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    Built on a tight timeline but finished to perfection, this box-fresh M4 glimmers in the sunshine like a freshly-minted Exocet missile. It’s high spec, angry, and dressed to impress… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Viktor Benyi. / #Hawaii-3.0 WILD M4

    Outrageous build by Bulletproof Automotive

    HAWAII 3.0 Bulletproof Automotive’s wild F82 M4

    We, as human beings, are effectively composite images reflecting the sum total of our experiences. Every one of us is unique, and we all have disparate stories to tell because we’ve all been in different situations at different times; our memories, the places we’ve been, the things we’ve seen, it all helps to inform our own nuanced world view. So it is with project cars that the owner’s past experiences serve to fuel their own one-off spec sheets and aesthetics; sure, it’d be easy to say ‘OK, it’s a modified M4, so you take [x] parts from this shelf, and [y] parts from that shelf…’, but no – that does the entire scene a disservice. The car you’re looking at here is an international superstar – it’s got lashings of Oceania, a healthy dose of sun-scorched Nevada, a tangy shot of the Orient, and it’s all slathered on a quintessentially German base. Such is the magic of the modern #BMW scene. We’re so deeply entrenched in the culture of Generation D (that is, the post Gen-Y world view that can’t possibly envisage an existence without constant connectivity) that taking cues from disparate global scenes is simply second nature.

    A Japanese-inspired BMW from Hawaii, then, built to wow the crowds at SEMA. How does that particular basket of ingredients come together? Well, it’s all down to the visionary prowess of Rob Batz, who operated in beautiful synthesis with Bulletproof Automotive to get the job done and make this special flavour of madness work. “I’ve always been into BMWs, ever since high school,” he explains. “I just couldn’t ever afford one! My first car was a Mk2 Golf GTI 16v, and BMWs seemed like a logical step up from the VAG cars that I was driving as a teenager.”

    Rob set himself down the righteous path with an E30 325is, having found himself in the military and, in his own words, ‘not wanting to just buy a Honda’. But it hasn’t been a case of stepping out of that E30 and into this F82, there have been a number of other project stepping stones along the way: a pair of E90s helped him to hone his skills and really get inside the mindset of the modern-era BMW reality, and then a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X was next in line to receive the treatment. “That was the car that really cemented my love for Varis aero components,” says Rob and the significance of this statement will soon make itself apparent.
    “What I really wanted to do was create an M4 that blended BMW engineering with JDM tuning culture,” he continues, “and I was pleased to have the opportunity to team up with Bulletproof Automotive to make my vision a reality.” Bulletproof is an intriguing entity; based in LA, you’re most likely to be familiar with its work if you’re a fan of the Japanese tuning scene. Readers in the UK may recall seeing its builds on the cover of the now-defunct Max Power back in the noughties, and these days it’s a top-flight outfit acting as an official distributor of such iconic Japanese brands as Top Secret, Mine’s, TommyKaira, JUN and Powerhouse Amuse – all the names you got to know racing Jap metal in Gran Turismo in the ’90s! If you cut Bulletproof open, it bleeds wasabi. An interesting choice to buddy up with for a BMW build, then…

    “I had the whole project 80% mapped out before I even bought the car,” Rob explains, scything any ambiguity with a sceptre of unmistakable certainty. “I bought the car brand new from a BMW dealer in Honolulu, and it was a tight deadline to get it finished in time for its SEMA show debut.” How tight? Try four weeks – there’s no pressure like show pressure, right? Job one was to install the Armytrix exhaust; an inspired choice as it adds 26hp while subtracting 4kg in weight, and its valve system provides F1-style howling on high-rev demand. With the aural assault box ticked, the M4 was off to the bodyshop.

    As you can see, the external transformation is pretty significant – the F82’s now rocking a carbon-fibre Varis widebody kit comprising front and rear wings, front lip, skirts, ducts, the works, and the whole thing has been re-finished in the car’s original Alpine white. To top off the already outrageous aesthetic, you’ve probably spotted that it’s sporting quite a large wing on the back; that’s an 1800mm Varis carbonfibre unit with swan-neck mounts, and it’s about as subtle as a brick in the face on a quiet Sunday morning.

