- Post is under moderationGorgeous E46 M3 / Slick E46 slammed, styled and tuned
THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION / Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Sunny Ryait
With a perfect blend of styling and tuning mods, this E46 M3 really is the modified package that everyone can enjoy the people’s.
Oh yes, this is what we’re talking about. As much as we love all the air ride, the big wings, the engine swaps, the turbos, superchargers and wild wide-body kits, sometimes you just want something a bit more down to earth, a bit more achievable, affordable, a people’s champion that we can all get behind and enjoy, and Richard Ansari’s E46 M3 is that car. It looks great, that’s going to be your first reaction, because it really does, but as with many seemingly simple builds, there’s a lot more going on here than you might first notice and Richard has really put a lot of love and hard work into his M3 over the past five years.
The E46 M3 dream must have seemed almost unattainable back when Richard passed his test and got behind the wheel of a mighty 1989 Mazda 626. A BMW was going to happen though, there was no doubt about it, thanks to his dad’s decision to run a string of Bavaria’s finest when Richard was growing up, but what really sowed the seed deep down into his brain was the blue E30 325i his dad once owned. “I couldn’t get into BMs right away as soon as I passed my driving test as insurance was one roadblock as well as being a student in my younger years,” he laughs and it wasn’t until he turned 23 that he could finally make that dream a reality. “By pure chance my mate had decided to sell his E30 325i Cabriolet and gave me first dibs on it before advertising it. I knew the car and while it did have some very questionable mods, underneath it all was decent, having had a full respray, no rust, was structurally sound and had cream interior to complement the Zinnober red exterior. It was almost like reliving my childhood with those memories sat in my dad’s E30, but this time I was behind the wheel,” he grins.
Over the next three years the E30 underwent a transformation that saw it ending up with a 2.7 conversion and receiving a feature in these very pages back in March 2007. The E30 was then followed by an E46 330Ci and that path could only lead in one, inevitable direction... “The E46 M3 was a dream car for me,” says Richard, “and when my mate bought one in late 2010 and let me drive it, I made a plan there and then to own one in 2011. I had originally wanted one in Techno violet but, being a very rare colour, it was mission near-impossible to find one, so I started to look at a few other colours as a second option,” he says. That led him to Pistonheads, where he stumbled across this Steel grey Coupé, with a manual gearbox and just 50,000 miles on the clock. Richard grabbed his friend Dips, from Custom Cars, headed over to take a look at the car and ended up buying it. “I wanted to keep this one fairly standard except for a couple of subtle mods, keeping away from doing any more big modifications,” he laughs, “unfortunately, though, once I fitted a set of CCFL angel eyes and black kidney grilles, it was a bit like opening Pandora’s box,” and so we begin…
With the angel eyes and black grilles being joined by a pair of black wing vents, Richard decided to carry on with the styling mods, adding smoked Depo indicators and repeaters and tinting the outer rears to match with Lamin-X film, then sourcing and fitting a set of facelift smoked inner lights. At the rear there sits an AC Schnitzer-style carbon fibre diffuser, which fills out the bumper nicely, along with a genuine CSL bootlid, while up front, a Strassentech-style lip adds an air of menace to proceedings and is joined by a set of Hamann foglight covers, with smoked fogs. Richard says that his plan was to enhance the car’s looks without going crazy, and we have to say he’s most definitely achieved his goal. The styling additions he’s chosen give the M3 a more pumped-up appearance, accentuating its aggressive styling, but without going too far or overwhelming the looks. And, while his first choice of colour may have been Techno violet, we’ve got to say that Steel grey looks really good on the E46 M3.
The suspension has been through a few changes during Richard’s time with the car. He started off small, with just some Apex lowering springs but it wasn’t long before he found himself wanting more adjustment and decided to take the plunge with some coilovers. His first set were from D2 but the car now runs BC Racing coilovers, which offer all the adjustability he could ever want and have allowed him to achieve the perfect ride height. “With the suspension sorted I was looking at big brake kits as the next big upgrade,” he tells us. “For the M3 there are a lot of options and routes you can go down and then, one day, an ad came up for a complete set of AP Racing brakes from Imran at Evolve Automotive. After a quick think, and after checking the piggybank, we did the deal and I picked them up. It did occur to me, not long after that, what would I do if my wheels didn’t have enough clearance, without having to resort to using big spacers, but figured I’d worry about it later. One way or another there was not going be any compromise, so I dropped the calipers over to Dips at Custom Cars to work his magic, turning them from red to orange.
I really like the way they look behind the wheels but beyond that the stopping power is so consistent compared with the OEM setup. I mounted the front wheels to check for clearance and luckily to my surprise only a 5mm spacer was needed,” he says.
As far as the wheels are concerned, Richard didn’t start off small and work his way up to something impressive, he went big right away, kicking things off with a set of AC Schnitzer Type 3 Racing splits, which are a great-looking classic wheel design. But that wasn’t enough for him, he wanted more… “I wanted something a bit special,” he says, “it had to be a three-piece wheel and my ideal choice was a set of Hartge Design C splits, but not only are they rare they also command a huge premium. I wanted something that you don’t see everyday and it had to have friendly offsets, with the aim of building a set of wheels wide enough, without needing any major work to fit straight on and not needing any camber.
After missing out on a set of Oz Futuras, I found some Oz Mitos on German eBay just before whisking my partner off to Marrakech for her birthday; I had an idea of what they looked like on a normal E46 but couldn’t find a set fitted to an M3 anywhere, so I knew this was my opportunity to run something fairly unique. Midway through the holiday, while she was getting ready in our hotel room, I placed a bid just before the auction finished and won,” he grins. Best. Holiday. Ever.
“They were 18s with the right offsets and being the Type 1 version, which are reverse mounted, are pretty rare in a BMW fitment. As soon as they arrived I went down to Dips for a test fit and we worked out what lip sizes to run front and rear. Originally they came as 8.5x18s and 9.5x18s and I really wanted to run an 11” wide wheel at the back, so Dips started the strip down of the wheels for a full refurb. He ordered 3.75” lips for the rear and moved the 2” lips to the front making the new setup 9x18” and 11.25x18”.
We knew an arch roll was needed, so Dips got that sorted and, with fresh Continental tyres fitted, we mounted the wheels. Seeing them built up and fitted on the car I knew I had made the right choice,” he grins. “They just completely changed the way the car looks, but not only that, the fitment is perfect too, with no rubbing or any negative camber required to aid with clearance.”
With the car looking on point as far as styling was concerned, Richard popped his bonnet and took a good, long, hard look at the engine bay. “At first I had no real plans on doing any engine mods,” he admits, “that is until a group buy came up for some Geoff Steel Racing air boxes on the M3 Cutters forum. After reading the feedback on it and with a bit of encouragement from forum members I went ahead and placed a pre-order.”
Usefully, as part of the group buy, Evolve joined in with a special offer on Alpha N remaps to go with the air boxes so, with his sexy new carbon air box fitted, Richard headed up to the company’s Luton HQ to get the car remapped. “These cars make anywhere between 320-330hp on average,” he explains, more than a few ponies shy of BMW’s 343hp claim, “and originally mine made 321hp. After fitting the airbox and mapping it, we saw 349hp, which was a very nice gain and was noticeable on the road. As well as that is the induction noise you get as soon as you floor it. It makes such an awesome roar you never get tired of it and want to hear it more and more,” he says with a grin. “To complement the airbox for sound and for a little extra power, I fitted a set of 100 cell cats paired with an Eisenmann Race rear box, which has given a better throttle response through the rev range. To finish off I got the holy grail of exhaust manifolds, with a set of Supersprints, which very rarely come up for sale. They were brand new but never fitted and I soon snapped them up to complete the setup.”
While he may have been sorted for power, that carbon air box was showing up the rest of his engine bay, so action needed to be taken. Obviously carbon was the way forward, and Richard began to develop a little bit of an obsession with the mesmerising weave. First came an intake cover that fits over the existing item but also partially covers the front of the air box, and once that had been fitted, obsession became unstoppable addiction. Desperate to feed his habit, Richard read up on and briefly considered having a go at carbon skinning, before he found Prapan, who runs NVD Motorsport, and saw his carbon-skinning talent. Quick as a flash, Richard had removed his emissions pump, xenon ballasts and ECU cover and handed them over for skinning in 2x2 weave to match the air box and also asked for a pollen filter cover. The six week wait to get the parts back was absolutely worth it but when it came to getting the rocker cover skinned, the cost of postage and import duty was proving prohibitive.
