- Post is under moderationPUTTING THE BOOT IN #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk4-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI-Mk4 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora / #VAG / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora-TDI / #VW / #Volkswagen-Bora-IV / #Volkswagen-Bora-1.9TDI / #OZ
We don’t tend to get too excited over modified Boras these days because we very rarely get the chance, but Anthony Warrior’s example literally stopped us in our tracks. Just look at it! Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: Si Gray.
It’s funny, but looking back over the years, we’ve only ever featured a small number of Boras on these hallowed pages – the majority of which have been created across the pond. I’d go so far as to say you could probably count the amount of full-fat, UK-built Boras on one hand. The booted version of the Golf just never really took off here in the UK, largely because people didn’t deem it as sporty as the hatchback or as practical as the estate. Understandably we’re more than a little bit excited to bring you coverage of what Anthony Warrior’s vision of a sporty Bora should look like. It’s more than simply a breath of fresh air… it’s awe-inspiring!
Despite being very fond of cars from an early age, the engineer from Darlington didn’t pass his driving test until he was 21! “I was certainly a late starter, that’s for sure. I remember as a kid that my dad was always a Ford man, but for me it was hearing my friend’s Mk3 Golf VR6 for the first time. That triggered my passion and love for all things VW almost instantly,” he confessed. Despite initially being into the idea of getting a Golf, due to owning quite a large dog Anthony’s other half, Claire, insisted that it had to be a five-door: “I’m not keen on five-door Golfs to be honest,” said the 35-year-old, “so I started looking at Boras and ended up buying this one.”
The car might have only had one previous owner and been low mileage with just 50k miles on the clock, but it was totally bone stock and that just wouldn’t do. “Okay, I can honestly say that all I ever really planned originally was a set of wheels and perhaps a remap. Now, some 12-years, five sets of wheels, three sets of coilovers, air ride and £1000s spent on bodywork and interior, I can safely say I didn’t intend to go this far.”
Anthony’s modified journey didn’t begin all that positively though, with a set of 18” Audi A8 replica wheels shod in equally awful balloon tyres being his first step on the ladder. It was actually PVW’s very own Dave Kennedy, or rather his Bora project, that helped Anthony see the light: “I have to say that I’ll always remember watching the progress of Dave’s black car… And those huge wheels he attempted to fit to it.” Needless to say after the rep’s came a set of BBS RCs, followed by a couple of sets of BMW wheels before Anthony finally wound up with his current set-up: “The wheels were something that took ages to get right, especially as they’re 20s, which nobody had really done at the time or certainly hadn’t pulled off,” he said. Anthony claims it was a bit of a gamble buying the genuine Ferrari wheels as it was a big financial outlay, but when they came up for grabs he accepted the challenge. Talk about trial and error, too: “I knew I’d need to run adaptors and the fronts were pretty straight forward being a pair of 25mm items. Out back the adaptors were quite large at 38mm, but that wasn’t a problem until I offered the wheels up before ordering tyres. For some reason one of the wheels poked out a bit more than the other, so I had to take the adaptors to work and have 2mm machined off one of them.” It’s quite a common problem on the Mk4 platform where the axle never sits perfectly in the arch. You don’t actually notice when running standard ride height as there’s lots of clearance in the wheel arches. It’s only when you’re go low and are dealing with millimeter clearance that it becomes apparent.
Talking of air-ride, after running numerous sets of coilovers over the years Anthony finally decided to bite the bullet and opt for air: “I decided I was sick of bouncing the 130-mile round trip to and from work, so invested in and Air Lift Slam set-up.” Obviously the install has progressed over time, from the original set-up he fitted in his in-law’s freezing garage, to the carbon-clad, hard-lined work of art you see today. “The air tank is still the original item, but now wears a carbon-fibre skin with copper strands running through it, which Paul from C6 Carbon said was a must-have to tie-in with my copper hard lines.” Since the initial air install, Anthony has also fitted poly bushes throughout and also added IDf drop plates to allow the amount of camber needed to run 11s out back.
It’s obvious that Anthony, who is an engineer by trade, is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work – other than the paint and carbon – himself! Believe it or not the all-metal, wide-body makeover was carried out around six years ago (before the air ride and Ferrari wheels, in fact) when Anthony was still on coils and looking to fit some wide 6-series BMW wheels. “The bodywork had to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole project but then it was done twice. I wanted the arch lines to be as close to factory as possible, to keep it subtle.” As if widening the car by around 4” front and rear wasn’t going to be pretty damn obvious. The thing is, despite the added girth and crazy-wide wheels filling each corner, Anthony almost pulled off the whole subtle thing. For some reason though, he wasn’t really happy: “I seemed to fall out of love with the car for a while at this stage and it just got used and abused really.” It was only after talking to his friend, Dentman that Anthony got the bug again: “He suggested I should take the car to Autospray in Darlington, which I did. We discussed my plans and I quickly decided they were the right guys!”
Apparently the car was only booked in to have the wide-body conversion reworked, which should have taken a week, but that soon changed to include smoothing the doors and rear bumper, repainting the front bumper and bonnet, then doing the B-pillars and rear door quarterlight bars gloss black, plus adding new window rubbers, clips and screws: “Four weeks later it was ready for show season. That was four years ago, and since then it’s been back ever year to have little bits added or improving,” he said. The car has got continuously smoother as time has gone on. However, we love how the gloss black external parts break up the Satin silver colourcoding so it’s not too over powering.
On the engine front Anthony hasn’t gone too overboard, but he did admit to getting a little fed up being left behind by his mates whenever they went out in their cars together: “I needed to do something, so I took the car to Revo for a remap, but that turned out to more than a simple flash. We actually had to remove the ECU and install a new chip. What a difference it made out on the open road, though.” After a quick rolling road session it showed 152bhp and 270lb/ft of torque: “I was pleased but figured we could do a little better, so went for a full Milltek system from the turbo back, with de-cat pipe, too." With the addition of an ITG panel filter and Allard EGR delete, the final outcome was 165bhp and 297lb/ft and Anthony was finally happy! Having driven the car for best part of a year with the tiny stock brakes hidden behind those monster 20” hoops, Anthony was ready to up his game again, especially now he had a bit of extra power, too: “Even though I’d fitted a 312mm TT set-up up front they still looked small and the standard rears we just embarrassing, so a set of fourpiston Ferrari Brembos were sourced to replace the fronts. Then all I had to find a set of suitably large discs and make them fit,” he smiled.
After quite some time spent searching, Anthony eventually found a set of 400mm Alcon discs originally intended for a Jaguar XKR: “First these needed redrilling to fit my 5x100 hubs, then the bell housing needed machining down so the wheels would clear them.” And this was before he’d fathomed out how to make the calipers fit: “I started with cardboard templates and using wooden blocks to get the measurements for the adapters right. Then I bought two pretty large bits of steel, which were drilled and milled for around ten hours apiece. I went a bit over the top getting them as smooth and shiny as possible,” he said. Anthony claimed by the time it came to the back he’d run out of ideas, not to mentioned money: “I figured I’d got a perfectly good 312mm set-up going spare now, so why not just convert that to fit the back?” How hard could it be? “Well, after a bit of drilling, cutting, grinding and lots of swearing they went on.”
