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    Feature Car / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW / A tasteful and classy M3 / Beeming in glory / Uber cool the E46 touted as the benchmark BMW M3 / #BMW-M3-SMG / #BMW-M3-SMG-E46 / #FF-Performance / #BMW-M3-FF-Performance-House / #BMW-M3-FF-Performance-House-E46


    With what was it 5 mighty generations intertwined with even more special limited editions, commemorative editions, ultra lightweight models, ultra mega rare ones, ultra mega super duper cool ones, inasmuch as the subtle variations in between all of them, when all is said and all has been perfunctorily done away with, when some wannabe hotshot rattled his mouth off soon as he got not only beaten but more appropriately totally outclassed in every aspect (and the low key soft spoken fella behind the wheel of the outright winning car struggled trying to hide a wry smile), when all of the above have ran their unimpeded course, the automobile is, forever more , the subliminal M3.

    That alphanumeric designation, apart from being the coolest car, I mean fast car name there is and ever will be, might also be the quickest and shortest argumentative point as per the issue. After BMW took the funky initiative to offer a purpose built factory works performance car concept’ back then in the E30 M3, something rather important as per the true factory-initiated performance endorsements, or something. The thing was cars such as the M3, as well as all the other factory-prepared specials whether theirs were homologated or whatever, aren’t just about going bonkers and showing everyone else whose bad or the man or what have you, these special automobiles were also a platform to showcase each manufacturer’s DNA slash life force; what their fine machines can do without anything holding them back. Or maybe, maybe those guys were just bored.

    Be that as it may, boredom perpetrated all manner of innovations, illegal downloads, rendering some supposed impregnable government’s firewall obsolete, maybe boredom was the catalyst for the second discovery of America by that glorified discoverer, who knows yeah? Then again somehow for BMW to bring the M3 into full fledge production and for said examples to be made available pretty much everywhere including here and all, bringing benchmark ‘pure unadulterated fun on 4 wheels’ to the masses and what not, something divine was at work there and then. I mean ask any pure blooded M3 owners slash fans slash enthusiasts slash regular fella (just about right), why they think the M3 (and this covers all the M3s) are just about perfect, then surely you’d concur with the educated assumption I’ve proposed earlier, about the presence of some divine mystical presence at work whispering helpful hints and bumping the BMW design people to the right direction.

    In any case, a sure fire tangible proof of success for any car lies in the eventual descendants therein; and this I got from ‘this guy’ I use to know. Consider the 5 subsequent successors spanning its glorious 30 Jahre history. Now let us for a moment put the long list of editions and partake in each statuesque evolution – it is as if you’re beholding the perfectly engineered evolution of a machine with its own living breathing mechanical soul. As though each detailed designs or adaptations were essentially a natural extension to its growing presence – both physical and emotional. As though the engineers had to discuss and convince the car itself of what aspects would matter within the grand scheme of things.

    Getting all retrospective in thought here and this coming from a fella who is forever more an observer as well as admirer of the iconic M3. Never mind what other M Cars are on the offering from Munich, forget about the fact that the M5 is just as cool and quite bit faster and all the other extra credentials; although the mega limited M5 30 Jahre could just tilt the balance in the 5’s favor for some, the benchmark M Car have always been and shall always be the M3. And this is nothing of the free advertising or marketing or what business related jibe. Even among the non-BMW fans the M3 has always been special. And if it is that special for them spend like maybe thirty seconds and ponder how bone-chillingly special it must surely be for the man who has his name writ large on the car’s ownership papers, although seeing as he might also have like an entire underground garage of fast cars at his beckoning, the word ‘special’ might just have less of an effect for his sort ennit?

    And seeing as it is not my job to investigate any matter under the ‘private’ heading, it’d be prudent for me to get this last para and a half or so sorted out promptly with the acquired mods the owner went with for his E46 edition.

    Or tell you what, seeing as the mods list covers more on performance and style refinements instead of balls to the walls power increment, I think let’s just gaze upon the more rewarding aspects of the E46 M3 – its sublime presence, and the telltale potential that arrives on the owner’s well timed cue therein – which as a natural born speed merchant + purveyor + fast driver par excellence, surely be frequent.

    And getting his speed fix with his ultra cool E46 M3, Yuza the owner went with an FF Performance House tuned S54 engine rated at 375 bhp & 400 Nm relayed on to an SMG transmission. As per its looks, the hugely popular E46 exterior remained as handsome as ever in its original form, and the CSL carbon fiber goodies (for the tail mostly) plus the hood made of more of the stuff , subtly refine instead of ‘radicalize’ the confirmed classic the E46 M3 or any M3 for that matter, are predestined to be.

    Perhaps concerning the short & highly select extras that went into this Bimmer, they’re there where they at for the owner’s preference for the right kind of mods.
    So you keep the entire concept in your hyperactive minds while you’re perusing the Hyperfacts below alright?

