- Post is under moderationBagged E46 Coupé DIALLED
With US-influenced styling, air and killer stance, this E46 Coupé is one sweet daily. Words: Aron Norris. Photos: Scott Paterson.
The modifying world is in a rich vein of form these days. We can’t remember a time when so many different styles hit the pages of this magazine. Take your pick between stretched tyres, wide wheels, negative camber, chunky rubber, big brakes, downforce and weight saving. The choice is entirely yours.
To some, the word ‘stance’ is a dirty one. The rise of air-ride has flipped the modifying game on its head. The trend of low cars is here to stay as more and more owners opt for the all-round abilities of bags. Drive low, park lower and all that jazz.
One thing we can all agree on is that we all like BMWs and it’s safe to say 25-year-old Alex Hurd is a BMW guy through and through. This is his fourth and they’ve all been E46s. The boy’s got issues. Now, the E46 3 Series has become somewhat of a stalwart in modifying circles. Still modern enough not to look dated but cheap enough to leave money in the pot for modifications.
Alex’s first foray into the world of #BMW came courtesy of a super-clean bright red pre-face-lift 318Ci at 19 but he would be the first to tell you he perhaps wasn’t the most careful of drivers back then and, well, his first E46 didn’t last long.
With his red one having met its sorry end, Alex was on the lookout for another E46, this time a face-lift. After nearly drowning in a sea of rough 318 Coupés, he’d had almost given up on his search before finding a peachy looking 2004 example with black leather on the internet. Arrangements were made over the phone and before he knew it Alex was on his way from Leicester to Reading to view the car. Thankfully, it was as clean as described and a deal was done there and then to bring it home.
Alex didn’t actually buy this car with the intention of turning it into a project. “I bought the car with every intention of keeping it standard,” he says. Famous last words we can all relate to! After falling in with the wrong crowd, however, there was no escaping the RollHard influence and he started to envisage his E46 looking lower, wider and all-round sassier.
When it came to getting his E46 sitting lower to the ground, Alex had a game plan from the beginning. In order to achieve his dream fitment it would have to be air – nothing else would do. Following advice from people running this kit his mind was made up and the full Air Lift Performance kit with 3P management was ordered and soon winging its way over to Leicestershire from the States. With his stock suspension finding a new home in the bin and his shiny new Air Lift kit bolted up, Alex was pleased as punch but the fettling didn’t stop there.
Achieving his vision of perfect fitment wasn’t going to be a five-minute job. The fitment in these photos certainly didn’t happen by accident, that’s for sure.
Adjustable rear camber arms were added to the mix to allow him to squeeze some serious girth under his arches and to ensure his E46 was nice and taught on the road the wishbones were also polybushed.
When it comes to any modified car, we think you’ll agree, wheel choice is one of the most important decisions of any build and Alex chopped and changed his way through several sets before arriving at the setup you see here. Starting initially with 19” BMW Style 132s (X5 five-spokes), he quickly moved over to dishy three-piece 17” BBS RFs after being wowed by Thom Williams’ E46 saloon at Ultimate Stance.
Having fallen hard for Thom’s E46, Alex was determined to run arch-to-lip fitment and there was no turning back. His Air Lift struts just wouldn’t let him get the front any lower yet there was still 5mm separating him from his arch to lip goal. This meant only one thing: bigger wheels.
Having promised himself a set of brand-new wheels this time, Alex had many options. He was after a timeless three-piece, five-spoke design and, after many WhatsApp group chat conversations about offsets and tyre choices with his friends, plans were starting to come together. Alex loosened his purse strings and treated himself to a set of 18” Work Meister S1s; in three-piece flavour, wheel specs are fully customisable and so he opted for 9x18” ET10 at the front and 10x18” ET18 on the rear – wide wheels by anyone’s standards, especially on a non-M body E46. In fact, it took -8 degrees of camber on the rear to stuff those Work Meister S1s inside the arches. That’s dedication.
Talking of bodywork, Alex didn’t feel the need to meddle too much with the overall look, with subtlety being the name of the game here. With factory M-Sport bumpers and skirts, his first step was to smooth the front numberplate to clean up the front end and provide some US flavour. The US influences didn’t stop there as Alex was on a mission to hunt down rare US parts. Top of his wish list was a set of ultra-rare, genuine amber face-lift headlights. “It took me ages to find a set as it seems nobody in the UK spec’d ambers on a face-lift from the factory,” Alex explains. After literally months of detective work he finally tracked down what he was after.
