- Post is under moderationLIFE ON BOOST
Turbos make everything better, as demonstrated by this hardcore, stripped-out, 356hp, turbocharged E36 325i. Finished in stunning Atlantis blue and with a turbo strapped to the engine, this E36 325i is a serious piece of kit. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Tipping.
Generally speaking, adding a turbo to something will only make it better. Except if it makes it blow up… But apart from that, from humble turbo diesels to mental turbo drag cars with many thousands of horsepower, turbos make everything better, make people happier and generally make the world a better place. Just look at Brad Wherrett. He started out his motoring life with a Honda Jazz, followed by a modified Polo and a tuned Honda Civic. Then he bought an E36 325i and, understandably, life got better, but then he added a turbo…
The E36 is 21-year-old vehicle technician Brad’s first BMW, and his profession has endowed him with the skills that make this sort of project somewhat easier than for those of us who can just about tell one end of a spanner from the other. His move from Japanese metal to Bavaria’s finest was seemingly an inevitable one. “The love for BMWs has run through the family for years,” explains Brad. “Since I can remember my dad and brothers have had BMWs – standard ones and modified ones – so I’ve been interested in them from a young age. For my first #BMW I decided to buy an E36 because I always liked the look of my brothers’ ones and I developed a soft spot for them.
“I found the car on Autotrader, in good condition for its age, but a few dings here and there,” says Brad, “and I quite liked the idea of ‘stancing’ the car on BBS wheels or something similar.” That idea never came to fruition, and we’re glad of it because the end result is something a lot more special. In our humble opinion, we reckon Brad has struck just the right balance between wild and tasteful with his E36. The striking shade of Atlantis blue and the GT spoiler are the most eye-catching elements of the build, even more so than the top of the turbo peeking out of the bonnet cut-out, but it’s actually a pretty subtle car. There’s a lot of matt black elements that tone down that hit of blue and it just looks like a really meaty, purposeful piece of kit, which it most definitely is.
It wouldn’t seem right talk about anything other than what’s going on under the bonnet of this car first and, usefully, the whole thing lifts off to give an uninterrupted view of what’s happened in the engine bay since Brad took charge of this 325i.
Six months of work have been poured into the engine you see here, made up of late nights and weekends, but this was not simply a case of strapping a turbo to an M50 and hoping for the best, this engine has been stripped down and fully built to deal with the stresses and strains that forced induction was going to place upon it.
This recipe for a turbocharged E36 begins with single a Vanos M50B25TU to which you then add M54B30 pistons mated to non-Vanos M50 con rods plus an M52B28 crankshaft. At this point it is a good idea to completely rebuild the engine with new timing chains, guides, tensioners, gaskets and so on because you don’t want to spend all that time building up an awesome engine only to have it break on you. The next step is to add ACL race bearings, ARP head studs, a decompression plate, monster Siemens Deka 630cc injectors and our old friend, the Bosch 044 fuel pump. With all that done, you’re finally ready to add your turbo and Brad opted for a Garrett GT35 twin-scroll snail, sitting on a custom top mount twin scroll exhaust manifold, with a Tial 50mm external wastegate and 50mm blow-off valve, feeding air through custom 3” pipework to a 600x300x76mm FMIC and into the engine via a serious-looking custom intake plenum.
Brad then handed the car over to JamSport to wire in the ECU Master DET3 engine management and put together a base map. The end result of all that work is 356hp at 10psi of boost, which is a massive 164hp increase over the standard engine’s 192hp, a gain of more than 85%. You can’t be attempting to put that much power down without some suitably beefy transmission upgrades and here Brad has opted for an E36 328i five-speed gearbox with solid mounts, a Clutch.net stage five paddle clutch, braided clutch hoses and a 2.93 limited-slip diff from an E36 328i to help put the power down/do massive burnouts with.
It’s fair to say that, as good as the stock E36 chassis is, it would struggle to deal with all that extra power, but Brad has not neglected this area of his E36 build. “If I’m honest, I got the TA Technix coilovers cheap and couldn’t say no,” he says. “I do have plans to upgrade them but I’m unsure of what brand to go for yet. I polybushed the car as some bushes were showing signs of wear and I decided to upgrade rather than fit OEM bushes.” This is definitely the way to approach any repairs on a project car and in addition to this, Brad has also added front and rear strut braces. The stock front brakes have been replaced with E46 330mm Brembo discs and pads while the rear brakes have also been replaced with standard-sized Brembo discs and pads.
“When it came to wheels, I decided on Rota Grid Drifts because I’ve always liked the look they give. I considered something a bit more eye catching but in the end I settled for the Rotas.” The chunky, concave sixspoke design really suits the E36, especially in black against the Atlantis bodywork, and they are wrapped in Yokohama rubber at the rear with Maxxis tyres up front.