Although hard pushed to choose his favourite single modification, Anthony admits that he is particularly fond of the way the interior came together as a whole: “I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too. I love all the carbon work Paul’s done inside as well, then there’s the TT dash which tops it all off for me.” That said, the dash swap was probably the hardest part Anthony had to tackle himself: “I thought, how hard can it be?” Turns out, pretty damn hard! “I needed modified clocks because my car’s a diesel and they never made a Mk1 TT diesel, then the steering column had to be lowered and brought backwards,” he continued, “and because I did the full centre-console, the gear linkage had to be modified so I could select all gears. This, along with all the wiring and installation of the electric heater box – as my car didn’t have climate control – made it more than a challenge.” It was worth it in the end, especially with the diamond-stitched leather top, tying it all in nicely with the rest of the trim.
We asked Anthony what he’d change about the car if anything and he had this answer: “I wouldn’t really change a thing other than just doing it the right way the first time around, rather than rushing in and regretting it after.” As for the future, he’s going to look at cleaning the bay up, tucking some wiring and adding some more carbon: “Of course more carbon, lots and lots of it!”
ENGINE: 1.9-litre PD 115 TDI with custom chip (producing165hp and 297lb/ft), 3” down pipe and de-cat, #Milltek non-resonated system with twin-exit back box. Allard EGR delete pipe, #ITG panel filter, Touran engine cover painted crackle black, #Forge short shift kit
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” and 11x20” Ferrari 599 HGTE three-piece forged wheels by OZ with polished lips and faces mounted on G23 adapters (25mm front, 38mm and 36mm rear) with 215/30 and 245/30 Nankang tyres respectively. #Air-Lift-Slam-Series front struts, #Air-Lift tapered rear bags, #Air-Lift-V2 management, #Viair-444cc compressor and five-gallon tank, #Powerflex poly bushed all round, IDF rear correction plates. Ferrari four-pot front callipers with custom machined brackets and 400mm Jaguar XKR Alcon discs re-drilled to 5x100 with machined-down bell housings, Audi TT 312mm front brake set up adapted to fit the rear with callipers painted yellow to match fronts
EXTERIOR: Full respray in the original Volkswagen Satin silver, arches extended 40mm each side in metal, smoothed factory bumpers blended in the extended arches (front and rear), smoothed rub strips, side repeaters and roof aerial deleted, genuine Golf Anniversary front valance modified to fit and painted gloss black, genuine Golf Anniversary side skirts, Bora 4Motion rear valance (painted gloss black), genuine OEM xenon headlights with twin, centre running lights and turn signal relocation, all-red rear lights with gloss black housings, Lupo stubby mirrors (electric and heated) with clear glass and gloss black basis, new window rubbers all round, gloss black B-pillar and rear door window bar, gloss black grille, bumper grilles and scuttle tray, genuine Jetta GLI grille (carbon skinned), aero wiper arms and blades, gloss black rear towing eye cover
INTERIOR: Full Mk1 Audi TT dashboard and centre console conversion with diamond stitched leather top and custom instrument cluster, modified steering column and shortened gear linkage relocated OB2 port, Climate Control retro-fitted with heater box change, Recaro Sportster CSs in black leather with gloss black inserts, Mk3 Scirocco rear seats retro-fitted and trimmed to match fronts, six-speed Beetle Turbo gear knob, Momo 280mm wheel, carbon-skinned door card tops (with deleted door pins), steering column cowl and TT knee bars (all carbon skinned in Audi small weave by C6carbon). Black perforated leather roof lining and A, B and C pillars, Golf Anniversary black grab handles, interior light, seatbelt tops, sun visors, alarm sensors and rear view mirror, Passat mirror adjuster, leather door cards all round with custom audio builds in front doors. Brushed-aluminium door grabs, custom bootbuild with floating floor (lit by LEDs), five-gallon tank skinned in small-weave carbon with copper strands running in the weave, copper hard line installation, twin AVS polished water traps, polished compressor fittings and polished bulkhead fittings
AUDIO: JL Audio MBT-RX Bluetooth receiver, #Precision-Power-Par245 five-band EQ mounted where head-unit would have been, JL Audio XD 1000/5v2 amp with copper/carbon-skinned cover to match air tank, JL Audio TW3 12” sub in non-ported custom enclosure, 8 x 6” Jehnert woofer speakers 2 x 4” Jehnert mids, 2 x 2” Jehnert tweeters, Jehnert crossovers and lots of Dynamat throughout
SHOUT: My wife, Claire for putting up with ‘that car’, Paul at Deluxe Detailing for looking after and preparing the car, Mike and Vicks at Kleen Freaks for all their support, Paul at C6 Carbon for all the carbon goodies, Pete, Adie and the crew at Autospray Darlington, Justin at Car Spa Darlington, D&W Wheel restorers for the powder coating, Rob at JL Audio UK, plus Lee, Woody, Roger, Ricky and lastly my buddies Dentman, Shaun, Begley, Wardizzle, Cuzy and Nathen
It’s obvious that Anthony is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work himself.
I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too.
Recaro CSs are pretty special up from but Scirocco rear bench is a genius addition.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationUltimate Daily. We test VAGtech's RS3. With an explosive, tuned five-pot and everyday practicality, this Sepang blue RS3 is a true all-rounder… Words & Photography Davy Lewis. RS3 VAGtech’s potent daily driver.
One thing I’ve found from working in the UK car scene is that you tend to bump into the same faces over the years. It’s quite a small world really, so it’s to be expected, but I still love it when I meet an old contact from years back.
I first met VAGtech’s, Jon Watts, back in 2005, when I worked on Redline magazine. He’d built a turbocharged Golf R32, which he let me drive for a road-test feature. It made around 400bhp and coming from a 150bhp Golf GTI, it blew me away. Unsurprisingly Jon became known as the go-to man for R32s, but when the first generation of RS3 was launched, he got into Audi’s premium Sportback – in a big way.
With his own demo car making big power, and being used to constantly test and develop performance parts, it was a regular at events and track days. This extremely well-prepared RS3 was eventually sold to a customer, leaving Jon with a quandary: what to replace it with?
Well, that was an easy one – a brand new RS3 8V.
The Sepang blue Audi is Jon’s daily, but also a test bed for performance parts. Over a coffee, I asked him his thoughts on the tuning scene today.
“I think it’s come a long way. The thing is, cars are so good from the factory, that you don’t need to go too far – a few well chosen upgrades and you can create something that’s plenty fast enough for the roads,” he says.
The RS3 is a prime example of this. The potent 2.5 TFSI unit not only sounds fantastic, with that characteristic offnote warble, but it also makes strong power. Matched with the superb s-tronic transmission and quattro drive, it’s one of the best, all-round, practical, performance cars you’ll find. No wonder they’ve sold so well since launch in 2015.
Jon’s own car has been treated to the kind of upgrades that his customers ask for, so it represents a real-world example of what can be achieved. I’ve been fortunate to drive several RS3s now and I have to say, they’re great fun. Jon’s car is no exception.
Let’s kick off with the looks. There seem to be a lot of Nardo grey, white and black RS3s on the road, which is fine, as they’re all great colours. But I have to say it’s refreshing to see something else, and Sepang blue is a cracking hue. When the sun catches it, this thing really pings.
