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    TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Wild supercharged E90 M3

    Karel Silha’s M3 has been evolving for a few years, getting ever madder and more frightening. As he teeters on the cusp of his next round of innovations, we pin down his green monster to see just how deeply this lunacy has spiraled… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.

    840HP E90 M3 Supercharged wide-arch beast

    The most fun cars are the ones that do surprising things; ones that subvert your expectations and lead your preconceptions down a hitherto uncharted path. We’re not talking about sleepers here – that’s a well-documented area, and a whole textbook in itself. No, what’s flicking our switch today is the idea of using a novel base to build something devastating. Like when Top Gear commissioned Lotus to build a trackslaying Lada, and the Norfolk spannertwiddlers ended up throwing £100k at it. Or when Volvo entered the BTCC in the 1990s with an 850 estate. These are not the logical cars to choose for such endeavours, which is what makes the whole concept so eminently desirable.

    So it is with Karel Silha’s M3. He wanted to build an unstoppable and terrifying car with which to distort reality in the otherworldly and near-mythical amphitheatre of the now-world-renowned Gatebil events, so he chose to go with an M3. Fair play, sound reasoning, we can see why you’d do that But, just for the sake of waving two fingers at the rest of the paddock, he didn’t take the obvious route and buy himself an E92 coupé. He chose the sensible, dad-spec E90 fourdoor saloon.

    Alright, we’ll immediately retract ‘sensible, dad-spec’, that’s a moronic way to describe a machine as formidable as the E90 – but you have to admit that the act of deliberately choosing a car with extra doors you know you’re never going to use is something only a belligerent and confrontational person would do. It’s Touring Car rules; you’ve got four doors so that people spectating can relate your car to their own salesman-spec diesel commuter. Karel’s just cranked things up a notch, simply to be mischievous. Oh, those effervescently zany Swedes…

    “My first car was a Toyota Starlet,” he explains, which is actually something we hear a lot. A surprising number of skilled helmsmen cut their teeth in that balletic Japanese poppet, it must teach its drivers an awful lot about car control. “I’ve been working with BMWs for about 12 or 13 years now though. My first was an E30, which I wanted to turn into a bit of turbocharged weekend fun. Most of my BMWs have been E30s in fact; the most recent one was making 982hp and 887lb ft on an old M20 engine.”

    It’s probably safe to assume that this fella knows what he’s doing when it comes to perving over BMWs then. However, the E90 is a world apart from the E30 (just look at the maths, it’s 60 #BMW Top Trump points adrift), so this little race car project was always going to be something of a challenge, right? No, not a bit of it. Karel’s the sort of chap who just knuckles down and gets on with it and there’s no half-measures here. Allin or nothing.

    “I wanted to do fast lap times and the goal was to be quick,” he says, with hilarious modesty and masterful understatement. “With that in mind, there was only one chassis that was suitable for this: the E90 M3. So I bought the car from a friend – it was in really good condition, aside from the engine, which was trashed. One of the rods had found its way out…” But with the plans that Karel had made, a blown motor was an irrelevance. Stock engines aren’t Gatebil fodder. It was always the gameplan to tear the motor apart and beef everything up like Meat Loaf in an Angus Steakhouse.

    “Yes, the whole build was fully mapped out from the start,” he assures us. “We even drew up 3D renderings of how it would look when it was finished. The plan was always clear.” Oh, and what a plan it was. With ruthless efficiency and the sort of clockwork dominance of the to-do list that you normally find in school staff rooms, Karel and his crew set about ripping the E90 to shreds and building it back up as an apex-humiliating, spectator-arousing beast.

    “In the first year, we dealt with the chassis,” he says. “KW three-way competition suspension, and also a big brake upgrade from Endless, to get the chassis fully dialled-in. We’d initially talked to a local company about our suspension options, and the support was terrible, so we ended up talking to KW suspension in Germany. They answered all of our questions in one email and the support was just above and beyond, so it was a no-brainer to go with KW! They made a custom three-way competition kit for us, and those guys have been a strong partner ever since.”

    With the chassis tested and thoroughly proven, the second year of the E90 build threw up some proper mischief. “In year two we did the forged engine,” says Karel, “and then we supercharged it – and this was no off-the-shelf kit, it was the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp, and we also upgraded the ECU to a full Motec setup, with PDM [Power Distribution Module], dash and ECU. We fitted a Samsonas sequential gearbox with paddleshift too.” Phew. Time to take a breath, drink in the magnificence of the spec, and just have a little think about our own life choices. Stick the kettle on for some pondering time, we’ll see you at the next paragraph.

    Better? We know, it’s a lot to take in. But brace yourselves, as there’s a little more to come. You see, it would have been amusingly stealthy to jam all of this sweaty grunt into a stock-looking four-door shell, but stealth has never been the Swedish forced induction enthusiasts’ watchword. So what you’re seeing here is a searing vision in Snakeskin Green, a Dodge Viper colour no less, and to prove that this build isn’t just about dumb horsepower there’s a frankly staggering aero setup. Just look at the frickin’ size of that rear diffuser, for goodness’ sake! And the front splitter’s big enough to stand a family of six upon, let alone allowing them all to have a little nap on the rear wing. This thing may have enough horsepower to make a Bugatti owner think twice, but it’s also glued to the track by the crushing inevitability of downforce. It’s actually kinda frightening. Another hugely impressive element of this build is just how stock that S65 motor is, aside from the comically large blower. It’s got forged pistons and rods from Pure Performance Motorsport in Australia, and a suitably juiced-up fuelling system feeding through a Weldon 2345 pump (which is good for 1300hp!), but aside from that it’s pretty much as the M Division intended. Talk about over-engineering, eh?


    Still, there was a global vibe developing in this Swedish-honed, German-built car with Australian engine upgrades and Japanese interior addenda, so it only made sense for the rolling stock to come from somewhere unexpected too. That’s why you’ll find a set of Work VS-XX wheels under those widened carbon fibre arches – custom-built wheels from Japan. And the rears are a spanking 12.5” wide, which allows for some seriously dirty contact patch. “We wanted a wheel that could match the rest of the car,” Karel reasons, “and Work Wheels were the only choice for a quality wide wheel.” Having hand-crafted his own bruising arches, we’ll happily take his word for that.

    “Function over form was the overarching idea,” he continues. “The look has always been secondary to the act of going fast. The chassis’s actually being modified for a Version 3 that we’ll be debuting soon, but yes – the capability has always been more important than the look.” This statement, of course, writes a very large cheque, as the car looks absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, we know that the setup can cash it with ease. “I’d say my favourite element of the build is all the carbon fibre,” Karel grins. “When you start with carbon, you kinda get the fever and it’s hard to stop! For 2017 most of the car will be in carbon fibre, and for 2018 a new chassis is being built with even more mods and 100% carbon.” Blimey. 100% is a big percentage. We’ll report back as the news filters in.


    “It took some five-to-six months to build the first version of the car,” he says, “then it evolved over the off-season; 2015 Version 1, 2016 Version 2, and 2017 is Version 2.1. Just wait – 2018 will bring it up to Version Badass.” We can’t wait to see that. But for now, let’s just bask in the unutterable lunacy of Version 2.1 – the as-yet ultimate evolution of your neighbour’s four-door 3 Series, built to tear up Gatebil and atomise any rubber that may stray into its workshop. The fact that it’s not a coupé just makes the flawless victories all the sweeter. ¬

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #ESS-supercharger / #ESS / #BMW / #Work / #MoTeC-ECU

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #BMW-S65 / #S65 , fully-forged, custom #ESS-supercharger-kit , 1000cc injectors and uprated fuelling with #Weldon 2345 pump, #Motec engine management. #Samsonas six-speed sequential gearbox

    CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12.5x18” (rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 305/35 (front) and 335/35 (rear) tyres, #KW three-way competition suspension, #Endless race brake setup with six-pot calipers (front and rear) with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) discs

    EXTERIOR Dodge Viper Snakeskin Green, wide steel rear wings and plastic-welded M3 front wings – now remoulded in carbon fibre, Gatebil-sized custom wing, splitter and diffuser

    INTERIOR Sparco seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel, custom cluster by Karel S Motorsport, paddle shifters, full painted FIA rollcage

    THANKS All of my friends who helped, especially to Tim and Jens, and also all of my sponsors last year and also the new ones for 2017 – it would not have been possible without them

    No air-ride here, just air jacks.
    The rear view is dominated by that custom diffuser.
    Fully-painted FIA roll-cage.

    “Function over form was the overarching idea, the look has always been secondary to the act of going fast”

    MOTEC engine management keeps things running right.
    Sparco seats with Takata harnesses up front.
    MoTeC C127 Race Display behind OMP steering wheel.
    Custom ESS supercharger kit makes 840hp.


    “In year two we did the forged engine and then we supercharged it [with] the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp”
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    What goes around comes around, so they say, and Nickel Mohammed’s ever-evolving M3 comes around more than most - it’s always changing and we had to catch it quick before it changed again… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: #C3Photography .

    BOLT FROM THE BLUE Turbo wide-body E46 M3 Cab

    The old saying that ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’ is a load of toffee. It’s not just possible that lightning will strike the same part of the Earth more than once, it’s basically inevitable; whether it happens within a five-minute span or twenty million years apart, every square inch of the planet gets it full in the face at some point, and then again, and again. And so it is with a certain sense of inevitability that, in the same vein, feature cars can also strike twice. Regular readers may be squinting at this boisterous E46, trying to figure out where you’ve seen it before… and to answer that niggling query, you recognise it from the cover of our January 2014 issue. But fear not, it’s really quite different now to how it was then. You don’t just walk into a Performance #BMW feature you know, these things have to be earned on merit. And Nickel Mohammed’s shouty M3 has earned another spot here thanks to its constant evolution and mould-breaking styles.