Richard found himself a slightly more local carbon skinner by the name of Jaydee Customs, over in Poland, who duly skinned the aforementioned rocker cover, leaving Richard with virtually nothing left to cover in carbon. The finishing touch here in the engine bay is a rather sexy and substantial Rogue Engineering strut brace. And now we come to the interior, because of course Richard couldn’t leave that alone either, and we’re glad he didn’t.
Originally, his M3 had been fitted with the black leather interior, nice but a bit plain and, for Richard, lacking contrast against the Steel grey exterior. “I didn’t want to settle for red,” he says, “so I searched for a year until a rare Cinnamon interior came up on E46 Fanatics. It wasn’t a sale but a straight swap for black leather, offered by a chap called Mark who was working for Nitron Racing at the time. So after a brief chat on the phone we arranged for me to come down to him one day and we both swapped out our interiors at the premises. For me it made such a huge difference, not just the fact it was a nicer place to sit in now, but it goes so well with the car.” We have to agree as we’re big fans of coloured interiors, they make such a nice change from the usual dour shades, and Cinnamon is seriously lush.
It’s further complemented by matt dark myrtle wood trim, an unusual choice for an M3 and an extremely rare trim option, but it’s absolutely gorgeous and looks so good here. The steering wheel has been re-trimmed by Royal Steering wheels, with extra padding, cinnamon stitching and a cinnamon centre stripe while the gearknob has been replaced with an illuminated F10 M5 item with matching gaiter, mounted on an E60 short shift for crisper gear changes. Finally, Richard’s most recent interior mod, is the Awron gauge mounted in the driver’s-side centre air vent. “It was a bit of an impulse buy,” admits Richard, “I saw a demo of it on YouTube and when I saw they had made them for the E46 I got one ordered. It goes nicely with the dash and it’s a nice bit of kit, displaying various parameters from intake temperatures to O2 sensor voltages along with a G force meter and loads more functions.”
It’s taken Richard four years to get his M3 to where it is now, and he couldn’t be happier with the result of all that work. “I think where it is now I have found that place where I wouldn’t change much else,” he smiles. “A full respray is on the cards next, in the original colour, and I want to get the map tweaked with the addition of the exhaust mods. But my long term plan if I can is to keep the car and hopefully one day give it to my son,” which would be an amazing gift, and something very special for that young man to hold onto. So, does that mean Richard’s hanging up his modding hat for now? No… “I have an E30 325i Cab which I bought over four years ago as a project car so, with the help of Dips, there are some big plans for it. Watch this space!” he says with a smile and you can be sure we will be.
“… I think where the car is now I have found that place where I wouldn’t change much else”
/ #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Tuned-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned / #Evolve / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #OZ
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #Geoff-Steel-Racing carbon fibre air box, #Evolve-Alpha-N remap, #Supersprint-V2 exhaust manifolds, 100 cell race cats, #Eisenmann Race rear exhaust section with 83mm tail pipes, carbon fibre engine cover, emissions pump cover, ECU cover, xenon ballasts and pollen filter cover, Matt Haley billet aluminium oil filter cover, #Rogue-Engineering one piece strut brace. Six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 11.25x18” (rear) three-piece #Oz-Mito wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 3 tyres, #CA-Automotive stud conversion kit with Motorsport Hardware wheel nuts, BC Racing BR series coilovers, Revshift 80a subframe bushes, #AP-Racing-BBK with six-pot calipers and 356mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 328mm discs (rear), custom orange calipers
EXTERIOR Original Steel grey paintwork, Strassentech-style front lip with carbon fibre insert, Hamann fog light covers, smoked fog lights, black kidney grilles, black wing vent grilles, 4000K CCFL angel eyes, Depo smoked indicators and side repeaters, carbon fibre black and white bonnet and boot roundels, AC Schnitzer carbon fibre rear diffuser, OEM CSL boot lid, Lamin-X smoked rear lights, Eagle Eyes smoked inner boot lights
INTERIOR Full cinnamon interior swap, matt dark myrtle wood trim, re-trimmed padded steering wheel with cinnamon stitching and cinnamon centre stripe, F10 M5 gear knob and gaiter, E60 V8 short shift kit, Awron digital vent gauge
THANKS Dips at Custom Cars for his input and direction over the years, Teddy at SSDD Motorsport, Prapan at NVD Motorsport, Jaydee Customs, John at carbolts.co.uk, Evolve Automotive, Alex at Elite Car Care, Jack at Royal Steering Wheels, all my friends, family and my understanding wife for supporting my passion for cars over the yearsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPURE PLEASURE SEEKER Dakar yellow E46 M3
Bright enough to sear your retinas, bold enough to turn heads and with plenty of bite to back up its bark, this Dakar E46 M3 is a slice of sheer East Coast #BMW joy. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Denis Podmarkov.
Working for the largest Corvette dealer on the East Coast, as Nick Dimitrov does, you’d naturally expect to find him cruising the New Jersey coast in something very American. But that’s not the case because, as you can plainly see from the picture above, his ride of choice is a bicycle. Although sometimes he drives a BMW too…
This Individual Dakar M3 is Nick’s third M3 and with that his third BMW, which came after a torrid affair with some VWs, as he explains: “Before BMWs I was in the VAG scene for a while; at the age of 17 I owned a modified Mk4 VR6 Jetta and I also owned a 16-valve Mk2 GLi at one point. I also had a modified Mk4 R32 and an Audi B5 S4 (never again!) before I discovered the E36 M3. I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was young. Since day one my favourite BMW has been the E30 M3, which will hopefully be my next build,” he grins.
Nick’s first foray into BMW ownership was a supercharged E36 M3 finished in Ferrari red before he moved on to a Carbon black E46 M3 and by that point he was clearly hooked as here we are with another E46 M3. “I mean, why not buy one of the few Dakar Individual E46 M3s in the States?” he laughs, when we ask about his motives for purchasing this car. “There were no questions asked; the cash was pulled and the trip was made.”
The advantage of going from one car to a different example of the same car is that you know where you are, you feel at home. You’ve popped your shoes off, put the kettle on and settled down on the sofa to watch Corrie before you’ve even put the key in the ignition. Or whatever the American equivalent of that would be… playing punch face with your bros, drinking brewskis and eating Pop Tarts while watching someone do a touchdown? Maybe. The point is that Nick knew exactly what he wanted to do to his new M3 from the moment he bought it and, as the car was in decent shape but nowhere near how Nick wanted it, the build began…
In the monochromatic automotive world we live in, a Dakar yellow M3 is as shocking as being slapped in the face while someone steals your wallet but, being an M3, it instantly has the credentials to back up that posturing and with an S54 under the bonnet it would be rude not have a little bit of a tweak. Because power is nothing without reliability, the often troublesome Vanos unit has been rebuilt with titanium bolts to ensure it stays in one piece and the bottom end has been beefed up with the addition of some ceramic coated bearings.
A drop-in K&N air filter is joined by an Evolve no-restrictions tune and a super sexy and ultra light Dixis titanium exhaust has been fitted, along with a Euro mid-section. You really can’t go wrong with a titanium exhaust, it’s about as exotic as you can get and, having watched some videos of the Dixis system in action, it sounds awesome as well. What more could you want?
Engine finely honed and performing at its best, Nick turned his attention to the chassis because, sharp as it is from the factory, there’s always a little room for improvement. “The car has been fitted with a set of KW V2 coilovers,” says Nick, “as well as Eibach anti-roll bars, Turner anti-roll bar links and every bush you can think of has been uprated with items from Bimmerworld and Turner Motorsports. I chose all of these upgrades because to me this is the perfect street and track setup for an E46 M3.”
Nick has also reinforced the rear subframe because you have to when you own an E46 M3, and has added a BMW M Performance carbon strut brace and UUC engine and transmission mounts. It’s a killer lineup of chassis mods that help to take this M3 to true handling nirvana and ensure it’s impossible to drive without having a big smile on your face. Sticking with the serious stuff and the serious issue of stopping, Nick’s fitted a set of E46 M3 CSL calipers with two-piece cross-drilled Brembo discs up front and plain Brembo discs at the back with Cool Carbon brake pads and colourcoded calipers all-round, naturally.