The subtly aggressive styling of the #Sportback means it doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ like say a Mercedes A45 AMG, but it packs enough firepower to show the majority of cars a clean pair of heels. I spent some time trying to figure out why this particular RS3 looks so pleasing to the eye and then figured it out – it’s the wheels. The genuine #BBS CH-Rs look absolutely, bang on the money, tucked up in the arches courtesy of Bilstein B16 coilovers. It sits just right – not too high, not too low and the offset is spot on, too.
Performance wise, even in stock fettle, the 2.5 TFSI unit brings plenty of grunt to the party. But with so much potential held in reserve, they can easily be persuaded to give more. As a #Revo dealer, Jon is beta testing Revo’s latest Stage 2 software. It’s still at the development stage, so no official figures are available, but it’s likely to be around the 420bhp mark.
The RS3 already had the required hardware fitted – namely a larger front mount intercooler and full turbo back exhaust system – these were supplied by Forge Motorsport and Milltek Sport, respectively. With the restrictive primary cats removed and replaced with a much freer flowing Milltek Sport downpipe with sports cat, the RS3’s potential can be unleashed. Getting at it is another matter.
To access the cats, you must first drop the sub frame. I actually watched the #VAGtech technicians do this before photographing the car. Fortunately, being a new car, everything came off easily and it was a pretty straightforward procedure. Again, Jon wanted to trial it on his own car before a customer asked for it, so he knew exactly what would be involved. You can see a full fitting guide next issue.
The hardware and software upgrades have given the RS3 a harder edge. It now pulls more strongly, right across the rev range and delivers an explosive punch when you really mash the throttle. But this isn’t at the expense of drivability or comfort. The #Revo Stage 2 development setup allows you to exploit the potential of that 5-cylinder, but it retains its manners. Around town it’s docile and just like a stock car. It’s only when you ask it for more that its character changes. Be in no doubt, this RS3 is very quick. Launch control is ridiculous and guaranteed to make passengers feel a bit funny. So full fat hooligan mode is just the flick of your ankle away. Yet, this car is so refined and well put together that you can pootle about in it all day with no fuss or dramas.
The only issue, as far as Jon is concerned, is that his daily commute isn’t quite long enough – a sure sign that you’re driving something a bit special.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE / SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS3-8V #2016 / #Audi-RS3 / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech-8V / #Bilstein / #Audi-RS3-Revo / #Audi-RS3-Revo-8V
Engine 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder, #Forge front mount intercooler, #Milltek non-res exhaust system from turbo back, #Revo-Stage-2 developement software
Power Around 420bhp (currently running beta testing software)
Transmission 7-speed s-tronic
Brakes RS3 Stock
Suspension #Bilstein-B16 coilovers
Wheels 20in #BBS-CH-R wheels with 245/30 Yokohama tyres
Interior Stock RS3
Exterior Stock RS3 in Sepang blue
Contacts and thanks #VAGtech www.vagtech.co.uk
Top: Performance is very brisk! Above: Sports seats. Left: Half-Alcantara wheel is very nice. Right: Milltek cerakote tips. Below: 5-pot is one of the best engines around.
“It delivers an explosive punch...”
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- Post is under moderationPrime cut S3 8P Show-stopper revealed. When Matt Vanstone isn’t preparing the Southwest’s finest fillet steaks, he’s working on his stunning S3…. Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker.
The second generation Audi S3 is a cracking little car. Launched in 2007, it packs a potent 2.0 TFSI engine, quattro drive and the kind of neatly understated looks that set it apart as a premium hatch back. Audi sold bucket loads of them and they’ve become one of the most frequently tuned of all the S models. So when Matt Vanstone was after a new car, he had his sights set on an S3. “I’d been into Fords before,” he explains, “but I wanted something I could modify in a Dub style.”
After looking at a couple of cars, he found an immaculate S3 in Sprint blue, which he fell in love with. “It was only down the road from me and although it wasn’t as highly spec’d as the others I’d seen, I didn’t mind as I planned to upgrade it.”
Having thrown £14k at the salesman, Matt proceeded to enjoy his new toy. “I’d spent all my cash, so it was standard for about a year,” he says. But the plan right from the off was to create something show worthy – just as soon as he’d saved up the money. Then disaster struck...
“It was during the floods of 2014; I was driving home and hit standing water.” The S3 aquaplaned into a ditch and the damage was significant. “My heart sank, I thought it was a write-off – but I just got away with it,” recalls Matt.
That said, there was a big bill for replacement parts, including a new front end, wings and other bits, which all told added up to about four-grand – which wiped out the tuning budget. However, there was some good news…
“I came into a little bit of money and while the car was in the bodyshop I decided to do a few bits to it.” This included fitting the latest (at the time) Air Lift Performance kit, some Forge Motorsport goodies and new wheels. With the S3 making good progress, Matt went along to Ultimate Dubs, where he was blown away by the standard of some of the cars. “I met Jules Loose and he invited me to join Dubfiction, which is where I got a lot of help and inspiration for the car.”
At this point, there weren’t any RS-style honeycomb grilles available off-the-shelf, but Matt had his heart set on one. So, he set about making his own. “I ordered a brand new RS6 grille from Audi and my mate cut out the honeycomb section and adapted it to fit the S3’s OEM grille. It involved a lot of work and expense, but looks fantastic, especially with the satin silver surround, which he’d seen on an RS4. Next came new wheels.
“Jules offered me a set of RAD48s, but they weren’t quite “wow” enough for me, so I sent them off to be ceramic-polished. Sounds simple enough, until Matt explains this involved shipping them off to Belgium for the work to be carried out, at a cost of about £500. Now that’s commitment.
With the exterior looking good, Matt turned his attention to the inside.
“I knew I had to really go for it to make the car stand out at shows, so I bought a full S5 interior,” he says. Unfortunately, the seats were in bad shape, with dodgy electrics and bent sub frames. “They needed about £900 spending on them and I felt like giving up,” he admits. But it’s when you’re at your lowest point that your mates really help and Jules, plus girlfriend Terri told him to carry on – setting a deadline of the next Ultimate Dubs show to get the car ready. “That left us just three weeks,” laughs Matt.
“I managed to get hold of some genuine Bentley leather for the seats – I hadn’t even seen the colour, apart from a picture,” he says. When he visited the trimmer to see the progress, there was another heart-in-mouth moment: “I didn’t like the colour,” laughs Matt. But girlfriend, Terri, said it would be okay and told him to let the trimmer get on with it. “She even bought me a flat-bottom steering wheel, which spurred me on.” The trimmer had some work to do though – the stitch pattern alone took over a week to complete. Finally, with the show just hours away, having pulled another allnighter, Matt and his crew made it to the show, even having to stop en route to pick up the parcel shelf.
But you know what – it was all worth it. The S3 was very well received with plenty of nice comments about the interior. With a renewed enthusiasm for the 8P, Matt began planning his next show – Early Edition. Then, disaster struck for a second time: “An inlet cam snapped and I ended up having to get an engine rebuild.” This took another chunk out of the tuning budget, but as Matt says, ‘You can just give up, or accept that life gives you hurdles like this and get on with it.” Wise words indeed.
The engine itself is now in rude health and although not currently running any performance software, the Cobra Sport exhaust has transformed the S3’s character. The 3in turbo-back system, with sports cat, is much freer flowing and delivers a nicely rorty sound, without any annoying drone. There’s also a Forge twintercooler and inlet, which means this S3 is ready to have its potential unleashed with a remap.
