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    I heard the other day about an early #BMW-X1 that had been recovered into a main dealership with a non-start condition following a breakdown. The labour for diagnostics came to under 100 quid, but the associated repair bill resulted in a final cost that was significant enough to effectively write-off the car.

    / #High-Pressure-Fuel-Pumps / #BMW

    How does £6,000 grab you for a new, high-pressure fuel pump, four injectors, fuel system clean-out and labour? A fuel pump costs £1,250, four injectors add up to over £2,200, then add £150 for the non-re-useable fuel lines and, if needed, a fuel rail for an additional £420. Then there was a couple of days in the workshop to get it all done at whatever they charge (plus VAT), and you can see how it adds up and runs away.

    What happened in this case – and others – is that the finely-machined surfaces in the fuel pump somehow become damaged. Bits whizzed around inside the pump causing more aggro, and then the fi ne mix of metal swarf and diesel found its way into the injectors, ruining them.

    The car went to a BMW independent specialist who quoted £1,200 to supply and fit good used parts, and clean the system out. That’s after the workshop there had completed the same repair on three other #BMW-N47 cars before…

    But I do wonder what causes this problem? It’s not really that common a fault. It could be poor quality diesel from a supermarket station, water in the fuel or even the fact that, after the filter in the fuel pump, there isn’t one in the fuel line. I’d be very tempted to cut a section of the fuel supply pipe out and splice-in an external fuel filter, just as a second line of defence.

    A new, high-pressure fuel pump from BMW will cost a hefty £1,250, but this can be just the start of the expense if using a dealership for repairs.
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    (NOT) GROWING UP Beautiful blue bagged E92 320d

    Deciding it’s time to grow up and stop modifying a car is easy, but actually doing it is much harder… Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Simon Ward

    There comes a time, we suppose, in all our lives when we will start thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop modifying cars and start putting money away, sensibly, for the inevitable arrival of The Future and spending what spare money we have left on more grown-up interests, such as old whisky and expensive wax jackets or hand-crafted ethnic fair trade furniture. Perhaps that’s already happened, perhaps you’re sipping an 18-year-old single malt while wearing an expensive jacket, sitting on a chair made from Sheesham hardwood. What’s Sheesham? Exactly…

    Or perhaps it’s already crossed your mind while you were out shopping for your new car, or when you decided to spend three months’ wages on a new set of wheels, but you’ve not managed to commit yet. You can’t quit the grip of modding and you keep telling yourself that you’ll start being sensible any day now, but there’s just time for one last big score…

    That’s where Will Drayson found himself about four years ago, but we’ll let him tell his tale: “I’ve dreamed of owning a BMW since I first passed my test – something has always drawn me towards them. This was my first BMW; at the time I had just been promoted and began working in Sheffield. I had a modified Mk4 Golf and wanted something a bit smarter. I tried to be sensible and choose something with good economy as I was commuting about 300 miles a week. I went for the E92 320d as I loved how it looked and knew the running costs wouldn’t be an issue. It seemed like the perfect car for me.

    “I travelled to Leicester to get it. I’ve always been a bit OCD with my cars and paintwork and I’d spoken to the seller on the phone and told him that if it wasn’t perfect then not to waste my time, but if it was as good as he’d said I’d pay the full asking price. True to his word it was immaculate and when I pulled up to view it, before I even started the engine, I knew I wanted it. I was so happy when I bought it, I’ll never forget that day.

    “I originally told myself it was time to grow up, save money and take a break from the modifying scene… and then within four days had already painted the wheels a dark anthracite and ordered some coilovers. I couldn’t help myself – to me, modifying my cars is an expression of who I am. I don’t think it’ll ever be anything I can leave alone.”

