up to the task of giving it a little bit of attention and Schmiedmann is definitely up to that particular task. The Danish BMW specialist is a multi-talented one-stop shop, able to supply replacement OE parts, offer servicing and repairs and it also carries a huge range of aftermarket parts so it was really spoilt for choice when it came to creating its S5 demo car and the Schmiedmann team really went to town on this build.

    With that twin-turbo V8 at their disposal it’s no surprise that the engine has received plenty of attention but what is a surprise is just how much work has actually gone into it. You might be thinking that a remap would suffice, as that would give you some impressive gains, but that wouldn’t have done for Schmiedmann, the guys there are petrolheads after all, and when you’re building a company demo car you really want to show off your skills. That’s why this car has been fitted with Schmiedmann by Turbo.dk Signature Stage 2 turbos, upgraded standard turbos designed to cope with and produce a lot more power. They boast 15T CNC-milled 48/68mm compressor wheels, which are substantially bigger than the standard 42/56mm items, bigger turbine shafts, upgraded wastegate bushes, upgraded bearings and the turbo housings have also been modified. To go along with the uprated turbos, the chargecoolers have been equipped with a 75% larger radiator, and there’s also a set of Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes and a Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system made from micro sandblasted stainless steel, with purposeful Schmiedmann-designed black, double-layer tailpipes.

    All these mods needed the right performance software to accompany them, but that proved to be a lot more difficult than you might imagine. “The software was actually the biggest challenge of the build,” explains Schmiedmann’s Martin Thorup.

    “When we had all the hardware ready the only thing we needed in order to get the power out was the ECU tuning – the car has a water-cooled Continental MSD85.0 ECU – but we found out that no tuner we know could get access to this ECU so they could reprogram it to our hardware changes. We tried to contact tuners all over the world but the answer was always the same: “It’s not possible, the ECU is blocked by a code that nobody can crack yet”. There was one famous German tuning company that claimed that they could do it, so we sent them the ECU but they also had to give up.

    We then found out that almost all tuners worldwide got the reading and programming tool from a company in Switzerland. After speaking with a Danish tuner that had a good connection with the company in Switzerland, they sent two staff members over to Denmark to try to crack the code in our F10 S5 but they couldn’t and also had to give up.


    “Now it seemed our only option was to change the hardware back to standard, and install a tuning box; that would bring about 65hp more than standard, but we wanted to hit at least 500hp. Then we got an idea: we called our business friends at Tuningbox in Belgium, and asked them if we could buy an “open” standard Tuningbox for an F10 550i that we would be able to program individually for the hardware changes we’d made on the car. They agreed and also sold us a programming tool for the Tuningbox; the S5 was then placed on the dyno and adjusted by the Danish tuner in co-operation with Tuningbox in Belgium by remote.” The herculean effort that Schmiedmann went to in order to get the software working with the mods on the car was worth it, as the end result of all that work is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock and just huge numbers that push the Schmiedmann S5 into M5 performance territory. “But there is no doubt that the engine and the hardware have potential for much more the day when the ECU code gets cracked,” says Martin, “and we can program a lot more engine parameters,” at which point the S5 will become even more of a beast…

    Power, as they say, is nothing without control, and while the F10 is a decent handling machine out of the box, it’s not exactly a sports car and throwing an additional 125hp at a chassis that was unprepared would leave things in a bit of a mess, so Schmiedmann has ensured that its S5 stops and handles as well as it goes.

    The standard suspension has been replaced with a Bilstein B16 coilover kit, which offers a wide range of height and damping adjustment, resulting in not only much-improved body control but also allowing the Schmiedmann team to deal with the F10’s gappy arches, giving the S5 a serious drop. The brakes, too, have been attended to and the boat has been well and truly pushed out here, with a Schmiedmann six-pot BBK mounted up front with massive Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs while at the rear a set of Zimmerman sport brake discs have been fitted in the stock size, as they’re still seriously hefty items on the 550i, and the brake calipers have been painted in Phoenix yellow to match the fronts.


    When it comes to styling it’s fair to say that the F10 isn’t a bad-looking car but there’s certainly room for improvement if you want to make it stand out, so the warehouse was duly raided in order to give the S5 a far more menacing look and one more befitting of something so powerful. Up front you’ll find an F10 M5 front bumper with the 550’s foglights removed and coded out, and this is matched with a pair of M5 front wings with Schmiedmann S5 vents.

    Motorsport II sideskirts have been fitted and further enhanced with the addition of Schmiedmann carbon streamers and there’s also a Motorsport II rear diffuser with cutouts for the beefy quad exhaust tips. You’ll also find a BMW M performance carbon boot spoiler and Schmiedmann has retrofitted the High-gloss Shadowline window trim along with adding black gloss double slat kidney grilles for the finishing touch. The wheels, meanwhile, are 20” Z Performance ZP.06s finished in Phantom Black, with polished spokes set against black painted barrels and lips for a striking effect, and while the 20s are needed to clear the massive front brakes, they’re also the perfect size for the big-bodied Five and really help to fill those cavernous arches.

    You might think that, on a modern car such as this, there wouldn’t be much you could or would even want to do to the interior but Schmiedmann has made sure that interior on its S5 stands out from the crowd in just the right way. The most obvious mod is the steering wheel, a suitably exciting-looking Schmiedmann item with heavily-sculpted grips around the rim, beautifully hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara. The instrument cluster has been modified and now sports red needles and an S5 logo; there’s a black and grey sport pedal set and even the floor mats have been replaced with plush new ones that are extra thick and boast genuine nubuck leather piping with double red stitching.

    Not only is the Schmiedmann S5 a magnificent mobile display of what the company can offer, it is also a serious piece of machinery, one which boasts M5-rivaling power, performance and presence, with looks that dominate the road. Schmiedmann has left no stone unturned in the creation of its S5 and the extremely impressive results speak for themselves.

    “The end result is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock”


    DATA FILE / #Schmiedmann / #BMW-F10 / #BMW / #Schmiedmann-S5 / #Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-Schmiedmann / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-F10 / #Z-Performance / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-5-Seies / #BMW-5-Series-F10

    ENGINE 4.4-litre twin-turbo #V8 #N63B44 / #BMW-N63 / #BMW-N63-Schmiedmann / #BMW-N63 , Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes, Schmiedmann by #Turbo.dk #Stage-2-Signature turbos, 75% larger chargecooler radiator, Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system in micro sandblasted stainless steel with #Schmiedmann-designed black double layer quad tailpipes. Eight-speed Sport automatic gearbox / #ZF / #ZF8HP

    POWER AND TORQUE 532hp, 563lb ft

    CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Z-Performance-ZP.06 wheels in Phantom Black with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza tyres, #Bilstein B16 coilovers, #Schmiedmann-BBK with six-piston Phoenix yellow calipers and #Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs (front), stock calipers painted Phoenix yellow and Zimmerman sport brake discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR M5 front bumper, M5 front arches with Schmiedmann S5 vents, Motorsport II side skirts with Schmiedmann carbon sideskirt streamers, Motorsport II rear diffuser, #BMW-M-Performance carbon bootlid spoiler, High-gloss Shadowline trim retrofit, gloss black doubleslat kidney grilles, Schmiedmann emblems
    INTERIOR Schmiedmann sport steering wheel hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara, Schmiedmann black and grey sport pedal set, Schmiedmann modifi ed gauge cluster with red needles and Schmiedmann S5 logo, extrathick, nubuck-trimmed Schmiedmann S5 floor mats with double red stitching, M Tech door sills

    CONTACT www.schmiedmann.co.uk
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    Edison Hwang’s E92 M3, the ‘Gold Dragon’, fuses shouty V8 thrills with a track-ready chassis; it’s a lightweight carbon fibre racing terror with a comfy interior for the journey home. And it’s won a ridiculous number of trophies… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: LopezArts.