At the time of writing, Matt is recovering after a flat-out Christmas rush preparing turkeys for his customers, but in between wielding his cleaver, he’s been planning his next upgrades. “I’m fitting some new wheels, plus some carbon bits and maybe big brakes for next season,” he says. “I also want to get the engine sorted, so I’ll be giving the guys at MRC Tuning a call at some point.” There’s lots more to come from this S3 – look out for it at this year’s shows.
SPECIFICATION #2017-Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-S3 / #Audi-A3-8P / #Audi-A3 / #Air-Lift / #RAD48-DR1 / #RAD48 / #Audi-8P / #Audi /
Engine 2.0 #TFSI , #Forge twin take induction kit with carbon fibre air filter covers, Forge chrome recirulating value, #Forge-twintercooler , Forge blue silicone hose kit, Forge chrome charcoal canister cover, Forge chrome oil water and coolant caps, custom made engine cover using old air box and dipped in carbon fibre affect and colour coded pipe work in sprint blue, turbo back sport cat exhaust system by Cobra Sport all in 3in pipework
Transmission 6-speed manual, Forge adjustable quick shifter
Suspension Full #Air-Lift-Performance slam struts with 3/8 airlines and two #Vair comps and 4-gallon skinned tank with #V2-Auto #AutoPilot-V2 management
Wheels #RAD48-DR1s 8.5x19in all round et45 fully ceramic polished by Felgenwerkes/puc polished in Nanking tyres NS2s 215/35x19
Interior 2011 flat bottom steering wheel with carbon fibre air bag cover, Audi S5 front seats with custom diamond stitch in centres and retrimmed in Bentley nappa leather with a blue stitch, carbon fibre control panel and seat backs and grab handle, rear seats, arm rest, hand brake, gear gaiter, parcel shelf, glove box, under steering wheel and door card inserts all trimmed to match
Exterior 2011 rear lights, custom made, front grille using RS6 and standard one moulded together to make one grille then painted gloss black centre and satin silver ends, carbon fibre b pillars, Forge chrome petrol cap
Contacts and thanks Stefan May at Tiki Custom, Kris Butler at Forge Motorsport, Jules and Mario at RAD48 wheels, James batty at Autofinesse, Colin Haden at D Hayden Upholstery, Matt at System Clenz, Indy at Felgenwerkes/Stefan puc polished, Nick Cockman at Cobra Sport exhausts, the Mrs, Terri for putting up with my temper tantrums, the whole Dubfiction crew, Adam Ford for many late nights working on it before shows.
“I knew I had to really go for it to make the car stand out...”
Essentials: air and detailing kit.
Bentley leather was used for the interior.
Flat-bottom wheel with carbon centre.
Nicely detailed bay, with big power to come.
Cobra exhaust looks and sounds ace.
Dubfiction 9 July 2017
If you haven’t heard about Dubfiction, it’s a cracking show with a very welcoming attitude. Based in Derbyshire’s Peak District at one of the UK’s most picturesque locations, it offers plenty of space to park up, a show and shine, trade, music and camping. The new date for 2017 is 9 July, so make sure you get it in your diary and check out Dubfiction on Facebook. Dubfiction 2017 – 10am - 4pm, The Bull I’ th’ thorn Inn, Ashbourne Road, Hurdlow SK17 9QQ.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSIMPLE PLEASURES Finely-honed 400hp 1M
Man, machine, open roads, fulfilment. That’s pretty much the formula for happiness, is it not? Ah, if only life were so simple… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
All you really need to know is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.’ So wrote Douglas Adams, and he was a man of sufficient wisdom to have a decent handle on such matters; the world and everything in it (not to mention all the things outside of it) are so mind-numbingly crammed with incomprehensible minutiae that when you start to consider the logic of anything beyond what you’re having for dinner or which Kardashian’s up the duff this week, it can get a little overwhelming. What we need is simplicity. Clarity. Binary black-and-whiteness. And in the case of this crisp and clinical 1M, simplicity is exactly what you get.
It is what it is, and nothing more – no complexity, no ambiguity, just a snapshot… …except, no, that’s not actually the case at all. It’s a cunning illusion, an exercise in smoke-and-mirrors shadow play. “Many people can’t tell what came with the car and what I’ve added,” says owner Manu Sethi.
“I take that as a compliment, because the goal was to always keep the car looking OEM, even after such heavy modifications.” Part of this is thanks to the obscurity of the 1M itself, of course – they’re such a rare sight that most onlookers don’t know what they’re seeing in the first place, let alone that it’s a rambunctiously tweaked example. And this is all just the latest in a long line of BMW affection for Manu. “I’ve had a love for BMWs all my life,” he enthuses. “My first car was an E36 M3 – I had to take two jobs to afford that car, and I was happy to do it. I had a smile on my face every day I drove it! And I’ve gone through a number of BMWs along the way, from 3 Series to 7 Series. I have a deep love for the brand. My next BMW will surely be a European Delivery, it’s been an unfulfilled dream for far too long.”
Manu’s is a bona fide success story, going from those early days of working two jobs to afford the used car he desired to the present day situation that finds him with a gleaming new Lamborghini Huracán on his drive, bullishly flanked by his Audi R8 V10 and his Mercedes E-Class. But while it’s simple enough to stroll into a Lambo dealer and pick up the latest exotic ride, tracking down something as obscure as a 1M isn’t quite so easy…
“I bought the car brand-new in 2011 and, like most 1Ms, it was not an easy find,” he recalls. “I got lucky, really – I drove all the way out to Las Vegas to get mine; the dealer was initially allocated eight cars and ended up only getting two! I was fortunate enough to buy one of them – number 88 out of North America’s allocation of 740. The model was rare to begin with, and its scarcity is only increasing. From day one my car has garnered plenty of attention. Leaving the gym one time, a guy said to me ‘Is that a 1M? How the hell did you get a 1M? You must’ve had to sell your left nut!’ Lucky for me that was not the case!”
Manu’s right when he says that the scarcity of 1Ms is increasing – global economic instability has seen people investing in cars like never before over the last half-decade or so, and anything that fuses quality and desirability with lowvolume obscurity is firmly in the crosshairs of the speculators. More than a few 1Ms have been wrapped up in cotton wool and locked away in private collections, making the disheartening shift from driver’s plaything to investor’s cash cow. Thankfully, however, some people bought them because they actually wanted to use them. And in Manu’s case, that was only the beginning.
“I was excited by the idea of the project,” he says. “I wanted to make a limited car even more limited. But I bided my time to ensure everything was right; I waited two years before I hit the mods hard. The idea was to wait until every aftermarket company released parts for the 1M, and then pick and choose what I thought was the best. As you can see, the build list comprises many different brands. No compromises were made. The BMW Performance seats are a case in point: by the time I was ready to make the purchase, I was notified that they had been discontinued. It was a struggle to locate a brand-new set but the project wouldn’t have been complete without them. After an exhaustive search I got the very last set and they were worth every penny.”
Manu’s approach is founded in a refreshingly honest appraisal of the car, one which may be anathema to some of you but will resonate strongly with the values of others: that the 1 Series isn’t exactly a looker. That’s not to say it’s a fugly mess by any means but it’s arguably not as cohesive as, say, an E9x – the swoop and flow of the bonnet into the wings, the banana-shaped sills, to some eyes it all seems a bit fairground. To others, naturally this suggests brilliant uniqueness and visual drama, and we’re not going to argue with that either. It’s all about perspective.