    Will is most definitely a serial modifier and looking back through his case history it’s clear that nothing short of an intervention will be able to kerb his habit. After leaving school and starting work as a joiner, he modified his Astra work van. This was followed by a modified and financially crippling SEAT Leon Cupra R and then the slightly more sensible Golf GT TDi. This leads us neatly on to the 320d, the car that would not be modified, except is now probably more modified than all of the others put together. If we were mean, we’d go for a slow hand clap, but we’re sympathetic so we’ll opt for a consoling pat on the back instead. Not that Will needs consoling because his decision to go to town on his E92 means he’s ended up with a spectacular machine that turns heads wherever it goes.


    The reason for all that attention is simple: it looks absolutely spectacular. Will’s done a first rate job on the styling but what really sets it all off is that custom paint; it’s a gloriously bold blue, solid and striking and completely custom, conjured up by the mind of Will himself. We happen to know the ingredients that went into this unique blend but if we told you, we’d have to kill you, and then Will would probably come and kill us, so we won’t. All we can tell you is that it was created in a bit of a mad scientist moment of mixing, a Willy Wonka-esque colour mixing adventure with Will having no earthly way of knowing in which direction he was going, and when the smoke had cleared and it was all over, he’d conjured up his perfect shade of blue.

    But a blue E92 alone isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd. It needed to be sprayed over a body that’s deserving of all that love and attention: “I wanted quite an aggressive look while avoiding the M3 bumper/replica route,” he explains. “With it being a 320d the last thing I wanted was to ‘pretend’ it was an M3.” He’s certainly done a grand job of making his E92 look suitably aggressive without following the crowd. Will has smoothed the front bumper, removed the headlight washer jets, smoothed the bonnet, added NEM angel eyes with tinted internals along with tinted rear lights and then he’s gone to town on the carbon. There are carbon kidney grilles, front splitter, mirror covers that he skinned himself, Ericsson bootlid and a rear diffuser, which has been embellished with a pair of 335i tailpipes.

    Naturally, all that visual drama needed the right wheels and this too was an area where Will was keen not to blend in with everyone else and he wasn’t afraid of going off-piste in order to give his E92 a unique look: “The first set of wheels I put on were some Bentley Continental 19s,” he says. “I’d seen them a lot in the VAG scene and wanted to break the mould with the BMW scene. I’ve always liked how the VAG scene is about thinking outside-the-box, while on all the BMW forums everyone was just buying CSL replicas and it was bland in honesty. All modified Threes looked similar. I wanted to take a different route. Everyone told me it wouldn’t work and would look terrible but I hit up G23 Engineering for some adapters and put the Bentley wheels on and people’s minds were soon changed!

    “The car looked great – I miss that look to be fair. I ran them for a couple of years until I fancied a change and that’s when I spotted these concave Rotiform BLQs for sale with the exact same width and offsets as the Bentley wheels. They would be a straight fit onto my existing adaptors without any extra work so I thought it was a no brainer really!” Indeed, no brain was required for this decision as the BLQ is a great looking wheel, the concave profile really suiting the E92 styling and the black centres are the perfect match for the carbon elements scattered across the exterior.

    The perfect wheels need the perfect suspension setup and while Will’s first efforts were static, air was always an inevitability. “Originally I bought some D2 coilovers but they lasted about a year until they collapsed and went to an oily grave,” he says. “I then went with BC Racing coilovers, which were brilliant. I’d wanted air during that time but couldn’t afford it. I ran the BCs for about a year until I finally caved and went with the new #Air-Lift 3H kit. A friend of mine, Vick Nagi, mentioned I could be a guinea pig for the new kit through his company, Lowpro, so I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a kit as a test vehicle before the official release!” The 3H has been treated to a sexy floating boot install, comprising a single tank and twin compressors, complete with lighting and finished in satin grey to match his wheel lips.

    With the 320d having been purchased for its economy, Will has decided to leave the engine alone, bar the addition of a K&N panel filter and covering the air intake panel in carbon himself. “Even when I got to the point that I decided it was a show car and no longer a daily commuter I didn’t think it was worth spending money trying to squeeze more power from the engine. I’ve considered a 335i engine swap but it’s never really interested me; I love driving the car as it is and I’ve got nothing to prove, I don’t need 400 horses to enjoy it!” he smiles and that might be the most sensible thing we’ve heard him say all day!