That’s all very impressive, but it’s clear that this car isn’t just about the serious stuff, it’s about having fun and looking good doing it. Bearing that in mind, it would be no good if Nick had cut corners when it came to the wheels, but there’s no fear of that because he’s pushed the boat so far out it’s sailed way over the horizon. Now, we don’t know about you, but where wheels are concerned there are three little letters that make us go weak at the knees: H, R and E. They’re about as high-end as you can hope to get, a real aspirational wheel manufacturer and Nick’s slapped a set of ridiculously sexy three-piece 545s on his E46, 9x18” ET20 with 3” lips up front and massive 11x18” ET20 rears boasting 4.5” lips. The combo of gloss black lips and metallic bronze centres with gloss black bolts is to die for.
Playing with the styling on an E46 M3 is always a tricky affair, mainly because BMW did such a good job on the car in the first place and it’s definitely a machine that you couldn’t ever accuse of being short on visual muscle. Nick hasn’t messed around here too much, just giving the styling a slight tweak to personalise it, with a Status Gruppe carbon fibre front lip making the car look even lower and meaner, while at the rear he’s removed the standard E46 M4 lip spoiler. It’s an interesting move as most owners tend to add more spoiler to their M3s, but we have to admit that smooth end result works surprisingly well.
The interior is equally subtle but it’s obvious from the off that Nick’s been busy in here. There’s a Coby Alcantara steering wheel, with an AC Schnitzer silver carbon lower trim section and yellow centre stripe, Coby Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters, ACS silver carbon door trims, a custommounted Alpine head unit with factorymatched amber illumination and a set of half-leather seats, which are a strange sight in an M3 for us in the UK used to seeing leather on everything. The silver carbon additions lift the interior while the Alcantara adds a touch of ‘race car’ to proceedings and the end result is an interior that really makes you feel like you want to give this M3 everything it’s got once you’re behind the steering wheel.
From start to finish it’s taken a mere six months for Nick to get his M3 exactly how he wanted it, to create the perfect car he had in his mind when he first collected his Dakar dream machine. While there are a few money-no-object mods he wouldn’t mind adding, like an Evolve CSL air box, Euro headers and a four-point roll-cage, the car is otherwise finished, finely honed and ready to be enjoyed, which is what Nick plans on doing. When it comes to trying to improve on something that’s so good to start with, that pudding could end up over-egged, but the perfect selection of mods here means this M3 is as tasty as they come.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six S54B32, rebuilt Vanos unit with titanium bolts, ceramic-coated bearings, #K&N air filter, #Evolve tune, #Dixis titanium exhaust, Euro mid-section, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x18” ET20 (f) and 11x18” ET20 (r) HRE 545 threepiece wheels with metallic bronze centres, gloss piano black bolts and lips with 225/40 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Federal Evo tyres, #KW-V2 coilovers, BMW M Performance carbon fibre strut brace, reinforced rear subframe, UUC engine and transmission mounts, CSL callipers with two-piece cross-drilled Brembo discs (front), Brembo discs (rear), Cool Carbon brake pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Dakar yellow, Status Gruppe carbon front lip, deleted boot lip spoiler
INTERIOR Coby Alcantara steering wheel with yellow centre stripe, Coby Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters, AC Schnitzer silver carbon trim, manual half-leather seats, Pioneer head unit
THANKS My cousin Ivo for finding the car, my two best friends, Mike Maslanich and Dan Diani along with DianiMotorsports for helping me make this build happen from start to finish, and of course my family for always supporting me with what I do, and thank you guys at PBMW for making a dream come true.
“Why not buy one of the few Dakar Individual E46 M3s in the States?”
“To me this is the perfect street and track setup for an E46 M3”
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
FULL-ON E70 X5 X-RATED / #BMW
We don’t see many modified X5s doing the rounds but this full-on, bad boy of an E70 makes up for that in a big way. Slammed, styled and ICE’d up. We don’t feature many X models in DRIVE-MY, but this X5 makes up for that in one fell swoop… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Tipping.
Good as the X5 may be, it’s not a car that’s captured the imagination of #Drive-My readers, so we haven’t featured that many over the years. This is possibly because it’s a big 4x4 rather than something with retro appeal or an affordable performance machine. Fortunately, what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality with this awesome example. It’s an E70 X5 3.0sd, which means it’s got the twin-turbo diesel straight-six under the bonnet, and it belongs to Am Singh, owner of car audio distribution company #BladeICE .
Am’s no stranger to modified cars (or feature cars) and you won’t be surprised to learn that some of those have been very audio-focused. “My first car, a Citroen AX GT, was featured in Max Power back in 1999 and a couple of years later I built a JDMspec Lexus IS200 (Altezza RS200) which I fitted a supercharger kit to. It was featured in Fast Car magazine,” he says. “I’ve built some audio heavy vehicles, too, including a Lupo GTi which was featured in sister title Performance VW magazine in 2013. I also own a Chevrolet Astro van which I’m planning to rebuild this year.”
This X5 was purchased out of necessity when Am and his missus were expecting their second child in 2014 and the family wagon at the time – an E91 330d M Sport – was deemed too small. “I didn’t want to leave the BMW brand as the E91 was a pleasure to own,” says Am. “I found the X5 at Sytner BMW in Leicester. It was a oneowner car in fantastic condition and the back looked like it had never been sat in. The colour and interior combo instantly drew me to it and the spec was impressive too. It’s got the panoramic roof, keyless entry, Comfort seats, Saddle brown leather and, as a bonus, seven seats! Not that we plan to have any more kids, though; two is enough!” he laughs.
So, how do you go from mild-mannered X5 to full-on feature car? “Secretly I always had plans for the car,” Am reveals, “however, things went further than I initially imagined.” This is something we’ve heard many times before. Six months of standard X5 ownership passed before Am decided that a bit of modifying was in order and started on what was to be an incredibly slippery slope.
“Initially I purchased some KW V3 coilovers,” says Am. “Then I looked at brakes from the X5 M, which comprised massive 395mm discs and four-pot Brembo calipers. These were fitted and I ran it on stock 20s for about three months, after which I got talking to a new up-and-coming wheel manufacturer in the USA: Brada wheels.” In case you don’t know, Brada produce lovely forged wheel designs and while 20s would be plenty on most cars the X5 can pull off much bigger wheels, so it would have been rude not to indulge, really. “I wanted to go with a BBSstyle wheel with a cross-spoke design and the Brada BR-1 fits the bill perfectly,” Am continues. “So I ordered a set of 22s and these were built to order as they are a fullyforged/ CNC’d three-piece wheels in a staggered fitment. It was worth the wait and I ran them for the few months that were left of summer #2014 then took them off for winter. That’s when my mind went into overdrive.
“I started work on the audio, as I needed a demo car for 2015. As a lot of the products I distribute were pointing towards OEM integration and exotic high-end sound quality, the X5 was the perfect base to allow me to go for an OEM+ approach and maximise my marketing possibilities. At this time I also picked up a CIC with Combox to replace the aging CCC iDrive system and I made sure it had DAB, too, while Mak’s Retrofits helped with the installation and coding.”
With plans under way for some impressive ICE, Am decided that the X5 needed more than just an audio overhaul and resolved to completely change the look of the car. While he had originally wanted an X5 M, the price was too much of a stretch so he decided to go for the next best thing, and set about building a perfect replica. “I got to work looking at all the parts that differ on the M Sport and the X5 M,” Am says. “Initially it didn’t appear to be more than front wings, front bumper and rear bumper but it ended up being a lot more. There were many other items to consider, like headlights, quad exhaust, bumper grilles, trims, clips, bolts etc the list grew and so did the spendometer! After about seven months of searching eBay USA and eBay Germany I managed to get the majority of the parts to start the transformation. Some items had to be bought new, though, as they were insanely hard to find on the secondhand market.
“After a couple months with the X5 M conversion I came across a set of Adaptive LED headlights that were only found on very late model X5s and X6s. BMW actually had it up as a retrofit conversion for around £3000 plus fitting. Again I searched through eBay USA and some US forums and found a complete set of headlamps. They needed a new harness and FRM3 module, which I purchased new, after which I called on Mak’s Retrofits to help me with coding-in all the features of the headlights. They totally transform the look of the car, making the front-end look like the new F models. They also offer functional benefits, such as adaptive control and a light output like I’ve never experienced before. I’ll never feel complete with regular xenon lights after having had these LED headlights!