    “After the wide-body was moulded and it was all painted, it was time to focus in the interior,” says Rob. And it’s somewhat extreme – full-on race car at first glance, and then you realise that the custom re-trim actually makes it quite luxurious. An intriguing combo. “The seats are Recaro Japan RS-Gs,” he tells us. “There’s a custom roll-cage and rear seat delete, and everything was trimmed by Bulletproof in three-colour Alcantara with custom M stitching – the seats, dash, door cards, console, headlining, everything.” It makes for an incredible effect, at once racetrack-purposeful and alluringly sumptuous. But then, of course, the guys had their crosshairs set on SEMA – if you’re not rocking the full package, they won’t let you through the door. Perfection is expected, and Bulletproof really delivered here.

    “The suspension and brakes came next,” Rob continues. “It’s running Aragosta Type SS three-way coilovers, along with Aragosta’s Air Cup system to raise it when required, and the brakes are Runduce eightpots up front with six-pots at the rear.” If you’re not immediately familiar with these brand names within the BMW bubble, that’s because – once again – we’re dealing with premium Japanese parts. Don’t allow it to jar with your sensibilities, just let the multicultural vibe flow like cool water. It’s refreshing. “The corner balancing followed, then the engine tune and the installation of the Gruppe-M carbon fibre intake, again from Japan,” he says. “Many long nights at Bulletproof Automotive allowed the car to be loaded for its debut at SEMA with no time to spare!”

    Talk about cutting it fine, eh? And the fun part was organising the logistics to get it built and then delivered to the show on time. Las Vegas, home of SEMA, is around 270 miles from Los Angeles, Bulletproof’s stomping ground, which isn’t an insurmountable distance. You could drive it in five hours, and that includes a generous lunch stop. But Honolulu to Los Angeles?

    That’s over 2500 miles of ocean. You can see why this build has such a Japanese influence – it’s not that much further to Tokyo than it is to LA! (Well, OK, another 1000 miles, but who’s counting?) Rob’s initial option was to ocean-freight the car to LA, but that would have taken around fourteen days – a sizable chunk from such a truncated timetable – but thankfully he was able to track down a company who could air freight it to the City of Angels in a hurry. Time rests for no man; doubly so on a show schedule.

    All worked out alright in the end though, didn’t it? “I’d say my favourite modification is the Runduce brakes,” Rob ponders, having given the question some serious consideration. “To my knowledge it’s the only set on an F80/2 in the world, and I was personally involved in every aspect of them from caliper and disc selection to colours.

    And I love the wheels too; originally it was running Volk G25s in Mag Blue, but the TE37 SL is a timeless wheel and it just fits in better with the car. I wanted the interior to be a one-off as well, with high quality finishes and extreme detail, and it’s turned out great. The team at Bulletproof sent me some renders and we came up with a plan to execute the final product; the end result is the perfect mix of JDM and BMW.” Which, of course, was the aim of the endeavour from the very start – a mid-Pacific fusion of global thinking.

    So yes, the car did make it to SEMA on time as planned. And, unsurprisingly, the crowds were suitably impressed. Is Rob happy with the results of the breakneckspeed project? You bet he is. “There are no further plans for it,” he says, with the easy satisfaction of a man who’s just finished a marathon and knows there’s a pub nearby. “The plan now is just to not allow it to sit; to take it out and enjoy it!” Which is just how it should be. The car’s fulfilled its role as a static showpiece, and now it’s getting out there and showing the world just what this German/Japanese fusion is capable of. Watch out, Hawaii – the East and the West are coming to gatecrash.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE / #Bulletproof-Automotive / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW / #2017 / #Bulletproof-Automotive-M4 / #Bulletproof-Automotive-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-Bulletproof-Automotive-F82 / #BMW-M4-Bulletproof-Automotive / #S55-ESS-Tuning / #Rays-Volk / #BMW-M4-Tuned / #BMW-M4-F82-Tuned