    The engine might be stock, but the interior most definitely is not and Will’s made it a very nice place to spend time in.

    Gone are the stock M Sport front seats and in their place have been fitted a very sexy pair of leather-wrapped Recaro CS seats. “I’d seen an orange M3 on the internet with the BMW M Performance seats; they looked amazing and I was instantly hunting the web and eBay for a set,” grins Will. “They were like hens teeth to get hold of and at crazy prices whenever I found any. In the end I found a guy who stripped out Lotuses and made them into track cars who had taken a brand-new set of CSs out of an Exige. I bit his hand off when he mentioned selling them! I dismantled the original runners on the M Sport seats and fabricated some adaptors to put them onto the base of the CSs. I fitted the seats myself in about ten hours, doing the wiring and runners etc which I didn’t think was bad seeing I’m pretty much self-taught with vehicles!” With a pair of gorgeous leather seats up front the cloth rear bench really wouldn’t do, so this has now been trimmed in black leather to match. The trims have been painted in Land Rover Lago grey while after the shoot Will replaced the M Sport steering wheel with a flat-bottomed one complete with carbon trim panel. Finally, the audio has been uprated with a set of Focal speaker, tweeters and under-seat subs.

    While it may not have ended up being quite as sensible as Will might have initially wanted, his E92 remains a grown up car that’s the perfect blend of diesel frugality and jaw-dropping show car looks meaning he is both having his cake and eating it, which is about as much as you could ever ask for. Any future plans for the E92 that may have been brewing have currently been put on hold as Will has just bought a house, arguably the most sensible and grown up thing you can purchase, but that’s no big deal because at the moment he says he’s really happy with how the car looks and we’re with him on that one.

    “I love driving the car as it is. I don’t need 400 horses to enjoy it”

    “Before I’d even started the engine, I knew I wanted it. I was so happy”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E92 / #BMW-320d / #BMW-320d-E92 / #BMW-320d-Air-Ride / #BMW-320d-Air-Ride-E92 / #BMW-E92-Air-Ride / #Rotiform-BLQ / #Rotiform / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel #N47D20 / #BMW-N47 / #N47 , #K&N panel filter, carbon air intake cover, 335i tailpipes, six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 9x19” ET41 (front and rear) three-piece forged super concave #Rotiform BLQs with gloss black faces and satin gunmetal lips on G23 adapters with 215/35 (front and rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3H air-ride with performance struts, chassis modified for greater front end drop, grooved discs and pads (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Full respray in custom mixed bright blue, smoothed front bumper with washer jets removed, smoothed bonnet with #BMW roundel removed, carbon fibre kidney grilles, #Ericsson bootlid, diffuser, splitter and wing mirror covers, #NEM-angel-eye headlights with blacked-out internals, tinted rear lights

    INTERIOR #Recaro-CS seats, flat bottom steering wheel with carbon fibre trim added after the shoot, internal trims painted in Land Rover Lago grey, rear seats retrimmed in black leather, Focal speakers, tweeters and under-seat subs, full floating boot install with single tank, twin Viair compressors, lighting and satin grey tank

    THANKS Adi Camm and Dave Shaw at A&D Autos for all your help and support over many years and allowing me to spend hundreds of hours generally getting in the way at your unit! Vick Nagi at Lowpro for all his encouragement and helping me achieve my goals. Phil James at The Install Company for the wicked install and hard work on getting that front end drop so low. My mum and dad for supporting me throughout all of this and letting me dismantle cars on the drive at 1am on multiple occasions! All my close friends for the constant wind-ups about my car – it spurred me on to do better

    “I love driving the car as it is. I don’t need 400 horses to enjoy it”
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    And now... the #three-cylinder-engine ! #BMW-B38 / #B38 / #BMW