    ENTER THE DRAGON

    Carbon-kitted E92 M3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DATA FILE

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

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

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


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

    THANKS #Rolloface-Performance , #Toyo-Tires , #Meguiars , #CSF-Radiators , #OSS-Designs , #Schroth-Racing , #Pagid , #Swift-Springs , #APR-Racing , #Motul-USA , #Blanco-Services , #RRT-Racing , #Tuning-Tech-by-Frank-Smith
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    RELUCTANT HERO Stripped-out, hardcore Rocket Bunny E36

    This Rocket Bunny E36 has it all – the looks, the poise, the power, the high-end motorsport parts. Must be the product of a full-on E36 obsessive, right? Er, no, not really… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photots: Sebas Mol.

    “I didn’t really like E36s much until recently,” says Selo Bilgic, in perhaps the most unexpected and unsettling opener we’ve heard in a while. Think about it – how do you go from not liking a certain car to building one of the coolest examples out there? It defies logic. Ah, but then much of Selo’s thought processes seem to follow this serpentine path. “I only got into BMWs in 2014,” he shrugs. “My first car was a Mk3 Golf GTI, and before this car I’ve always driven VWs and Audis.” For the sake of scene-setting, you’ll have to bear with us for a moment as we sidle over to the corner of the office occupied by sister-title Performance VW magazine to see what’s what.

    “Yup,” drawls PVW man David Kennedy, adjusting his snapback with a flourish, “this guy had a Mk4 R32 on Porsche centre-locks, a Mk5 R32 with R8 carbon-ceramics and more Porsche centre-locks, an S4-ified A4 Avant, a Mk3 VR6, and a bagged ’78 Passat.” Well, that’s cleared that up. Selo’s a guy who likes a lot of VAG. So what changed his mind?

    “My parents bought a brand-new E39 back in 2003, and I loved that car,” Selo admits, the mask falling as the Bavarian truth begins to escape from its Wolfsburg shackles. “The lines of it were so simple and clean, I guess that was ultimately my inspiration to start a BMW project one day.” Aha. The pieces of the jigsaw begin to shuffle themselves into place. But an E39 is not an E36. There must have been some other persuading factor?

    “Not really,” he smirks, enigmatically. “Like I say, I never liked the E36, but somehow over the years they started to win me over, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to build a custom one.” We can all be glad that this fractured decisionmaking process, however faltering, was allowed to run its course, as Selo’s experience in modding Dubs has certainly stood him in good stead this time around. It also helps that he works for H&R Suspension, and finds himself surrounded by and working on hot lowered cars all the time; his various Golf projects all ran custom H&R setups, and this E36 follows the pattern. But we’ll get to that later…

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no great and protracted story about scouring the globe for the perfect 3 Series. “I had the idea, and a couple of weeks later I bought the car,” Selo says, with admirable nonchalance. “My friend Dima wanted to build an E36 stance project, but he lost motivation and sold me the car.”

    Okay, so perhaps we’re framing this all a little unfairly. Selo is not an indifferent sort of guy; in fact, as his history of modifying clearly demonstrates, he goes all-in with everything he does. The results here speak for themselves – this isn’t a case of simply bolting on some off-the-shelf parts and rolling up to a few low-rent show ’n’shines; no, this is a detailed and fastidious effort that’s resulted in a sort of caricature of a 1990s Touring Car. It’s magnificent to behold.

    “The plan came about by chance in early 2015 while I was sharing a hookah with my friend Göksu,” he explains. “It was a picture of a Rocket Bunny E36 that got me thinking; owned by Brian Henderson from Rotiform, I’d first seen that car at Wörthersee in 2013 and I decided that I wanted to build a race car with that body kit.”

    So that’s exactly what happened. With the donor acquired from Dima, Selo set about tearing the thing down to first principles like some kind of furious Tasmanian Devil, bits of trim flying all over the workshop as he single-mindedly reduced the E36 to a bare shell. And from that point, it was time to perfect the base – after all, there’s no point starting a race car project with a frilly shell.

    Every iota of imperfect metal was hunted down and either straightened or strengthened – or, if need be, cut out entirely and replaced. So with a freshly renewed starting point, it could all be sprayed in a shimmering, dazzling coat of purest white. The Rocket Bunny kit for the E36 comprises a number of pieces, with the most obvious being the vastly protruding arches. The fact that Selo’s slathered his car in racer livery actually reduces their imposing impact at first glance, as you expect a Touring Car to have bullish width, but it’s in viewing the car in profile that you realise just how much surface area these arch extensions cover.

    They’re not the only part of the body kit, of course; bridging them fore and aft are a pair of broad side skirts, while there’s also a front splitter and ducktail spoiler. The latter, however, isn’t present here, as you’ve probably noticed. “I decided to go with an M3 GT wing instead,” Selo reasons. “I just love the elevated look of the Class 2 spoiler.” Fair enough. You’ll notice as well that the bumpers have been replaced with M3 items, as their aggression sits more neatly with the comically fat Rocket Bunny addenda.

    This theme, understandably for a trackoriented project, blows through to the interior with gusto. “A Rocket Bunny E36 can’t be comfortable,” he says, matter-of-factly. “It must have the spirit of a race car, which is why it’s got the Cobra race seats, plumbed-in extinguisher and the full Pleie Sport roll-cage.” And ‘the spirit of a race car’ very much informed the choice of wheels too: “At first I wanted to fit a set of BBS E88 Motorsport wheels – in fact, I have a set of staggered 18s,” says Selo. “But I just love the OZ Challenge HLTs, they’re so light and the car really looks like a badass racer with the these.” What he’s modestly neglecting to mention here is that the rims in question were actually sourced from a Porsche GT2 race car, which is a pretty cool boast.

    “Under the body kit, everything is adapted for the big wheels,” he grins. Yeah, we’re not surprised. Just look at the rears, they’ve got 295-section tyres! And we love the massive BMW M Performance six-pots peeping out from behind the fronts. Very cheeky.


    A car with such racy focus must have a fairly fiery motor under the bonnet, then? “Yeah, kinda,” he smiles. “It’s a 2.5-litre with the M50 intake upgrade, which has been remapped, plus I’ve lightened the flywheel. But I’ve got big plans for this very soon, as that motor was only for shakedown in the 2016 season. For 2017, the car’s going to have a turbocharged M50 with around 800hp.” Crikey. This guy really doesn’t mess about, does he?

    One area that we have to talk about, for obvious reasons, is the suspension. You don’t work at H&R without picking up a few tricks for your own projects, after all. “The car’s running custom H&R race suspension,” he says, entirely out of pride and clearly not just toeing the company line. “It’s got adjustable aluminium shocks at the front with 50mm-diameter springs; same at the rear but with coilover shocks.” And the infinite adjustability is exactly what you need in a race car project. “My daily driver is an F30 BMW with H&R Deep suspension, which is amazing for how I use that car, but this track setup up really takes it up a level. This is my fun car.”