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #S55B30T0 / #BMW-S55 / #S55 / #S55B30 , Gruppe-M carbon-fibre intake, #ESS-Tuning remap, #ARMYTRIX turboback stainless steel exhaust system. Seven-speed M-DCT / DCT gearbox / Aragosta-Air / Aragosta /

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Rays-Volk-TE37-SL wheels in Hyper Blue with 265/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, #Aragosta-Type-SS three-way coilovers with #Aragosta-Air-Cup system, FallLine/IND prototype rear camber/toe arms, Runduce eight-pot calipers (front) and six-pot calipers (rear) with 380mm discs (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Resprayed in OEM Alpine white, Varis carbon fibre widebody kit, #Varis System 2 VSDC bonnet, Varis 1800mm carbon fibre swan neck GT wing, Willans tow strap, custom livery designed by Edwin Reyes

    INTERIOR Recaro Japan RS-G seats, Bulletproof Automotive/Willans custom harnesses, M Performance carbon fibre DCT console, gear selector and door handles, #HG-Motorsports custom roll-cage, custom rear seat delete, full custom Alcantara re-trim by Bulletproof Automotive (dash, door cards, seats, headlining, console) in three colours with custom M stitching

    THANKS Thanks to the team at Bulletproof Automotive and their partners on the build. Thanks to Edwin Reyes for the amazing livery. Terrence and the team at #BMW-Honolulu for getting me the car in time. Mr. Osorio for taking care of the car for me while I was in Honolulu, 2500 miles away from it. Lastly, my family for remaining patient as this build occupied much of my time!

    “What I really wanted to do was create an M4 that blended #BMW engineering with JDM tuning culture”
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    Dare to Dream 3D Design carbon-clad M4. Back in 2006, a group of highly talented designers and engineers came together in Tokyo to reboot dormant BMW tuning parts maker 3D Design. This M4 is the culmination of everything it’s done in the ten years since Words and photography: Chris Nicholls. Dare to Dream 3D Design’s stunning carbon-clad F82 M4 under the spotlight. #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe / #BMW-4-Series-F82


    The M4, for many, represents dreams. Dreams of status, dreams of amazing driving experiences and dreams of just looking at the thing and enjoying its muscular lines just one more time before walking away. This particular #BMW-4-Series-M4-F82 , however, represents a very different kind of dream – a dream to build a complete ‘tuner car’ that not only shows off your company’s expertise in designing a range of great products, but also demonstrates how well those parts work in unison when fitted together.

    It’s a dream Toru Endo and his team at 3D Design have had since the brand’s rebirth ten years ago. Back in 2006, they came in to kick-start what was then a bit of a lost cause; 3D Design in its original form had been making #BMW tuning parts (mainly suspension components) since 1998, but for various reasons the company had lost any momentum and, by the time Endo-san and his crew arrived, it hadn’t released anything new for quite some time. Obviously, job one after the takeover was thus to start cranking out parts again, but given the old line-up hadn’t been a great success, Endo-san and co. decided to expand the offering to include exhausts and aero parts as well, with an end goal of offering a large enough range of components to build the aforementioned ‘complete car’.

    However, because all the 3D Design staff already had many years of experience working in either OEM, aftermarket accessory or race engineering circles, slapping together a few basic designs and calling it a day wasn’t going to cut it. They vowed that, no matter what the development time and costs, they would make the best BMW parts they could, a philosophy that continues to this day. One minor detail was that they didn’t have their own manufacturing facilities, but to get around this, they partnered up with the likes of Arqray for their lovely stainless exhausts and BBS for their forged wheels, ensuring the final products were as high-end as the engineering that had gone into the design and testing. And of course, that all their products were made in Japan.