    Well that didn’t take long. I’m told there’s been a problem with the three-cylinder petrol engines as fitted to the MINI, 2 Series Active Tourer and the latest 118i and 318i. The problem first manifests itself when it makes an odd noise upon pressing the clutch down – that’s odd. And it’ll do it again, and again. The fault is reckoned to be the crankshaft thrust washers wearing prematurely and similar things have happened to the N20 four-cylinder as well. A new engine under warranty is, of course, the answer but this is the latest in a series of engine issues – #BMW-N47 chains, #BMW-N43 general malaise etc. And it’s not just BMW – VW and Audi have had plenty of problems but Mercedes seem to be on the ball at the moment. Vauxhalls eat gearboxes for breakfast as well as a litany of EGR faults, and the 1.6 Ford/PSA TDCi engine is an ‘avoid at all costs’ nightmare. BMW has moved fast to identify the problem units under a Quality Enhancement scheme – either a complete new engine or a simple repair if caught in time. And whilst this is going on, millions of 20-year-old Toyota Carinas are still motoring on.


    Parkside Autos in Worksop recently had (another) six-year-old 116i whose sub- 60,000 mile N43 engine had grenaded itself – a few shards of broken chain guide rail had blocked the oil pick-up strainer, and that’s not an isolated case. European manufacturers need to get their act together and fast. Heads must roll for the recent engine troubles because brand loyalty only goes so far in this internet age – too many cock-ups and you’ll have lost market share before you can say ‘Watchdog’ or, with increasing frequency, ‘Kia seven year warranty’.
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    Solid #flywheel conversions / BMW

    Many diesel owners will have heard of these conversions that replace the #dual-mass-flywheels ( DMF ). A new #DMF can be a lot of money – over £600. However, you can buy solid mass flywheel kits for various BMWs. For a 2007 onwards #BMW-N47 2.0d, such as a #BMW-320d , a flywheel and clutch kit is about £400 all in, including the sprung clutch centre plate. A kit for an older #BMW-M47 is about the same price. But are they worth it? There are stories of broken cranks on some BMW diesels, and these are ones such as the old M47 as fitted in the #Rover-75 diesel. This is due to the cranks in some diesels being made of cast iron as opposed to forged steel, and they can snap across a main bearing. It’s caused by harmonic vibrations and as well as the crank front pulley damper (which must be in perfect condition).

    The purpose of a dual mass flywheel is to absorb these stresses. Some will say the springs in the clutch centre plate on a standard solid flywheel does the job but they don’t – they just absorb the clutch take up. The dual mass flywheel moves about all the time, absorbing the severe vibrations that a four-cylinder diesel creates. Petrol engines, especially sixes, are not as critical but when did you last here of a petrol DMF failing? Exactly. And that tells you just how harsh diesels are on flywheels. So, should you fit one? That’s up to you, but bear in mind that unless you’re keeping the car forever, a new DMF and clutch kit will outlast your time with the car and it’ll be smooth and quiet to drive. A solid flywheel might save you £300 but it will be noisier, have noticeable vibration and whilst the chances of crank trouble is probably slim, is worth the risk? I wouldn’t, but each to their own…
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    / #BMW-N47 / #BMW swirl flaps / #N47 /

    Just when you thought the diesel swirl flap issue had gone away, it looks like it’s returning again. It’s not as bad as last time when steel swirl flaps could fall into the cylinders and cause a major catastrophe, but it’s a new problem nonetheless, albeit a rare one. The issue is happening on older higher mileage N47 diesels from 2007 onwards. On the previous M47, the swirl flaps had their own pivot and an operating rod, but on the N47 they have utilised the idea Ford used on the 2000-onwards Mk3 Mondeo petrols where the flaps are all operated with one common shaft that goes through the manifold a bit like a skewer in a shish kebab.