    Car: BMW E46 M3
    Engine Mods: #BMW-S54 / #S54 Inline 6 tuned by #FF-Performance-House , #Gruppe-M Titanium Exhaust, Supersprint Section 2 pipe
    Power: 375 bhp at 7900 rpm
    Torque: 400 nm at 4900 rpm
    Transmission: SMG 6 Speed
    Chassis/Suspension: HKS RS Coilovers, M Power sway bars
    Brakes: Brembo GTR 4 pot with Brembo GT 380 mm (front) , Brembo GT 4 pot with #Brembo GT 380 mm (rear), HEL braided line (front and rear)
    Wheels & Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport on BBS CHR , 235/35/19 (front), 275/35/19 (rear)
    Interior: Autoteknic Carbon Fiber Handbrake, Autoteknic Carbon Fiber shifter , Autoteknic interior panels
    Exterior: Seibon Carbon Fiber hood , M3 CSL carbon fiber rear trunk, M3 CSL carbon fiber rear diffuser

    The Bimmer’s 2nd Home - SIC’s world famous pits.
    Said the be the coolest looking among all M3s.
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    STYLE CHALLENGE

    An awesome E46 323i four-door packing a #BBK , carbon goodies and #Schnitzer styling galore. At a loss how to modify your four-door E46? Let Alan Lam and #AC-Schnitzer show you how. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Barnes.

    There are some BMWs that effortlessly ooze class. These are the cars that when cruising past, you stare longingly at, not because they’re intrusively loud or garishly decorated, but because they’ve been beautifully and thoughtfully modified. Money’s been thrown in all the right places, and the owner has insisted on the best to make his ride become even more of a rewarding driving machine and easier on the eye.

    With BMW’s current 3 Series, most choose the Coupé variant as the base for modifying work. And who can blame them? The two-door is indeed a design marvel in terms of beauty and desirability, so it’s an ideal starting block. Those with the saloon version are presented with more of a modifying challenge. It’s by no means an ugly car, but a little more thought has to go into how to bring the best out of the practical four-door. Looking at Alan Lam’s ’00 323i, we think he’s pretty much cracked it.

    The native New Yorker is by all accounts one of the most enthusiastic BMW modifiers we’ve ever met – you’d be lucky to find anyone more knowledgeable and helpful about what it takes to make these cars a pleasure to look at and drive. So it’s no surprise to discover the sheer amount of work put into turning his Orient blue 323i into the feature car we have here today.

    Alan’s love affair with the marque goes back to his high school days, where the E36 M3 was his dream car. “It was only after BMW released the pictures of the new E46 I knew I had to get one, though,” he told us. “My first BMW was therefore delivered in December ’99, and it was used as my daily driver to school and work, so modifications were kept at a minimum and nothing major was planned.”

    And how many times have we heard that? It seems Alan started customising the little things, beginning with OEM clear lights all round, and realised there was no way of stopping. The bug had bitten. Before long a Supersprint exhaust and ECIS cold air intake found their way onto the car, and the results were addictive.

    “The E46 was too quiet,” Alan said, “especially driving a manual. You want to hear the engine to let you know when to shift. The exhaust and cold air intake made a dramatic difference in the car’s performance and fun factor, and I found myself blipping the throttle downshifting just to hear the lovely sound the engine now made. I even had the front and rear resonators removed to make it even louder and deeper, and it now sounds just like a stock E36 M3.”


    As you can tell from the photos, however, these mods were just the beginning. Alan discovered Dtmpower.net, Bimmervibe.com and E46fanatics.com on the Internet, and these forums opened up a whole new world of potential tuning ideas. “I found myself browsing on it all day and night learning more about what I could do to the car,” the 26-year-old IS administrator said. Inevitably he met up with like-minded enthusiasts, and knew he wanted more from his car. A lot more.

    Having an overall gameplan is an absolute necessity if you’re modifying to attain a certain look. It’s best to gain inspiration from others, see what there is on the market you think works best, and add your own personal touches. Alan can’t be faulted for his choice of AC Schnitzer styling; a brand, he tells us, he chose due to its racing heritage and reputation as the most widely respected BMW tuner in the world. We’re not about to disagree.

    “I wanted my car to be a Schnitzer car,” he said. “First thing was ordering a full Schnitzer body kit along with a set of 18” rims. I didn’t like the rear spoilers offered by Schnitzer so I decided to go with a Racing Dynamics one instead.” Also at this time, Eibach springs and BogeSachs BMW sport shocks tightened everything up, while a modern styling touch in the shape of xenon front lights courtesy of bekkers.com found their way on. With Hamann eyebrows and shadow grilles added as well, Alan had reached the end of the second stage of modifying. Once again he was satisfied with the car’s look, so you’d have thought he’d have stopped here. No way.

