- Post is under moderationAWESOME BMW M5 Looks good, goes great
How do you improve upon one of the best driving cars #BMW ever put together? Take a leaf out of Andrew Berger’s book. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
Styled and tuned E39 M5
There can’t be many father and sons that have individually made it on to the pages of Performance BMW with their Bavarian beasts. In fact, Andrew and Josh Berger may well be the first. Josh’s E36 M3 was featured in November last year. It’s a concours-standard build that’s been reverted back to its Luxurious spec and slammed on a set of CCW LM5Ts.
With a few choice engine and chassis mods, it’s a show stopper, track car and daily driver rolled into one. And now a year later, it’s his father’s turn to take the spotlight. The E39 M5 is arguably the best performance saloon BMW ever made, and it’s already becoming sought after by collectors and driving enthusiasts. Having reached modern classic status, various finance and automotive publications of late are claiming that it’s set to soar in value. In fact, Paul Michaels, chairman of Hexagon Classics (a man who makes a living out of buying the right collectible cars) claims an immaculate low mileage model is sure to appreciate.
It’s something I’ve been saying for the past year and I now find myself not getting very far with writing this feature as I scour Pistonheads and AutoTrader looking for one and trying to persuade my husband that this should be our new family car. Suffice to say we definitely couldn’t afford the one that was recently up for grabs at a dealership in Ohio. With just 309 miles on the clock the asking price was $149,999.
Anyway, if I’m to meet this deadline without burning the midnight oil I really must get back to the task in hand. A man fascinated with form and function, we’re surprised to learn that Andrew has only been interested in BMWs for the past 15 years, but suffice to say ever since the day he first drove one he was hooked. He did go on to own that very car, an E46 330i, but not before going through a few other 3, 5 and M Series cars. If truth be told, though, he always had his sights set on an E39 M5: “This car has been at the top of my bucket list since they rolled off the production line,” confesses the 60-year-old.
He bought the car in May last year from Gas Motorcars, a local dealership in Marietta, Georgia, that specialises in exotic, classic and luxury cars and also happens to be where his son works. He traded in his E36 M3 and M Roadster for it together with a pile of 100 dollar bills. The car had already received a few exterior modifications – some of which were a little OTT for Andrew’s taste, so the first job was to take off what he didn’t like.
As such the car now wears a Vorsteiner carbon fibre vented bonnet, front and rear spoilers from AC Schnitzer, ECS Tuning brake duct grilles, a painted matt black kidney grille, angel eye headlights and a painted gloss black rear diffuser with stainless steel exhaust tip surrounds, all of which combine to make a more aggressive statement without detracting from Chris Bangle’s original lines. The staggered 19” DPE Forged wheels with brushed faces, polished lips and chrome hardware are the perfect finishing touches.
When it came to the interior, Andrew wanted to keep things simple again so he’s retained most of the stock parts (bar the Schroth Racing harnesses) but brought them into the 21st century. As such the steering wheel, sun visors, doorcards, handbrake and gear knob gaiters have been retrimmed in black Alcantara complete with M tri-colour stitching, while the Nineties wood trim has been painted silver and the instrument rings have been swapped out for custom-made aluminium items.
The in-dash double-DIN DVD multimedia AV receiver from Pioneer is the only clue to a custom audio install which resides in the boot and includes a pair of JL Audio W7 10” subwoofers and HD1200/1 amp, which are connected up to a set of Hertz speakers, mids and tweeters. Despite having the unbeatable soundtrack of a brutal V8 under the bonnet, the ICE is Andrew’s favourite: “I love taking this car out on a Sunday, putting on my favourite playlist and enjoying my ultimate driving machine,” he tells us.
Saying that, we’re pleased to hear the engine side of things haven’t been ignored. With 400hp already on tap, sensibly Andrew has gone for a selection of mods that help to improve the breathing of the high-revving 5.9-litre engine. The combination of an AFE Stage 2 air intake, custom exhaust manifolds, mid-pipes and ECU remap by Buckhead Imports and an Eisenmann Race exhaust system not only gives the car extra horsepower, but it also lets the engine rev more eagerly and helps the lazy V8 burble really come out of its shell.