    That’s all very well but as Ford found out, the metal rod can wear into the plastic manifold body and even break, resulting in swirl flaps being ingested. BMW has used a brass shaft, but it still has wear issues. I first saw this problem when Parkside Autos in Worksop (01909 506555) had a 2008 #BMW-E90 BMW-320d in with a recurring EGR fault and a loss of boost. After doing the usual jobs of cleaning everything up, repairing a few other bits and resetting fault codes it was noticed that under boost, exhaust gas was appearing from behind the actuator for the swirl flaps.

    Basically, the brass shaft had worn the manifold holes oval and pressurised exhaust EGR gas was leaking. The team removed the manifold, took the swirl flaps out, blocked the hole with a suitably hard resin and reassembled it – result, no more EGR faults and much better performance. Give them a ring if you want to get yours deflapped because another possible scenario is that the brass shaft breaks and one of the swirl flaps jams shut – that will result in diesel going into a cylinder without any air and that won’t end well.
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    SCANDINAVIAN SLAM Air-ride E91 Touring
    Who says diesel Tourings need to be boring? In the land of outrageous turbocharging, one Norwegian cares more about the air-ride stance. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Erik Berg-Johansen.

    Stance is everything, right? Feel free to lust after an M2, M3, M5, whatever, but get the stance right on any run-of-the-mill #BMW and you can turn just as many heads. This fact gives us all hope. We can’t all drop tens of thousands on a new M car, nor employ an expensive specialist to bolt on a giant turbo and associated upgraded parts to create a street weapon. But get a car sitting just right and for comparatively little coin you’re a show favourite.

    Which makes this Norwegian E91 something of a rarity. You see, our Norwegian cousins have not only an enviable quality of life, but most of them have a fair chunk of disposable income too. Sure, it costs a lot to live in this beautiful Scandinavian land, but locals are well paid to compensate. I’ve met plenty of 20- something Norwegian car modifiers who think nothing of owning both a city flat plus a holiday home by the lakes to retreat to each weekend.

    It means many have the money to drive around in new German cars, and often make their mark by adding top-end aftermarket body parts, chassis upgrades and engine mods. Think back to all the 1000hp+ BMWs we’ve featured and many will be from Norway or the equally bountiful Sweden. And just to complete your jealousy, these Scandinavians sure know how to drive too. A thousand horses through the rear treads?

    Wheels spinning in fourth gear? No problem. It’s as if they’re born knowing how to control it. Just check out the names of those who mastered the Too Fast To Race Group B rally cars of the 1980s. Yep, the Scandinavians. Showing there are more strings to their bows than just bonkers turbo beasts, Kim Arild Grindermoen has chosen pure stance over performance with his 3 Series Touring. It’s all about air suspension, something he insists is nothing to be afraid of in terms of ease of fitment and even practicality thanks to the easily adjustable ride height. Yes he’s a tad biased as he set up and runs a company called StanceShop – a dealership for Air Lift Performance suspension and AccuAir air suspension management – but he’s a man worth listening to when he can make a humble estate car look this damn perfect on the stance front.

    The 26-year-old from Otta in rural Norway is a welder by trade, and bought this totally standard 2011 320d Touring with an M Sport pack to make what he says is his “own statement; something I have never done before by taking it all the way with air-ride”.

    It certainly isn’t Kim’s first time at the rodeo. Modifying cars since the age of 16, he cut his teeth on an old Mitsubishi with the usual aftermarket wheels and lowering, before progressing to BMWs a few years later. He’s been very active since then. An E36 was first, then an E30 followed by five more E36s, four more E30s, two E32s and five E34s. Busy boy.

    While Kim is one for big power too – he’s currently at work creating a madman E34 Touring with turbocharged M50B25 turbo engine – the 320d Touring has to serve as a daily driver, so the frugal diesel engine has been left practically untouched. An updated ECU helps the four-cylinder realise 207hp now – up from the standard 184hp – which Kim says is “enough for the street to lose your licence.”


    Visual clout comes from the ride height, and Kim says the kit is “plug and play and fits without modifications”. We all like the sound of that. “It took a couple of days to get it up and running because of the wiring and air lines,” he explains, “but the struts are as easy as coilovers to install.” Kim says it’s all bolt on with no need for further modifications to the chassis or body.