    Trouble was, even with a line-up that included wheels, coilovers, aero accessories, exhausts, a boost control chip and various interior upgrades, the staff didn’t feel as if they’d reached their goal of being able to produce a ‘complete car’. So they pushed on, and decided to invest more time and resources in a couple of other key items – a carbon intake for the S55 and, most importantly, full resin-infusion carbon bumpers for the M4. Now, proper carbon bumpers (not CFRP) may seem a bit extreme, especially considering they’re usually the first things to get damaged in a crash and cop quite a bit of sandblasting just from regular road driving, but as we said earlier, the company philosophy is to offer the best, no matter what, and given carbon would allow them to integrate aero elements better, as well as save a crucial 5kg at each extreme of the car (thereby reducing moment of inertia), it seemed a natural choice. Plus, literally no one else on the market is offering such a thing, so it gives the company a competitive advantage.

    Obviously, these pieces do not come cheap. The carbon intake isn’t even on sale yet in Japan, but M Style UK quoted us £6195 for the front bumper and £5695 for the rear, and when you throw in the £1482 Mulgari quoted for the dry carbon side skirts, just the basic aero kit adds considerable cost to an already expensive machine. Going down the complete car route, which adds a dry carbon rear lip spoiler, dry-carbon racing wing, polyurethane roof spoiler, resin-infusion carbon mirror covers, coilovers, forged 20-inch Anniversary 01 wheels, a DME Tuning Stage 2 engine remap, Brembo GT big brake kit and all the company’s interior mods, will no doubt jack up the price to potentially terrifying levels, but no one said the best ever came cheap. And when you look at the fit, finish and quality of each of 3D Design’s products (the bumpers fit so well you’d genuinely think they were official Motorsport upgrades), there is no doubt that they’re among the very best in each sector they compete in.

    As for the overall effect these changes make, at least in terms of appearance (we only had a short time with the car and thus couldn’t drive it), it’s quite staggering. The stock M4 is a muscular beast, but the 3D Design version takes it up a notch in every respect. The cleaner, more integrated lines of the front bumper lead down to quite a protruding lip spoiler, and the fact the company has kept the lower half naked carbon really adds to the impact.

    The sleek skirts define the car’s flanks better and make it look lower than it actually is, while the rear end is just a whole lot buffer thanks to the large (but not ridiculous) wing, bootlid lip and again, that half-painted carbon bumper. Keen-eyed readers will note 3D Design has placed cuts on each side of it too, which allow turbulent air to exit the rear wheels better and should improve stability. One interesting side effect of all this extra aggression is that the car actually looks more like a sports car – something that should cheer all those who now consider the M4 a GT – and at least in this writer and photographer’s opinion, does a better job of integrating all that aero than the GTS. BMW take note. Finally, those wheels are just perfect against the Sapphire black paint, aren’t they?

    Inside, there’s less of an impact simply because there are fewer changes. Yes, the switch to customembroidered Recaro Sportsters definitely changes the atmosphere, as does the switch to 3D Design’s alloy pedals, brake lever and shift paddles, but it still feels very much like an M4, only sportier. In many respects, the biggest change to the ambience actually comes from the Stack gauges, mounted in a lovely 3D Design pod at the bottom of the centre console. These, while looking pretty modern with their machined housings and austere faces, are still very much an old-school performance car touch in what is otherwise a very modern interior, so they do stand out and make the car feel just that little less GT-like (again). By the way, you can ignore that little display mounted to driver’s right, as it’s just a small speed camera detector. Don’t worry, they’re perfectly legal in Japan, and sadly more necessary than ever these days, thanks to the growing number of cameras on the roads there.

    In terms of the effect the mechanical changes have, obviously we couldn’t sample most of those, but we have little reason to doubt the coilovers will benefit the handling, given 3D Design, unlike most of its Japanese contemporaries, designs and develops its coilovers explicitly for road use and thus makes them supple. (There is a remote reservoir track coilover in the works for the M4 should you want that, though). And again, there’s little reason to believe the DME re-flash, which, combined with the intake and exhaust bumps power up to 522hp at 6000rpm and torque to a stupid 561lb ft at just 2000rpm, won’t do the job in terms of making the car much, much faster, either. Nor that the Brembo GT big brake kit won’t do a stellar job of bringing the car’s speed down to normal levels, even after heavy track use.