“The body conversion took place in spring of 2015 and in the meantime I was left to finish trimming the audio build I had fabricated during the winter. The full setup consists of four Mosconi D2 (full range Class-D) amps, Gladen Aerospace two-way speakers mounted in the A-pillars and the Gladen 201 Extreme 8” slim-mount woofers which utilise the OEM underseat location. Two Gladen SQX 10s are mounted in a trick side-ported enclosure and headed by the Mosconi 6to8 DSP – the brains of the operation. It is linked to the OEM head unit via a high level input but also has full high definition EDR 2.0 Bluetooth audio streaming capability. This means wireless audio playback via tablet or phone, and Tidal or Spotify apps work great for this. “To power the amps I opted to use three XS Power AGM batteries. I mounted them in the OEM location, secured on billet CNC hold-downs. These offer enough reserve power to cope with long audio demonstrations and enough juice to power the vast array of stock electrics throughout the car.”
Depending on how up you are on your car audio that might well be all Greek to you but for the uninitiated a quick glance at the interior shots reveals that there is a lot of top-end audio gear stuffed into this X5, and the quality of the installation is impeccable. What’s nice is that everything is very discreet. Yes, the two-way speakers in the A-pillars are big but they don’t look out of place and the boot build is beautiful – the enclosure for the Gladen subs looks like it’s a factory item while the installation of the amps in the boot floor is elegant and understated. You probably wouldn’t even notice the Mosconi DSP controller, custommounted behind the #iDrive controls and the fact that Am has retained the factory head unit means that everything is seamlessly integrated and he’s lost none of the numerous standard functions. Beyond the audio, the wood trim has been wrapped in black for a more elegant look while the steering wheel was retrimmed by Jack at Royal Steering Wheels in black Nappa leather with contrasting stitch to match the saddle brown leather on the seats.
If the inside looks good, the outside is nothing short of gobsmacking. Am may have invested a vast amount of time and effort on obtaining the X5 M bodywork components but it’s certainly been worth it as the end result is awesome. There’s just so much sheer aggression emanating from the X5 M styling that it’s almost enough to knock you off your feet. No corners have been cut, with a proper quad exhaust system having been fitted which sits in a gorgeous carbon fibre diffuser. And, where you’d normally expect to see an X5 in full-on off-road mode, the massive drop that Am has achieved with the KW coilovers gives the car a completely different look. The way the Brada 22s fill the gargantuan arches is just insane. Oh, and the wheels are perfection. The mirror finish on the lips with the brushed centres suits the X5 so well.
You might have thought that was that, but Am is most not one to rest on his laurels and since our photoshoot the X5 has received a few more changes. “Initially I chose the KW V3 coilovers as I’ve always been an old-skool static type of guy,” he explains. “Despite the craze of air suspension in the last few years I went with coilovers purely because I didn’t want to use up any boot space with air tanks or compressors, as this would take away from the room I wanted to dedicate for my aural pleasure. With more and more cars using the trunk space for tanks/hardline installs and ditching audio in place of it, I wasn’t going to bow down to the air-ride gods, so I stayed static.
“However, since this photoshoot I had to admit defeat. The KWs were being wound down more and more and as a result I had no suspension travel, often riding on the bumpstops. For a 2.5-tonne 4x4 that makes for a pretty bumpy ride! So I explored all avenues of keeping my trunk space intact and still having air suspension with the trunk looking OEM+.
“The air compressors are discreetly mounted in the side compartment and the management is hidden out of sight next to the battery bank under the amps. The fivegallon air tank is mounted on the rear tailgate behind a fabricated panel that’s been trimmed in Alcantara, and the tank has been covered in original BMW Saddle brown leather to complete the theme. I mounted the Air Lift controller into one of the front air vents for ease of access and it looks like it was there from factory.”
Static or on air, it really makes no difference as this X5 provides a visual punch either way. Every show it’s been to it’s a crowd pleaser. A lot of work has gone into building this X5 over two years but it’s all been worth it. Am’s built himself an awesome machine and one that you’re unlikely to see replicated anytime soon, which makes it all the more cooler.
DATA FILE #BMW-X5-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0sd-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0sd / #BMW-X5 / #KW / #BMW-Performance
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #M57TU2D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / , #Evolve remap, #Eisenmann Race exhaust with quad 90mm tips, #ZF / #ZF6HP standard six-speed automatic gearbox. 350hp, 500lb ft of torque
CHASSIS 10.5x22” (front) and 12x22” (rear) Brada BR-1 wheels with 285/30 (front) and 335/25 (rear) Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres, #KW-V3 coilover suspension (now replaced with air-ride), X5 M #Brembo four-pot callipers with 395mm discs (front)
EXTERIOR X5 M front and rear bumpers, front wings, LED Adaptive headlights, 35% tints rear window/doors, 50% front doors, #BMW-Performance carbon fibre front lip, Vorsteiner rear carbon fibre diffuser, modified front and rear arches, paintwork sealed and protected with #Gtechniq C1 and Exo V2 coatings
INTERIOR Royal Steering Wheels Nappa retrim, black gloss trim panel wrap, A-pillar mounted two-way speakers, CIC with Combox retrofit, custom fabricated Mosconi DSP controller in centre console, #Gladen-Audio Aerospace 28/80 components in A-pillars, #Gladen 201 Extreme underseat mid bass drivers, 2x SQX 10 Gladen subs, 2x Mosconi D2-100.4 amps, 2x Mosconi D2- 500.1 amps, #Mosconi 6to8 DSP, 3x XS Power XE12- 40 batteries, Sky High Car Audio cabling throughout, boot install trimmed in Alcantara
THANKS Zane at Brada Wheels, Henning at Gladen Audio, Mak’s Retrofits
I wasn’t going to bow down to the air-ride gods so I stayed static.
I always had plans for the car, however, things went further than I initially imagined.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationAMERICAN RESPONSE
As the E46 M3 CSL never made it to the #USA , #BMW enthusiasts set about building their own, like this tasty pair. America was cruelly robbed of the E46 M3 CSL, so the response of Stateside modifiers has been to create their own with even more muscle. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Marco Svizzero.
It’s easy to get jealous of Americans. They produce money-spinning movies and music loved the world over; they seemingly control the world markets, the internet and practically every satellite in the sky; and if civilisation goes down the plughole, they keep enough gold locked away to hold two fingers up to the rest of us.
But if you want true envy, check out how cheaply Americans can buy a new M3, M5 or Porsche 911, then see how little it costs them to fuel them so they can enjoy playtime for far less coin than the rest of the world.
But occasionally, Europe gets its own back. Prime example is the E46 M3 CSL: a car so raw, pure and driver-focused that it became an instant classic on its 2003 release, and one the enthusiasts went all wobbly over. But not the Americans. They got bitter, frustrated and angry over it as the things just weren’t allowed Stateside due to environmental and safety reasons. There were 1400 examples built, and 1400 didn’t find their way to American showrooms.
So while the non-CSL E46 M3 is almost laughably common on American roads, you’re not about to see a CSL barking its way along canyon roads or buzzing city streets. You may spy something close though. Deny a market like America a car it badly wants and, much like banning a movie, it makes the thing so much more desirable and some will stop at nothing to get it. Pictured here are two Californian E46 M3 CSL replicas, which in many regards are as close to the real thing as possible. Certainly substantial sums of cash have been parted with in their builds, but that’s the price needed to pay proper homage to the ultimate road-going E46 M3.
It’s a price Adam Cook of Citrus Heights in North California paid to create his Steel grey E46 M3 CSL replica. We caught up with him and photographed his CSL replica alongside another built by Andrei Afanasiev – a fellow www.m3forum.net user from California’s Bay Area. Together they are a formidable pairing, with Adam’s looking the more genuine with its CSL-esque paint (originals only came in Silver grey and black Sapphire), even though Andrei’s M3 CS colour is a beautiful shade.
“BMW should have brought the CSL to the US,” Adam said. “There should be a standard that works for both US and Europe for safety and the environment so we can both get the same cars. An example is my other car, a 1M Coupé. They brought that to the US and it sold out fast.” Regardless, Adam got busy building what BMW didn’t provide, and is convinced he’s created something at least the match of a true CSL. “My setup makes more than a stock CSL,” he said. “ I have a better exhaust, pullies and a better software tune.”
Adam bought his E46 M3 brand-new from his BMW dealer in 2002, and was already no stranger to the marque. As well as his 1M he’s owned an E46 330i, E39 530i and an E90 330i. After a few months of M3 ownership on went a K&N panel filter to get the ball rolling, and since then he’s barely drawn breath. To see the inventory of all the previous parts he’s fitted to the M3 as well as what’s currently there – and the wellrecorded cost of everything – is quite frightening. “To build a replica CSL is fairly easy once you get hold of OE parts, and it helps to have more cash than brains and keep throwing money at it,” he said.