    So how’s it different now? Well, for one thing it’s significantly less powerful. No, wait, come back! This is a good thing – you see, last time we saw the car, its turbocharged S54 was running 800hp, but Nickel’s since detuned this to a rather more manageable 630hp (which is still frickin’ loads), as the car is developing in line with his driving style, as well as to suit the chilly climes of New York City. There’s no point boasting a flag-waving horsepower figure if all of those rampaging ponies are uselessly spinning themselves away at every corner, is there? Definitely far better to have a robust stable of usable nags.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll begin at the beginning, shall we? “I purchased this car brand new, and back then you had to be put on a waiting list,” he recalls. “I signed myself up, and six months later the car was shipped… the wrong car in the wrong colour! I wanted a silver convertible, and they delivered a black coupé. But determination is a damn thing – I said to them OK, put me back on the list, I’ll wait.” And when the desired drop-top did eventually arrive, was Nickel keen to start tearing into the thing according to some grand overarching modification plan? “To be honest, no,” he shrugs. “Not at all in fact, I reckoned I’d keep it stock. The thing was expensive! And I was still young, I couldn’t afford all that stuff. Although I did try – 20” rims and so on, all those terrible choices I made!” Ah, the impetuousness of youth. Inevitably the M3 was going to end up modified, it was all part of cosmic destiny. It just took a little time for the car to find its way.

    “I’ve built it up and changed it so many times in different directions, the timetable’s kind of all over the place,” he says, when we try to pin down the chronology. “I knew that the mechanical stuff had to be done first, and that started with the engine back in 2011…”

    This was no half-hearted undertaking, with Nickel throwing every one of his chips on the table to get the car ideologically transformed by the lunatics at #HorsepowerFreaks . Their revered Stage 3 turbo conversion brought the howling S54’s peak power up to a stupendous 800hp. These bolt-on kits require no cutting, wiring or welding, and are designed for durability as well as awesome power. But what else would you expect for $30,000+?

    Don’t go thinking ‘bolt-on’ means ‘simple’ though. Engineering a car to run these sorts of numbers is a thoroughly in-depth task – hence the cost – and it took HorsepowerFreaks around a year to build up, test and refine Nickel’s motor. But that fastidiousness of engineering has paid off, as the built motor has held up strongly since. “I drive cars hard, I drive them till they break,” he laughs, “but the only thing I’ve wanted to change on the engine in all this time is adding the AEM Infinity ECU - that thing is superb, a learning computer; I mean, big-ups to those techs that take the time to build these things that adapt to your driving!”

    This attention to cleverness carries on beyond the engine and into the chassis. The suspension offers up an intelligent middle ground between coilovers and air-ride, comprising #KW Variant 3 coilovers with their cunning Hydraulic Lift System, which offers instant ground clearance at the touch of a button. “I wanted to run the car low enough to drive the city streets of NYC - which are terrible - but still be able to raise the front of the car to clear driveways and speed bumps,” Nickel explains. “In all honesty I feel KWs are the best thing made for this car when it comes to suspension.” The last time this car appeared in these pages it was running full air-ride, so you know this is a considered opinion.

    The wheels come from famously pricey custom house, Luxury Abstract. “I’ve had so many wheels before, but these Grassor- Rs were just built for this car,” he grins. “The NeoChrome finish is a neat effect, tying into the Lamborghini pearl paint, and the width and depth really accentuate the body structure.” And you can’t really miss that body, can you? The wide arches are custom hand-fabricated in steel, 1.5” wider at the front and 2.5” out back, thanks to the craftsmanship of Martino Auto Concepts in Long Island. The extra girth is augmented by a V-CSL front bumper and carbon-fibre ducktail boot lid from Vorsteiner, further enhanced by the addition of a Brooks Motorsport Elite carbon wing, along with a set of carbon-fibre side skirts.

    The interior has also been comprehensively re-worked since we last saw the car. Inside, you’ll find a pair of fully reclining Manhart #BMW Performance race seats, important for Nickel as, in his own words, he’s sucker cruising with the seat back and the music up, which brings us neatly to that impressive audio install. “I always wanted an empty trunk to carry bags in, so I removed the existing music and had my electronics sponsor build me a system that would not only look superb, but sound phenomenal and not take up any trunk space. I had my rear seats taken out and my racing harness looks like it’s actually going into my audio system. That was an idea I came up with because I didn’t want to fit a roll cage to the rear of the car as it wouldn’t look as clean and it would be too bulky.

    “There are a lot of stylistic paths you can follow, it takes a lot of time and due diligence,” Nickel reasons. “You have to research, figure out what has been done and what you can do to make it your own. That’s the key to building a car, how do you make it your own; how does it reflect your personality? That has to come from within.

    You have to choose, but that’s why you go on the Internet and talk to your friends and family, and even your techs and people that work on your cars and filter information to help you make your choices. I must have a form: function car. Can’t have a monster in the closet and not be able to let it out because you’re scared that it may attack you! Cars are meant to be driven, and yes they break - you fix it and do it again.”

    Admirable sentiment, and it really helps to illustrate the power behind the build. Yes, this car’s an internet-breaker, but Nickel hasn’t just been ticking boxes on the scenester checklist. The fact that it’s such a personal thing is also key to why he changes the spec so frequently. He’s been cherry picking parts from the aftermarket for a decade now, as well as commissioning his own, and Nickel’s not showing any signs of stopping yet – as long as there’s air in his lungs, this M3 will keep evolving.

    “You’re never done with a project, not ever,” he says. “There will always be new technology, things that you’ve seen and never got a chance to do.” We ask what his favourite part of the car is right now, and he laughs. “Man, there’s not one part of it that I like more than another, because from the top to the bottom it’s my personality, you know? I love it all. And the key to having a dope build is being able to get in and just have a drive. That’s what it was made for. It’s tuned for cruising NYC.” Damn straight. Nickel’s currently working on his E30 M Tech II Convertible, but we all know that the E46 is his baby. It’s been his from new, through thick and thin, and it’s not going anywhere. Lightning will keep on striking.

    DATA FILE Turbo #Wide-Body / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E46 / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-HPF-E46 / #BMW-M3-HPF / #AEM / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #HorsepowerFreaks ( HPF ) #HPF-Stage-3-turbo-kit , #HPF-titanium-exhaust-system , #AEM-Infinity-ECU , #HPF carbon-fibre intake ducts, HPF methanol injection, #Rogue-Engineering oil filler ca. Six-speed manual gearbox, E31 850i clutch components with #HPF-Feramic-Stage-3-clutch , #OS-Giken-Super Lock Spec-S LSD, #UUC-Motorwerks engine and transmission mounts

    CHASSIS 11x19” (front) and 13.5x19” (rear) #Luxury-Abstract-Grassor-R wheels with 245/35 (f) and 305/30 (r) tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers with #Hydraulic-Lift-System, #HPF-330-subframe reinforcement plates, #HPF carbon fibre strut braces, HPF under braces, #Powerflex race subframe bushes and trailing arm bushes #StopTech #BBK with six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front), four-pot calipers with 355mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Custom steel wide-body, Lamborghini #Blu-Cepheus-paint (three-stage pearl), #Vorsteiner-V-CSL front bumper and ducktail boot lid, #Vorsteiner-GTS3 carbon-fibre side skirts, custom E30 M3 bonnet hinges, OEM BMW hardtop, custom dual-xenon headlights, #Brooks-Motorsport Elite carbon-fibre rear wing with #NeoChrome brackets

    INTERIOR Manhart #BMW-Performance race seats, #Schroth harnesses, AEM fuel pressure and 100psi oil pressure gauges, rearview mirror gauge interaction, Kenwood 6.95 double-DIN DDX9902S head unit, JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1, JL 4-channel amp, JL Evolution C3, JL 12” subwoofer, custom audio box with moulded plexi and LED lighting trimmed in OEM BMW leather, Rydeen reversing camera

    THANKS #Motorcepts (Master Tech), Intrack Tyres, #S&R-Paint , #NeoChrome , #Luxury-Abstract
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    Five star. This ballistic B5 is packing 500bhp so has the go to back up all that show… Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker. AUDI RS4 500hp B5.

    There’s something about an original that gets under your skin. The first version of something – whether it’s a trainer, a film or a car is somehow special. It’s odd when you think about it, as quite often, the first version of something isn’t quite right. It’s not until it’s refreshed and V2 is releases that everything comes together. This may be true of smart phones, TVs and other tech gadgets, but with cars? I’m not so sure.

    On the one hand, you can’t deny that each time Audi releases a new version of a well-loved model, it will be bristling with technology. It’ll be more powerful, more reliable and generally better all round. Yet many of us still hanker after the original. Nowhere is this more so than with the RS4.

    The original B5 was released in 2000 and immediately made a statement. Here was a 375bhp, four-wheel drive estate car that could outflank a Porsche. It boasted a Cosworth-tuned, twin-turbo V6, fantastic blistered wheel arches and a presence that oozed understated aggression – something #Audi does so well.

    But here’s the thing: the B5 RS4 is now 17 years old. Two further generation of RS4 have been released, with another, the B9, due to drop later this year. But, for many, the original B5 is still the one.

    Forget the fact that it’s been eclipsed dynamically by the newer models. Ignore the issues with reliability inherent in a highly-tuned-from-the-factory machine like this. Put to the back of your mind the horror stories you’ll hear from B5 fans who have almost bankrupted themselves attempting to keep their pride and joy on the road (times this by ten if you’ve tuned it) and focus on the good bits. Of which there are many. Which is why there’s such a healthy appetite for these things.

    So when serial Audi tuner, Julian Loose and our man, Adam Walker, spotted this in-your-face RS4 in Austria, I was keen to find out more.

    On the face it, this is ‘just’ another RS4 with a fancy wrap. It has a taste of the Jon Olsson about it– he of the extreme RS6 and R8 Gumball fame. However a bit more investigation revealed that this was a proper build, featuring a 500bhp engine, tuned chassis and more.