“The M division definitely helped out with the looks on the 1M, but still there was a lot lacking,” reckons Manu. “In modifying the car, I paid attention to the existing lines and made sure to stay consistent with them. For example, the flat-bottom, half curved headlights were specifically designed with the lines of the car in mind. Similarly, the Revozport bonnet, the radial stripes on the tyres, and the BBS FIs were also chosen to complement the curves on the car.” This is all in-keeping with his optical-illusion approach, he’s basically just toying with people’s perceptions. It works brilliantly.
The game plan wasn’t purely aesthetic, either. Manu was keen to build on the mighty drivetrain of the 1M to create something that’d truly earn its place in his stable of supercars; as such, the feisty N54 now sports freer-flowing Akrapovic pipes, a GruppeM intake, a Forge intercooler, and various other natty little tricks in order to crank that peak performance figure up to something that begins with a four. And while he has almighty respect for the M Division’s chassis-honing abilities, you’ll find a certain forthright reworking underneath the skin too, principally in the form of Öhlins Road & Track coilovers and a Brembo Type III bigbrake upgrade.
“I definitely hit a few hurdles in the course of the build,” Manu admits. “Even though I went with top-notch brands, things still went wrong. You have to expect this when you’re dealing with aftermarket modifications! It’s part of the journey. Through the process I gained a lot of knowledge of the 1M and cars in general; moreover, I forged invaluable relationships along the way. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people. Sometimes products don’t fit or perform like they should but what makes a company great is the people that stand behind it – that’s what you pay extra for, the service.
“The 1M really is a fun little pocket rocket, but practical at the same time. The rear seats can comfortably fit two and the boot is spacious; I don’t use the car as my daily driver but I certainly don’t baby it either – it goes on the canyons and on the track. It’s a hoot to drive! At times it can be scary, unforgiving even, but it’s always a thrill. It’s the immense amount of torque attached to a short wheelbase that makes it a hooligan!”
Mission accomplished, then – Manu’s created a perky little foil to the biggerbrother supercars, and achieved his goal of tricking the eye of many an onlooker. While the 1M may look relatively stock to the casual observer, the robust spec list certainly suggests otherwise. So where does he go from here? “Oh, one is always tweaking to achieve perfection,” he says, a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin curling the corners of the mouth. “I have some plans, just wait and see.” We guess we’ll be needing to keep an eye on his Instagram page (@msethi88). This illusion of simplicity could soon break whole new realms of complexity.
“I wanted to make a limited car even more limited”
“The build list comprises many brands. No compromises were made”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82 / #BMW-1M / #BMW / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1M-E82 / #N54B30TO / #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twinturbo N54B30TO, #GruppeM intake, #Forge intercooler, Forge dump valves, #Evolution-Racewerks chargepipe, full stainless steel #Akrapovic exhaust system with cat-less downpipes, BMS oil catch can, #Cobb-V3 with #PTF custom map, six-speed manual gearbox. 400hp
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #BBS / #BBS-FI-R forged alloys with 255/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres, MRG titanium race studs, M valve caps, Öhlins Road & Track coilovers, Brembo-Type-III-BBK / Brembo
EXTERIOR Revozport carbon fibre bonnet, OSS DTM headlights, lightweight carbon fibre front lip, Dinmann carbonfibre side skirts, Vorsteiner carbon fibre diffuser, BMW carbon fibre spoiler, BMW carbon fibre mirror caps, BMW Blackline tail-lights, Macht Schnell tow straps, XPEL clear wrap protectant film and stripes, WeissLicht LED indicators
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance pedals and footrest, LED interior lights, BMW electronic #Performance-V2 steering wheel, illuminated gear knob, BMW Homelink/Compass rearview mirror, BMW Euro visors, M handbrake handle, BMW Performance seats, Euro foglight switch enabled, carbon fibre centre console, Euro MDMStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTUNED E82 135i
Small and Mighty You wouldn’t think it, but this subtle looking 135i happens to be packing around 450hp.
Cornwall-based Matt White turned an already fast 135i M Sport Coupé into a brutal M3 beater. Here’s how he did it.
There was a suitably dramatic atmosphere when we went down to see Matt White’s beastly 135i M Sport Coupé in Cornwall. It was the wettest start to the year for decades, howling winds were uprooting trees and damaging property, and the original shoot location had to be abandoned due to coastal flooding. I say suitably, because there’s something very dramatic about this modified 135i, which now kicks out 450hp-144hp more the standard model. Matt’s choice of a 1 Series might seem puzzling when you look at the car history that preceded it.
After a series of hot hatches, he’s owned some seriously fast cars: a Porsche 996, Audi S5, and BMW M3s in both E46 and E90 flavours. To go from something like a V8 M3 to a 135i seems like a downgrade on paper, so why do it? “I thought I was getting a bit too grown up! I wanted something that popped and banged again, and had turbo noises. Something a bit fun,” he says. He’d also heard how tuneable the twin-turbocharged N54 3.0-litre straightsix can be, and there was no way his next car would stay standard. “I like putting my own stamp on things.
I don’t really think I should be driving around in a car that anyone else can just go and buy from a car dealer. I’m enthusiastic about cars, I like being individual, I like to modify them,” he explains. The base car he sourced was a good starting point. It had reasonably low mileage, had the wheels nicely sprayed in gloss black, and had a set of six-pot Brembo brake callipers with BMW Performance discs. “I’m a firm believer in not sticking loads of power in unless you’ve got the anchors to stop it!” he laughs. It also had decent amount of power compared to a standard 135i, with a 380hp remap via a JB4 ECU from US firm Burger Tuning. Looking to the ‘States to modify the turbocharged ’six is a common choice, as Matt explains: “Not many people in England change these cars, but in America they seem to be all over it.”
The JB4 is a versatile thing to have, too. It allows the driver to choose what map to set the car on, from the standard power output upwards. How far up is dependent on what other modifications are present. Matt had his eye on a number of parts to get the sort of power he was after, so a trusted local BMW specialist where a friend of his works was chosen to carry out the work. Matt was impressed by the good reviews of Burger Tuning over other US firms such as Cobb, so promptly ordered one of Burger’s dual cone filter units. To further help the car breathe, a set of decat downpipes went on. There was no way he was going to trust the standard valves with the big increase in boost pressure, so these were ditched in favour of Forge recirculating valves. Gear shifting speeds, meanwhile, were aided with the fitting of a Burger clutch stop and clutch delay valve.
The exterior was standard, but Matt wanted it to reflect the firepower underneath, something he did with a plethora of effective modifications. The ride height was dropped courtesy of a set of Eibach springs, a front splitter was added and the boot was treated to a subtle BMW Performance spoiler. The most noticeable change is at the rear, where a Reiger carbon fibre diffuser was fitted, with a quad exit exhaust replacing the standard car’s twin-exit unit. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, though. They say bad things come in threes, and that was certainly the case in one stage of the project. A misfire under heavy acceleration was the first and a tiresome investigation finally uncovered the cause: a faulty spark plug. Easy enough to change, but then the next issue reared its head: the serpentine belt snapped. Matt was 40 miles from home, but just managed to get back on a single charge by turning off all electrical items. Replacing it was a pain that involved dismantling the front of the car, and then problem number three arrived. When braking in the wet while out for a drive, the car just went straight on, clouting a kerb in the process. Fortunately, the only damage was a bent track rod end, which was easy and cheap to replace – despite the irritation caused by the car being out of action while waiting for the replacement part to arrive. Matt initially thought spilt diesel was to blame, but after researching the Federal 595EVOs that came fitted to the car, he concurred that the boots were the likely cause – it turns out they’re notoriously bad in the wet. Matt’s since swapped them for Goodyear Eagle F1s, which haven’t skipped a beat.