    You can see what’s happened here, can’t you? Selo’s been indoctrinated. This isn’t just an E36 to get out of his system before he dives back into VWs; he’s having so much fun with it that he’s paired it with an F30, just to ensure a creamy 3 Series hit every single day. And after eight months of serious effort on the Rocket Bunny racer, the results are shouting for themselves. “Its first show was the Essen Motor Show,” he casually throws out there, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. “I hope they liked it…”

    We can assume that they probably did. And the rumblings from this corner of Westfalia, and the promise of a new livery for 2017 – along with that colossal power hike and, yes, perhaps those BBS E88s – suggest that this car will be winning over new fans for some time to come. It’s not bad for someone who didn’t really like E36s, is it?

    DATA FILE Rocket-Bunny / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Rocket-Bunny / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52 / , M50 intake, remapped, lightened flywheel, five-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12x18” (rear) #OZ / #OZ-Challenge-HLT wheels from Porsche 911 GT2 with 265/35 (f) and 295/30 (r) tyres, #BMW-M-Performance six-pot calipers (front), E36 M3 brakes (rear), #H&R custom race suspension with 50mm-diameter springs with adjustable aluminium shocks (front), adjustable coilovers with 50mm-diameter springs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Restored shell, bare-shell respray, Rocket Bunny kit, M3 bumpers, M3 GT rear spoiler
    INTERIOR Stripped, Pleie Sport roll-cage, plumbed-in extinguisher system, Cobra Imola race seats, OMP deep-dish steering wheel, carbon fibre doorcards
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    Double Dare

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

    DOUBLE IMPACT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ALL WRAPPED UP Wrapped and bagged E92 335i


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “We knew straight away what direction we were going with the car”
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    THE MPRESSIONIST 470hp 1M-kitted 135i / HARDCORE 135i 470hp, #1M-kitted beast

    With 1M looks backed-up with a lot more than 1M power, what was once an unassuming 135i is now a package of pure muscle. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson

    Fitting the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo, straight-six N54 engine into the 1 Series Coupé is one of the best things BMW has ever done. The engine amazed when it first appeared in the E9x 335i thanks to its combination of huge torque spread, impressive top-end, and stirring soundtrack (despite the presence of two turbos to muffle the exhaust note). And then BMW decided to stuff it under the bonnet of the smaller, lighter 1 Series Coupé creating something of a performance hero. But the story doesn’t end there because a couple of years later BMW came out with the 1M, with the E9x M3 running gear crammed under those swollen arches, more power and more attitude, this time creating a performance icon. These days you can pick a 135i up for about £10,000 whereas you’d need about £40,000 to get your hands on a limited edition 1M. Of course, the 1M is a very different prospect when compared with a plain Jane 135i but certainly as far as performance goes there’s hardly anything in it. And once you’ve whacked a remap on the 135i it’ll be the quicker car, if that’s what you’re interested in. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from buying yourself a 135i and building it up into something that’s even better than a 1M…

    Meet Sachin Patel, a man who’s done just that. And while he’s got a fair bit of cash invested in his long-term love of a 135i, he’s built this beast of a 1 Series for less than stock 1M would cost to buy. It’s packing some serious firepower, enough to refuse to be intimidated by all but the most heavyweight high performance machinery. And, of course, pouring money as well as your heart and soul into your BMW is just part of everyday life when you’re a lifelong fan of Bavaria’s finest.

    “Actually, I was never a BMW fan,” says Sachin. Oh well, scratch that then. “I lived in West London and saw so many so I wasn’t really interested in them at all. That all changed, though, when I drove a 120d. I was really impressed by it. I was looking for a small, powerful car that was also economical and when I read Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the 135i I was sold and went and bought one.”

    Sachin always knew he was going to modify his 135i and the first item on his list was more power, because when it’s so easy to extract it would be rude not to. In order to ramp up the power the 135i was treated to a remap, along with an induction kit and a pair of uprated diverter valves. This was enough to nudge power up to the very high 300s and plenty to be getting on with. Sachin also decided to give his chassis a bit of a tweak with the addition of some thicker Eibach anti-roll bars to improve its cornering abilities. And that was enough to satisfy his needs for mods for a while.

    “After I’d had the car for about four or five years I decided to sell it and move onto something else,” says Sachin. “A prospective buyer came over one day to have a look at it and said that he was going to put a 1M kit on whatever car he bought. It sounded like such a good idea that I removed the car from sale and started looking at getting the 1M kit done myself. I called MStyle, said I wanted a 1M kit, and everything snowballed from there.”


    The transformation was no gentle transition, though. “The styling went from standard to this in one go!” Sachin exclaims. That’s one hell of a transformation. The kit is a Prior Design M wide-body kit, consisting of front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wider front wings and wider rear quarter panels. It’s comprehensive and means that this 135i looks every inch the 1M that inspired its makeover. Now, the kit on its own is awesome and Sachin could have left things there and been extremely happy with the results, but he didn’t. At the same time as the kit was being added a whole host of other styling additions were thrown into the mix to take the car to the next level. Up front there’s an MStyle carbon fibre vented power dome bonnet, a full-length carbon front splitter, and #BMW M Performance gloss black kidney grilles. Then you’ve got the 1M door mirrors, a carbon boot spoiler and carbon fibre rear diffuser from #MStyle , plus LCI Darkline rear lights. These elements are all pretty subtle compared to the impact of the body kit but they definitely add the perfect finishing touches.

    Originally, Sachin’s 135i had been white but with its transformation to a wide-body monster it needed a fresh new look. “I’d decided I wanted a matt colour and was debating between black and grey,” he says. You can see which choice won in the end, with the car now finished in stunning Frozen grey. It’s a gorgeous colour that accentuates all of the car’s lines and gives it an otherworldly look. In addition to the Frozen grey bodywork the roof has been painted gloss black, which offers a nice contrast. With the new body kit there was no way that the M Sport wheels that the car had come with would cut the mustard any longer, nor were they beefy enough to fill those fat arches, so the hunt was on for a new set of rims that would be up to the job. Those wheels are Forgestar F14s, forged 14-spoke affairs which are, usefully, available to order in some serious widths and with astonishingly deep concave designs. Indeed, the 9x19” fronts are labelled Deep Concave while the 11x19” rears are what Forgestar calls Super Deep Concave, and that’s no exaggeration, the spokes disappearing deep within the wheel before they hit the centre. With a kit as wild and wide as this you really need to make sure your wheel choice won’t be overwhelmed by those massive arches and that it is capable of delivering its own brand of wow. Well the Forgestars definitely deliver on that front.


    With Sachin’s styling plans accomplished, he decided to look at getting a bit more power out of the N54 as, while the 135i was quick, there was still a lot of untapped potential. And who better than MStyle to help tap it? As such, the engine has been fitted with a Mosselman MSL 500 turbo kit, Mosselman twin oil cooler kit and oil cooler separator. There’s also an induction kit, uprated intercooler, uprated low pressure fuel pump, cat-less downpipes, a de-cat centre section with a custom quad exhaust system, and the whole lot is topped off with a Mosselman Stage 3 remap. The end result?

    A dyno-proven 470hp with a thumping 480lb ft of torque, huge gains that deliver equally huge performance and really push what was once a humble 135i to the next level.