    Slammed on the ground the Touring looks fantastic, and the rear end in particular looks far fatter with the back wheel arches seeming to nicely bulge with the deep-dish 10x19-inch ADV.1 three-piece rims swallowed up by them. But no, those rear arches are completely standard. Up front the 9-inch rims with skinny 225/35 Falken FK453 rubber are ideally placed in the front arches.


    Improving things are the 320d’s front arches making way for M3 items with the side indicators replaced by gunmetal stripes. It’s a subtle addition, but adds some front end sportiness to otherwise plain 320d sides. The exterior stays true to BMW’s original Touring shape with Kim going for subtle enhancements to the black body. Most obvious is smoked tape – from Norwegian company Fantasy Factory – to coat the lights around the car, once again this being most obvious at the rear which now looks very mean-looking in its darkness, complemented by a 335i diffuser. A pair of 335i-look Ragazzon exhaust tips pop out from the diffuser, but other than that the bumpers are just factory M Sport items.

    While owning an estate car means plenty of room for an outrageous air install, this has to serve as Kim’s practical daily, so that wasn’t an option, but what he has done is put together a very smart, simple install while still leaving plenty of useable room in the load area. He’s running a single, black tank, which ties in with the rest of the car’s mean and moody appearance and is running twin Viair compressors plumbed into an AccuAIr VU4 four-corner solenoid valve unit. In the boot’s side compartment Kim’s added a fibreglass eight-inch subwoofer box, backing up Rockford Fosgate speakers and updated head unit in the main cabin. He has also wired in a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor which works as an OEM integration ‘black box’ for much improved audio control. While the interior has been kept practically standard, the addition of an OEM Alcantara M Performance steering wheel is a rather welcome upgrade.

    The cabin-mounted AccuAir controller offers quick and easy ride height adjustment allowing for seamless transition from slammed show car to practical grocerygetter. Kim also says he’s given the Touring a bash on Norway’s Rudskogen raceway, reporting back that it handles just fine.

    Good modifiers are always looking to move on to the next challenge, and Kim says his air-ride E91 will soon serve as practical family transport as his first child is due by the end of the year. He says as a result he’ll be closing down StanceShop, also partly due to how difficult it is to get air-ride cars approved for Norwegian roads, which makes his creation all the more impressive. “I’ll be focusing more on the family life, but you’ll still see cars being modified in the future by me,” he says, reminding us that his E34 is going to be a boosted show special with plenty of fast road potential. So this airride E91 will soon be the official family wagon. Not only will it be the coolest thing rocking up at kiddie daycare, but just think of the endless hours of fun the kids will have raising and lowering this Touring via that control pad. Who needs babysitters?

    DATA FILE #Air-ride E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-320d-Touring-E91 / #N47D20 / #N47 / #BMW-N47 / #BMW-320d-Touring-Air-ride / #BMW-320d

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel N47D20, #Ragazzon exhaust system, uprated ECU, six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #ADV.1 three-piece wheels with 225/35 (front and rear) Falken FK453 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance suspension and #AccuAir management

    EXTERIOR M Sport bumpers, E92 M3 front wings with side indicators replaced by gunmetal strips, Fantasy Factory smoked tape for lights all-round, OEM 335i rear diffuser, M tricolour stripes on kidney grille

    INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, updated head unit, twin Viair compressors, single air tank, AccuAir VU4 valve unit, fibreglass 8” subwoofer box in boot, Rockford Fosgate speakers, Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 eight-channel interactive signal processor

    “[I wanted to make my] own statement; something I’ve never done before”
    Interior has been treated to an M Performance Alcantara steering wheel and the in-car audio has also been upgraded. Boot area houses the smart and simple air-ride install; 19” ADV.1 three-piece wheels look fantastic and really suit the E91 shape.