    While we didn’t sample the power it helps provide, we can heartily recommend the cat-back mid-pipe and muffler combination in terms of pure sound though, as we did get to sample its sonorous delights during our rolling shot session across the Tokyo Gate Bridge. Like most products on this car, it’s not cheap, with the full system setting you back £6334 from M Style UK, but its unique sound may well be worth it, depending on your priorities. We say that because the 3D Design product is by far the most subtle of the aftermarket M4 exhausts we’ve heard, with a start up that won’t upset the neighbours, and an ultra-smooth timbre as the revs rise. Indeed, it almost makes the S55 sound like an angry, tuned S54 , which is quite a feat. If you live in Japan and are reading this, the only downside is that the system won’t pass the strict shaken periodic roadworthy test there, but if you’re willing to switch back to stock for one day every couple of years, it’s not an issue, and we certainly don’t see it being a problem in most other countries.

    So, having produced this ‘dream car’ and fulfilled the company’s original ambition, how does Endo-san feel? As he puts it, “we’ve never been about selling parts per sé. We’ve always developed parts with an eye to exciting the driver, whether it’s via improved styling, or upgraded ride, handling or engine feel. So when I got in the completed car the first time, there was a feeling of ‘we’ve finally done it’; that we’d achieved our goal of being able to excite the driver in every way we could”. Unsurprisingly, the positive impression continued when he drove it, too. “It’s now much more of a sports car to drive. The engine response has improved, as has the handling, so it now accelerates and points exactly the way you tell it to”.

    Having said all that, 3D Design’s journey towards selling a complete car isn’t quite over yet. There’s the small matter of actually building a Tokyo showroom, which begins in May, and signing an agreement with a local dealer to supply brand new M4s the company can add all its bits to as well. After that, it may look at expanding its dealership reach past the nation’s capital, but Endo-san says that’s not been decided upon yet. No doubt there are plans afoot for more parts for other BMWs too. At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, for example, it had a few prototype M2 parts on display, including an intercooler, race-use exhaust (similar to the M4 one) and race-oriented coilovers, so that model may well be next. A slightly more affordable dream? Maybe. Either way, an exciting one we’ll be sure to keep track of.

    Contact: 3D Design / Web: www.3ddesign.jp

    The switch to custom-embroidered Recaro Sportsters definitely changes the atmosphere

    TECHNICAL FATA FILE #3D-Design / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-3D-Design-F82 / #BMW-M4-3D-Design / #BMW-M4-Tuned / #BMW-M4-F82-Tuned / #DME-Tuning-Stage-2 / #DME-Tuning /

    Engine: Twin-turbo, 24-valve, straight-six, #Valvetronic , double #Vanos , direct injection / #S55B30T0 / #S55 / #BMW-S55

    Capacity: 2979cc

    Max Power: 529.6PS @ 6000rpm

    Max Torque: 561lb ft @ 2000rpm

    MODIFICATIONS

    Engine: 3D Design carbon airbox with #BMC filter element, #DME-Tuning-Stage-2-ECU remap

    Exhaust : 3D Design cat-back stainless mid-pipe and valve-controlled stainless quad-tip muffler

    Wheels & Tyres : #3D-Design-Anniversary-01 forged monobloc wheels 9.5x20-inches (f) and 10.5x20-inch (r) with 235/30 (f) and 285/30 (r) Yokohama Advan Sport V105 tyres.

    Suspension: 3D Design machined alloy dampers with 20-step compression and rebound damping control and 6kg/mm (f) and 8kg/mm (r) springs

    Brakes : #Brembo-GT big brake kit with six piston calipers (f) and four-piston calipers (r) and 405mm (f) and 380mm (r) slotted rotors

    Styling: 3D Design resin-infusion carbon front and rear bumper, cry carbon side skirts, dry carbon Racing wing, dry carbon bootlid spoiler, polyurethane roof spoiler, resin-infusion carbon mirror covers, body stripe stickers

    Interior: 3D Design sports pedal kit, hand brake lever, shift paddles, floormats, Stack gauge kit and custom-embroidered Recaro Sportster seats

    No one else on the market is offering such a thing, so it gives the company a competitive advantage.
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