    Up until this point Sachin was still riding on nothing more than the stock suspension with the only handling aids being those Eibach anti-roll bars, so that needed to change. MStyle recommended coilovers so he whipped his wallet out and opted for a set of BC Racing height and damping adjustable items with matching front camber adjustable pillow ball top mounts. “It rides and handles brilliantly now,” says Sachin, “and there’s so much grip it’s actually scary!” He’s has kept the standard callipers because they’re pretty massive, with six-pots up front, but they’ve been given a lick of orange paint which really makes them stand out against the black wheels and grey bodywork.

    Inside you’ll find red leather, which looks equally good against the exterior, with carbon trim and a BMW M Performance gear knob, Alcantara gaiter, and matching Alcantara handbrake gaiter. Since the shoot Sachin has added an M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with shift lights and a digital display. He is now thinking about fitting a pair of M4 front seats, which would look awesome.


    As we finish up our shoot, Sachin asks if I’d like to take the 135i it out for a spin. I grab the key off him with such ferocity he’s lucky he’s still got a hand left. The first impressions behind the wheel are defined by the stubby gear knob, UUC short-shift kit, and UUC Stage 2 multi-puck ceramic clutch.

    It all feels a bit sharp and snatchy for someone who’s just jumped in the car for the first time, so I’m gentle with the clutch and gear change and it’s clear that you’d very quickly get used to the combination and drive it as smoothly as any other car. What a short-shift kit does do, though, is make you want to drive fast and rip through the gears – so that’s exactly what I do. The performance is awesome! It’s the torque that really gets you. There’s so much of it spread over such a wide rev range that it’s always there when you put your foot down. When you do the 135i just explodes forward. It’s incredible and makes this car ridiculously rapid. It takes no effort to find yourself travelling far more quickly than you ever had any intention of doing. The mid-range is so astonishing that you find yourself shortshifting, which drops you right back into the torque plateau, but when the opportunity arises I keep the throttle pinned to get a taste of the top end and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s no let up in acceleration and the power just keeps on coming. When you tap into that heady top end the car feels ferocious and furious and it’s addictive.

    The ride is firm but compliant and the chassis feels taught and precise, the 135i cornering hard, fast and flat, while the brakes feel strong with plenty of feel through the pedal providing massive stopping power. Oh, and it sounds good, too. Really good. That fully-decatted exhaust really lets that straight-six sing. It’s a great noise, the icing on a very fast cake indeed.

    “I’m very happy with the car,” grins Sachin as I hand back the keys, though perhaps that’s why he’s smiling. “It gets lots of attention. I’m actually surprised just how much. It’s got the look I’ve always wanted and it’s the car I’ve always wanted.”

    What Sachin’s done is taken a good car and made it great, which is the ultimate modifying goal. And when the end result is as impressive as this, that’s something you can be truly proud of.

    Interior features carbon trim, a shortshift kit and red leather, which looks great against the grey exterior; orange brake calipers add a flash of colour.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #Mosselman-MSL500 / #Mosselman / #UUC-Motorwerks / #N54-Mosselman / #BMW-135i-Mosselman / #BMW-135i-Mosselman-E82 / #Mosselman-Stage-3 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 , #Mosselman-MSL500-N54-turbo-kit , twin oil cooler kit and oil cooler separator, induction kit, uprated intercooler, uprated low pressure fuel pump, cat-less downpipes, de-cat centre section, #Mosselman-Stage-3 remap

    TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual gearbox, #UUC-Motorwerks-Stage-2 multi-puck ceramic clutch, UUC Motorwerks double-shear Evo short-shift kit

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) #Deep-Concave and 11x19” (rear) #Super-Deep-Concave-Forgestar-F14 forged wheels in gloss black with 245/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 5P tyres, #BC-Racing height and damping adjustable coilover kit, #BC-Racing front camber adjustable pillow ball top mounts, #Eibach anti-roll bars, brake calipers painted in custom orange with M decals, #Quaife-LSD

    EXTERIOR Prior Design M wide-body kit consisting of front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wider front wings and wider rear quarter panels, painted MStyle carbon vented power dome bonnet, MStyle full length carbon fibre front splitter and carbon fibre rear diffuser, BMW M Performance gloss black kidney grilles, OE 1M air ducts and arch liners, OE 1M door mirrors, MStyle custom quad exhaust, SuperSprint quad tailpipes, MStyle carbon boot spoiler, full respray in Frozen grey, roof painted gloss black, Darkline E82 LCI rear lights

    INTERIOR #BMW M Performance gear knob and Alcantara gaiter, #BMW-M-Performance Alcantara gaiter for handbrake

    “It rides and handles brilliantly now… there’s so much grip it’s scary”
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    Added Excitement

    Straight out-of-the-box the F30 340i is a pretty sublime machine but does the addition of an M Performance power kit and exhaust turn a great car into an outstanding one? Words: Bob Harper Photography: Matt Richardson.

    Aurally brilliant M Performance 340i #Saloon / #2016

    It’s not very often that I step out of a new BMW and feel underwhelmed but exactly that happened this week. And it wasn’t a pared down to the bone entry-level special either, this was a fully kitted out top of the range 440i Coupé. Like most anomalies this should not be taken out of context.

    I was attending a #BMW-UK multi-model launch where there were several different machines assembled for the motoring press to sample and the first car I grabbed the keys to was the new M240i Convertible. You can read my full thoughts on this machine next month, but I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say I thought it was sublime. Small enough to thread through the Wiltshire lanes, quick as mustard and, with the hood down, plenty of aural action as the exhaust popped and crackled away to itself. The 440i was equally rapid and it was wonderfully refined and while being a little larger it didn’t shrink around you quite as well as the 2 Series, it was its lack of exhaust note that I noticed more than anything else.

    Now this is something that I’m sure BMW has done plenty of market research on and it may well be that the majority of its customers who order a 440i don’t want a rorty exhaust note for the majority of the time, but what if you wanted a better soundtrack every now and then? After all it’s part and parcel of a performance car and there’s no doubting the 440i has the performance – I’d just like it if it would shout about it a little bit more.


    Which is where this 340i you can see here comes in. I picked it up from BMW’s HQ a couple of days after my 440i encounter and with that latter car’s talents (not) still ringing in my ears I knew within a few hundred yards that this 340i was going to address my concerns in spades. It didn’t give much away on a cold start up, but wanting the full beans and sharp throttle response right from the get-go I’d popped the Drive Performance Control switch into Sport and was delighted to hear a much meatier rumble from the exhaust than I’d been expecting. A quick blat up the back roads to reach the motorway had me grinning like a Cheshire cat and whizzing up and down the gearbox with the steering wheelmounted paddles for the sheer hell of it. The bottom line was that it sounded awesome.