    Let’s kick off with that engine. The twin-turbo V6 needs no introduction. The 2.7-litre unit came with a factory fettled 375bhp and went very well indeed. But, as the years pass, this highly-tuned lump needs plenty of TLC to keep it running as it should. It’s a complete arse to work on and needs to be dropped for many, even routine jobs, which is why it can end up costing a small fortune in labour rates alone. Plus there are numerous documented issues that will occur at some stage from corroded pipework to blown turbos.

    So, it you’re really going to do it, you may as well get stuck in and go for more power right from the off – and make sure you uprate all the necessary parts in one hit. That way, you (hopefully) won’t be spending more time in the garage than on the road.

    The owner, Ilkka, has gone for a tried and tested setup of RS6 hybrid turbos to provide the boost. There are 630cc injectors and a TFSI coil conversion, plus Wagner intercoolers, a cold air intake and custom made exhaust with the cats removed – a sure fire recipe for big fun. With around 500bhp on tap performance is best described as brisk.

    The whooshing of those twin-turbos, combined with the snarl from that unrestricted exhaust means this thing emits the kind of V6 howl that makes you smile. It’s a special B5-ness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

    The stock transmission copes admirably with the extra grunt and the tough sixspeed box takes it all in its stride. Again the manual gear lever is part of the reason so many people love these things.

    With significantly more power than when it left the factory and with the ravages of time, the chassis needed updating to cope. A full complement of poly bushes was fitted, to remove that saggy, vague feeling that occurs when stock bushes wear out.

    Again it’s a pain in the ass job to complete, but it makes a big difference, especially on older Audis. With less play in the suspension and steering components, the B5 feels tighter and more responsive. To allow the suspension to be finetuned, a set of KW Variant 3s were ordered.

    These multi-adjustable units allow full control over bump and rebound, to provide a sporty, yet forgiving feel. The geometry has been professionally setup to give this RS4 a more dialled feel, with far more adjustablity than the neutral, understeer focused stock set up.

    The final upgrade for the chassis is a set of brakes nicked off a Porsche. These meaty calipers were designed to stop a 170+mph sportscar, so do a fine job on the RS4 teamed up with ECS Tuning discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads.

    Styling wise Audi got it right first time and there’s no need to add bits, aside from the odd splitter or maybe vent if you’re into that sort of thing. So this B5 remains stock, aside from a wrap. Now, it’s not going to be to all tastes, but Ilkka wanted something to make the car stand out at events and the Jon Olsson-inspired camo wrap certainly ticks that box.

    One thing that had to be bang on the money was the wheels. The 3-piece, multispoke Rotiforms fill the wide arches very nicely – and at a girthy 10.5-inches, they should. Some work was required to get them to fit right, but they look great.

    Inside, the stock seats have been replaced with some of the best in the business, Recaro Pole Positions. These fixed back efforts not only look great but also save weight. The GT-inspired interior is completed with a suede steering wheel and gear knob.

    So there we have it – another wellfinished RS4 B5 that reminds us how much love there is for these things.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2000 / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi / #KW / #Rotiform

    Engine 2.7 twin-turbo V6, #RS6 hybrid turbos, #Wagner intercoolers, cold air intake, custom turbo back exhaust with cats removed, custom map, #Siemens-Deka 630cc injectors #TFSI coil conversion
    Power 500bhp
    Transmission 6-speed manual
    Brakes Porsche 911 calipers with #ECS discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads, braided lines
    Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, polybushed, full geometry set up
    Wheels 10.5x19in #Rotiform-INDT 3-piece wheels with 255/30 Michelin Pilot SuperSports
    Interior Recaro Pole Position seats, suede RS4 steering wheel and gearknob, PLX a/f ratio meter FIS control in the OEM screen to show boost, exhaust temp etc
    Exterior Full Avery charcoal matte metallic wrap

    “There’s still so much love for the B5”

    Above left Recaro Pole Positions.
    Above Alcantara-clad wheel.

    Above top: Porsche brakes sit behind 10.5x19in Rotiform INDs.
    Right: The 2.7 #V6 heart pumps out around 500bhp.
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    Early Adopter. The Gen 2 TT RS is fresh out of the factory, but German tuner, HG Motorsport, has already tweaked one of these fiery five-pots… The first tuned Gen 2.

    TT RS World's first tuned Gen 2

    There’s been a whole world of hype surrounding the new TT RS. Right from the off, Audi fans were hungry for info on the second generation car and speculation was rife. When it was finally unveiled, it was greeted with enthusiasm. Some may have baulked at the price once the options sheet had been subject to vigorous box ticking, but this is standard for an Audi. The Gen 2 TT came out very well in road tests, with even hackneyed motoring journos admitting it’s a good car. And they absolutely loved the engine. The only slight fly in the ointment (in the UK at least) is that this year’s allocation is limited to just 200 cars. Which is sure to make these things a rare sight on the roads (until next year).

    With 400hp (395bhp), 0-62mph achievable in an eye watering 3.7secs, and a top end of 173mph (when derestricted), the performance credentials are impeccable. However, the tuning and aftermarket industry has been champing at the bit to begin tweaking this rapid fivecylinder and this, my friends, is the first offering.

    Unveiled at the recent Essen Motorshow, it’s HG Motorsport’s take on the TT RS. It represents a package of bolt-on upgrades that are designed to enhance the TT RS’s already desirable character. It’s clear that the revised 2.5 #TFSI unit has big potential, so HGM began by removing some of the restrictions. Their demo car has been fitted with a bespoke sports exhaust featuring 89mm pipework and a more efficient air intake system.

    This should improve the flow of air and gasses, but also allow that sonorous 5-pot to really howl when provoked. A larger, more efficient intercooler joins the party and should help to reduce temps – something that will become essential when the next stage of tuning arrives. A larger diameter downpipe and lightweight carbon fibre intake system are being developed too, with the downpipe promising significant potential gains. No power figures are available for the initial hardware upgrades, but once it’s been fully mapped and tested, we’ll update you. One thing’s for sure – once large turbos and supporting upgrades are added, we’ll be seeing new TT RSs with upwards of 500bhp.

    Of course, being a show car at Essen, the exterior needed something to show it isn’t factory spec. HGM has achieved this with a set of beefy 9.5x20in threepiece alloys. The Schmidt FS-Lines have a real supercar style to them and look great with matt spokes and polished barrels. These high-end alloys sit very neatly within the TT RSs arches, thanks to the substantial drop on KW Variant 3 coilovers. The exterior of this black coupe is finished off with some HGM graphics. So there we have it – the world’s first tuned Gen 2 TT RS. It doesn’t have a huge amount of upgrades, but it makes a statement and I don’t think it’ll be long before we see plenty more…

    Above: Virtual cockpit. Below: The 5-cylinder powerhouse.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #Audi-TT-RS / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #2017 / #Audi-TT-RS-8S / #Audi-TT-RS / #Audi-TT-8S /

    Engine 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder, #HG-Motorsport performance exhaust system, uprated intake system
    Transmission S-tronic
    Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers / #KW
    Wheels #Schmidt-FS-Line / #Schmidt 9.5x20 3-piece alloys with 245/30x20 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo tyres
    Contacts #Audi-TT-RS-HG-Motorsport www.hg-motorsport.de
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    ULTIMATE MODIFIED BMW

    Stunning 800whp turbo M10-powered 2002 is like a gift from the gods…

    GREECE LIGHTNING

    With an astonishing 800whp from its turbo’d M10, this wild 2002 is about as quick as any sane person would want to travel. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Christos Karagiorgakis.

    2002: A PACE ODYSSEY

    Think of Greece and you will no doubt think of crisp, white houses sitting before the bluest sea you’ve ever seen, beautiful beaches, and delicious food. Perhaps what you won’t think of is modified BMWs. However, having been to Greece on many previous BMW-based visits, we can tell you that there are some serious machines scattered across the country. And this right here might just be the most serious piece of German modified machinery that Greece has to offer. It belongs to Stavros Panagopoulos, who has owned it for ten years. This was, in fact, his very first #BMW : a humble 1602 that he found for sale near his house. As you can probably tell, it’s changed a bit since then…

    Stavros says he entered into ’02 ownership with plans to make the diminutive classic just a little bit faster. And while he’s certainly achieved his end goal, and then some, he didn’t embark on a journey of turbocharged madness from the off; there were at least two slightly more sensible stages prior to what you see here. Things started off normally enough, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine enhanced with twin side draft 40 carbs. And that was fine, but not quite enough for Stavros’s liking. So Stage two was a bit more dramatic. The original engine was deemed not quite large enough so it was removed and in its place went a more powerful 2.0, its potency ramped-up considerably with the addition of a 300-degree camshaft, Weber 48 DCOE carbs, MSD Ignition components, and a selection of other sexy engine enhancements. That’s pretty solid and we wager the car (that was now by definition a 2002) must have been a whole load of fun to drive and a massive step up over how it felt originally. And then something happened: Stavros decided that what he really wanted was an 800whp turbo conversion. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need in your life…

    As you might imagine, making that sort of underbonnet magic happen takes more than a little bit of work and the engine spec list reads like a who’s who of the performance tuning scene. It’s thorough and it’s glorious. It’s the modified BMW enthusiast’s equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey…

    Step one, you’ve got to get your engine choice down. Stavros opted for the sturdy M10, which served as the basis for BMW’s insane turbocharged M12 motorsport engine as well as the S14, so it’s certainly up to the task of coping with a spot of turbocharging.


    But the example nestling under this ’02’s bonnet is very far removed from your common-or-garden M10, as you might have guessed. There’s a lot in the engine bay, so much so that you can barely even see the engine, but if it looks impressive from the outside, there’s plenty to get excited about on the inside, too. 89mm CP forged pistons have been fitted, along with Carrillo forged rods, a custom reprofiled camshaft from Boubis Cams, and #VAC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs. Somewhere within the engine bay (you’ll have to take our word for it because it’s buried deep beneath seemingly endless pipework) sits the very core of all that power: an absolutely gigantic #Garrett-GTX4202R-turbo . This beast of a snail is rated up to 1150hp so Stavros has plenty of headroom, running as he is at around the 900hp mark, should he ever decide that’s not quite enough. This is useful, actually, as his next goal is to hit 1000hp…

    When it came to getting everything squeezed into the engine bay, custom is most definitely the word of the day: the turbo feeds a HPS custom intake manifold via a suitably massive front-mounted intercooler and sits on a custom exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom exhaust with an external wastegate that exits through the sill just behind the passenger side front wheel.