Adam wanted to make his car as much of an OE CSL as possible, but also improve on parts where he thought necessary. “My modifying philosophy was if I owned a real CSL what would I change on it?” he said. “I think the likes of headers, brakes, exhaust and suspension could all be improved.”
Starting with the body, Adam has upgraded his M3 with an OE CSL front bumper, lights, side grills, bootlid, carbon fibre rear diffuser and emblems. And impressively, as one of the CSL’s signature elements, he’s managed to add an OE carbon fibre CSL roof. “I got most of the OE CSL parts from a US importer which has sadly recently gone out of business, while the rest I got from a European source,” he said. “I’m glad I got them when I did as CSL parts are now no longer being made.”
Adam said most of the CSL parts are direct replacements on a standard M3, although minor modifying included rerunning wires on occasion. The roof was a different matter though: “The roof is genuine OE BMW, and its install was mostly time and patience,” Adam said. “Eighty-six spot welds needed removing and then the surface was cleaned. The OE roof fitted perfectly so no major work was needed other than adding the centre brace: if you remove the old roof properly there is no extra welding needed other than for the centre brace.”
The interior also mimics a CSL’s with an OE CSL centre console added, something Adam said was basically plug and play. There are online DIY tutorials on forums for the fitting, requiring a bit of time and rerunning window switch wires. Also on are a CSL handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills, while the rear seat has been removed in the style of the M3 CSL concept model. Recaro Profi XL seats are now up front, which look superb but Adam said they’re not great on long journeys. But ridding his M3 of power front seats and the rear bench has saved a lot of weight. As for CSL-ing the 3.2-litre six-cylinder, parts availability proved a headache. Adam originally fitted a GruppeM intake, but was intent on finding a true CSL air box. “Finding a CSL air box and cam was hard as there are not many in the wild,” he said.
“The first cam I got was broken in shipping and took nine months to get a replace.” Other OE CSL engine parts include the rocker arms, exhaust valves and the head gasket. Adam has enhanced things further with the likes of Supertech Performance dual valve springs, Rogue Engineering power pulleys, some trick cooling and an extensive exhaust system upgrade. Rounded off with OE M3 CSL software and an Evolve ECU tune Alpha-N Stage 3, these enhancements have convinced Adam he has a genuine CSL-beater on his hands.
The car’s six-speed SMG auto has also been given the CSL treatment with its software flash, while Adam uses a Turner Motorsport 3.91 differential and the company’s rear subframe reinforcement. A CSL 14.5:1 steering rack is also employed for the genuine feel, while TC Kline Racing adjustable coilovers and camber/caster plates, Eibach anti-roll bars and Ground Control rear lower control arms are part of a suite of underbody enhancements to push this M3 into CSL territory and beyond.
The genuine look was required under the arches, and Adam sourced genuine 19” CSL rims and shod them in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, rather than the ‘widow maker’ Michelin Cup rubber that made true CSLs so likely to switch ends in the wet. Behind these wheels are mighty StopTech 355mm discs all-round, clamped by four-pots finished in yellow paint. To look upon the car is to believe it’s a true CSL, and one that’s been enhanced impressively further.
Andrei’s car is based on an M3 CS and it too has an impressive spec sheet. Under the bonnet the S54 has been given an OE CSL carbon air box running Evolve Alpha N software and VAC Ultra Light 2 pulleys. He’s also removed the sound deadening to enjoy more of that intoxicating induction howl. Strapped to the Dinan strut brace are the remote reservoirs for the Moton Club Sport dampers and the chassis has been further upgraded with an AC Schnitzer rear anti-roll bar, Poweflex bushes throughout and a TMS subframe reinforcement kit, while for the exhaust system, he opted for an Eisenmann Section 2 and Meisterschaft Ti system.
Parked side-by-side, the two E46s look as though they belong at the M3 CSL top table. And so they should with the huge amount of time and money involved, including the relentless hunt for OE CSL parts for the builds. Much like true CSLs, they have that look about them that makes you want to grab the keys and be left alone on a winding stretch of open road for a few hours.
“I prefer back roads to the track,” Adam said, “and am one of the few people in North California who organises meets and drives. I have a website called www.raddrives.com that lists my favourite drive routes, and one of the best is Valcano which is perfect for the CSL. It’s a joy to drive because you feel the connection to the car and the road, and as the last of the high revving straight-six motors you can feel that passion the M guys put into the car. Cars now are faster, but some of the soul has been lost for progress.”
Adam wouldn’t dissuade anyone from building their own CSL replica, but he warned that OE parts are a pain to find as there are few parts and plenty of people after them. It’s not cheap either, so despite the rising value of genuine CSLs, if your country was lucky enough to sell them – unlike in America – it may be best to just buy a real one.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-CSL / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #SMG / #BMW-M3-CSL-SMG -E46
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , OE #CSL air box, hoses, exhaust manifold and cats, #Eisenmann Section 2 and #Meisterschaft Ti exhaust system, #VAC Ultra Light 2 pulleys, Evolve Alpha N software, deleted sound deadening under the bonnet.
TRANSMISSION: E46 M3 six-speed SMG auto with OEM CSL SMG software, Dinan 3.91 limited-slip diff.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) OE E46 M3 CSL light alloy rims shod in 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Dinan front strut tower brace, #Powerflex polybushes, #TMS subframe reinforcement kit, #AC-Schnitzer rear anti-roll bar, Moton Club Sport dampers, front and rear #BBK .
EXTERIOR: OEM BMW E46 M3 CSL carbon fibre roof, black roof rails, bootlid, rear diffuser, front bumper with splitters, side grills and micro filter housing. #BMW electric Euro mirrors, outer LEDs on brake lights enabled, IB painted bonnet washer grille, headlight shroud assembly and keyhole driver door delete, #3M front end and roof clear bra, E46 M3 CS paint.
INTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL seats, centre console, handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills.
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32-TUNED OE E46 M3 CSL air intake, snorkel and flap, map sensor, inlet camshaft, rocker arms, exhaust valves and head gasket, head blueprinted and flow tested, #Supertech-Performance dual valve springs, #Rogue-Engineering power pulleys, Samco radiator hose kit, #Zionsville E46 M3 Competition cooling kit, Zionsville SPAL speed fan kit, Turner Motorsport Fluidyne oil cooler kit, Supersprint stepped exhaust manifold with stepped metallic 100 cell cat system and resonated X-pipe, Eisenmann Racing exhaust, Ignition Solutions plasma coils, OE E46 M3 CSL software – #DME flash for base setup and #Evolve ECU tune #Alpha-N Stage 3.
TRANSMISSION: E46 M3 six-speed SMG auto with OE CSL SMG software flash, UUC red transmission bushings, Turner Motorsport 3.91 differential, #Turner-Motorsport E46 rear subframe reinforcement.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) OE E46 M3 CSL light alloy rims shod in 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, Turner Motorsport 10mm front wheel spacer kit, #StopTech big brake kit with 355mm discs and painted yellow four-piston calipers all-round, stainless steel brake lines, TC Kline Racing True Match adjustable coilover system (500 front, 600 rear), TC Kline Racing camber/caster plates, #Eibach front and rear anti-roll bars, Ground Control rear lower control arms, CSL / ZCP 14.5:1 steering rack.
EXTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL front bumper, front lights and side grills, CSL wing grill emblems, OE E46 M3 CSL carbon fibre outer panel roof, bootlid and carbon fibre rear diffuser, LED rear light upgrade.
INTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL centre console, handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills, #Recaro Profi XL bucket seats, rear seat delete based on E46 M3 CSL concept model, CSL #SMG black aluminium paddles, hard wired Valentine V1 radar detector.
Andrei has removed the sound deadening from his engine bay and added #VAC-Ultra-Light-2 pulleys plus a #Dinan strut brace and Moton Club Sport dampers.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
EVOLVE BMW F82 M4 / #2015 / #BMW-M4-F82-Evolve / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-F82 / #Evolve / 530hp / #BMW / #BMW-M4-Evolve /
White Heat Those wizards at Evolve have given the M4 an extra 100hp! Evolve has worked its magic on the F82 M4 and equipped it with significantly more power and torque Words: Adam Towler. Photography: Gus Gregory.