    Bombing up the slip road and onto the motorway cruising speed was reached in a matter of seconds and once sitting at a steady 75-80mph the exhaust was relatively subdued, just making its presence felt every time you went onto the throttle to pick up speed. No longer having the need for the Sport mode I dropped the car back into its Comfort setting and lo and behold the 340i returned to being a whisper quiet cruiser. By the time I’d reached the office I was coming round to thinking this really was my ideal car. Quiet and refined when needed but with a boisterous side to its nature when wanted. And I should just mention that after 50 miles on the motorway the OBC was registering 42mpg – impressive stuff for a 300+hp petrol sport saloon. So how is this alchemy possible? While it may look to all intents and purposes like a bog standard 340i this machine has been treated to BMW’s M Performance ‘Power and Sound Kit’ that’s available for the 340i (Saloon and Touring) as well as the 440i in Coupé, Convertible and Gran Coupé guises. Power is up from the standard car’s 326hp to 360hp while torque swells to 369lb ft – a gain of 37lb ft (although for manual models the torque peak is lower at 354lb ft to protect the gearbox from damage). The power part of the kit involves a software upgrade, while as I’ve already discovered the sound part of the equation is a silencer system that comes with either chrome or carbon tailpipe finishers. The uplift in outputs is enough for #BMW to quote a performance gain of 0.2 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, dipping the 340i Saloon’s time to 4.9 seconds when equipped with the excellent eight-speed auto ‘box.


    BMW reckons that even in Comfort and Eco-Pro modes you’ll experience a ‘sporty sound, significantly sportier and more emotional than the standard system’, but I must admit that for the most part when in Comfort mode the car was as quiet as other 340i’s I’ve experienced. Flicking the switch to access Sport though brings an absolute sea change which BMW describes as a ‘maximum emotional sound, very sporty, very loud’, and this time it’s really hit the nail on the head. At lower revs you’ll experience a deeper, bassier note which increases in volume and timbre as you fire up the rev range, and it has to be said that this new B58 ‘six as found under the 340i’s bonnet loves to rev.

    Whipping up and down the road for photography was an absolute delight – sometimes driving back and forth for the camera becomes a real chore, but on this occasion I was rather disappointed when my snapper signalled that he’d got enough shots in the bag. Not only do you get significantly more noise when accelerating but backing off the throttle elicits some wonderful pops and crackles that send tingles up your spine. To me, this is what the car should be like from the factory, as in standard form there just isn’t enough noise to get excited about.

    Quality modifications aren’t cheap but at £2650 the M Performance Sound and Power kit isn’t too bad for the delight it brings. That price includes VAT, but not fitting, or the tailpipe trims which will set you back another £103 (each for the chrome) or £207 (each for the carbon version), but for around the £3k mark you’ll be seriously enhancing your car. Personally I’d certainly add this to my list of must-have options if I were buying – it really is that good, and brings out the sport in this most excellent of sporting saloons.

    A quick blat up the back roads to reach the motorway had me grinning like a Cheshire cat

    TECHNICAL DATA: #BMW-M-Performance / #BMW-340i / #BMW-340i-M-Performance / #BMW-340i-M-Performance-F30 / #BMW-340i-F30 / #BMW-F30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F30 / #BMW-F30/2

    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve
    CAPACITY: 2998cc
    MAX POWER: 360hp @ 5500rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 369lb ft @ 1520-4800rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph
    ECONOMY: 43.5mpg
    EMISSIONS: 159g/km
    PRICE (OTR): See text
    Figures quoted are for eight-speed automatic as tested.
    Please contact your preferred BMW centre for more details
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    DRINKING THE KOOL-AID 530hp #Sakhir-orange F80 M3

    It’s easy to go with the flow, isn’t it? Wheels, suspension, then hit the show scene. But for Sam Herz, it’s not quite that simple. He deliberately chose a controversial colour for his new M3 and everything just spiralled from there… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.

    F80 M3 530hp Sakhir orange Saloon

    Deep in the deserts of western Bahrain lies the Al-Sakhir Palace – a bold and imposing white colossus, brimming with Frenchinspired bastiles, faux-medieval crenellations, and more pillars than you can shake a gold bar at. Built in the late nineteenth century, it’s a place of serenity; it lay abandoned for decades after Sheikh Hamad died in 1942, and even since its renovation in the mid-1990s it’s remained a place of peaceful retreat…

    …Well, until 2004, that is. That’s the year the Bahrain International Circuit opened just down the road, and ever since there’s been a perennial soundtrack of redlining race motors accompanied by the ever-present whiff of race fuel. What price tradition, eh?

    And it’s after this effervescent turn of events that BMW has named one of the more vibrant colours on its palette in recent years: Sakhir orange. This, basically, is a colour for people who don’t muck about.

    The unimaginative masses may choose to spec their new cars in Resale red or Inoffensive silver, but there’s a hardcore of BMW fans who live for today, who couldn’t give a monkeys about residuals, who want their new purchase to be as in-your-face as it can be while still holding (perhaps tenuously) on to its warranty. Sam Herz is one such person. Just check out his outrageous F80 M3: it’s so hashtag just-ain’t care, it’s Sakhir orange on the outside and the inside.

    “It was a surprisingly difficult car to source in this colour scheme,” Sam laughs. We don’t doubt it – the ratio of serious enthusiasts to plastic posers who buy M3s is a figure the firm is naturally unable to provide, but we’re sure the former group is probably smaller, their whims taking the dealers somewhat by surprise sometimes. So let’s rewind to where all this began for Sam. It started, as you might imagine, with another BMW. “It really all stemmed from a poster of an E46 M3 that a friend gave me in high school,” he recalls, squinting slightly as he peers through a rose-tinted fug of ethereal mist. “I kept that picture on my wall throughout college as sort of a motivation – and, eventually, I got one!”

    You can insert your cliché about living out the American dream here, although the truth was that it was a bit of stretch; being a college student with an M3 meant that he naturally didn’t have a whole bunch of cash for modifications. But time marches inexorably onward, situations change as lifestyles evolve and nowadays the act of fettling hot BMWs offers Sam a rather soothing break from the go-go everyday of working in software, doing something we don’t totally understand with ones and zeroes. We think he might captain one of those ships in The Matrix. Whatever it is he does, he’s a smart cookie. That’s all you need to really know.


    “I have bad enough luck that I generally leave the big jobs to the shop,” Sam shrugs, “but I am looking forward to doing a little more of my own wrenching now that I have a garage.” Ah, splendid, he is human after all. Excellent. An excitable meatbag of aspiration, trepidation and enthusiasm, just like the rest of us. So, why an F80 M3, how did that all come about?

    “Well, as my E46 became more track focused, I needed a daily driver outside of my motorcycles,” Sam explains. “Previously I’d bought Performance Technic’s Dinanequipped 550i shop car – which gave me my first taste of the Dinan Kool-Aid! However, it was always kind of big and a bit ungainly. So I started looking for a slightly smaller, sportier sedan, preferably with a manual transmission, since I’d finally taught myself how to drive stick at the ripe age of 28. And after looking at basically everything in the segment, I landed on the F80. I’ve always liked the combination of the sporty and the practical that you get with the M3, and I find the new body quite striking. Also, after seeing Sakhir orange on an M5 I really, really wanted a car available in that colour!”

    This time around, Sam elected to purchase the car brand-new from a dealer, although his detailed and specific demands meant that this was very far from a case of merely ambling into a showroom, pointing at one of the cars and saying ‘yeah, that one please. Don’t wrap it, I’ll drive it home’. Not only did Sam insist on puzzling and slightly troubling the salesman by demanding an F80 that was both metallic Sakhir on the outside and stuffed with sumptuous Sakhir leather within, but he wanted Euro delivery, too. And if you don’t know what that is, here’s the principle in a nutshell: BMW USA offer a programme whereby customers get to meet their new car at the place it was built. Having flown themselves to Germany, they head over to BMW Welt where they’re put up in a swanky hotel, given a full factory tour, offered a variety of official ‘Driving Adventure’ packages, and then given the keys to their new motor and pointed toward the autobahn. When they’ve had their fill of mischief, BMW ship the car to the States to meet the new owner back at home. Brilliant idea, isn’t it?