The car was put on the rollers for a session to see how much power it could now crank out. The result? With the turbos running at 15.5psi, the result was 430hp. It’s now even higher than that. A Forge frontmounted intercooler has since gone in, and while it’s yet to go back on the rolling road, Matt estimates that the power should now be at more like 450hp. That’s not far off a 50 per cent increase over the standard car’s power. The results are profound; this is a seriously quick car. It has not only enough power to easily blow away the limited-run 1M, but also enough to outgun its V8 M3 big brother. “With the sort of power it’s at, it’s an absolute license killer. The back end is so lively, if it didn’t have traction control I’d be dead by now!” Matt laughs. On the subject of traction control, Matt is realistic, he’s doesn’t shun electronic aids and understands the part they play on modern, powerful cars. “The traction control system is good on BMWs, they give you a bit of slip and it’s not killing the fun. It lets you play.” The beauty of having the steering wheel switchable mapping feature of the JB4 is he can tailor the power output to his needs, should the conditions be unsuitable for the full dollop of power. He has become used to the full dose, however, so the standard map now feels tame: “At 306hp now it feels like it’s not even moving!”
With an E90 320d Touring as a company car, Matt’s 1 Series can be saved for the fun side of driving; be it trips to Castle Coombe for track days and Santa Pod for quarter-mile blasts, meeting up with fellow car nuts, or just driving for enjoyment. As far as the future goes, Matt needs to get all that power down effectively, something which a limitedslip differential should sort. “I’m at the point where if it’s wet, in fourth gear if you floor the throttle it’ll spin. In second gear if it’s dry it’ll just light the rear wheels up. I’ve got to get a better differential. It’s hard to do on it because the ring gear is welded to the diff.” Matt is looking at a Quaife item, but with it being such a big job, it’s something Matt’s held off on for the time being. Once that’s finally done though, even more power is planned. A liquid methanol injection system, again from Burger, will take the power up to 490hp, the limit of the standard factory turbos. With upgraded blowers, 650hp is a possibility, but with that figure stretching the limits of the engine internals, Matt says that he’d go for a comparatively conservative 550hp, should he go down that route. If that’s something he chooses to do, we can’t wait to see the results.
TECHNICAL DATA Modified #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i-M-Sport-E82 / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-135i-M-Sport / #BMW-135i
ENGINE & GEARBOX: #N54 / #BMW-N54 3.0-litre twin-turbo straightsix, #Burger-Motorsport tuning #JB4 ECU, dual cone intakes, recirculating valves and decat downpipes, #Forge front-mounted intercooler.
CHASSIS: #Eibach lowering springs
BRAKES: #Brembo six-pot callipers, #BMW-Performance discs
WHEELS & TYRES: Standard M Sport wheels, painted gloss black
EXTERIOR: Front splitter, #BMW Performance boot spoiler, #Reiger carbon fibre rear diffuser
INTERIOR: BMW Performance gear knob with Alcantara gaiter, hard-wired TomTom satellite navigationStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBreaking the Mould / #Vauxhall / #Opel / #2015
Nope, we haven’t made a typo, this really is a VXR-R… find out why in the feature.
HOT RIDE: ASTRA VXR
WORDS JARKLE PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS WALLBANK
AN ASTRA VXR WITH AIR RIDE, 20IN VOSSENS AND A HEALTHY 321BHP...
It took Vauxhall a long time to make their mind up regarding their range-topping brand. While the boys in Essex decided that ‘RS’ should be their undisputed halo range in the ‘60s, Luton took rather longer and straight up dithered. Between the ‘70s and the early part of the 21st century we were treated to HSs, HSRs, SRis, GSis, Turbos and finally, the VXR. This indecision undoubtedly enabled Ford to steal a march on Vauxhall, and it’s only relatively recently that the latter’s VXR range has begun to approach the levels of appreciation enjoyed by other comparable brands. Still, the VXR brand has delivered some seriously cool cars over the last decade and a bit, everything from bonkers re-badged Holdens to stupidly powerful family vans (take a bow Zafira VXR), and it just keeps on delivering.
Top of the tree has to be the latest Astra J VXR, a car that bristles with tech, looks fantastic, re-defines what a performance front-wheel drive Vauxhall can do, and can go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Focus RS. Then we have the example here, a car bought brand new by Bryn Williams in 2014.
“I’m known for driving my cars pretty hard and for going through a fair few gearboxes,” Bryn explains with a grin. “My last car was a Corsa SRi that I slowly converted to full VXR spec and I destroyed a fair few M32 gearboxes on that, so I wanted a car with a warranty.”
Various Corsas were weighed up and rejected before Bryn finally settled on the all new VXR, put his deposit down, jumped in the car and drove direct to Thorney Sport to well and truly void said warranty. What started out with a discussion about the pros and cons of Stage 1 tuning ended with Bryn driving off in an Astra boasting one of the firm’s Stage 3 VXR-R packages. While this doesn’t involve any alteration of the internals or turbo, it does see the Astra given a stage 3 remap, induction work and free-flowing exhaust system, all of which left Bryn with a handy 307bhp, a figure that jumped to 321bhp once the box-fresh A20NFT had loosened up a bit (just over 60 miles had clicked over on the odometer at the time of the VXR-R conversion). “I’d be lying if I said I noticed a massive improvement in performance after all that work, mainly as I’d driven the car fairly conservatively up until then, but in the months since it’s really come alive,” Bryn explains. “350bhp is on the cards for next year, possibly more if I opt to fi t a larger turbo...”
The VXR-R package came with a whole host of badges, stickers and wheel options, though this latter aspect of the kit posed something of a conundrum; the wheels offered were performance based (Team Dynamics Pro Race being the most popular), and while there’s no doubt that these are fi ne, lightweight alloys in their own right, they aren’t exactly a rare sight on bright blue Astra VXRs. In the end Bryn bit the bullet and fitted some Team Dynamics (though they weren’t Pro Race 1.2s) and ran them for several months, only deciding that they needed to go when he took the fairly drastic step of fitting an air suspension kit to the car.
“That wasn’t a decision I took lightly but I can honestly say it’s been one of the best modifications on the car, and one that’s made it a whole lot more usable.”
First, a bit of background. A set of posh Bilsteins found their way under the arches within weeks of Bryn’s name appearing on the V5, all wound down about as far they could go with the ‘helper’ springs removed. The resulting ride was, perhaps unsurprisingly, crashy and deeply uncomfortable. Throw in the fact that he kept gouging his splitter on all but the most pathetic of speed bumps and it becomes all too clear why Bryn eventually went all out and had Plush Automotive fit an air kit with twin 400cc compressors, Air Lift Performance struts and HPDT rear bags. Bryn admits that yes, he did have some concerns about compromising the poise and handling of his VXR, but the air kit has so far proved much better than the previously mentioned Bilsteins. “The only real issue associated with the kit was that it meant I had to change wheels,” he recalls. “Yeah the Team Dynamics were nice and very lightweight but they weren’t exactly a ‘show wheel’ and I thought they looked out of place on such a low car.”