    The exhaust manifold and the turbo housing itself have both been treated to a Zircotec ceramic coating. Stavros has also had massive Bosch Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors fitted to supply enough fuel to keep the engine happy, along with a custom HPS oil pan. The whole lot is looked after by an Autronic SM4 stand-alone ECU.

    Seeing as no one involved in the designing and construction of the ’02 family could ever have imagined that someone in the distant future would attempt to pass somewhere in the region of 900hp through the compact runabout, Stavaros has had to go to town on the transmission and chassis to ensure it didn’t tear itself to pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed manual Getrag unit from the E28 535i mated to a custom twin-plate clutch that can handle the immense amount of power and torque being developed by the engine, with an E34 M5 rear axle tasked with transferring everything to the rear tyres. On the suspension front, this 2002 has been fitted with E36 M3 underpinnings, including subframes and wishbones, with #KW coilovers up front and Bilstein dampers at the back. While it doesn’t take much to stop a car as small and light as a 2002, stopping one that’s travelling at close to the speed of sound does require something a little more substantial, and this example certainly doesn’t mess about. Up front sit AP Racing Galfer four-pot calipers clamping 305mm vented discs. The rear setup is no less substantial, with another set of AP Racing four-pot calipers wrapped around slightly smaller 255mm vented discs.


    When it came to the exterior Stavros decided to keep things relatively subtle in as much that a casual observer might not be aware of what’s been changed but, at the same time, it’s clear that this 2002 is far from standard. It’s actually about as aggressive as a 2002 can really get. The biggest difference are those pumped-up arches, complete with sill extensions that fill out the flanks. They give the normally unassuming classic some real road presence. Having the wastegate exiting through the sill certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does that fat, single-tipped exhaust pipe. Of course, fitting wide arches is one thing, having suitable wheels that are substantial enough to fill them is another matter entirely but Stavros’ choice definitely doesn’t disappoint, though it might raise a few eyebrows. He’s taken the classic cross-spoke look that sits so well with the 2002 and turned it on its head with a set of decidedly modern Work VS-XXs.

    The 17” wheels are positively huge on the compact classic but they look fantastic, really filling out those big arches, especially with the car dropped low over the fat rubber. Even parts of the body that may look stock aren’t. For example, the bonnet and boot might appear to be relatively standard, bar the pins and catches, but they are both carbon fibre items, with twin fuel fillers on the rear deck for the bootmounted alloy fuel cell. The one thing the 2002 isn’t is heavy, so adding carbon panels and reducing the already low weight further still means that, with 800whp on tap, this car is absolutely insane – just in case you hadn’t gathered that already!

    With a build like this the interior could go a number of ways: hardcore, stripped-out; stock and subtle; or, option three, custom, luxurious but still decidedly sporty – which is exactly what Stavros has gone for. The interior is dominated by those gorgeous Recaro A8 seats and both they, the rear seats, the doorcards, the steering wheel centre section, the gear gaiter and the handbrake have all been covered in the same delicious shade of caramel leather.

    Something that’s easier to miss is the custom alloy roll-cage; it’s so well-integrated that, while you can clearly see the rear diagonal support, the sections that penetrate the dashboard (down into the footwell) and the rear parcel shelf are much more discreet.

    Up front, the gauge cluster has been replaced with an AIM MXL digital racing dash while the centre console now resembles the flight deck of an aircraft rather than a car. Where the central air vents would have once been there now sits a quartet of custom-mounted GReddy exhaust temperature gauges and below that another custom panel that houses a Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer and fuel gauge and, finally, down in front of the illuminated gear lever, you’ll find a pair of GReddy pressure gauges.

    We’ve featured some pretty wild 2002s over the years but this example might just ‘take the cake’. It’s an utterly incredible machine and we’re a little bit in love with it. We love how the custom wide-arches give the little 2002 a broad, square stance. We love the interior, with its blend of modern tech, race components and gorgeous leather. And we really love the engine; we doubt you’ll see a more complicated engine bay, there’s just so much stuffed under the bonnet. And to come away with 800whp from such a small engine and to have it at your disposal in such a small, lightweight car is utterly insane and, well, we love that too.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002-Turbo / #Garrett-GTX4202 R / #Garrett / #BMW-2002 / #M10-Turbo / #Getrag / #BMW / #BMW-2002-800bhp /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / , CP forged pistons, #Carrillo forged rods, #Boubis-Cams custom reprofiled camshaft, #AC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs, Garrett GTX4202R turbo with Zircotec ceramic-coated housing, #Zircotec ceramiccoated custom exhaust manifold, external wastegate, custom exhaust system, #HPS custom intake manifold, #Bosch-Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors, #HPS custom oil pan, #Autronic #Autronic-SM4 stand-alone ECU, Autronic ignition, #Getrag fivespeed manual E28 535i gearbox, custom twin disc clutch kit

    POWER 800whp

    CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 205/40 (front) Yokohama AVS Sport and 245/45 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres, E36 M3 subframe, wishbones etc, #KW coilover kit (front), #Bilstein dampers (rear), E34 M5 rear axle, #AP-Racing Galfer four-pot calipers with 305mm vented discs (front) and AP Racing four-pot calipers with 255mm vented discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre boot, custom wide-arch conversion

    INTERIOR Custom alloy roll-cage by Ilias Makropoulos, #Recaro A8 seats, rear seats, doorcards, steering wheel centre section, gear gaiter and handbrake finished in caramel leather, illuminated M gear knob, AIM MXL digital racing dash, custom-mounted #GReddy exhaust temperature gauges, pressure gauges, Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer, alloy fuel cell

    Engine looks monstrously complicated, and it is, with a huge amount of custom work at every turn and a gigantic #Garrett-GTX402R turbo buried deep within.
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    American F80 M3 in Individual Avus blue with lush custom interior packs a 560whp punch.

    KILLER INSTINCT 560whp Avus

    With ferocious looks, a stunning colour scheme, an opulent custom interior, and massive power, this awesome M3 is not a machine to be trifled with. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.

    M3 or M4? We wager most of you will be in ‘camp coupé’, the two-door’s sleek lines proving irresistibly seductive, with every design element focused on making it look as low and wide as possible, with more than a little success.

    But don’t write-off the M3; it’s no ugly duckling and the narrower body but identical track mean that it boasts swollen arches that are hidden in the M4’s wide bodywork, giving it a pumped-up look that makes other saloons cower in fear. And there’s something cool about ultra-powerful four-door saloons that surprise the unsuspecting with the sort of firepower they only expect from a coupé. Of course, it’s a lot less of a surprise these days as the ‘cult of the super saloon’ is now less of a cult and more a family-friendly club where everyone knows your name. However, the enduring appeal of the saloon, as sparked by legends such as the Lotus Carlton, Brabus EV12 and, of course, BMW’s own M5, remains. Just ask Shaun Fulton, because this is his F80 M3 and it’s awesome…

    Although Shaun grew up around Volvos, the reliable Swedish marque being his dad’s choice of wheels, the sole reason he’s not currently hauling Labradors around in a rapid wagon is down to his dad’s mechanic friend. “He was a Master Tech at BMW for over 30 years,” Shaun explains. “He would help fix our Volvos on the weekends. Every time I would see my father’s friend, he would be in the latest BMW and I fell in love with the brand at an early age.”

    With BMWs on the brain it’s no surprise that, after graduating and landing his first job as a stock broker, his thoughts turned to splashing out on an M3. “My senior broker kept talking about getting a new E92 M3 with his annual bonus cheque. Aspiring to be like him, I set my eyes on that same goal,” Shaun explains. In 2011 he bought himself a 2009 E92 M3 with 20k miles on the clock, in Space grey, with a six-speed manual gearbox. “I was so excited to get the car and achieve my goal that I ended up getting a pretty basic model with no EDC, and no M Drive. But I didn’t care, it had everything I needed: three pedals, Fox red seats, and a carbon roof! I was all set, or so I thought…”

    You see, it was the E92 M3 and its extensive aftermarket catalogue that introduced Shaun to modifying and, as he found, it was a very slippery slope. The final mods list for his M3 reads like your dream performance shopping list and highlights included: KW V3 coilovers; a custom 1M bumper; a carbon bonnet; BC Forged HB29 19s; and an ESS 625hp supercharger kit. So why on earth did he sell his fully modded, crazy-powerful M3? “I was undecided about what to do,” reveals Shaun. “I didn’t know whether to a) keep my E92 M3, which had grown to be an icon on the East Coast through Instagram and other social media or, b) part my car out/sell as is and get the new F series M car. At that point, I wasn’t entirely sold on getting a the new M car and it wasn’t until I raced against a few at MPact East 2015 and Slipstream RO2RO 2015 that I was sold!”

    A few weeks later the E92 was gone, sold to one of Shaun’s Instagram followers, and the hunt for a new car began. Shaun knew whatever car he got, it had to make a big impact: “I had a hard act to follow coming from my E92 M3 build so I decided to go big or go home: I made the decision to order an F80 M3. I ordered a Frozen blue metallic car with the six-speed manual and Sakhir orange seats. About three months into my six-month wait for the car, I got a call from my Customer Adviser stating that BMW had denied my individual colour choice. Saddened by this news, I was ready to pull the plug on my order. However, the wonderful service advisors at BMW North America really went above and beyond and, with three days left before the production of my vehicle, they sent me a list of over 200 BMW blues. In the end it came down to Macau blue or Avus blue. Both were colours that I had never seen in person, and both were colours that had not been done on the F80 M3 platform before. With the help of my close friend and fellow BMW enthusiast, Reggie, I decided on a classic BMW blue, and went with Avus. I was thrilled with how vibrant the colour turned out to be.”