The six-speed manual gearbox from Getrag was critically acclaimed for its slick performance, but improvements can always be made. To that end a UUC short shifter, lightweight clutch and flywheel, have really helped to transform an already revered driving experience with quicker gear changes and improved throttle response. “Getting it past 6000rpm puts a smile on my face every time,” he says and we can certainly believe that.
When you factor in the host of suspension upgrades he’s made, including KW Variant 3 coilovers, Dinan strut tower bar and shock tower brace to help the car feel more planted, responsive and tauter, together with a Brembo GT big brake kit up front and slotted StopTech discs with Hawk pads out back to better haul in the power, Andrew now has the confidence to push this sizeable saloon harder on Georgia’s finest scenic and twisty roads.
Andrew’s plans for the future are to simply maintain its prestige and, with just 55,000 miles on the clock, keep it for Sunday best, and who can blame him? With supercar- chasing performance in a package that is discreet and practical, the E39 M5 is the very definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and Andrew’s sympathetic approach in modifying is a great lesson to anyone thinking of buying one of these Q cars. Right, can I go back to scouring the classifieds again now, please?
“This car’s been at the top of my bucket list since they rolled off the production line”
“I love taking this car out and enjoying my ultimate driving machine”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E39 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E39 / #S62B50 / #BMW-S62 / #S62 / #DPE / #AFE / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-E39
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 , #AFE-Stage-2 air intake, Buckhead Imports custom exhaust manifolds, mid-pipes and ECU remap, full #Eisenmann race exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, UUC lightweight clutch and flywheel, UUC Evo 3 short-shifter
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET16 (f) and 11x19” ET16 (r) #DPE-Forged-ST7-Hybrid wheels with brushed faces, polished lips and chrome hardware with 245/35 (f) and 285/35 (r) Toyo T1R tyres, #KW-Variant-3 Coilovers, #Dinan strut tower bar & shock tower brace. #Brembo-GT big brake kit (f) and slotted #StopTech discs and Hawk pads (r), #Turner-Motorsports stainless steel brake lines all-round
EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner carbon fibre vented bonnet, kidney grille painted matt black, LED angel eye headlights, ECS Tuning brake duct grille, #AC-Schnitzer front and rear spoilers, custom painted gloss black rear diffuser with stainless steel exhaust tip surrounds
INTERIOR Doorcards, handbrake and gear knob gaiters, steering wheel and sun visors retrimmed in black Alcantara with M tri-colour stitching, silver painted trim, custom aluminium instrument rings, Schroth Racing harnesses, full custom boot install with two JL Audio W7 subwoofers and HD1200/1 amp, Pioneer in-dash double-DIN DVD multimedia AV receiver, Hertz speakers, mids and tweetersStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTOTAL WHITEOUT
A stunning matt white, wide-body BMW E92 335i. The E92 bar has been raised to sublime proportions with Carlos Molina’s dazzling matt white wide-body 335i. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Eric Eikenberry.
Perhaps the best news for us modifiers with the launch of the new F30 3-Series is the inevitable plummet in prices for the outgoing E9x models on the used market. So get yourself ready, soon these desirable fifth-gen Threes will be flooding the classified websites at prices more and more will be able to afford. That means it’s the time to get some modifying plans in place, and if you’re after a bit of inspiration, it’d be a good idea to look west to America and witness some of the latest E90/2 creations currently leading the scene.
Carlos Molina Jr. will be a name familiar to many reading PBMW, as his cars and modifying exploits have been widely publicised on the internet and in magazines. His killer E46 show car has been long on the scene since its SEMA 2008 introduction, but inevitably Carlos was tempted by a new project by 2011, this time based on the then current E92 Coupé.
In its sweetest of sweet-six engine guise, an E92 335i with a twin-turbocharged 3.0- litre is a talented platform to start work on. Carlos took the plunge and put his order in, ready to get busy with a Prior Design body kit he’d spied. “I saw glimpses of a full widebody kit on the internet, and was told that no one in the US had the full kit,” he said.
This chance at exclusivity convinced Carlos to commit to the German Prior Design offering, and just one peek at the spectacular body is enough to convince most that he made the right choice. Here is an E92 that successfully maintains its attractive factory styling, but adds muscles in exactly the right places. And sat on those achingly good-looking concave polished-lip DPEs with barely-there rubber bands wrapped round them, it’s a show-stopper both on the street and in the modified car halls.