    2.0d engine may be nothing special to look at but it’s the perfect mill for a daily driver and a remap has resulted in a healthy 207hp.
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    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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    LONGTERMERS BMW F30 320d Sport

    It’s turned colder in Oxfordshire of late and dawn reveals roads greased over with a light sheen of rain water or condensation, not to mention several billion leaves. You may think that in a rear-driven #BMW this is an open invitation to go sideways at any given opportunity but sadly the truth is that the #N47 / #BMW-N47 iron lump up front never quite produces enough grunt to allow me to kick the tail sideways with regular abandon.

    So you have to plan ahead. Which basically means storming into a turn, then shoving it sideways with a load of throttle. This normally does the trick, although then the transition from grip to slip is really quite sudden and the rear seems to break away rather rapidly, at least when provoked in the wet. The bottom line is, whilst you can make pretty pictures on the asphalt with a bog-standard 320d, it requires a little animalism and doesn’t seem to flow naturally. I daresay with another 50hp and perhaps an equal amount of twist then things would be different, but in factory tune and minus a limited-slip differential, it’s not quite as playful as I’d like it to be. It’s not the end of the world, of course, although it is another reason why I crave more power in its replacement.

    I’ve been embracing the modern mobile world this month. KP12 needed new rear brake pads, followed shortly thereafter by an oil change and general inspection. It’s out of warranty now, of course, and (as mentioned in previous issues) I’ve been musing over what to do. Cue a recommendation for whocanfixmycar.com, where one enters in car registration details, specifies the nature of the work (i.e, a service, new exhaust etc) then you just sit back and wait. The website, via affiliations with local garages, and some further afield, sends you back quotes from competing businesses and you pick one based on price and distance, conversing with them if necessary, agreeing a date and time and going from there. One needs to be careful when getting quotes for work, though, and ensure the ‘other info’ option is utilised, otherwise the quote received bears no relation to the work requested. In my case, I asked for new rear pads and even though I stipulated this within the wider option for ‘discs and pads’, the initial quote I received made it clear that the price was for both discs and pads fitted, including VAT. To be fair, once I’d made it clear it was just the pads I was after, the price was adjusted immediately and we agreed a price. So make sure you know what you’re agreeing to pay for.

    At the time of writing, KP12 is booked into a local garage who quoted a very reasonable £83 for OE-quality rear pads, fitted, including VAT. No, I don’t know how they can be making much money on that either but that’s their problem I guess. I’ll report back in due course as it’s just occurred to me that this is the first new operation I’ve dealt with since initially making contact with Onkar up at OSC in Rugby all those years ago. Crikey, now I feel old.


    Apparently the garage in question (more details to follow once I’ve had the work done) have the modern diagnostic machines available in order to interrogate the Three’s on-board computer and also reset the service indicators – although as I know this nothing more than a software update on a likely already present testing rig, this is perhaps not as impressive as it otherwise could be. It is important, though, as I want to ensure that the iDrive service history is kept up-to-date and complete as it’s all logged in there, replacing printed service histories. This is something else for which I lament the passing of. Finally this month, I made reference recently to the purchase of a DJI Phantom 3 drone, which I’ve been enjoying whilst I can before somebody in government bans them (in response to these cretins in London who fly them at night and often at altitudes uncomfortably close to passing aircraft, before claiming they didn’t know it wasn’t allowed). I’ve been out and about around Oxfordshire, and the early fruits of this can be seen on www.cotswoldsheights. co.uk which is a basic website I have created myself at this point in order to get the pics into the public domain. The Phantom is an extremely impressive piece of technology, but I do remain concerned that an increase in so-called ‘near misses’ involving drones and aircraft will at some point change the current status quo for the worse. I suppose time will tell.

    DATA FILE #BMW-320d-Sport-F30 / #BMW-320d-Sport / #BMW-320d-F30 / #BMW-F30 / #BMW
    YEAR: #2012
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 1555
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 49532
    MPG THIS MONTH: 47.5
    COST THIS MONTH: nil
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