    Having lost a 194hp moving from his supercharged E92 M3 to his factory-fresh F80 M3, it’s unsurprising that performance modifications were at the forefront of Shaun’s plans for his new build. “My plan was to beef-up the power output while not entering the detonation zone,” says Shaun. “I chose to go with Maximum PSI air intakes (custom painted Sakhir orange), RK Tunes three-piece charge pipes (also custom painted in Sakhir orange), RK Tunes cat-less downpipes, and an AWE Tuning nonresonated exhaust with the 102mm Black Diamond tips. For the tune, I went with a stack tune from DME Tuning and a Burger Motorsports JB4, so that I could really make the car a monster.

    “Because I had to wait six months for the car to arrive, I had the pleasure of amassing a plethora of parts in the meantime, so the engine build took me all of one day after my 1200-mile break-in service. The swap was done with the help of my mechanic, Angel Munoz, and painter Danny Hernandez in Philadelphia, PA.”

    The engine bay is really what sets Shaun’s M3 apart. Almost all engines these days are covered in swathes of black plastic and, being honest, we didn’t think there was anything that could be done to make the F8x M’s engine bay look interesting… but we were wrong. The combo of custom Sakhir pipes is stunning, transforming the S55 and making it look like the serious performance engine that it is. The addition of the Avus engine cover and gold detailing is inspired and the whole lot is topped-off by BMW’s carbon boomerang brace. And, as well as looking good, thanks to that comprehensive list of modifications this engine really delivers. It produces a massive 560whp, a huge gain over the stock power output, taking this M3 to the same sort of power level as his E92. However, according to Shaun the driving experience is very different. “It has more low end torque,” he says. “My E92 also had around 560-570whp but the way the F80 feels in comparison is night and day different. In the E92 you had to wind the engine up to around 4500rpm to start feeling the power but here the power comes on immediately; as soon as you step on the gas at around 2300-2500rpm you feel the torque and the power.”

    Picking out engine details in gold to match the wheels was inspired, as was the choice of wheels itself. Let’s be honest, you really can’t go wrong with HREs as they are among the top-tier wheels that money can buy, and they’d always been on Shaun’s shopping list. “For this build, I wanted to be the most noticeable F80 M3 in the game,” he says, “and I had always wanted a set of HRE wheels, the S101 model to be exact. I had the opportunity to pick a set up with brushed gold faces and polished lips. I knew that the gold against the Avus blue would really stand out.” It really is a killer colour combo and the style of the 20” S101s looks awesome on the M3, with the wide spokes allowing Shaun to show off his custompainted Sakhir orange calipers.

    But it’s not just the wheels, everything about this M3 looks so right. That’s thanks to the numerous styling touches he’s added. “The styling had to be classis #BMW , at least for this first iteration,” explains Shaun. “All the M3 badges were painted Avus blue while the front grilles were custom painted with Avus blue faces and gloss black sides. The side gills were touched with the same theme: Avus blue faces and gloss black sides. For the front of the car, I went with the BMW M Performance front lip and lower carbon splitters. I left the carbon alone and custom painted the polyurethane lip Avus blue and I custom painted the M Performance side skirts in Avus blue as well. For the headlights, BavGruppe in New York gave them a custom gloss black finish with M tricolour stripes. For the rear of the car, I went with the Mode Carbon F82 M4-style rear spoiler, and I went with the Vorsteiner rear diffuser. Again, this was all made possible by Danny Hernandez.

    “Finally, to protect the paint and all of the hard work we did with the colour matching, I had the whole car covered in Expel Tech paint protection film by Exclusive Vinyl in East Meadow, New York.”

    The styling is absolutely on point, all those details add up to make a big impact. It’s further helped by how well the cars sits over those HREs, with Shaun opting for the KW height adjustable spring kit, allowing him to retain the EDC whilst also giving him control over the ride height and letting him eliminate any unsightly arch gap in the process.

    If it looks good from the outside, you ain’t seen nothing yet because a vast amount of work has gone into making the interior as special as possible. “I wanted to do something to the interior that had not been done to an F8x model before,” says Shaun, “so, I reached out to the guys at ESH Upholstery in Maryland to help bring some ideas to life. With 1200 miles on the car, we pulled the dash, the door panels, the headlining, the A- and B-pillars, the rear deck shelf, the seat backs, the door pulls, the gear lever, and the handbrake gaiters out of the car. We went with a custom black Alcantara to cover all of these panels. For the dash we wanted to go for something eyecatching and one of a kind, so we went with M tricolour hand-stitching, which continues onto the door pulls. We also wrapped the seat backs in Sakhir orange BMW leather with Alcantara outer sections. All this was done in just 72 hours so the car would be ready for the Philadelphia Auto Show, where the car made its first East Coast show debut in the DUB show.” Considering how nice the stock interior is, the Alcantara has really taken the interior of this car to a whole new level of luxury.

    As far as we’re concerned, this M3 is pretty much perfect. Everything from that gorgeous colour to the additional aggression of the styling, the knock-out wheels, and that beautiful interior makes it impossible for us to tear our eyes away. That all this was accomplished in just two weeks is pretty mind-blowing, really. With this being such a fresh project, it’s no surprise when Shaun rattles off a list of money-no-object mods he now wants (“GTS Racing seats, upgraded turbos, air-ride…”). Neither do we raise an eyebrow when he says he’s already planning stage two. “As this show season is coming to an end, I am coming up with new tricks and ideas to kill the game next show season. Stay tuned to my Instagram (@M3NahRich) for more updates,” he grins. We will, because we can’t wait to see where this beast of a build is going next.

    DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F80 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #S55B30 , #Maximum-PSI intake, #RK-Tunes chargepipes and downpipes in #Sakhir orange, #Burger-Motorsports JB4, #DME-Tuning stack tune, #Avus blue engine cover with gold highlights, #AWE-Tuning non-resonated exhaust with 102mm black tips, six-speed manual ’box, UUC short-shifter

    POWER 560whp

    CHASSIS 9.5x20” ET20 (front) and 11x20” ET37 (rear) HRE S101 wheels with brushed light gold centres and polished lips with 265/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW H.A.S sleeve kit, custom painted Sakhir orange calipers

    EXTERIOR Full BMW M performance kit consisting of front carbon splitters, lower front lip, side skirts, all custom painted, M3 badges painted Avus blue, custom Avus blue and gloss black kidney grilles and side gills, BavGruppe custom headlights in gloss black with M tricolour stripes, Vorsteiner rear diffuser, Mode Carbon rear spoiler

    INTERIOR ESH Upholstery full Alcantara interior and M stitching including headlining, A- and B-pillars, door inserts, full dash, rear deck, door pulls, and gaiters, seat backs finished in Sakhir orange leather with Alcantara panels

    THANKS Danny Hernandez Paint Work, Angel Munoz Installation, Roman at Exclusive Vinyl, Alex at ESH Upholstery, Kourtney at Adam’s Polishes, Tom at BavGruppe, Mike Kuhn, Chad from Pristine Auto Leasing, Eric Keuhn, Reggie Balmir, and god

    “I wanted to be the most noticeable F80 M3 in the game”
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    MITSUBISHI MUSCLE 700BHP VARIS-KITTED EVO X


    Eric McWilliams swapped his mustang muscle car for a slice of Japanese speed in the form of this 700bhp Varis-kitted Mitsubishi Evo X, and he’s never looked back…

    Words: Dan Sherwood and Eric Mcwilliams. Pics: Viktor Benyi

    American muscle fan swaps his Mustang for an Evo X and never looks back!

    Looks can be deceptive. When you first clap eyes on Eric McWilliams’ evil-looking Mitsubishi Evo X, resplendent in its aggressive Varis wide arches, high-level carbon GT wing and the malevolent satin black deepdish ISS Forged split rims, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Eric was a dyed in the wool import fan, brought up on a strict diet of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. But the fact is Eric only got into the Japanese scene in 2009; before that his automotive fantasies were much closer to home.

    Now a resident of the glitzy town of Las Vegas, where he works as an engineer at one of the top casinos on the famous strip, Eric originally hails from a small town in the state of Iowa in America’s mid-west. A state known for its agriculture, Eric was more likely to swoon over a John Deere tractor than a tricked out Mitsubishi as he was growing up, and in fact his dream ride for the majority of his life was the good ol’ boys’ favourite: a V8 Mustang. Eric went on to eventually own the Pony car of his dreams and had big plans to give the mighty muscle car a steroid injection to turn it into a full-on drag machine. However, before he could complete his quarter mile queen, he cashed in his chips on his life in sleepy Iowa, to make a new one in America’s City of Sin.

    ‘Las Vegas opened my eyes to a whole new genre of cars,’ recalls Eric with a smile. ‘Before I moved there I was all about US muscle cars, but seeing tuned Japanese metal screaming around the sunscorched streets really sparked my passion for something a little more exotic from the Far East.’

    And it was when things started to ramp up on his Mustang project that Eric got his first real taste of Japanese machinery, when he decided to take the ’Stang off the road and get a new ride for daily driver duties. The car in question was a 2008 Evo X.

    ‘Coming from the Mustang, the Evo was a revelation!’ Eric enthuses. ‘Even in standard spec it was so fast and cornered like nothing I’d ever felt before. It didn’t have that deep V8 rumble, but it was just on another level in just about every other area, and the more I learnt about them and what was possible, the more I was eager to start the tuning process.’

    As the weeks and months passed, Eric’s love for his slice of Far Eastern fun was beginning to take over his life and the Mustang was steadily gathering dust as his passion for it diminished. Eventually, he decided it was time to move on and sold the shunned muscle car, leaving him free and unburdened to focus all his attention, and money, on the Mitsubishi.

    ‘At the time there was a whole host of companies producing parts for the Evo X and it was exciting planning the Evo’s evolution from mild to wild,’ Eric says with a grin. ‘In the end, rather than simply settling on one route to take the build, I decided to take on everything and make the ultimate, street driven, trackready, show ride capable of completing a 10 second quarter mile!’ Not too much to ask for then! Phew!