There was a time when an extra 20, maybe 30hp, squeezed out of a BMW M3, was considered good going. That held for the E30 variants, but also the six-pot models right up to the last – the fabulous, buxomarched E46. Without going really bespoke with the engine’s internals, and hence at hideous expense, an E46 M3 that made a genuine 360hp was running near the top of its potential. And didn’t we all know it from the glorious noise it made (although that’s a whole new debate I suppose).
So it’s almost surreal when you consider that this #Evolve-tuned M4 boasts 530hp. Just think about that: no more than ten years ago that was supercar power; twenty years ago it was more like the hypercars of the age. Moreover, Evolve’s M4 combines that stunning amount of power with a solid 500lb ft of torque, something an old S54 engine could only dream about. By way of a comparison, that’s around 100hp more than the standard M4 (with 431hp), and just under 100lb ft more (the standard M4 produces 406lb ft of torque). The F8x M cars have lifted useable performance on to a whole new level, and Evolve’s modifications promise to ramp that up yet again. Given the regular M4 can crack 0-100mph in just 8.6 seconds, it’s clear that this car should be into the realms of the modern day supercar.
At the core of Evolve’s work on this M4 is its Evolve-R Stage 1 remap. Evolve say it plots its own power graph figures from a rolling road for both a standard and modified car only after taking the average of many runs, to compensate for a variety of atmospheric conditions and heat soak. The inherent message is that Evolve is confident in the claims it is making with regard to the numbers.
The remap has been combined here with an Eventuri (Evolve’s sister company) carbon fibre air intake system, although when we get to try the car that particular part isn’t fitted and the car has a standard BMW air intake in place. That’s a shame, because the new induction system is really something special to look at – in fact, if you’re so geekily inclined, it’s the sort of thing you might have in an automotive man-cave just because it’s a lovely piece of motorsport sculpture realised in carbon fibre.
Eventuri creates the systems by first taking a 3D scan of the M4’s engine bay, and loading that into a computer modelling software. Then, by using sophisticated modelling techniques, it can design the new intake to not only maximise the flow of air, and retain the appropriate cross section throughout, but also to fit neatly around the components packed so tightly into the F82’s engine bay (when you see under the bonnet of one of these cars up close, you do tend to appreciate just how much is now crammed in there with a modern turbocharged car).
The main point of difference with the Eventuri system is that the cone-shaped air filter is turned through 180 degrees, so that it runs from a large mouth into a smaller diameter that’s the same as the intake tube, which the designers believe is less restrictive to airflow. The filter element is housed within a gorgeous carbon ‘bell’; the initial design is first made on a 3D printer, where rapid changes can be made to minor aspects of the design, and then retested, before it’s eventually manufactured in carbon fibre off site. It’s a clever, efficient and effective approach, and an attractive end result to boot.
This particular car also features a range of BMW M Performance goodies, including the full M Performance exhaust system. So configured, this M4 makes no attempt to hide its potency when I fire it up. The turbocharged ‘six has a flat, thick note that suggests militaristic power over everything else, although I can’t help but miss the complex, multilayered sound signature of previous M Power engines. Gone is the chain rattle and tappet thrash of old, but I suppose that’s what they call progress…
Never mind: with Drive selected in the #M-DCT ‘box we’re up and running with all the ease you’d expect of a modern car. It’s incredible to think that over 500hp is lurking up front because apart from the drone of the exhaust, this M4 is as docile as you might want it to be in an urban situation. In fully auto mode the ‘box shuffles up and down the ratios quietly yet briskly, and just a brush of throttle is required to keep pace with traffic. That’s either a very good thing – especially if you’re using the car everyday – or something of an anti-climax.
Visually, the car is not quite so subtle. There’s the M Performance carbon fibre splitter, diffuser, side sills and rear spoiler, but more eye-catching of all are the massive 20-inch #Vossen alloy wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports measuring 255/30 ZR20 on the front axle, and 285/30 ZR20 on the rear. #KW height adjustable springs lower the ride height but allow the #EDC dampers to be retained, not requiring any reprogramming of the system despite the drop in ride height. Evolve must be a fan of the KWs because they’re also fitted to the F10 M5 we drive on the same day. So equipped on a white M4, there’s no shying away from the street presence this car has.
Unfortunately, the day of our test drive is very wet – in fact it’s tipping it down. This poses the Evolve M4 with a few serious problems: it has volcanic levels of thrust, seemingly at any revs and on instant demand from the driver, and all of that energy is being channelled through just the rear wheels – and with stiffer suspension as well. The result is that the M4’s traction control system is working overtime almost from the first application of throttle. If you’re brutal with the right hand pedal it’s possible to steal a march on the #DSC system, which then frantically jumps to attention and reins the car back in, although not before it’s got out of shape already. Today’s going to require careful metering of that 500hp.
Quite what the power and torque numbers are without the new intake system in place we can’t exactly say, but this M4 certainly feels appreciably quicker than standard. It’s a civilised map too: there are no misfires or tantrums during our drive, and nothing to suggest this is anything other than as BMW intended, albeit with considerably more venom to the delivery. That alone is a triumph for any car remapped in the aftermarket industry. The turbo ‘six gets going early and then never really gives up until the limiter is approaching; you can choose to surf the low-down and mid-range torque curve, clicking rapidly through the seven gears with the paddles at your fingertips, or keep the accelerator nailed and relish the outright shove. On a typically tight, slippery English B-road in autumn, this feels like a very fast car indeed.
For me, the modifications to the M4’s running gear are more of an acquired taste. So equipped, the ride becomes fidgety over every single detail on the road’s surface, even those that aren’t obvious to the naked eye. It’s as if the car’s tyres are reading braille, but it never settles in this state and always feels on edge – the rebound is particularly aggressive, and with such low profile tyres there’s very little the rubber can do to aide the springs and dampers in this regard. Traction is predictably at its most marginal at low speeds and in a low gear, where any enthusiastic throttle application has the rear wheels spinning and the electronic systems stepping in to take control. Without them, the Evolve M4 will slither this way and that all day long until the axle thumps in furious protest. With rivulets of water making their way across the road, it takes a moment of bravery or foolhardiness to switch off the DSC, and if you do then you suddenly become very aware of every twitch made by your toes on the right foot. On drier, smoother, Tarmac it would probably feel significantly different.
Of course, you don’t have to choose the wheels or the suspension modifications: as ever they are a matter of personal taste, and I’m sure that for some buyers the ‘enhancement’ to the way the M4 looks will be reason alone for making their purchase. However, if anything, a standard-looking M4 – or in particular an M3 – is possibly even more appealing when you have the knowledge that it possesses 530hp under the power-domed bonnet. Given this Stage 1 map costs £999, it’s a very cost effective way to have over 500 horsepower in a modern saloon/coupé, and if it wasn’t for the M Performance exhaust, not one that was immediately obvious to an onlooker. If you’re looking to extract more out of your turbocharged M3, M4 or M4 Convertible, it’s well worth a consideration.
CONTACT: Evolve Automotive / Tel: 01582 573801 / Web: www.evolveautomotive.com
Eventuri carbon fibre intake system is a work of art and packing it into the M4’s crowded engine bay is no mean feat; in combination with the remap the M4 now develops 530hp.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPowerhouse #BMW-M5-F10 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW / #2015 / #BMW-F10 / #Evolve / #BMW-M5-Evolve-F10 / #BMW-M5-Evolve /
We get to grips with Evolve’s awesome 750hp F10 M5. Does the F10 M5 need more power? Evolve thinks so and has endowed its demonstrator with 750hp and a series of choice modifications Words: Adam Towler. Photography: Gus Gregory.
It seems like a good morning to leave all the traction and stability controls on. The rain has been falling steadily since dawn, and while it stopped briefly as we arrived at Evolve’s Luton headquarters, by the time I reverse the shimmering white F10 M5 out through the raised shutter door, it’s falling once again in determined fashion. And they say this M5 has 750hp? I’ve a feeling that certain ‘electronic brains’ are about to get rather hot this morning, my own organic version included.