Brad’s approach to the styling was the OEM+ look and it was definitely the right approach as everything he’s done to this car looks good. The M3 body kit gives it the cleaner, more aggressive styling the standard car needs and is further enhanced with the addition of the GT front lip and aforementioned GT rear spoiler. The stock mirrors have been retained but now wear carbon caps and the bootlid has been painted gloss black to match the spoiler. Brad has removed the exterior covers from the headlamps, giving them a more pronounced appearance while at the rear there’s a single, massive, Japanese-style exhaust tip.
With the overall look and feel of the car, there was only ever really one direction to take with the interior and that was the hardcore, stripped-out route. The rear seats have been given the heave-ho while the fronts have been replaced with a pair of single-piece Corbeau Clubsport buckets with four-point harnesses. Brad has also fitted a deep-dish steering wheel, metal gear knob, an EGT gauge and HKS turbo timer plus the carbon fibre triple gauge panel from a Mitsubishi Evo VIII showing volts, water temp and boost, which looks great mounted below the clock on the centre console. The interior really suits the character of the car and with this much performance on tap, those seats and harnesses are most definitely not for show.
This E36 is an awesome car. Everything about it looks right, the colour scheme is killer and it’s got a real sense of purpose about it. But the cherry on the top of this delicious slab of Atlantis blue goodness, and Brad’s favourite mod on the car, is the turbo. The fact that so much work has gone into the engine means 356hp is barely scratching the surface of what this setup is capable of and that means there’s scope for more power in the future, a lot more power. Brad is aiming for 550-600whp when the car is fully finished and running spot-on, which is going to be utterly insane and absolutely awesome with it. Whichever way you look at it, one thing’s for certain: everything is better with boost.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-325i-turbo / #BMW-325i-E36 / #M50B25TU / #M50B25 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 / #BMW-325i-turbo-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW / #ECU-Master-DET3 / #M50-turbo / #Garrett-GT35 / #Garrett / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-325Ci / #BMW-325Ci-E36 /
ENGINE 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / , fully rebuilt including new timing chains, guide tensioners, gaskets etc. M54B30 pistons, M50 non-Vanos con rods, M52B28 crankshaft, #ARP head studs, ACL race bearings, decompression plate, #Siemens-Deka-630 630cc injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, custom top mount twin-scroll turbo manifold, GT35 twin-scroll turbo, 50mm Tial external wastegate, 50mm blow-off valve, 3” custom exhaust, 3” intercooler hardpipes, 600x300x76mm intercooler, custom intake plenum, Toyosports oil catch can, solid engine mounts, ECU Master DET3 engine management
TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed manual gearbox with solid mounts, Clutch.net stage five paddle clutch, braided clutch hose, 2.93 328i limited-slip differential
CHASSIS 9x17” (front and rear) Rota grid drift wheels with 235/40 (front) Maxxis MAZ1 tyres and 245/40 (rear) Yokahoma Advan AD08R tyres, TA Technix coilovers with adjustable top mounts, front and rear strut braces, polybushed all-round, E46 330mm Brembo discs and pads (front), E36 325 brakes (rear) with #Brembo discs and pads
EXTERIOR Full Atlantis blue respray, M3 body kit, GT front lip, GT rear spoiler with risers, delensed headlamps
INTERIOR Corbeau Clubsport bucket seats, four-point harnesses, stripped-out rear seats, dished steering wheel, exhaust gas temperature gauge, Mitsubishi Evo VIII carbon fibre gauge panel, HKS turbo timer
THANKS The Paint Shop in Bruntingthorpe and JamSport in NorthamptonStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationUSE THE FORCE… TWIN AUDI R8 V10S #2015
Audi R8 tuning - Turbo VS. Supercharged!
When it comes to boosting performance, which is best – supercharging or turbocharging? We decided to find out with a pair of tuned R8 V10s.
There’s no doubt that the 5.2 V10 is a damn fine engine. It sounds truly amazing and imbues the #R8 with rapid performance straight out of the box. But when there are guys out there with tuned RS6s that can out punch the V10 in every respect, then some may seek to redress the balance. After all, who wants their super car to be left for dead by a family estate (even if it does have an RS badge).
Clearly the naturally aspirated V10 is already at a pretty high state of tune. It makes a healthy 518bhp and produces ample shove. Some minor tweaks may free up a little more power, but to make any serious gains there is only one option – forced induction. The question is, which method is best?