Bingo. Teamed with US-spec amber LED rears and side repeaters, these provide a subtle flash of colour against the perfect silver paintwork. This car is definitely all about small changes making a big difference.
When it came to sprucing up the E46’s original black leather innards, nothing but an M3 Individual interior would do for Alex. After trawling the internet for a full interior in perfect condition, he struck gold, finding the Kiwi M3 set you see here.
A straight swap for his existing black leather, the M3 perches really hit the spot by upgrading the boring original trim. On paper, perhaps Kiwi was a brave choice against the silver paintwork but it’s nice to see someone mixing things up and Alex’s outside-the-box thinking has definitely paid off – it looks swish.
Alex’s intention for a “nice daily” meant this car was never going to be about driving fast, so engine choice wasn’t a huge factor when he was on the hunt for another E46 to replace his first car. As he was buying purely on body condition and spec level he wasn’t put off by the 1.8 powerplant one bit. However, being a 2004 E46, this 318 is actually powered by the 2.0 16v N42B20 engine which puts out 143hp and 148lb ft of torque, which makes it a perfectly suitable Wörthersee cruiser, whilst keeping running costs down.
On the subject of Wörthersee, Alex always had it in mind to use his car to get out on the open road and see Europe. Too many people assume ‘stance’ cars are just for looking at, like expensive ornaments, but the truth is air-ride has changed that. Getting on and off the Eurotunnel/ferry is, with air-ride, a piece of cake. Many air-ride cars rack up the miles exploring mainland Europe. Alex is one of those guys.
“I had always wanted to make the road trip to lake Wörthersee in Austria with the E46, so I booked up the trip with the RollHard guys. It’s not a VW but that didn’t matter. It was an incredible experience; nothing beats the feeling of driving your own car round the mountains.”
So there we have it, Alex’s E46: a car built for the enjoyment of getting out on the open road and meeting new people and we’re pleased this one didn’t stay stock.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E46 / #BMW-318Ci / #BMW-318Ci-E46 / #BMW-318Ci-Air-Ride / #BMW-318Ci-Air-Ride-E46 / #Air-Lift / #N42B20 / #N42 / #BMW-N42 / #BMW-318Ci-N42 / #BMW-318Ci-N42-E46 / #Work-Meister / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0 four-cylinder N42B20, five-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x18” ET10 (front) and 10x18” ET18 (rear) #Work-Meister-S1 three-piece wheels with 215/35 (front and rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance struts, #3P-management adjustable rear bottom arms, polybushed wishbone bushes, -4° camber front -8° camber rear, drilled/grooved discs (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Full respray in stock colour, front bumper smoothed, genuine OEM amber lights all-round, US running lights coded in, wiper delete, black kidney grilles
INTERIOR E46 M3 Individual Kiwi Nappa leather, flush mounted 3P controller, US-spec cup holders, #Eonon-D5150v head unit, E9x gear knob
THANKS My dad, Andy, for all his help and support with the build, the RollHard guys for making cars fun (www.rollhard.co.uk), Brian at Jackson’s Coachworks for his talents with the paint gun, Rich at Driftworks for providing additional girth, Dale and Tom at Meguiar’s for laughing at 40% of my jokes
“I bought the car with every intention of keeping it standard”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation4 THE WIN
Bagged, with gorgeous HRE splits, this BMW E93 Convertible is one slick sun-seeking ride. Eva Verzelen isn’t your average modifier, she’s a female and back with her latest toy – an E93 320i – her fourth feature in just as many years. We think you’ll like her… Words: Joel Newman. Photos: Kevin Raekelboom.
Successful aftermarket styling has been and will remain a subjective concept. What floats one person’s boat may invariably sink another. Whatever styling cues you take the chances are some will appreciate your work, others will not. However in the case of Eva Verzelen’s E93 320i we beg to differ. The subtle tweaks and revisions Eva has made to her latest motor have created one of the most desirable cars we’ve ever laid eyes on.
Don’t be too surprised though, our heroine’s had rather a lot of practice. You’re currently looking at Eva’s fourth feature in Performance BMW. Previously her ICE’d up E46 316i graced our 01/04 issue. Developing and perfecting this same car, Eva was back in 09/04 with the addition of a two-tone paint scheme, wide-arch styling and fresh leather. Following on from this, a two-year gap gave Eva just enough time to completely overhaul the family pin-up. In 06/06 the final incarnation of the E46 was completed, and this time it had grown up somewhat. Gone was the two-tone paint, replaced by a marvellous House Of Kolor Brandy hue, in place of the Racing Dynamics rollers were a set of gold powdercoated HRE rims, styling was improved with M3 bumpers and a CSL boot lid. It had, unlike so many projects, matured and improved over time. As trends and attitudes changed, the less is more approach to modifying started to catch on and quite rightly Eva was leading this field.