Visually and aurally, this M5 exudes the kind of menace perhaps expected of a saloon car that can exceed 200mph. In white, with Evolve’s own blackened headlamps (achieved after meticulous experimentation and effort), it appears more like a Stormtrooper’s helmet from the front. But it’s the wheels that really confirm this is no ordinary M5: whether they’re to your taste or not – and to be frank they wouldn’t be my choice – there’s no missing their intent. They’re BC Forged-NL30 21-inch items, shod with Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres measuring 255/30/21 on the front axle, and a barely believable 305/25/21 on the rear (running with #KW height adjustable springs all-round). If their size and relationship to the wheel arch hasn’t grabbed your attention, then the crystal burgundy/gloss black paint finish will do, especially as it alternates between the two colours as you walk around the car. A 305- section ‘rear’ is a lot of rubber to lay down on the road, but in these conditions I’ve a feeling it isn’t going to make much difference.
It’s under the bonnet of this M5 that really intrigues me. This is no mere remap of the F10’s ECU; instead, both the inhalation and exhalation of the 4.4-litre V8 have been modified to greatly improve airflow. It starts with carbon fibre air intake mouths just visible behind the grille, but the bit you’ll really notice are the two giant carbon pipes that snake across the engine bay. Developed and manufactured by Eventuri (a sister company to Evolve), these turn the usual aftermarket cone filter through 180 degrees so that the wider part of the filter meets the air first. The actual filter element is mounted in a distinctive belltype housing that gradually and smoothly reduces in size until it meets the main pipe. Their development has been a thoroughly modern process: Eventuri began by 3D scanning the relevant areas of the engine bay, then worked out the desired shape in 3D CAD software, allowing them to optimise the shape of the intake system, maintain the appropriate cross section, while simultaneously avoiding everything else in the F10’s very busy engine bay. The prototype pieces are then manufactured on an in-house 3D printer, allowing very rapid development and small changes to be made. The initial testing is even carried out – for short periods only and with plenty of heat insulation material applied – with these printed plastics parts, and when the team are happy the finished article is then put into production in carbon fibre. The result, say Eventuri/Evolve, is tangible benefits in the power and torque on the dyno, and a patent pending for their work. If looks could gain horsepower alone, these would be worth 50hp easily. The V8’s boost has been raised to a peak of 21PSI via an Evolve Stage 2 remap, with the spent gases then escaping down Evolve’s cat-less downpipes.
These three-inch pipes do without the M5’s regular primary catalytic converters, but retain the exhaust valve control (EVC) of the standard car. However, this is now connected to the Awron digital gauge fitted in the cockpit (where the driver’s air vent used to be), which means that the driver can manually select whether to have the valve open or closed.
When the M5 fires up inside Evolve’s unit the cacophony is absolute, and it takes a while for Evolve’s Imran Arshad to convince me that it’s still running the standard exhaust. Those Evolve downpipes really give the V8 a brutal voice, but the added control the driver now has over the decibels is a really useful feature.
There can be no doubt that 750hp and 700lb ft of torque are some very big numbers in a saloon car. In fact, they’re very big numbers in any sort of car. In this M5, they ridicule the kerb weight, giving the kind of instant snap of acceleration associated with a car at least a third lighter. To that end, the M5 soon shrinks around you, and it’s only when the country lanes get really tight do you remember this is actually a very large machine.
Driving along on the secondary roads away from Evolve’s workshop, on the inside you’re aware of a distant, hollow sound as the revs rise. It’s a noise that I find hard to place, despite almost playing a tune on the throttle to try and provoke it. The best I can come up with is the sound of a train disappearing down a tunnel on the London tube, or a distant TIE fighter in Star Wars. With the window down, the sound of the turbochargers cooking up that extra boost is clearly evident, with a loud whoosh when more throttle is introduced. It’s an intimidating noise, and one that promises big things. It’s not joking, either.
Curiosity leads me to be deliberately clumsy with the accelerator exiting a third gear downhill corner. Whoosh! The M5 bucks under the power, and the tail steps significantly out of line before the DSC system has a microsecond to detect what’s going on. Then it frantically reacts, recovering the car: if ECUs could sweat, this one would be wearing a John McEnroe headband right about now.
The warning has been delivered. Be more aggressive and this car will break traction in fourth gear in these conditions. It’s clear that today I’m not going to be able to experience full bore acceleration, but if you’re sympathetic with the throttle you can manage the wheel slip down to only a mild constant agitation. Now more of the sheer pace of this car shines through. The way it piles on speed in 10mph increments is shocking, and every time I come off the throttle there’s a ‘crack’ released through the exhaust system that makes it sound more like a rally car than a super saloon. Response and the lack of turbo lag are both immediately notable, but it’s the sheer speed of the thing that nearly overwhelms. This is acceleration released in great torrents, that can enable overtakes on a whim, that shortens the straight sections between bends on a typical B-road until they’re barely noticeable.
I had expected the ride quality to be non-existent having taken the wheel/tyre/suspension combination into consideration, but as long as the road surface is relatively normal and the car is left in a non-sport setting on the Drive Control, it’s not overly harsh. Predictably, what it does pick up much more of is surface irregularities, whether in increased tramlining or deterioration in the low-speed ride, particularly in an urban environment. As with the visuals, it’s an acquired taste, and given the excellence of the standard M5 setup I know how I’d have ‘my’ car.
The Awron read-out is endlessly fascinating, giving a temperature or pressure for just about anything you can think of, and a lot more besides. One of the trends in modern cars seems to be to offer the driver as little information as possible – witness the large main dials on the F10 but the lack of secondary info. The Awron unit solves this problem for the more curious enthusiast driver in an instant.
Cost-wise it’ll be expensive if you go the whole hog, but bear in mind the wheels and suspension aren’t must-have items. The Eventuri carbon intakes are £1758, the downpipes and Awron gauge cost £1790 and the ECU work is £1999. The KW suspension is £1116, while those wheels will set you back a notinconsiderable £4700 (all prices include VAT and fitting, bar the wheels which will need the price of tyres adding.) Nevertheless, given three-year old M5s are now available from £35,000, this is actually a costeffective way of getting a 750hp car, and traction limitations aside, all in a very useable package, too.
Although it’s been hard to truly grasp the Evolve M5’s performance on this brief encounter, there’s no denying the extraordinary thrust this car now possesses. It’s not as though the standard M5 is slow: on paper, it destroys its forebears thanks to its combination of turbocharged torque and nearseamless DCT gear changes. But in this state of tune not only does it feel much faster, it also reveals a lot more of what might be termed, for want of a better word, ‘character’. From the whooshes and whistles to the pops and snorts, this engine now feels and sounds like the powerhouse it really is.
If you like the standard M5’s demure and synthetic personality then that might come as something of a shock, but I suspect for most enthusiast buyers it’ll be a very welcome boost to the emotional bond they have with their car. However you look at it, an M5 with power and torque figures that begin with a ‘7’ is a delicious indulgence.
CONTACT: Evolve Automotive Tel: 01582 573801 Web: www.evolveautomotive.com
Response and the lack of turbo lag are immediately notable, but it’s the sheer speed that nearly overwhelms. Visually and aurally, this M5 exudes the kind of menace expected of a saloon car that can exceed 200mph.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFIRE AND ICE #2015
Not only has this owner bought himself two special edition E92 M3s that we never got in the UK, he’s then supercharged them and made them look absolutely awesome. Jealous. These E92 M3 evil twins show how even special editions can benefit from a good dose of modifying. Words: Iain Curry /// Photos: Matt Petrie
Is there anything more irritating than people with vast sums of disposable income and have no clue what to do with it? You know, the multi-millionaire lottery winner who continues living in a mouldy council flat and doing factory night shifts, or the CEO that’s in it only for the ‘challenge’ of business and still wears awful clothes and drives around in a battered old Ford despite untold wealth?
Then there’s the other extreme. The guy who spends his hard-earned in such a manner that we car enthusiasts can only nod our head, shake his hand and – somewhat enviously of course – agree we’d be doing exactly the same in their shoes. Who really needs two E92 M3s? Well, given the financial means wouldn’t you?
This brace of modified M3s belong to New Jersey’s Bill Jordan, business owner of Miraj Corporation which manufacturers and distributes aircraft replacement parts. And it seems business is good for the 47-year-old American car enthusiast. Beside the M3s in his current line-up is an Alpina B6, a Porsche 911 GT3, a Ferrari F430 Spyder, a Maserati GranCabrio, a bonkers Mercedes G63 AMG and a Mercedes CLA45 AMG, most receiving a decent dash of modifying too.