In basic terms, both systems are designed to force more air into the engine. More air, combined with more fuel means a bigger bang and greater power. But they have very distinct ways of delivering this. A supercharger is belt driven by the engine, which means it offers that instant and often quoted linear power delivery. The downside is that the supercharger is parasitic, in that it requires some engine power to actually drive the blower. A turbo on the other hand utilises spent exhaust gasses. It effectively recycles them to turn the turbines and blow more air (boost) into the engine. So it doesn’t take any engine power to run them. However, they do need to come on boost to be effective, and below a certain level a turbo will (in most cases) offer less instant power than a supercharger. However, in reality, with careful engine management and a large capacity unit like the 5.2 V10, the differences may be less pronounced than you’d think. In the interests of science (and wanting to hang out with some uber cool R8s of course!) we headed to Litchfield Motors to looks at two of the finest tuned R8s in the UK today.
With terrible weather on the day, we were unable to drive them. But having interviewed, at length, the guys that built and tested them, I think you’ll discover everything you need to know about these two forced induction beasts.
On the face of it, an R8 GT is a pretty special thing. One of just 33 UK cars, it’s packing some serious upgrades to its suspension, brakes and interior and exterior, along with a healthy 552bhp from the mighty V10 engine. It’s also 100kg lighter than standard. But when you own an #F1 team and have access to a fleet of exotica that would be guaranteed to win you any Top Trumps competition, then a bit more power is always handy.
The brief with this car was to create more grunt, but without destroying the finely balanced dynamics of the GT. So any turbo upgrades would need to work with the car as a whole. So a huge single turbo that comes in with a shed load of boost at high rpms, would not do. Fortunately, there’s a company producing a twin turbo kit for the R8 and its sister Gallardo.
Heffner Performance have spent a long time developing their twin turbo system to give a decent increase in power, while maintaining the drivability. It’s based around two #Garrett-GT35 blowers, which are each capable of 700bhp, but in this case they run just 0.5 bar of boost. The beauty of the system is that because the high-compression 5.2-litre V10 is chucking so much flow down the exhausts, the turbos spool up ridiculously quickly. This equates to a lag-free response that gives much more power, but feels like a naturally aspirated car.
The Heffner kit includes everything required, including a brace of GT35s, charger cooler and all ancillaries, and took Litchfield around a week to fit. “The GT is slightly different to the stock V10, so we had to modify a few bits, such as the turbo inlet pipework,” says Iain Litchfield. With the kit fitted, the V10 was treated to a full custom map, and it made a very healthy 850bhp on their dyno.
“With a built engine, you’d easily be looking at 1500bhp,” says Iain, “but our limit is 850bhp on stock internals.” With US Gallardos running even great power than this, on the same engine, it’s clear there’s a lot more potential, should you require it. That said, the ferocity of an 850bhp tune, makes you question whether any more is really required. Perhaps the best thing about the install is the emphasis on drivability. Whereas some turbo kits can be very on-off in their power delivery, this is all very linear. As Iain explains, “It feels like a bigger engine; there’s no perceptible boost, but it’ll still light up all four wheels in fourth!” He continues, “Around town it drives just like a stock V10 and has a very OEM feel to it.”
With the GT so highly equipped, no other work was deemed necessary. The uprated suspension is more than capable of handling the extra grunt, and there’s no question over the carbon ceramic brakes’ credentials.
The whole install, including shipping the kit over from the States, set the owner back around £30k. But for that’s he’s got what is surely the ultimate version of the R8 GT you’ll find on the planet. The owner is one of those fortunate individuals who not only has petrol running through his veins, but is able to indulge his every desire when it comes to cars. But when your day job is running an F1 team, then you need some extra special toys to keep you amused in your down time.
Daytona Grey #Audi-R8
The stock V10 R8 is no slouch. The high-compression 5.2-litre engine is a peach and sounds truly amazing at full chat. When it’s singing away over your shoulder (especially in the Spyder), you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d entered automotive heaven. These cars are also reasonably attainable too. Everything is relative of course, but for those who are considering a new RS5 or maybe used C7 #RS6 , similar money could buy a used, early R8 V10.
This car belongs to Ryan Griffiths of Syvecs Powertrain Control. His day job is producing bespoke, motorsport-spec engine management solutions, so he knows a thing or two about how to make a car drive well. The project actually came about by chance. “I was doing some work for a client in China and he said he had a VF Engineering supercharger kit, but he couldn’t get it to work on his car,” says Ryan. “He said if I could get it to work on my V10, I could have it.” Not one to pass up an opportunity like this, Ryan duly packed the kit up in his luggage, paid the excess baggage, and flew home with his new kit.