    Styling is one thing, but finding more power really is best for putting a smile on your face. “There were virtually no turbo kits available,” said Alan, “nor any reliable supercharger kits making any decent power at the time. Instead, Rogue Engineering had connections with an excellent BMW technician who was able to do some motor work for me. I got hold of Schrick cams, Jim Conforti Shark Injector software and ended up swapping my ECIS intake in favour of a beautiful Gruppe M carbon fibre unit.” Good choice.

    Soon after, Alan was collecting a first place trophy in the Mild category at Bimmerfest East, and was recruited by TWCompetition. Things were looking up, and so were the planned mods to his 323i. These final mods are basically the look the car sports in the photos, and the sheer amount and quality of work is commendable. Nineteen-inch HRE wheels were custom made by Peter Lee at wheelexperts.com, while the suspension was swapped for H&R coilovers set at maximum drop for the rear and about 90% at the front. That’s seriously low. Riding that close to the tarmac has obvious drawbacks, so, in Alan’s own words, “to help scan the crappy New York roads rolling on big 19s, I swapped the standard halogen foglights for 5300K xenons.”

    Nestled behind those beautiful custom wheels are some serious anchors, 320mm up front courtesy of Brembo, with a Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm hybrid setup at the rear. Alan assures us at the time this was done, no other E46 had both front and rear big brakes. Ever the groundbreaker, with the front bumper sporting an Schnitzer add-on becoming more common, Alan changed his for an OEM E46 M3 bumper. With this being almost 2” wider than the 323i item on each side, Ultimate Collision had a hell of a task making it fit, but have certainly excelled themselves with the finish. The addition of a new Schnitzer carbon fibre splitter completes the very tasty new look. Soon after, Schnitzer was called upon again to provide an M3 racing spoiler, a truly unique look for a saloon car.

    Then there’s the final hurrah. If you put a carbon fibre bonnet on the wrong car it’s an expensive mistake, but on Alan’s modified E46 323i it’s a revelation. It blends in nicely with the Orient paint, and completes what is a stunning four-door.

    Standing back to admire it, the final look is a thing of beauty. The custom front bumper, the large but tasteful rear wing, the huge brakes primed for action behind the flawless, polished alloys. It may be a four door, but how many coupés look this desirable? Alan tells us he knows of no other saloon in the US with this look, but we’re hoping many will take inspiration from him to create something even half as nice as his stunning 323i.


    GruppeM carbon fibre air intake – every #BMW should have one!


    DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #M52TUB25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW

    ENGINE: 2.5-litre six-cylinder with #Schrick performance 248° cams, #Rogue-Engineering underdrive pulleys, #Gruppe-M carbon fibre air intake, #Jim-Conforti engine software, #Supersprint 76mm cat-back exhaust with both resonators removed, Imola red valve covers

    CHASSIS: 8.5x19” #HRE-448R three-piece forged alloys shod in Toyo T1-S 235/35 tyres. H&R fully adjustable coilover suspension system, #H&R Trak Plus 5mm spacers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Turner-Motorsports rear shock mounts, silver M3 front strut brace. #Brembo 320mm big brake kit (front), #Rogue-Engineering /Porsche 329mm big brake kit (rear), #Hawk-HPS racing pads, #Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, #ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Rogue Engineering short-shifter, weighted selector rod and tranny mounts. Redline synthetic fluids

    EXTERIOR: Euro-spec OEM M3 bumper custom fitted onto a saloon chassis, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre M3 front spoiler, aluminium stabiliser struts, rear apron, roof spoiler, sport mirrors, racing wing and badges, Fiber Images carbon fibre bonnet. Hamann shadow grilles, Hamann eyebrows, #M-Tech side skirts, Nova 4 professional strobe kit, custom fitted facelift ’02 BMW rear lights, Euro-spec clear side repeaters, xenon 5200K foglight kit, xenon 5200K ellipsoid headlights.

    INTERIOR: M3 leather sport seats custom fitted into saloon, two-tone leather treatment, Sparco Clubman threepoint safety harnesses, AC Schnitzer full pedal set and floor mats. Aluminium interior trim and gear shift, NR Auto aluminium gauges, Isotta chrome gear shift surround

    ICE: Alpine 7965 CD head unit, CHA 1214 12-disc changer, SPR 176A 6.5” components, SPR 172A 6.5” coaxial. Rockford Fosgate 400 four-channel amp, 360 two-channel amp, 1.0 Farad capacitor. Allumapro BP10 subwoofer enclosure

    THANKS: TWCompetition, Peter at wheelexperts.com, Samir at Rennsport.com, Tom Chang at Bimmerfesteast.com, Ooro and Drea at Bimmervibe.com, Jimmy at Pfactor.com, Mark and Ben at Rogueengineering.com, Barry at Race Technologies, Dtmpower.net, E46fanatics.com, Cave Crew, Michael Cajayon, Rich Pinto at Rtechnic, my girlfriend Mabel, friends and family

    Above: Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm big brake kit for the rears! Up front are Brembo 320mm. Left: Plenty of lovely carbon fibre.
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