The man clearly has a passion for European exotica, and has good history with BMWs too, with an E39 540i, E38 740iL and E65 745Li in his previous inventory. But the lure of special edition M3s has stoked his fire in recent years, with the orange car a 2013 USA-only model called the Lime Rock Park Edition, and the black one a 2011 USAonly special called the Frozen Black Edition. The Lime Rock car is one of 200 built and finished in the Euro-only M3 GTS Fire orange paint, and came with the Competition Package, an Alcantara flat bottom steering wheel, a carbon leather dash, carbon body flashes and a lightweight titanium exhaust. The Frozen Black is an even scarcer one of just 20 built and came with matt black paint, Competition package, red stitching for the cabin, red brake calipers and 19” Gloss black competition wheels.
Both are special cars, but clearly not special enough for Bill. Each M3 has been treated to an extensive makeover to meet his preferences; including replacing some of the factory special components that already made these cars stand out from the rest. The results, as you can see, are two M3s with levels or extrovertness and hardcore racing style to have you drooling.
“I am a big fan of the S65 V8 engine – one of the best ever made by BMW and with that beautiful sound,” Bill said. “When I saw the Fire orange Lime Rock Park Edition I fell in love with the colour and possibilities to really take it to the extreme with all of the products available like superchargers, body kits and suspension, but still keep it a daily driver. I found the Frozen Black Edition by happy accident one night online. It only had 300 miles on it, and although I wasn’t planning on buying a second E92 M3, when I went to see it I fell in love and bought it that day. It looked menacing and had really nice red accents that I picked up for the customisation project.”
Bill’s motivation for modifying is typical, namely taking factory cars and adding his personal touches so they are unique. He said everything done on the special M3s is reversible: “We respect the factory setup but try to improve on things in terms of performance, sound and cosmetics. There’s also an enjoyment in building up these cars in such a way that they can compete with so-called supercars costing three to four times the price.”
Build work has been done by AutoCouture Motoring of Fairlawn close to Bill’s New Jersey home; a BMW specialist he says is regarded as one of the leading performance and custom shops in the USA. “The staff are real enthusiasts, and I make a point to stop by there on my way home from work to catch up on new builds, product trends and hang out with a great bunch of guys,” he said. Some custom parts are provided by AutoCouture, and the rest from another well-followed BMW specialist, Ind. Distribution.
Two tougher looking, beautifully stanced E92 M3s would be hard to find. And there’s the upping in performance to back the looks. Both cars have been given ESS superchargers, the main benefit of which is a significant boost to low end torque, as this is Bill’s only complaint of the S65 factory motor. “With the kits, rear-wheel horsepower is now 550hp and torque at 350lb ft, so essentially they have the power to run with the current generation stock M3/M4 turbo cars.”
Anyone who’s driven the F80/F82 cars knows they’re incredible weapons, but the turbo six-cylinders just don’t have the emotive roar of the previous generation V8s. So Bill’s passion for the model is perfectly understandable.
The style begins on the ’charged motors too. The manifolds are Melbourne red with silver metallic flake on the black car and Fire orange on the other, showing a theme that runs through both cars. Both feature BMW Performance seats (sourced through Europe as none were shipped to America), which Bill said are perfect for customising. True to his word, each car’s chairs have been painted the relevant hue, and the rest of the cabin follows suit.
The orange car has orange accents for everything from the stitching in the door panels to the centre console and even all the seatbelts. The black car does almost the same but with the Melbourne red colour, while both cars now have gorgeous Nexon Motors carbon fibre steering wheels.
Body-wise things get even crazier. The Lime Rock car is a stunning mix of Manhart Racing carbon body kit, a Vorsteiner GTS-V front bumper with carbon lip, DownForce USA three-piece carbon rear diffuser and BC carbon GTS wing just for starters, with tough-as-nails black and orange contrasting throughout. Mixing the styles up, the black car comes with RKP GT4 carbon front lip, #BMW Performance carbon boot spoiler, Varis Racing rear diffuser and Gintani carbon side skirts. Most of the body additions are finished in a satin/matt clear and with a Melbourne red detail where possible. The results are breathtaking: there’s little wonder that Bill and his cars are online superstars.
Now the all-important chassis. Both feature giant Brembo brake kits, hidden behind 19” BBS RI-D five-spoke rims for the orange car, and 20” Morr wheels for the black M3. The Lime Rock car is Bill’s choice for any track excursions, so it now has Öhlins Road & Track coilover suspension – Bill saying they are versatile enough to still give daily drive comfort. The Frozen Black M3, being one of 20, is just too special to risk on track, especially with that matt black paint. It now has very trick #Bilstein-B16-DampTronic electronic adjustable active suspension, allowing the driver to change settings on the fly.
This pair of brutally handsome M3s are both stunning builds. We can’t kid ourselves that it can be done cheaply of course. Both M3s are costly special editions for starters, and the custom parts and incredible attention to detail aren’t for those with shallow pockets. We can hugely respect Bill’s method of spending his money, however, as he has created aspirational halo M3s justifiably envied and loved wherever they’re seen.
Work is “pretty much” finished on these two E92 M3s, Bill said, but as you’d have guessed, there’s something else in the pipeline. A Laguna Seca blue F82 M4 is getting the full treatment at present, despite Bill’s early reservations about the turbo six’s exhaust note. We’re sure he’ll find away around this, and can’t wait to see and hear the final results.
“We respect the factory setup but try to improve on things in terms of performance, sound and cosmetics”
“When I saw the Fire orange Lime Rock Park Edition I fell in love with the colour”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E92-Lime-Rock-Park-Edition
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 / #S65 , #ESS VT2-625 supercharger with custom painted #Fire orange manifold, #Evolve Automotive E-Tronic valved exhaust with #AutoCouture Motoring test pipes, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS RI-D five-spoke wheels in matt black with 245/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) #Falken Azenis 453 tyres, #Öhlins Road & Track coilover suspension, #Dinan carbon fibre strut braces, #Brembo-GT Big Brake Kit with 380mm discs and six-piston calipers (front) and 355mm four-pistons (rear) custom finished in Fire orange
EXTERIOR Manhart Racing carbon fibre body kit including full carbon bonnet with Fire orange paint scheme and exposed carbon, carbon side skirts and fender flares, Vorsteiner GTS-V front bumper with carbon fibre lip and inserts, carbon fibre grille surrounds and side markers, OEM carbon fibre mirror covers, DownForce USA three-piece carbon rear diffuser, BC carbon fibre GTS wing and BMW painted bootlid spoiler, Fire orange body paint
INTERIOR BMW Performance Alcantara front seats custom finished with Fire orange Alcantara and painted accents, Nexon Motors carbon fibre steering wheel with Fire orange trim and custom DCT paddles, Pedal Haus custom pedals and heel plate, custom Alcantara door panels with orange diamond stitching, carbon fibre dash and door trim with Fire orange accents, Fire orange upper front/rear door trim, painted centre and rear consoles, front and rear seatbelts and rear seat inserts, orange illuminated door sills.
THANKS AutoCouture Motoring of Fairlawn NJ (for the build) and Ind. Distribution (for parts support)
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-92-Frozen-Black-Edition / #BMW-M3-92 / / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E92
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 , #ESS VT2-625 supercharger kit featuring custom Melbourne red with silver metallic flake manifold, #Innotech IPE F1 valved race exhaust, #ACM-R upgraded coolant pump and lines, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) Morr VS54 monoforged wheels finished in a brushed dark tinted matt clear with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Hankook Ventus V12 tyres, #Bilstein #Bilstein-B16 #DampTronic electronic adjustable active suspension, #Brembo GT big brake kit with 380mm discs and sixpiston calipers (front) and 355mm four-pistons (rear) custom finished in Melbourne red with silver metallic flake and black chrome decals
EXTERIOR #RKP GT4 carbon fibre front lip finished with satin/matt clear and #Melbourne red CRT stripe, BMW Performance carbon fibre boot spoiler with satin/matt clear and Melbourne red #CRT stripe, #Varis-Racing upper/lower rear diffuser in satin/matt clear, #Gintani carbon fibre side skirts in satin/matt clear, #LightWerkz custom headlights with Melbourne red film, matt black paint with metallic flakes
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance seats with red stitching and Melbourne red painted seat backs, red front and rear seatbelts, carbon leather dash trim with red stitching, Melbourne red upper door trim front and rear, Nexon Motors carbon fibre steering wheel with Melbourne red accents and custom DCT paddle shifters
THANKS AutoCouture Motoring of Fairlawn NJ (for the build) and Ind. Distribution (for parts support)
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.