    First up on Eric’s wish list was to sort the performance. As an avid fan of the legendary AMS brand, it was an easy decision to outfit the four-cylinder turbo motor with a host of the firm’s bolt-on bits.

    Matched with bigger injectors and fuel pump, a drop-in turbo upgrade and a high-flow manifold, the car became more juiced for the track while still keeping its smooth daily drivability with a quick turbo spool and low-end torque. The final result was 467bhp at the wheels and a flat torque curve peaking at 350lb ft.

    With the engine power suitably increased, Eric attended Motion Auto Show in Long Beach, with high hopes of some recognition from his fellow tuning fans for his hard work, unfortunately, and to his shock, the car didn't even get noticed!

    ‘After the disappointment of the show I knew I’d have to improve the Evo’s appearance if I was to get the attention that I craved,’ says Eric. ‘Luckily, it was around this time that Varis Japan had released a widebody kit for the Evo X, which was the perfect way to get the visual edge I needed.’

    To source the stunning body addenda, Eric got straight on the blower to Ben Schaffer and the boys at Bulletproof Automotive in Los Angeles, California. As fate would have it, Bulletproof said they already had one of the rare kits winging its way from Japan to the US.

    Result! As the third ever kit to grace US soil and the first to feature on a car on the West Coast, Eric was sure the new look would go down a storm, and when fitted and drenched in the bright Carolina Blue with blue pearl paint (which was actually a hue based on the colour of Eric’s favourite BMX bike that he had as a kid) he tested the kit’s attention grabbing merits at the 2012 SEMA Show in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas.

    ‘The kit extends each corner of the car by 35mm and I filled this extra girth with a set of wide satin black Enkei wheels with 265-section tyres,’ Eric recalls. ‘The car looked so much better and people where raving about it at the show. I knew straight away that I’d made the right choice.’

    His build now had the looks to turn heads, but he had already got used to the power provided by the AMS bolt-ons, meaning the next stage of engine development was required.

    ‘After doing some research I decided to go down the route of a rebuilt engine, uprated turbo and drivetrain. In the end I went for a full 2.2-litre stroker build with 90mm CP pistons, Manley I-beam Turbo Tuff rods, ACL race bearings, ARP main studs and Golden Eagle sleeves,’ Eric says. ‘The build itself was carried out by Trevor at TrevTec Motorsports in Las Vegas and also incorporated extensive head work with Ferrea +1mm oversized valves, FIC 2150cc injectors, GSC S2 cams and Supertech dual valve springs and retainers.’

    The turbo side of the equation was met by an AMS 900X turbo kit controlled by a Grimspeed three-port electronic boost controller. This was then complemented by an AMS front-mount intercooler and hard-piping, plus an AMS 3in cat-back exhaust system.

    ‘As anyone that has undergone a similar build could tell you, the process will test your patience and passion for the car and mine was no different,’ laughs Eric. ‘The motor build alone took over a year due to several complications, but it did give me more time to spend on other areas of the car, such as removing any and all unnecessary weight.’

    Eric removed everything he could from the Evo’s innards, including scraping off the sticky tar-like sound deadening under the carpets. The car is now definitely a case of function over form when you pull open the driver’s door, with only a single Recaro Pro Hans racer seat with Takata four-point harnesses plus the top half of the dash and door cards left for comfort.

    When the potent new motor was finally finished and installed, Eric wisely sought to increase the car’s safety with a custom rollcage.

    ‘The car was sent to Merrill Performance in Colorado who handled the custom fabrication of a six-point weld-in ’cage built to the class-specific Time Attack regulations,’ Eric explains. ‘It’s a pretty comprehensive piece of kit with X-brace door bars and pillar tubes that plunge through the Alcantara trimmed dash top and mount to the front footwells. Hopefully I’ll never have the need to test it out!’ With the engine work, and then the interior tweaks, taking up so much time where the car was off the road, Eric decided that it would be rude not to give the exterior a refresh to match the new interior and engine.


    ‘I liked the Carolina blue paint, but felt it needed more of a race look, so tasked Paul at Grafik Impact with designing a custom Time Attack livery for the car,’ Eric recalls.

    Sticking with the blue and black theme, graphic guru Paul came up with the cool black strake design that whips up the car and incorporates a huge Varis logo – just in case you were wondering which kit was on the car.

    ‘I debuted the car’s new look at Import Face Off and took home the award for ‘Best Evo’,’ smiles Eric proudly. ‘It was a fantastic result, but the one thing that stood out to me was my old wheels. I really wanted a three-piece wheel so I could ditch the spacers I was running and get more dish.’

    To remedy his lack of girth on the rim front, Eric contacted Brent at ISS Forged to have a set of custom wheels made. Once they were completed and shipped, Eric was only too keen to install them, unfortunately the stress of the spacers on the stock wheel studs had took its toll…

    ‘I was driving to a local meet on my new rims when a stud snapped off on the front passenger side and destroyed the face of the wheel. I had to send the wheel out to have a new face cut for it,’ he says with a roll of his eyes. However, with a car build such as Eric’s, there’s no such thing as downtime, so while he waited for the damaged rim to be repaired, it seemed like an opportunity to finish up some other areas of the car.

    ‘I sent the car off to Mad Kustomz to have Ahmad and James install an AMS carbonfibre roof, colour match the door jams, rollcage and a new Stoptech big brake kit that I had acquired for the car,’ he smiles. ‘They finished everything up just in time for the replacement rim.’

    Now that the car was finally all back together – a full nine months after having the motor installed – Eric decided to see what his new engine could really do and committed to a full mapping session to take things closer to the limit.

    Well known in the US for their tuning skills with Japanese cars, especially Evo Xs – English Racing built the world’s fastest and quickest Evo X – Lucas and Aaron from English Racing came down to Las Vegas to tune several Evos at the Dynojet research facility and Eric’s was one of the lucky rides on the list. The final numbers it put down on a conservative road/race tune was 640bhp and 476lb ft at the wheels @28psi. Impressive numbers, but what’s more impressive is how much more there is left in reserve.


    ‘Yeah, Lucas and Aaron said that there's plenty more in her, but after such a long time without the car I’m just looking forward to spending time behind the wheel and driving it as much as I can,’ Aaron explains. ‘Chasing numbers is all good, but it’s more than fast enough for me – for now at least – and I don’t want to risk more time with the car off the road to fix things if we push it much further.’


    So for now, Eric is happy with his Evo, and even if the urge to push on gets too strong and he gives in to his speed and power cravings, it’s good to know that his desires are only a dyno mapping session away, meaning he may be down a Mustang, but his malevolent Mitsubishi has got more than enough muscle to compensate!

    TECHICAL SPECIFIFCATIONS #Mitsubishi-Evo-X / #Mitsubishi-Evo / #Mitsubishi / #Mitsubishi-Lancer-Evo-X / #Mitsubishi-Lancer-X / #Mitsubishi-Lancer /

    ENGINE: 2.2-litre, 4-cyl, 16v, #4B11 engine built by #TrevTec , #AMS-900X turbo kit, AMS front-mount intercooler and hardpiping, #AMS 3in cat-back exhaust, AMS fuel rail and fuel pressure regulator, AMS motor mounts, ACL race bearings, #ARP main studs, CP 90mm pistons, #Cosworth 90mm head gasket, Ferrea oversized valves, FIC 2150cc injectors, Golden Eagle sleeves, Grimspeed 3-port electronic boost controller, GSC S2 cams, Manley I-beam rods, Mishimoto radiator cap, gauge and hoses, #Mishimoto 10in slim fan, #Password JDM dress-up bolts and carbon-fibre ignition cover, #Supertech dual valve springs/retainers, TiAL QR blow-off valve, Merrill performance catch can, Walbro 450lph fuel pump

    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual gearbox with Exedy triple-plate clutch, Jacks Transmissions ultimate final drive

    SUSPENSION: #KW 2-way adjustable Clubsport coilovers, Agency Power rear lower control arms and anti-roll bar drop links, Cusco front and rear strut braces, Cobb front anti-roll bar, Whiteline rear anti-roll bar

    BRAKES: Stoptech big brake kits front and rear

    WHEELS & TYRES: 11.5x18in ISS Forged FM-10R Spec B 3-piece wheels with 295/35/18 BF Goodrich Rival tyres

    EXTERIOR: Varis carbon-fibre wide-body kit, front splitter and dual hyper canards, AMS carbon-fibre roof, Aeromotion R2 static wing, Ralliart tail lights, Seibon carbonfibre bonnet and boot lid, Carolina blue pearl paint, custom Time Attack livery

    INTERIOR: Agency Power short shifter, AMS shift knob, AMS small battery kit, custom black suede dash, arm rest and shift boot with blue stitching, custom carbon-fibre gauge cluster, Glowshift boost gauge, Innovate Motorsports LC-1 DB gauge, NRG black suede steering wheel, Recaro Pro Hans racer seat, Takata 4-point harnesses, Works Bell hub, 6-point weld-in rollcage

    THANKS: Team Hybrid, Founder/President James Lin, LV Chapter Director Archie Concon, Scott Dean, Jesse Ramirez, Hybrid Hunnyz, BFGoodrich, Mishimoto, Meguiar’s, K&N, NRG, Sony, Seibon, Exedy, Bulletproof Automotive, Grafik Impact, Trevor from Trevtec, Pete Makowski and also my mom, dad, brother, family and friends for all their support!

    ‘A CUSTOM WELD-IN ROLLCAGE WAS INSTALLED TO MEET TIME ATTACK REGS’

    OH CAROLINA!