So what did he opt for? In the end Bryn took advice from his friend, a man with something of a thing for high-end wheels and someone who took him to Auto Werks, a local firm specialising in posh alloys in all manner of fitments. The Astra’s PCD isn’t exactly god’s gift to fitting fancy wheels but there were options and Bryn finally plumped for the rims that grace the car here, stunning 20in Vossen CVTs with their faces ceramic polished. Not only do these wheels stand out from the more commonly seen Team Dynamics, 3SDMs and Rotiforms, they also fitted perfectly right out of the box and with no need for arch work.
This is one of those cars that really shouldn’t look as good as it undoubtedly does, and if you’d asked us beforehand whether fitting air suspension to an Astra J VXR was a good thing we’d probably have replied in the negative. Yet it does, and then some. Part of that’s down to the fact that seeing such a new car on its belly is a novel thing, though the extensive programme of smoothing, shaving and deleting that Bryn’s put the car through also plays a part. Flushing the boot was one of the more challenging aspects here, mainly because on the latest VXR the Vauxhall badge actually serves as the release mechanism so deleting it involved fitting a boot popper at the same time. Both front and rear bumpers were given the same treatment, while any chrome trims were relegated to the bin and replaced with perfect paint. It’s all very subtle and won’t be spotted unless you’re a fully paid up VXR perv, but then perhaps that’s the best indication of smoothing done well.
This has been a fast paced build, with the car taking shape over the course of a year or so, but he’s already working on a custom centreexit exhaust, some other exterior details and, when the package is available, more power. Fair play!
Smoothing the badge (and boot release) was hassle but the results speak for themselves.
TECH SPEC: #Vauxhall-Astra-VXR / #Vauxhall-Astra / #Vauxhall / #Opel-Astra / #Vauxhall-Astra-Mk6 / #Vauxhall-Astra-VXR-Mk6 / #Opel-Astra-J / #Vauxhall-Astra-VXR-R
TUNING 2.0 #A20NFT with Throney Motorsport Stage 3 #VXR-R package and Stage 3 remap, #Thorney-Motorsport panel filter, Pace front mount intercooler, Piper sports cat, #Flow-Dynamics cat back exhaust system, #Forge front lower brace.
STYLING Astra J VXR in #Arden-Blue , smoothed front and rear bumpers, smoothed boot with boot pop relocated, dechromed, colour coded roof rails, smoked rear lights, tinter windows, black sun strip.
CHASSIS Air Lift suspension setup comprising #AccuAir #AccuAir-E-Level management, twin 400cc compressors, performance #AirLift front struts, #HDPT rear bags, 4 gallon seamless tank, I-level, #Bilstein rear shocks, 20in #Vossen CVT with ceramic polished faces, 235/30x20 Nankang NS-2, #Brembo four pots, Hel braided hoses.
INTERIOR Full leather #VXR interior with blue stitching and custom blue seat belts, one off boot build with x2 compressors, x1 tank and colour changing LED lighting.
THANKS Richard, John at Thorney Motorsport, Dave at Auto Werx, Luke at Plush Automotive, Si at Still Static, Dan at Flow Dynamics, Mo Miah at Specialist Tint ltd, Stuart at Ultra Finish, Slammed UK and Sump Scrapers.
“Stunning Vossen CVTs with their faces ceramic polished”
Blue belts are an awesome detail Plush Automotive install is a quality affair as always Vossens will get more popular in 2016.
First Vauxhall: A Grasshopper Green 1400 Sri.
Worst part of the build: Probably the bit that’s ongoing – trying to sort the centre exit exhaust!
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- Post is under moderationEVOLUTION OF THE SPECIES / #2015
Audi S3 8P 460bhp big-turbo S3. This S3 may look like many other show cars on air-ride, but underneath, there’s a potent 2.0 TFSI that’s packing a big GTX35 turbo capable of over 600bhp…
Regular readers may know that we launched AudiTuner at Autosport International back in January. The NECbased event attracts the very cream of the motorsport industry with all the major teams and parts suppliers in attendance. For anyone with petrol running through their veins it’s a fantastic place to spend some time. Our stand was opposite the guys at Shark Performance, one of the UK’s most respected VAG tuning companies who specialise ECU recalibrations (that’s remapping to the layman). Chatting to MD Ben Wardle, he told us to go and have a look at an S3 that was parked up behind his stand, “But make sure you look under the bonnet,” he said. We duly did, and were a tad confused.
On the face of it, here was an RS3 – we saw it front on to begin with. But we quickly realised it was an S3, with an RS front on it. Fair enough, looks pretty effective. A closer look revealed a set of large Bentley wheels. Now, no disrespect to those guys who choose to fit Bentley rims – they do come off a £100k car after all – but they tend to be fitted to show cars that don’t have big engines. Nothing wrong in that either; it’s just we like a bit of performance here at AudiTuner. The fact the S3 was on air-ride confirmed our suspicions that it may be an S/RS3 replica that probably had a wheezy 1.6 TDI under the bonnet. How wrong we were.
As soon as the owner, Josh, opened the bonnet we were greeted with a serious looking 2.0 TFSI. There was a nifty looking exhaust manifold, large external waste gate, uprated fuelling and what appeared to be a rather large snail hiding towards the back of the bay. Hmm, we thought, interesting.
It turns out that this fully built S3 lump is packing some top line upgrades and a dirty great GTX35 turbo, capable of running over 600bhp. We were intrigued; what’s an engine with 600+bhp potential doing in a show car on air-ride and Bentley rims? A good question!
“I originally bought the S3 totally standard,” explains Josh. “Within two weeks I’d had it remapped, fitted an uprated exhaust and few other bits to get it to 360bhp,” he smiles. It went okay too, as anyone that’s got a 360bhp S3 will confirm. However, Josh wanted more. Trouble was, his insurance was having none of it and insisted he build up some no-claims before he could increase power. With his performance fun curtailed (for the time being at least), he looked at other ways to enjoy his Audi.
This manifested itself in the air-ride system “Fitted by my dad, Andrew,” says Josh, the Bentley rims and the RS3 front end. Now before anyone says it, yes, we know it’s not a genuine RS3. But the front bumper and wings are genuine RS3 items, which is why the badge has been left on the grille. The rear arches have been pulled and had some metal added to increase their girth to match the front RS arches. It’s all been neatly done but isn’t over the top.
A further motivation for the OEM+ upgrades is the fact that Josh runs a VAG breakers, Motors in Motion, which also do high-end cars, so he has a ready supply of cool kit to choose from. Josh has also done the majority of the work himself. This includes building the fully forged engine, ready to accept a large whalop of boost. Before the big turbo was fitted, Josh spent time uprating the rest of the 2.0 engine to ensure it was bullet proof.
As you’d expect, the GT35 takes a bit of waking up, but once it gets into its stride, it’s savage. “The turbo doesn’t spool up until around 4,000rpm, but then it comes in with a bang,” laughs Josh. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying it’s a lot of fun when that turbo kicks in and all four wheels struggle to contain the violence. “I took it down the strip at GTI International and it was still wheel spinning as I changed up to fourth gear.” The intense nature of the power delivery is something that josh enjoys and it’s given him the inspiration for the next step.