Once Carlos had decided on the widebody, he was introduced to Michael Borja from Rollin’ Art who’d have a big say in the dramatic final results you see today. “Mr Borja was known for his meticulous painting ability, especially with matt paints,” Carlos said. “We discussed the build, and decided on a Bianco Fugi white matt pearl.”
And what a choice it was. Fresh, contemporary and very, very sexy, this matt white hue emphasises the aggressive curvature of the wide-body and, especially under show lights and street lights, you’re left in little doubt that this is a very special BMW. The body work has been meticulously carried out, with the metal work of the rear wheel wells given relief cuts and then shaped to the glass fibre Prior Design wide-arch for added reinforcement.
The full kit comprises the fattened arches, side skirts, front and rear bumpers and the vented and bulged bonnet. With subtle Prior Design wings for the bootlid and roof, the look is certainly not too over-the-top, more a case of elegant aggression. Such a style is seen on the likes of BMW’s new M6, with its factory 20-inch wheels sharing much in the way of desirable style with Carlos’ 20-inch DPE rolling stock.
The wheels sit on Tein adjustable Super Sport coilover suspension for the required slammed stance, and this thing will be a mean handler with the Whiteline front and rear anti-roll bars acting as back up. The DPEs also allow plenty of vision for the anchors behind, consisting of Rotora 14-inch discs clenched by Rotora six-pots up front and four-pots at the rear. Powdercoating these white adds even more flair behind the rims, while H2 ceramic brake pads ensure the full complement is there for pulling up promptly when this E92’s fettled powerplant is properly exercised.
While Carlos was discussing plans with Rollin’ Art in Las Vegas, it became clear that the rest of the car needed to match the level of the body. “The discussion did not end with the exterior,” he said. “I wanted the interior, engine and audio extensively worked, too.” This has been achieved and then some. Little wonder then that this E92 had more than a few crowds around it at the Accele booth at the giant SEMA show.
Starting with the cabin, this is a plush masterpiece dripping in Alcantara and carbon fibre, with the stand-out ACE Custom Steering blue steering wheel breaking up the classy blacks and greys. In true old-school racer fashion the front seats are Cobra carbon fibre items re-wrapped in Rollin’ Art diamond stitch while the surrounding gaiters, headliner and interior pillars are Alcantara. Throw in an Active Autowerke polished aluminium gear knob, NRG carbon handbrake and UUC carbon race pedals and Carlos has a sublime area to go to work in. You’ll also find parts of the mighty ICE install in here too.
There’s an Accele rear view mirror with integrated screen, and who doesn’t like a bit of personal voyeurism when out enjoying an enthusiastic drive? Check out the Accele mini video camera pointed at the driver, just to log all the fun goings-on this E92 offers.
Moving under the bootlid and there’s a veritable party to discover. Once again there are acres of Alcantara for some classy lining, and it looks superb surrounding not one but two 19-inch Accele monitors. One of these is for the bootlid’s inside while the second, on the back of the rear seats, is split into four sections to display the view from the different cameras this car features. Amps, subs and a Sony PS3 all add to the beautifully lit and presented boot install, one that even the harshest of show judges would struggle to not award top marks to.
Now that could have been that for Carlos’ E92, and we couldn’t have blamed him if the fantastic combination of six-speed manual gearbox mated to the multi-award winning 3.0-litre twin-turbo proved ample in the performance department. Not so.
“While all the aesthetics were being upgraded at Rollin’ Art, I turned to my good friend Chad Stett, owner of Stett Performance, for some engine goodies,” Carlos said. “He provided a new dual intake, charge pipe, oil cooler and upgraded vacuum reservoirs I’d suggested. No performance upgrade there, but they sure do look great next to all the other Stett Performance items powdercoated red in the engine bay.”
Yes, it’s pretty showy under that bonnet too with various Stett red flashes, plus there’s a BMW badged Axis Power Racing carbon fibre engine cover and braided hoses. Well, you didn’t expect it just to be dull factory plastic engine shrouds did you? As tasty as the under-bonnet aesthetics are, there’s plenty of substance to match the style.
The boosted six-cylinder features a Nitrous Express nitrous system with the various associated accoutrements, while a full custom exhaust by SuperSport has been fabricated to work with the Prior Design bodykit. AFE has provided the downpipe and throttle body, while a Race Precision front-mounted intercooler helps keep temperatures down more effectively than the stock item not designed for the healthy leap in power here. There was also good cause to beef the transmission up too, with Centreforce providing a performance clutch and lightened flywheel to handle the increased load.