Like any good parent though, she also appreciated there comes a time when, however attached we’ve become, we must let go.
Some two and a half years later Eva is back once again, and she’s got a brand new look. It’s often worrying when previous feature car owners get in touch to say their latest project is ready. It can be a rather awkward situation if we feel their new creation isn’t what our readers are looking for, especially when they’ve already got it right once before. Thankfully and impressively we can put our hand on our hearts and tell you that with each successive feature Eva’s cars have got better and better.
For the past four years, Eva has steadily been building up her Internet business and the hard work has paid off. Like many of us she has always dreamed of owning a brand spanking new BMW, and deservedly she has finally achieved just that. “I’ve always been in love with the E46 Convertible, but when the E93 came out I fell in love all over again! When the hard-top arrived my lust developed to the point where it couldn’t be ignored; whatever the cost I had to have one.”
As a Belgian resident Eva wasn’t struck with the usual performance dilemma as driving a car with any thing larger than a 2.0-litre engine on this side of the Channel is an offence punishable by death, or so we’re led to believe… As such the decision of which lump to go for was removed from the equation, leaving Eva with the enviable task of picking her favourite colour and determining how she would transform the car and earn an unbelievable fourth feature. Before we go any further you need to be furnished with the facts. Eva is married to a gentleman named Geert, who just so happens to be the director of the European chapter of US-based styling forum www.Europrojektz-world.com and drives a dazzling Alpine white, chrome rimmed E60 too.
The pair enjoy weekend jaunts to various shows, sharing a passion for modified cars, as well as each other. I guess it’s fair to say it’s the kind of relationship we all hanker after; no one likes the sour look on a partner’s face when that passion is not shared and you’re trying to justify your latest outlay.
“I know they cost two thousand pounds darling, I know you’ve been wanting to go on that holiday, but just look at her, she’s 30mm lower all round!” It takes a woman like Eva, or a husband like Geert to smile and say “what’s next?”
So with ample encouragement and a sprightlier bank account than ever before, Eva jumped in head first and purchased a pristine Alpine White III E93. Being a new car Eva was free to spec it as she saw fit, which enabled her to get the foundations of her dream project in place. “I’ve always fantasised about a white BMW with Shadowline trim and a red leather interior and I was finally in a position to just tick a box and have it. Along with the six-speed manual transmission I knew I had all the bases covered, and I certainly had a good idea where I wanted to take the project.”
Even before taking delivery, Eva and her friends on Europrojektz.com had discussed which direction to take the car and unanimously the OEM plus look won the day. “I’d done the wide-arch look, I’d had the two-tone paint and at the time they really captured the scene. In the past few years my tastes have changed and standards on the scene have gone up so it was important to me that my car reflected this.” After only two days of ownership her new toy was subjected to its first enhancements. In keeping with her new clean and simple ethos, Eva ordered a carbon Vorsteiner front lip spoiler and replaced her standard rollers with a set of polished lipped, powdercoated gold 19” 540R HRE rims, the perfect complement to the white paint scheme.
Eva was then keen to get the car’s stance just right, an often under-appreciated side of chassis augmentation that can make or break a car. Regardless of which suspension you’ve opted for, getting the correct combination of ride height, wheel size and tyre profile is paramount to the way a car sits, and Eva knows it.
So much so that she took the plunge and created the world’s first E93 Cabriolet with air-ride. Although common on street rods and mini trucks and OEM on many luxurious cars from the likes of Maybach, Rolls Royce and Lexus, air suspension is still viewed with scepticism, mostly through ignorance than anything else. While it is true that in the past ’bags have been a little unreliable, today, that is simply not the case. The truth is that air-ride is not suitable for everyone.
Basically, if you don’t spend time on track and are more of a cruiser than a racer then air-ride should be recommended. It’s comfortable, useful and enables you to have your car far lower without the normal headaches. Yes it may be expensive but it makes a huge difference to the appearance of any car, and at the touch of a button makes the impractical practical. Eva entrusted the car to JV-Tuning who faultlessly installed the system, which is no mean feat considering it is a world first.
Subsequently this E93 has got its stance just right, and it’s partly because of this that everything else falls into place. The success of the project cannot be gifted to the suspension and wheels alone, as they say the Devil is in the details.