    “When I first sat in the car at BMW Welt, it had less than a mile on the clock,” Sam beams. “I’d managed to swing things so that I could immediately take it on a grand tour of Europe, arriving at the Nürburgring with just 1203 miles racked up – just in time for that first oil change! Then there was a track day at Spa-Francorchamps a few days later, along with check-ins at both Audi factories, Ferrari, Pagani, you name it – I definitely put in the world’s slowest baby laps of every circuit but the car came home in one piece!”

    It’s an impressive tale of automotive swashbuckling but, of course, this has to be far more than a story of a man buying a new car and then driving it around. This isn’t that sort of magazine. Inevitably, Sam had plans to awesomify the F80 a little, both aesthetically and mechanically. “Actually, I didn’t at first,” he admits. “I sort of wanted to keep it stock-ish but then US customs somehow lost the car for about a month, and you know how it goes… I started getting ideas!”

    Having dipped his toe into the fragrant waters of Dinan with his old 550i, Sam was keen to replicate the engineering ethos of that car: proper, quality upgrades, geared as much for reliability as performance. If you do things cheap, you do them twice, and that’s not Sam’s way. This is why you’ll spot pretty much the entire Dinan catalogue in the spec list – the Dinantronics Performance Tuner Stage 2 hardware and software package combines with the firm’s carbon-fibre intake and an Akrapovič Evolution exhaust system to churn out a mighty 530hp. “I’ll be upgrading to Stage 3 soon, and adding a Dinan heat exchanger, too, at which point it’ll be closer to 550hp,” he explains casually. Man, he really did get into that Kool-Aid.


    “I fitted a lot of the genuine M Performance options, too, as I’ve been burned by the bad fitment of inferior parts a few too many times,” Sam continues. “And I also fitted a full self-healing clear bra so that I can actually drive the thing.” You know what he means here: optioning Sakhir orange is a brassy move, so you don’t want to then have the thing covered in stonechips and baked-on kamikaze insects. This outrageous paint job is the car’s key hook, and it’s for keeps.

    “The wheels were actually the hardest decision of the build,” Sam ponders, gazing fondly at them as if mentally validating his choice for the umpteenth time. “I was originally thinking of BBS LMs but they really don’t fit the lines of the F80. The HRE P40SC was in the running but it’s copied too often. But when IND Distribution showed off the first set of BBS FI-Rs, I knew that was the one!” The forthrightness of the rolling stock perfectly complements the bullish chassis, too. M3s are brutal in stock form but Sam’s sports Dinan coilovers, control arms and anti-roll bars, along with BMW’s own astonishing carbon-ceramic brake upgrade take it to the next level. Bit of a track warrior now, then? Something to show his E46 a thing or two? “Nah, it’s the daily,” Sam smiles. “This is California, so that means commuting to work and back; I just drove it to Seattle to see my parents. I took it to the last IMSA race at Laguna Seca. I even used it to carry all my stuff when I moved house. It’s a great car. I take it everywhere. And I often get thumbs-ups from other drivers and people coming over to talk about it at gas stations – I think it’s the orange…”

    Yep, we’d say that was a pretty safe bet. There’s opulence and motorsport intent woven deep in that Sakhir DNA, and a car with that paint is noteworthy enough. But with the care and attention Sam’s expended choosing its upgrades, and his relentless eagerness to use it as the M division intended, that’s actually about as far from drinking the Kool-Aid as it’s possible to get.

    “The wheels were actually the hardest part of the build”

    Stunning 19” #BBS FI-R wheels suit the M3 so well; below, various carbon fibre exterior additions.

    “The engine has been upgraded with a Dinan carbon-fibre intake and #Dinantronics Stage 2 software, which take power up to a mighty 530hp”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F80 / #S55 / #2016 / #BBS-FI / #BBS / #BMW-M3-Dinan / #BMW-M3-Dinan-F80 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straightsix #S55B30 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 /, Dinantronics Stage 2 hard/software, #Dinan carbon-fibre intake, #Akrapovič-Evolution catback exhaust system, approx. 530hp, six-speed manual transmission

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (f) and 10.5x19” (r) #BBS-FI-R wheels in platinum silver, 275/30 (f) and 295/30 (r) Yokohama Advan AD08R tyres, Dinan coilovers, antiroll bars and rear control arms, #BMW-M carbon ceramic brakes with sixpiston calipers and 414mm discs (f) and four-piston calipers and 380mm discs (r)

    EXTERIOR Sakhir orange metallic, Suntek clear bra (including roof and carbon-fibre trim), M Performance carbon fibre accessories

    INTERIOR Full Sakhir orange leather, #BMW-M-Performance steering wheel, M Performance gear knob, M Performance handbrake, super-cool floor mats

    THANKS Dinan Engineering, Jim Bustos at MMI Vehicle Systems, Brionne Go of Go Wraps, Chuck Thomas, Nick Owen and Brandon Watson at BMW of El Cajon, RC Levell
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    BOLD BMW-123d Slammed and styled Austin yellow stunner

    SHOW GIRL Styled and slammed 123d

    With stunning Austin yellow bodywork and a whole host of dazzling mods, this 123d is a serious show stopper. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods. / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /

    We’re calling it: 2016 is the year of the 1 Series. Okay, the 3 Series remains our most prolific feature car, as it always has done, but this year we’ve seen amazing 1 Series after amazing 1 Series, almost one an issue and there’s no sign of this influx of perfectly modified baby BMs letting up anytime soon. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a very good thing, as this gorgeous 123d Coupé perfectly illustrates.

    Regular show-goers will know this car very well as it can usually be spotted at most events throughout the year and often leaving with some kind of silverware, though owner Dee Barwick deserves at least some of the credit, she did build it after all. It is the latest in a long line of cars that she’s owned, which includes a Sharpie’d MX-5 (more of that sort of thing later…), a classic Mini, a Mk3 Golf GTi (the latter of which was replaced by her first BMW for reasons of child-based practicality) and an E46 320i. Dee bought the car completely standard but, after tinting the windows to keep her kids cool, her partner James, owner of the equally well-known E46 that we featured back in our November ’15 issue, suggested modifying the E46. So she did. The unsuspecting saloon ended up being wrapped in cream, with an M3 front bumper and a set of cross-spokes, and it looked good. Dee was happy, or at least until she saw a 1 Series Coupé at the Santa Pod show and decided that she needed one of those in her life. As luck would have it, James worked at MStyle at the time and regular customer, Jas Bassan, came in one day talking about selling his 123d and that’s what he did, to Dee.

    Judging by how the car looks now, having started off silver and pretty ordinarylooking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dee had gone into the 1 Series ownership experience with big plans. However the car was intended for daily duties, with James’ M3 serving as the toy but things clearly didn’t work out that way: “Within two days it had been dropped,” she laughs, “and then we fitted the carbon rear diffuser and carbon mirror caps.” And so it began. As with many projects it was necessity caused by problems that let to modifications instead of repairs; for example, soon after its purchase a puncture appeared which James said he would sort out at work: “The car came home on coilovers, with spacers and stretched tyres,” Dee says, laughing. “After two weeks James drove it into the back of a van,” cue more laughter from everyone except James at this point, “which was a good excuse for an M Performance front bumper,” and we’d be inclined to agree. The M Performance bumper is a great choice, blending perfectly with the rest of the car’s styling but its clean, aggressive design is very distinctive and it really makes the car look a lot wider and more purposeful. This was accompanied by a pair of very smart-looking Depo headlights, complete with angel eyes and dipped beam projector lenses, which really help to clean up the front end.