Having worked alongside Litchfield for many years, Ryan knew these were the guys for the installation work. The comprehensive kit included everything needed, such as a complete new inlet tract with intercooler and charge cooler. The engine had to be tilted back slightly to accommodate the pulleys and belts, while extra cooling pipes had to be run to the front of the car to the charge cooler. All told the installation took around a week. With the supercharger ready to go, the next step was to get it working to its full potential.
This is where Ryan’s day job came to the fore. His experience and expertise with the Syvecs management allowed him to create a custom package for the ’charged V10. It kicks out a healthy 750bhp, which comes in quite sharply and early on. With the engine-driven ’charger delivering more, instant low-down grunt than a turbo, he worked hard on the advanced traction control. R8s may be quattros, but they are heavily rear biased, so the trick was getting it to lay down the power without too much wasted wheelspin through broken traction. The larger ADV.1 alloys wrapped in sticky Toyo R888 semi-slicks certainly helped here too.
Perhaps the greatest achievement is the improvement to the gear shift. The less-than-positive stock auto ’box on earlier cars could often be left wanting, especially with more power involved. So again, Ryan worked on the software to sharpen things up for much faster, positive shifts.
The Dayton Grey R8 sits hunkered down on H&R sports springs matched to the optional MagnaRide dampers, which looks stunning, but it also produces a firm, yet forgiving ride. And with the addition of a (now discontinued) Stassis performance exhaust system, the noise this thing makes is terrific.
So, after examining both R8s in details, the obvious question is, which is best? Well, it’s not a straightforward answer. Clearly the GT is the rarer beast, and to find one with a Heffner twin turbo installation is pretty mind blowing stuff. The fact it can deliver a savage amount of power, yet behave like a naturally aspirated car is perhaps its greatest achievement. Of course the careful technical work by Litchfield, including the map, really is key to all this.
The Dayton Grey machine is arguably the better looking car. The #ADV.1 forged alloys looks sensational and with a drop in ride height, this thing can stop traffic with its good looks. It’s also the far more attainable car (well, as attainable as any used £80k R8 V10 can be!) and the supercharger transforms it into the higher echelons of the super car league. And so to the final quandary, which method of forced induction best suits the #Audi R8? The VF Engineering supercharger delivers epic performance from low in the rev range.
It’s and instantaneous slug of big boosted power, that sounds thrilling, too. As Iain states, “The supercharger gives it a sharper hit of power than the turbo, but it’s the way it’s delivered that makes the difference.” The Syvecs management boasts advanced traction control to allow the power to be transmitted to the road, and the auto box has been reprogrammed to deliver much faster, more positive shifts. It’s testament to the skills of the Syvecs team, that it’s these two areas which really lift the Daytona Grey car from an R8 with more power, to a truly fantastic car.
Both R8s are seriously fast cars. Plant the throttle and they both deliver savage acceleration and ballistic, linear power. They also both demand huge respect. The GT would be the faster car – it’s lighter and more powerful. But the supercharged grey car is no slouch – and significantly less cash.
If money was no object, I’d take the GT. The combination of rarity and that barely stressed turbo power, mated to the high-comp V10, makes it, for me, the obvious winner. However, once you factor in costs, the Daytona Grey car makes a very good case for itself. You could, in theory, purchase a used V10 for £60k, then spend a further £30k building a car similar to this one.
That would give you something that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drive it, keep up with the best on offer from the Italians and Germans – and still cost significantly less than a new R8.
Daytona Grey #Audi-R8-VF-Engineering V10
Engine #VF-Engineering #VF750 supercharger kit, #Eaton TVS2300 4-lobe roots twin vortices supercharger, air to water charge cooling system, Syvecs engine management including advanced traction control, Stasis performance exhaust system.
Transmission Stock auto with Syvec remapped box, advanced traction control
Brakes Stock R8 V10
Suspension H&R sport springs with #MagnaRide dampers
Wheels and Tyres Advan ADV.1 wheels with #Toyo R888 tyres
Exterior Daytona Grey
Interior Stock R8 V10
Tuning contacts Litchfield Imports www. litchfieldmotors. co. uk Syvecs www. syvecs. co. uk
White #Audi-R8-Heffner-Performance GT (1 of 33 UK cars)
Engine 5.2 FSI V10, #Heffner-Performance twin turbo kit, comprising 2x #Garrett GT35r turbos, charge cooler, all ancillaries, custom remap.
Transmission Manual #R-tronic gearbox
Brakes Carbon ceramic
Suspension Uprated GT suspension
Wheels and Tyres Stock GT alloys
Exterior White GT with fixed rear wing, front canards, thinner glass, carbon fibre, magnesium and aluminium components
Interior Full GT spec ikncluding fixed back seats
Tuning contacts Litchfield Imports www. litchfieldmotors. co. uk
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.