    The Carolina blue paint that covers the EVO is inspired by Eric’s favourite BMX bike that he had as a kid. the searing blue hue accentuates the lines of the awesome varis widebody kit, which is actually made of lightweight carbon-fibre. Combined with a varis vsdc carbon front splitter and varis carbon dual hyper canards the front end looks proper aggro! But that’s not all of the exotic black weave, as Eric’s Evo also has an AMS carbon roof and seibon vented carbon bonnet and boot lid! For a similar hardcore Japanese tuner-look for your Evo, check out www.indigo-gt.com. Based in tredegar, south wales. Indigo GT is a licenced varis dealer and has form for supplying these awesome aero kits to some of the hottest cars in the UK.
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    THE RIGHT STUFF
    Some cars have it, some cars don’t – but this 625hp supercharged E92 M3 most definitely has a whole heap of it. From its looks, to its stance and what it’s got lurking under the bonnet, this E92 M3 gets everything right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.

    What makes a good-looking car? The styling plays a big part, of course, but that on its own isn’t enough; how it sits is also important, as ride height and stance play a huge role in terms of a car’s visual appeal. Furthermore, the wheels are crucial as the ‘wrong’ ones can ruin even the best-looking cars. Get all of these elements spot-on and you’ll build yourself a car that looks right on every level and David Cao has done just that. It helps that he’s chosen to work his magic on an E92 M3, which is a great platform to begin any build, and as an added bonus there’s a bit of extra spice going on under the bonnet…

    We have to say that looking at the E92 (and its M3 incarnation in particular) with post-F3x eyes, it looks better than it ever did. Everything about it, from the proportions to the understated but purposeful styling, was and still is right. The F8x M3 and M4 certainly aren’t short of aggression, but the E9x M3 has such a cohesive shape that flows so well, with perfect proportions. Add the overwhelming aftermarket support for the car (so extensive that no two examples are likely to be the same) plus the fact that it’s likely to be the last naturally aspirated M3 that we’ll see and it’s enough to have you reaching for the chequebook.

    That’s exactly what David did, and he’s clearly as keen on the E9x 3 Series family as we are, judging by past and present automotive conquests: “I’ve been interested in BMWs since 2007 when I bought my first one, a 335i,” he says, which is certainly a great introduction to the brand. “I bought it because of its twin-turbo engine and the fact that it performed just as well as the E46 M3.” While that 335i is no longer part of the stable, David has employed an E91 325xi Touring for daily duties. Good as the 335i was, when the M3 was launched the lure of its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 proved impossible to resist and he put his name down, with this white example being the result of that transaction.

    The E92 M3 is an awesome machine out-of- the-box, but it has so much untapped potential that it really would seem foolish not to tap it. David has a car history that includes a large number of modified Hondas, so the M3 was never going to stay stock for long. Also, with his modifying roots firmly embedded in the JDM scene, it is unsurprising that David has chosen to let some of those Japanese styling influences spill over to his German machine, and it’s given this M3 a fusion flavour that’s distinctively different. The front and rear bumpers come from Japanese tuning house, Amuse, and are part of the Ericsson range; the bumpers aren’t overly aggressive, just adding a touch of extra ‘swoopiness’ and it’s only really the bootlid, with its unashamedly indiscreet, obtuse-angled integrated spoiler that makes a big impact. The front bumper, with its black corner extensions, has been further embellished with an APR carbon fibre splitter, while the rear item has been fitted with a Downforce USA multi-piece carbon fibre diffuser, which blends perfectly with the bumper.

    In addition to this, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades sit below the skirts on either side and there’s an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, plus slick-looking ONEighty NYC custom headlights with super-bright angel eyes. These are complemented at the rear with a set of LCI light clusters.


    On the suspension front, David has eschewed air-ride on his E92 M3, instead opting to keep things static with a KW coilover kit, though he’s clearly a devout worshipper at the temple of lows judging by how far off the ground the front splitter sits; in fact, we’re amazed it’s survived this long! Of course, lowered suspension is crying out for the right wheels to go with a serious drop and here Dave has once again looked to the Far East for inspiration.

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car,” he says, “and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels, which is why I got this classic set of Work Equips.” The simple fivespoke design is perhaps not one you tend to see on E9x M3s, which makes the wheels stand out and gives this car a particular, aggressive, look. The wheels themselves, while not intricate, are gorgeous, from the detailed centre caps with their raised lettering to the contrast of the dark silver faces against the mirror-polished stepped lips, with those deep dishes front and rear catching the light. They really suit the car’s aggressive styling, the thick, chunky spokes sitting perfectly against the sharp, angular looks and giving the whole package a squat, stocky appearance.

    Venturing inside, the remnants of the once red interior offer up a nice contrast against the inky blackness of everything else and, while David hasn’t gone wild in here, what he has changed has made a big difference. The two-piece Recaro Sportster CS seats are awesome, a world away from the comfortable but slightly bland standard items, and give the interior a much more purposeful look that matches the M3’s outward appearance. They are joined by a ZHP gear knob, because this is indeed a manual, and a #BMW-M-Performance V2 steering wheel with digital display along with a P3Cars vent-mounted multi-function digital data display and boost gauge.

    Now, the E9x M3 is a pretty ferocious performance machine out-of-the-box, the glorious S65 V8 giving it some serious muscle, but it would be a shame if all that additional battle armour on the outside wasn’t backed up with a little something extra under the bonnet. Luckily, this M3 has had more than a little fettling on the engine front and lifting the lid on the 4.0-litre V8 reveals the unmistakable intake plenum of an ESS supercharger kit.

    David has opted for the VT2-625 intercooled setup, which is only $600 more than the 595 version but a hefty $1400 lighter on the wallet than the top-end 650 version, making this the sensible choice for those looking to punch through the 600hp barrier on their supercharged M3.

    As its name suggests, the 625 kits makes a mighty 625hp, 205hp up on the standard car, with 410lb ft of torque for some serious midrange muscle, with the Vortech V3 Si supercharger running at between 6.5 and 7psi of boost. That pressurised air passing through what ESS says is the largest chargecooler system on the market and an octet of uprated Bosch injectors ensure ample fuel reaches the engine to match all that additional air. Not only is it an awesome-looking kit, it really delivers on the performance front and gives this M3 more than enough of a power upgrade to match the aggressive styling. The supercharger, incidentally, is David’s favourite modification on the car: “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust,” he says.

    Ah yes, we almost forget about that. The quad pipes protruding from the rear valance are far from stock and belong to the IPE Innotech F1 Valvetronic exhaust system. A bit of a mouthful that may be, but this stainless steel system goes from mild to wild at the push of a button, delivering an awesome V8 soundtrack with the valves open, so much so that we wonder if David ever bothers to close them… The finishing touch, and a necessary one to compensate for that massive increase in power, is the addition of a beefy Rotora Street Challenge big brake kit with six-pot forged aluminium callipers and massive 380mm discs up front.

    It’s fair to say that David has built himself an absolute monster machine of an M3. It looks that little bit different from the norm thanks to its Asian styling influences and combines striking styling with a whole heap of power thanks to that ESS supercharger. It ticks just about every box you could think of and it really is one of those cars that gets everything so very right.

    DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #ESS / #IPE-Innotech / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-E92-Supercharged / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #ESS-Supercharger

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65-Supercharged , #ESS-VT-2-625 intercooled supercharger kit, IPE-Innotech-F1-Valvetronic exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, 625hp, 410lb ft

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) three-piece #Work-Equip wheels with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Achilles #Achilles-ATR Sport tyres, #KW coilovers, #Rotora-Street-Challenge #BBK (front) with forged aluminium six-pot calipers and 380mm slotted discs

    EXTERIOR Amuse Ericsson front bumper, APR carbon fibre front splitter, ONEighty NYC headlights, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades, Amuse Ericsson bootlid, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, Downforce carbon fibre rear diffuser, LCI tail-lights

    INTERIOR #BMW-Performance electronic V2 steering wheel, BMW ZHP gear knob, Recaro Sportster CS seats, P3Cars digital integrated data display and boost gauge

    THANKS Viet at Delta Auto Care, John at Speedfreak Detailing, Alex from Autocouture, Rotora brakes and Johnny, Julian and David at BMW

    “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust”

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels…”
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    BLUE MOVIE /

    This E92 335i knows all about making a big impact. A hot, loud, wild ride that seduces, screams and amuses… Back for his second stint of PBMW fame, Steve Lin shows us how to make a bold statement with BMW’s latest Coupé, the undeniably sexy 335i. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Darren Maybury.

    Regular readers of PBMW should remember Steve Lin’s E39 540i featured in May 2007. How could you forget? With wide-body styling, a Candy fuscia paint scheme, 20” iForged wheels and a supercharger to boot, it’s a car you’re not going to forget in a hurry! And astonishingly, little over a year later he’s back. His second project may not be as outrageous as the Five, but it is another unusual choice of base car.

    Steve placed the order for his E92 335i in February 2007, taking delivery of it some months later on April 24. The Mission Viejo resident first fell in love with the blue and white roundel some 11 years ago at the tender age of 18, when his father bought him a new E36 328i, insisting that a BMW was the safest car for a teenager. If only my dad was as concerned for my wellbeing! A Ford Fiesta 1.1 doesn’t quite match up!

    As far as Steve is concerned now, no other manufacturer can rival BMW’s exquisite drive, handling and performance, so it’s no surprise to hear that he’s already planning his next project, a VIP-style E60 M5, slammed on 21s and tuned to 600bhp. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, for now we want to know more about this stunning 335i. That colour’s pretty nice, isn’t it? It’s Montego blue, our man did consider Alpine white, but apparently it’s very common on the busy roads of southern California, so blue it was. A similar hue has been carried through to the lip of the wheels, something often seen on the Japanese tuning scene, and the spokes painted gloss black with contrasting polished bolts. If ever you needed an example of the adage ‘wheels maketh the car’ here’s the proof. As Vice President of operations for iForged, Steve had very little choice when it came to picking a brand of rim, so he plumped for one of his personal favourites from the Precision Series range, the Essen, the very same wheels fitted to his Audi A3.