Starting with the exterior transformation Eva has been quick to personalise her ride, her first step being the redesign of the rear bumper. With the help of Jem Design the bumper has been smoothed and a custom rear carbon diffuser integrated. It’s a stunning piece of work that looks like a factory fitted item and hints at the E46 M3 CSL’s rear end. We’re aware Eva’s colour scheme adds to its appeal but BMW’s latest M3 could certainly have benefited from such defining styling cues. Alongside the custom quad exhaust Eva plumped for, it has rear of the year written all over it.
Along with the delicate integration of carbon door mirrors, black kidney grilles and the aforementioned Shadowline trim, every facet that creates the car’s image adds something to the mix.
With the car coming along rather well Eva was keen to break the mould even further. “The air-ride was something I’d always dreamed of but there were other chassis modifications I was desperate to acquire. For me, a big brake kit sets off any car and I had envisaged the look of big red calipers peering through my gold HREs. People thought it was a waste of money because it’s only a 2.0-litre engine, but it’s not the case. The brake kit not only stops the car on a penny and looks a treat, it also ties the interior in with the exterior and that for me completes the car. It is my favourite modification.”
With 335mm front and rear discs and six- pot and four-pot calipers respectively, the XYZ big brake kit was complete and Eva was finally pleased with her car’s exterior.
The interior was, as you’d expect, rather nice to begin with so with the addition of a few M-Tech goodies such as the steering wheel, handbrake, pedals and footrest, all that was left to do was throw in some custom Europrojektz mats, stuff a BMW Performance strut brace under the bonnet, take a few photos and email them to Performance BMW magazine.
DATA FILE #BMW-E93 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E93 / #BMW-320i-E93 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E93 / #BMW-3-Series-Convertible / #BMW-3-Series-Convertible-E93 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: Four-cylinder 2.0-litre #N42 / #BMW-N42 / #BMW with reworked air box, custom quad exhaust system. Manual six-speed gearbox
CHASSIS: 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) gold powdercoated 540R 19” #HRE wheels shod in 225/35 and 255/30 Pirelli PZero Nero tyres respectively. BSS air suspension with #Koni adjustable coilovers, #BMW-Performance strut brace. #XYZ big brake kit with six-pot front calipers and four-pot rear calipers mated to 355mm discs
EXTERIOR: Shadowline exterior trim, de-badged, carbon #Vorsteiner front lip, custom rear bumper with integrated carbon diffuser, carbon door mirrors, matt black kidney grille
INTERIOR: Sports seats in Coral red Dakota leather, High Gloss interior trim, black Alcantara carpets with Europrojektz logo, M-Tech steering wheel, handbrake handle and gear knob, pedals and footrest
THANKS: Jurgen at JV-tuning, Dario, Yves and my husband Geert
This E93 has got its stance just right, and it’s partly because of this that everything else falls into place
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- Post is under moderation/ #2016 / #BMW / Timing chains… again / #N42 / #BMW-N42 / #N63 / #BMW-N63 / #BMW-chain /
The latest timing chain ‘quality enhancement’ package (a recall that isn’t) is on the rare #N63 V8 engines, which are far more common in the USA than here. In fact, the action doesn’t appear to have happened in the UK yet despite appearing in the US almost a year ago but that’s not to say the problem doesn’t exist. The service bulletin is number #B001314 and like the N42 2.0-litre diesels, it’s about measuring chain stretch and deciding whether to remove the engine and replace everything. As well as the chain, the bulletin also mentions checking and, if required, replacing other parts – injectors, MAFs, crankcase vent pipes, brake vacuum pump and the low pressure fuel sensor.
Apparently there is 38 hours of work involved so it’s a major issue. We’re guessing that the other parts have been causing trouble as well so BMW just wants to replace the lot. On this engine the chains are at the front of the unit and it’s a simple enough design with one chain per bank running from the crank sprocket. But the chain casing is sandwiched between the heads and the sump so one or other must be removed. The 38-hour time suggests the engine and gearbox have to come out and both heads and sump removed. In the US the oil change interval seems to have been dropped down to 10,000 miles. Timing chains have a hard life and extended oil changes as well as auto stop/start really do them no favours. Cars affected are #V8 petrol engine variants of the F10 and F11 5 Series plus the 5 GT, the F01 7 Series, X5, X6 and 6 Series. #BMW-UK has not issued any kind of technical bulletin but it’s worth bearing in mind if the EML light comes on and you notice the car is not running as it should.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.