    While a colour change is something that many of us think about, it’s usually something that happens in the latter stages of ownership, once you’ve put in the work to get your car looking just right. Especially if you car’s already a decent colour, like the silver this 123d was to begin with. But while Dee may not have had much in the way of modifying plans when she bought her 1 Series, changing the colour was always on the cards. “The moment I bought it I knew I was going to be changing the colour,” she says and there followed a long period of indecision, with James Photoshopping the two front runners on to the car to help a decision to be reached.

    “It was either going to be Yas Marina blue or Austin yellow,” Dee explains. Both are striking choices and brand-new to the BMW colour palette having been launched on the M3 and M4. “I was struggling to decide between them so I went to see a couple of M4s in both colours and in the end it had to be Austin yellow.” We’re going to say good choice because while Yas Marina is very nice and distinctive, Austin has that wow factor. Its rich yellow blending into gold really makes it stand out and it looks glorious whatever the weather, whatever the light. It’s exactly the sort of colour you want for a show car and one that’s guaranteed to get you noticed.

    While the colour change is a big deal, Dee didn’t rest on her laurels and put in the effort with the additional supporting touches and that’s what really makes the difference here. Black and gold is a classic combo, so that the car’s been fitted with black grilles is a given. The mirrors and roof have also been sprayed black, but it’s not just any black. This is Subaru Java black pearl and what’s special about this colour is that it’s black with a yellow flake; it’s very subtle, you’d barely even notice it if you didn’t know, especially on a dull day but, when the light hits it, all those yellow flakes glow, and the end result is not only a little bit magical, but it’s a brilliant way of seamlessly tying those prominent black elements in with that blindingly bold bodywork.

    Additional exterior tweaks include smoothed boot and bonnet roundels, a Rhinolip front splitter, BMW M Performance rear spoiler and dark smoke window tints. Even the engine bay has been given the black and yellow treatment but it’s the interior where things get really special. The first step was getting rid of the textured M Sport interior trims and replacing them with a set of plain, smooth trims, ripe for modifying which, initially, involved wrapping them in a cityscape design. It looked cool and was definitely different, but once the car went Austin, it wasn’t right. That’s when Dee’s artistic streak kicked in and the legacy of the Sharpie’d MX-5 returned.

    The interior trims were removed, sprayed Austin yellow and then the Sharpies came out and, after going through countless pens and spending hours and hours on each piece, Dee had created a truly unique design for her trims. It looks absolutely fantastic, an incredibly intricate design that someone less talented would have inevitably ruined and someone less patient would have got bored with after five minutes, but Dee’s dedication definitely paid off and you’re not going to find anything like this in any other cars anytime soon.

    The attention to detail with the colour scheme continues in the boot where the warning triangle case, not something a lot of people are ever going to see, has been painted in Austin yellow and most of the capacious boot is taken up by a pair of JL subs mounted in a hefty enclosure. As far as wheels are concerned the 123d is on its third set now and arguably its best.

    “When I bought the car it was on Dare RSs,” says Dee, “so obviously they had to go. I started looking at 3SDMs and initially wanted the six-spoke 0.06s but they were everywhere and that’s when I decided to go for the 0.04s instead.”

    For those unfamiliar with these wheels they are concave directional multi-spokes, and they look good, really quite different to most things out there and they looked great on the 1 Series, finished in silver and running the large centre cap option. “I was really pleased with the wheels but then everyone started buying them,” laughs Dee, “so I decided to change them again. I saw these Ispiri CSR1Ds and liked them immediately. They reminded me of the Corvette sawblades that I had wanted for the car. I knew I was going to buy them, but I couldn’t decide whether to go for silver or gold…”

    As you can see, gold won and we reckon it was definitely the right decision. In fact, the colour match is so good with the Austin bodywork that it almost looks like a custom spray job on the wheels; even the outer edges of the lips are finished in gold from the factory. Dee also says that she reckons the dished design suits the look of the 1 Series better than the concave 3SDMs and we’re in agreement. The wheels sit on 12mm spacers to get the fitment just right.

    With a twin-turbo diesel mill under the bonnet that responds very well to tuning it’s no surprise that Dee has thrown some gofaster mods into the mix. The exhaust looks non-standard and sounds decidedly fruity, a result of the decidedly free-flowing custom system, which starts from the manifold and runs through a DPF and resonator. The latter, says Dee, will go, but the DPF will remain because it helps keep the 123d’s rear end relatively soot-free; important when your car’s such a bright colour and you’re a show regular. Under the bonnet sits a K&N panel filter for improved breathing while a Mosselman remap gives an impressive increase in performance, taking power up to 242hp along with 354lb ft of torque.

    A lot of work has gone into this 123d but, more than just that, there’s a lot of care, attention to detail and planning, none of the modifications you see before you have been added without some degree of prior planning. The end result is one of the most eye-catching Ones we’ve seen and this little BM gets a lot of love wherever it goes.

    Dee’s not done just yet, though, with immediate plans for getting the engine bay looking a bit more special and bigger, and long term plans that include a possible engine swap and seats and a cage once the kids are older and we don’t doubt that all of that will happen because this 1 Series isn’t going anywhere. It has to hang around anyway because, for now, the modifying has been put on hold as Dee and James are engaged and saving for their wedding, so congratulations are in order. As soon as that’s out of the way, though, the 123d will take centre stage in Dee’s life once more and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here…

    “The moment I bought it I knew I was going to be changing the colour”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-123d / #BMW-123d-E82 / #N47D20 / #N47 / #BMW-N47 / #Ispiri / #Mosselman /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo N47D20, #K&N panel filter, centre and rear box delete with twin tips, #Mosselman performance remap, #Sprint booster, six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Ispiri-CSR1D wheels in vintage gold with 12mm TPi spacers (front and rear) and 205/40 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Nankang NS20 tyres, fully polybushed, Supersport height and damping adjustable coilovers

    EXTERIOR Full respray in BMW Austin yellow with Subaru Java black roof and mirrors, BMW M Performance front bumper, Rhinolip front splitter, #Depo-V2 headlamps, yellow inner bulbs, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, carbon fibre rear diffuser, #BMW-M-Performance carbon rear spoiler, smoothed bonnet roundel, smoothed boot roundel, dark smoke window tints

    INTERIOR ‘Sharpie art’ interior trims painted Austin yellow, twin JL Audio sub box and JL Audio amp

    THANKS James Barrett for finding me the car and Jas Bassan for letting her go, Mercury auto refinishing for the paintwork, Barrett Motorwerks for the wheels and mods, PBMW for this feature, but most off all James for the help, guidance and support!
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    THE RIGHT STUFF
    Some cars have it, some cars don’t – but this 625hp supercharged E92 M3 most definitely has a whole heap of it. From its looks, to its stance and what it’s got lurking under the bonnet, this E92 M3 gets everything right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.