The end result of all this? Well, it’s fantasy stuff really. The finished article is one of the finest examples of E92 tuning we’ve ever seen and is a credit to Carlos and his many sponsors and supporters involved in the build. His wide-body 2011 335i demands your attention even at a show as outrageous as SEMA and, crucially, here’s a modified #BMW that has pride of place in a show booth, tearing through the city streets under neon lights, or even out on your favourite country road thanks to its comprehensive performance and chassis enhancements.
So there’s your inspiration. The E9x model prices are on the tumble and with examples like Carlos’ 335i to aspire to we hope to see plenty more flooding our scene in the near future. This perfectly-painted wide-body may have had more coin spent on it than most modifiers can stretch to, but we hope to see more of its ilk from those brave enough to attempt it. However, for now we’re just happy to sit back and enjoy this masterwork in all its pearly matt white glory.
DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #2011 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #N55B30 / #N55 / #BMW-N55 / #ESS-Tuning / #BMW-E92-Widebody / #BMW-E92-Prior-Design / #DPE /
ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line-six cylinder with #SuperSport full custom exhaust made for #Prior-Design body kit, AFE downpipe and throttle body, #Nitrous-Express remote bottle opener, purge valve kit, bottle pressure gauge, #GENX-2 accessory kit and #IntraCooler kit, Axis #Power-Racing carbon fibre engine cover, #NRG carbon fibre valve cover, bulkhead cover, PS loop cover and panel covers, Race Precision front-mounted intercooler and Ram Air scoop system, Stett Performance / #ESS-Tuning-ECU mapping, Stett Performance twin intake version 2 powdercoated Stett red, charge pipe version 2 powdercoated #Stett red with #Tial blow-off valve, #Stett-Performance carbon fibre catch can, oil cooler system, stainless steel vacuum reservoirs powdercoated Stett red and intake duct block-off plate
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual with Centreforce performance clutch and lightened flywheel
CHASSIS: 10x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) #DPE-CS5 super concave three-piece wheels shod in 255/30 (front) and 285/25 (rear) Toyo T1R tyres. Tein adjustable Super Sport coilover suspension, #Whiteline front and rear anti-roll bars, Powerflex control arm bushes, Rotora 14-inch brake discs, #Rotora six-pot calipers (front) and four-pot calipers (rear) powdercoated white by Rollin’ Art, Rotora SS brake lines and H2 ceramic pads
EXTERIOR: #Prior-Design wide-body conversion, front bumper, boot lip spoiler, window wing, rear bumper, bonnet, front fenders, rear fender flares and side skirts, Rollin’ Art Bianco Fugi white full body respray
INTERIOR: Cobra carbon fibre race seats re-wrapped in Rollin’ Art diamond stitch, ACE Custom Steering steering wheel, Active Autowerke polished aluminium gearshift knob, Accele rear view mirror with integrated screen, Accele mini video camera pointed at driver, NRG carbon fibre handbrake and 16- piece interior kit, Rollin’ Art Alcantara suede gearshift gaiter, handbrake gaiter, headliner, boot liner and A- and C-pillars, UUC carbon fibre race pedals
ICE: Accele 19-inch boot monitor (split into four sections for the different cameras in car), 19-inch bootlid monitor, rear view mirror with monitor on rear view, hidden switches, actuators, FM modulator, video amplifier, video switcher and rear view camera, Sony PS3, Diamond Audio twin 12-inch subs, components, mono amp and four-channel amp, Street Wires 2* chrome cap and Street Wires audio/visual wiring throughout
THANKS: Eric Eikenberry for helping to get my vehicles in print, Mike Borja @ Rollin’ Art for the paint and transport, Chad Stett @ Stett Performance for support and developing the vacuum reservoirs, Stan Chen @ Toyo Tires for over 12 years of tyre support, Will Baty @ CenterForce for using the 335 as a test vehicle for future upgrades, Eloy Way @ Race Precision for believing in the build since SEMA ’07, Andreas Belzek @ Prior Design, Brian Paille @ Accele for supporting another BMW build, Bob Chanthavongsa @ Diamond Audio for last minute audio supportStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.