“I’m removing the air-ride to replace it with Bilstein coilovers,” he says. A set of lightweight Team Dynamics alloys are also planned, along with a set of sticky Toyo R888R tyres. The final addition aimed at improving the traction, especially when the full fat 600bhp is unleashed, will be a Haldex controller. With all of these traction enhancing measures in place, he should have a fighting chance of taming that vicious power delivery. Of course, he could fit a smaller turbo, but that wouldn’t be as much fun! But he plans to go further still.
“I’m going to completely strip the interior and fit two bucket seats and a roll cage,” confirms Josh. With the full power harnessed, plus significant weight savings, and the work on increasing traction – this S3 should be a bit of a monster when it reaches its next incarnation. We’ll be there to see it.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-S3 / #Audi-A3-8P / #Audi-A3 / #Audi
ENGINE 2.0 TFSI, baffled sump, 1.8 turbo oil pump conversion, #ZRP billet crankshaft, ZRP H beam forged con rods, #Wossner forged 83.5mm pistons, block rebored from 82mm to 83.5mm, Ferra +2 valves, double valve springs and ti retainers, #ARP studded head bolts, main bolts and big end bolts, #Garrett-GTX3582r / #Garrett dual ball bearing turbo, #Turbotek exhaust manifold, Tial blue 44mm external wastegate, #Bosch secondary injectors, RS4 fuel pressure valve, APR low pressure fuelling system , #Loba high pressure fuel pump, stainless steel fuel lines, AEM secondary injector controller, HE Performance stage 3 intake manifold, iTG intake filter, custom intake pipe work, maf sensor delete, custom intercooler pipe work, #Wagner intercooler, full silicone hose setup, GFB re circulation valve, R8 coil packs, #Forge oil catch tank, #Milltek non res back box, custom 3.5in down pipe with decat and centre section pipe, heat wrapped, screamer pipe in down pipe
POWER 460bhp (dyno’d) with 600+bhp potential when fully mapped
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual, #Sachs solid flywheel, paddle clutch and pressure plate, #Forge quick shifter 2 piece, solid shifter cables, upgraded bearings
BRAKES #Brembo 6-pot calipers up front
SUSPENSION #Air-Lift Performance double bellow front dampers with 14 stage dampening, front camber adjuster plates, Performance series rear dampers with 14 stage dampening, double bellow rear bags, #AccuAir management system with #AccuAir-E-Level control
WHEELS AND TYRES Bentley Continental 20in Mulliner split rims, custom painted
INTERIOR Full custom re-leathered RS4 bucket seats including rears, Audi navigation gloss black head unit, rear air boot build, gauges mounted in centre air vents, boost controller fitted in drivers air vent, A-pillar gauge pod, Turbo smart e-boost 2 controller, Innovate Motorsports EGT gauge and sensor, vacuum/boost and shift light gauge plus AFR gauge
EXTERIOR Rear archers pulled 1 inch each side, genuine RS3 front bumper with gloss black grilles. Genuine RS3 carbon front wings
TUNING contacts Huge thanks to my dad, Andrew, he’s been there helping me all the way through and some things like the full air install he did for me. Also thanks to Graham at Retford Auto Refinishers for the body work and arches and fin ally to Ben Wardle, boss of at Shark Performance for the mapping, also Mark Batty at Shark for all his help www.sharkperformance. co.uk
Left: Front end looks mean Above: Air-vent mounted gauge.
“As you’d expect, the GT35 takes a bit of waking up”
Top: Fully built 2.0 features a GT3582r turbo Above: Boost controller.
Right: Exterior upgrades are all OEM+ Bottom: Brembo 6-pots sit behind the posh rims.
“It was still wheel spinning as I changed up to fourth...”
Above: Milltek system also features a custom 3.5in downpipe Left: The air-ride.
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- Post is under moderationCROSSING THE LINE
One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.
There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”
“Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”
Digital audio explained:
“The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar
Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.
New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”
And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.
“Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.
With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.
In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.
Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.
DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management
EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps
INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console
THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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- Post is under moderationChris Low-Foon, Croydon #2000 #Audi-TT-Roadster #Audi-TT-8N #Audi-TT-Quattro
I originally purchased my #Audi-TT-Roadster-8N in November 2012. Typically, at that time, it wasn’t the sort of car I was intending to buy. However, there was something about this one that caught my attention.
The colour (Nimbus grey) was something I never knew the Series 1 #Audi-TT (Audi TT 8N )came in and instantly fell in love with the uniqueness and rarity of it. The colour pretty much sold me and I only had a quick look around before immediately making the decision to buy it. I already had my mind set on how I wanted it to look, and what needed to be done to it to stand out from the rest, as I’ve done with all the cars I have previously owned. Being the 180 bhp version, it came with the singletailpipe exhaust and I immediately knew I wanted the dual exit type, so not long after completing the purchase I had a cat-back Milltek exhaust system installed by AmD Essex, with twin tailpipes of course.
The karma of buying a car too quickly bit me back, as I soon noticed to my despair that the turbo had become increasingly smokey. I weighed up the costs of putting a like-for-like back on, or upgrading it, and eventually made the decision to upgrade to a K03 Hybrid built by Beach Buggy Turbos, consisting of a K04 turbine, billet K03S compressor and an uprated 15 psi actuator.
From this exact point onwards, the modification bug bit me and money started flowing into the car. A set of 225 injectors were ultrasonically cleaned and flow-tested, along with a 225 MAF sensor, Creation Motorsports TIP, Toyosports FMIC and a Forge 007p diverter valve which nicely accompanied the turbo. The car was last dyno’d at Garage Streamline at 269 bhp.
From there, one thing led to another and I ended up back at AmD Essex again for the installation of a set of AP coilovers and the 18-inch Mercedes Eltanin alloy wheels. This car attends a number of car shows and events around the country, and it won Car of the Month in March 2013 at PREPT which is a monthly gathering at Brands Hatch.
At the end of May 2014 we took the car for a 2500-mile road trip through Germany to Worthersee in Austria, stopping at various museums and attractions along the way including the famous Nurburgring. I am extremely pleased to say the TT performed amazingly without a fault and was such a pleasure to drive!
• #Audi TT (180) quattro
• Nimbus grey, 73,000 miles
• AUQ 1.8T (Originally 180 PS, now 269 bhp)
• K03 hybrid comprising K04 turbine, billet
• K03S compressor with an uprated 15 psi actuator
• Relentless 3-inch downpipe
• Milltek Sport resonated twin-tailpipe exhaust
• Interchangable decat (bolt-on sports cat, never used)
• N75 Race valve
• N249 Delete
• #Forge 007p dump valve
• Creation Motorsports turbo intake pipe
• 225 MAF sensor
• 225 injectors, ultrasonically cleaned and flow-tested
• #NGK spark plugs BKR7E
• Drilled airbox
• Revo panel filter
Suspension and wheels:
• AP coilovers
• Adjustable tie bars
• Fully polybushed front wishbones
• Polybushed dogbone mount
• Mercedes Eltanin 18-inch alloy wheels, with Bridgestone Potenza tyres
6000k HID Xenon headlights
New CV boots, top mounts, ball joints, new brake pads and discs all round, air-con recharged and diff oil serviced.
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