    What makes a good-looking car? The styling plays a big part, of course, but that on its own isn’t enough; how it sits is also important, as ride height and stance play a huge role in terms of a car’s visual appeal. Furthermore, the wheels are crucial as the ‘wrong’ ones can ruin even the best-looking cars. Get all of these elements spot-on and you’ll build yourself a car that looks right on every level and David Cao has done just that. It helps that he’s chosen to work his magic on an E92 M3, which is a great platform to begin any build, and as an added bonus there’s a bit of extra spice going on under the bonnet…

    We have to say that looking at the E92 (and its M3 incarnation in particular) with post-F3x eyes, it looks better than it ever did. Everything about it, from the proportions to the understated but purposeful styling, was and still is right. The F8x M3 and M4 certainly aren’t short of aggression, but the E9x M3 has such a cohesive shape that flows so well, with perfect proportions. Add the overwhelming aftermarket support for the car (so extensive that no two examples are likely to be the same) plus the fact that it’s likely to be the last naturally aspirated M3 that we’ll see and it’s enough to have you reaching for the chequebook.

    That’s exactly what David did, and he’s clearly as keen on the E9x 3 Series family as we are, judging by past and present automotive conquests: “I’ve been interested in BMWs since 2007 when I bought my first one, a 335i,” he says, which is certainly a great introduction to the brand. “I bought it because of its twin-turbo engine and the fact that it performed just as well as the E46 M3.” While that 335i is no longer part of the stable, David has employed an E91 325xi Touring for daily duties. Good as the 335i was, when the M3 was launched the lure of its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 proved impossible to resist and he put his name down, with this white example being the result of that transaction.

    The E92 M3 is an awesome machine out-of- the-box, but it has so much untapped potential that it really would seem foolish not to tap it. David has a car history that includes a large number of modified Hondas, so the M3 was never going to stay stock for long. Also, with his modifying roots firmly embedded in the JDM scene, it is unsurprising that David has chosen to let some of those Japanese styling influences spill over to his German machine, and it’s given this M3 a fusion flavour that’s distinctively different. The front and rear bumpers come from Japanese tuning house, Amuse, and are part of the Ericsson range; the bumpers aren’t overly aggressive, just adding a touch of extra ‘swoopiness’ and it’s only really the bootlid, with its unashamedly indiscreet, obtuse-angled integrated spoiler that makes a big impact. The front bumper, with its black corner extensions, has been further embellished with an APR carbon fibre splitter, while the rear item has been fitted with a Downforce USA multi-piece carbon fibre diffuser, which blends perfectly with the bumper.

    In addition to this, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades sit below the skirts on either side and there’s an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, plus slick-looking ONEighty NYC custom headlights with super-bright angel eyes. These are complemented at the rear with a set of LCI light clusters.


    On the suspension front, David has eschewed air-ride on his E92 M3, instead opting to keep things static with a KW coilover kit, though he’s clearly a devout worshipper at the temple of lows judging by how far off the ground the front splitter sits; in fact, we’re amazed it’s survived this long! Of course, lowered suspension is crying out for the right wheels to go with a serious drop and here Dave has once again looked to the Far East for inspiration.

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car,” he says, “and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels, which is why I got this classic set of Work Equips.” The simple fivespoke design is perhaps not one you tend to see on E9x M3s, which makes the wheels stand out and gives this car a particular, aggressive, look. The wheels themselves, while not intricate, are gorgeous, from the detailed centre caps with their raised lettering to the contrast of the dark silver faces against the mirror-polished stepped lips, with those deep dishes front and rear catching the light. They really suit the car’s aggressive styling, the thick, chunky spokes sitting perfectly against the sharp, angular looks and giving the whole package a squat, stocky appearance.

    Venturing inside, the remnants of the once red interior offer up a nice contrast against the inky blackness of everything else and, while David hasn’t gone wild in here, what he has changed has made a big difference. The two-piece Recaro Sportster CS seats are awesome, a world away from the comfortable but slightly bland standard items, and give the interior a much more purposeful look that matches the M3’s outward appearance. They are joined by a ZHP gear knob, because this is indeed a manual, and a #BMW-M-Performance V2 steering wheel with digital display along with a P3Cars vent-mounted multi-function digital data display and boost gauge.

    Now, the E9x M3 is a pretty ferocious performance machine out-of-the-box, the glorious S65 V8 giving it some serious muscle, but it would be a shame if all that additional battle armour on the outside wasn’t backed up with a little something extra under the bonnet. Luckily, this M3 has had more than a little fettling on the engine front and lifting the lid on the 4.0-litre V8 reveals the unmistakable intake plenum of an ESS supercharger kit.

    David has opted for the VT2-625 intercooled setup, which is only $600 more than the 595 version but a hefty $1400 lighter on the wallet than the top-end 650 version, making this the sensible choice for those looking to punch through the 600hp barrier on their supercharged M3.

    As its name suggests, the 625 kits makes a mighty 625hp, 205hp up on the standard car, with 410lb ft of torque for some serious midrange muscle, with the Vortech V3 Si supercharger running at between 6.5 and 7psi of boost. That pressurised air passing through what ESS says is the largest chargecooler system on the market and an octet of uprated Bosch injectors ensure ample fuel reaches the engine to match all that additional air. Not only is it an awesome-looking kit, it really delivers on the performance front and gives this M3 more than enough of a power upgrade to match the aggressive styling. The supercharger, incidentally, is David’s favourite modification on the car: “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust,” he says.

    Ah yes, we almost forget about that. The quad pipes protruding from the rear valance are far from stock and belong to the IPE Innotech F1 Valvetronic exhaust system. A bit of a mouthful that may be, but this stainless steel system goes from mild to wild at the push of a button, delivering an awesome V8 soundtrack with the valves open, so much so that we wonder if David ever bothers to close them… The finishing touch, and a necessary one to compensate for that massive increase in power, is the addition of a beefy Rotora Street Challenge big brake kit with six-pot forged aluminium callipers and massive 380mm discs up front.

    It’s fair to say that David has built himself an absolute monster machine of an M3. It looks that little bit different from the norm thanks to its Asian styling influences and combines striking styling with a whole heap of power thanks to that ESS supercharger. It ticks just about every box you could think of and it really is one of those cars that gets everything so very right.

    DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #ESS / #IPE-Innotech / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-E92-Supercharged / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #ESS-Supercharger

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65-Supercharged , #ESS-VT-2-625 intercooled supercharger kit, IPE-Innotech-F1-Valvetronic exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, 625hp, 410lb ft

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) three-piece #Work-Equip wheels with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Achilles #Achilles-ATR Sport tyres, #KW coilovers, #Rotora-Street-Challenge #BBK (front) with forged aluminium six-pot calipers and 380mm slotted discs

    EXTERIOR Amuse Ericsson front bumper, APR carbon fibre front splitter, ONEighty NYC headlights, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades, Amuse Ericsson bootlid, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, Downforce carbon fibre rear diffuser, LCI tail-lights

    INTERIOR #BMW-Performance electronic V2 steering wheel, BMW ZHP gear knob, Recaro Sportster CS seats, P3Cars digital integrated data display and boost gauge

    THANKS Viet at Delta Auto Care, John at Speedfreak Detailing, Alex from Autocouture, Rotora brakes and Johnny, Julian and David at BMW

    “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust”

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels…”
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