    The 335i’s dynamics are pretty much flawless straight from the factory, but with H&R anti-roll bars teamed with a substantial drop on KW Variant 2 coilovers sharpening it up even further while also providing a snug fit for those 8.5x20” wheels, we doubt there’s any complaints from Steve. With a 2.5” lip up front and a 4” lip out back shod in 245/30 and 285/25 Toyo T1R tyres respectively, it’s a winning combination of modern way-low attitude, streched rubber and custom rims.

    Take a closer look and you’ll see Steve’s also made improvements to the car’s braking performace as well, with Rotora’s eight-piston calipers clamped to 15” cross-drilled discs on the front and four-piston calipers matched to 14” cross-drilled discs for the rear.

    From its balanced proportions to its elegantly cut creases, the latest Coupé is stylish and sporty without reverting to radical and awkward sculpting. Contemporary BMW design has been a strangely hit and miss affair, but rather than averting your eyes for fear of seeing an uncomfortable assortment of panel gaps, shut lines and ridges, the bullseye has been firmly hit in this instance. In fact, I suspect Mr Bangle may have been on his holidays when the Board of Directors approved this machine, but as we modifiers well know, there’s always room for improvement. Steve takes up the story: “I thought the stock styling was too subtle for the car, so I fitted the Rieger body kit for a more aggressive look. I’ve always believed in building a car that’s muscular but sleek at the same time. I like the fact that people can’t figure out what I did to my car because everything flows so well together. The front end is my favourite part of the car, it just looks so much more aggressive now compared to standard.” We couldn’t have explained it better ourselves. DTM Autobody in El Monte took care of fitting the Rieger front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser and carbon fibre splitter, having to shave the edges to ensure a flawless finish, while Steve painted the kidney grille black for a simpler, cleaner look and popped in 8000K xenon bulbs to give the headlamps a piercing stare.


    The 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line-six will blaze the 0 to 62 sprint in 5.5 seconds – although acceleration times from other motoring magazines have proved even faster than the company’s claimed figures. Steve plans on getting a front-mounted intercooler, downpipes and, eventually, bigger turbos, for now though he’s quite satisfied with the Racing Dynamics Sport quad exhaust system and #Black-Box installed by Auto Talent in Los Angeles. The RD Black Box is a self-contained ECU that works as a piggyback to the #Siemens-MSD80-DME . By controlling a variety of parameters such as boost pressure and timing advance, it delivers an additional 65bhp and 80lb ft of torque, bringing the performance of this 335i to the range of the current V10 powered M5 and far beyond the outgoing E46 M3. “The power increase was noticeable in every gear, especially in second and third,” revealed Steve. For those E92 owners interested in fitting one yourself, you might also like to know the unit can be bypassed with the provided Service Plugs or can be removed in minutes to restore your 335i to its original state.

    Tuned to over 365bhp with styling to make every E92 owner weep with envy, look at this car and tell me you don’t want it. Steve’s dream would be to widen the front fenders and rear quarter panels, throw on some 13x20” wheels shod in 345/25 tyres and increase power to 500bhp at the wheels.

    Given he’s done all of the above in four months, it may not seem altogether unattainable. There’s certainly no denying the car won’t be used to its full potential either, he’s already clocked 150mph on the way back from last year’s SEMA show. I seriously doubt this is the last we’ll hear from Steve. Whether it be stage two of the 335i, which bears all the promise of being bedroom wall pin-up fodder, or his next project, the M5, one thing’s for sure; we’ll bring you the exclusive coverage.

    “I like the fact that people can’t figure out what I did to my car because everything flows so well together”

    DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #N54B30O0 / #BMW-N54 / #N54 / #BMW / #N54B30 / #Forged / #KW / #Racing-Dynamics

    ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six with #Racing-Dynamics-Sport quad exhaust system and Black Box

    CHASSIS: 8.5x20” and 10x20” #iForged-Precision-Series-Essen wheels with gloss black centres and #Sapphire blue lips shod in 245/30 and 285/25 Toyo T1R tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-2 coilovers, #H&R front and rear anti-roll bars. #Rotora eight-piston calipers and 15” cross-drilled discs (front) and Rotora four-piston calipers and 14” cross-drilled discs

    EXTERIOR: Montego blue factory paint, Rieger front bumper, carbon fiber splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, custom painted black kidney grille, 8000K xenon headlight bulbs

    INTERIOR: Standard black leather eight-way power factory sport seats and brushed aluminium trim

    THANKS: #iForged-Performance-Alloys (www.forgedwheels.com), #KW-Suspensions (www.kw-suspension.com), Rotora Brakes (www.rotora.com), Toyo Tires (www.toyo.com), Auto Talent (www.autotalent.com), DTM Autobody (www.dtmautobody.com)

    Tuned to over 365bhp with styling to make every E92 owner weep with envy, look at this car and tell me you don’t want it.
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    IRISH CHARM

    Exceedingly clean and exceptionally well-modified, this supercharged BMW 325Ci E46 on BBS LMs is doing it right. Modifying is one thing, but bringing a car to a better than factory standard is something else; Darren Fennelly’s supercharged E46 proves beauty is more than skin deep. Words: Ben Koflach // Photos: Drive-My.


    This Irish E46 started life as a standard silver 323Ci but in less than a year owner Darren Fennelly transformed it into one of the most extensively workedover E46s out there.

    This wasn’t a cheque book build either. Oh no, much of the work was done by Darren and his close friends. “The build took nine months and nearly killed me and my friends,” Darren explains. “It’s one of the biggest things I have done in my life, but definitely one of the best and most enjoyable, even with all the late nights and hardships along the way.”

    So where do we begin? Well, first things first, it’s clearly no longer silver. The 323’s change to its glorious white hue wasn’t a quick and easy one, either. Darren wanted a really thorough spray over and so the 2.5- litre M52TU, along with its five-cog gearbox, was hauled out of the engine bay, thus giving the painter an easier job when it came to making sure the paint coverage was as complete as possible.


    The engine wasn’t simply put to one side, mind you. Darren had been speaking with Simpson Motorsport in England about getting more ponies out of it. “Simpson put me in touch with European Supercharger Systems (ESS) in Norway, from whom I bought the supercharger brand-new,” he says. “A genius friend of mine and myself installed it in around five hours without any real problems.”

    It’s an impressive bit of kit that uses a twin-screw compressor rather than the more traditionally used centrifugal configuration. Twin-screw superchargers have been used by American hot rods and drag racers for decades and this method really suits Darren’s E46 as it provides more low down torque; peak boost is delivered from around 2200rpm – perfect for his daily driver.

    Using a custom ESS-spec Lysholm 1.6-litre blower and an aluminium-alloy intake manifold, the ESS Stage 1 kit provides some healthy power figures. Larger Bosch injectors, CNC mounting brackets, additional idler pulleys and a heavy-duty drive belt all come as part of the kit, too, and it all works together to provide 7psi of boost along with quick throttle response.

    Although the ESS system is designed to fit with the factory air box, Darren has swapped that out for a Powertec cone filter and once the engine was back in the car, also fitted a manifold-back Supersprint exhaust system. “ESS claimed the supercharger would add another 110bhp and after mapping at Simpson Motorsport it put down 276bhp,” Darren reveals. “It is fast, not M3 fast, but not a million miles off either. The acceleration is very clean and it pulls real nice with the supercharger. And there’s a nice little whistle too, just enough so that you know it’s got a little something extra hidden away!”

    Before the engine was put back in, mind you, Darren cleaned it right up, and did the same with the gearbox, while also renewing the oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner and sub-engine protection unit, as well as the clutch.

    Various components, from the washer bottle top to the ECU cover were then painted gloss black, and that’s before we even get to the carbon fibre that’s been added. Darren really has been thorough and the result is a truly stunning-looking engine bay.


    Coming back to the body, you’ll probably have spotted that the colour isn’t the only thing that changed. Darren also purchased a #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, as well as an M Tech rear bumper which he modified to sit level with the Reiger bits – a subtle touch that makes a world of difference. A CSL-style addition to the bootlid looks spot-on, as do the partsmoked LED rear tail-lights and smoked indicators all-round. More carbon fibre additions come in the form of a rear diffuser and kidney grilles, while a similar level of attention to detail has gone in to the exterior as the engine.


    Every clip, bracket, mount or fastener has been replaced with items from the dealer, as have many other items of trim, including the under arch liners and also the brake lines. The underside was also extensively cleaned and repainted. “We started off with a simple plan but got carried away!” laughs Darren.

    You name it, it’s been either replaced, renewed or repainted. The entire rear subframe was dropped out of the car, for example, enabling it and the area from which it was removed to be lovingly rubbed down and repainted. All the bushes were replaced, including the four subframe bushes, and Turner Motorsport limiters were fitted to the rear trailing arm bush carriers. The springs and shocks were binned in favour of #KW Variant 2 coilovers, offering Darren the adjustability he was after without being a harsh full-on race setup.

    With the extra power under the bonnet, you won’t be surprised to hear that the brakes have seen quite a substantial upgrade. Up front, 330mm grooved discs are clamped by AP Racing four-pot calipers, while the standard rear discs have been renewed and are accompanied by M3 calipers, which have had new pads fitted and been painted red to match the APs. Feeding these with the necessary fluid they need to operate is a set of braided hoses. The rolling stock is one of those additions that just seem to make this car, and rightly so. Many E46s sport replica BBS LMs, and in some ways we can understand why – they look good and go well with the E46 shape.


    However, any kind of replica wheel just wasn’t going to cut it for Darren’s project, and he managed to source a set of genuine staggered 19” LMs. Darren wanted them to be absolutely perfect, so they were sent to Nu-Luk Wheels in Carrickfergus. Every single nut and bolt was removed, with the dishes, barrels and faces coming apart for attention. The dishes were stripped of the lacquer they’d previously worn by a machine lathe, following which they were polished to an extremely high standard. The centres were then taken right back before being powdercoated gold, lacquered and built back up.

    Measuring 8.5” wide up front and a chunky 10” out back, the wheels not only look the business but mean that Darren is able to get a much bigger rubber footprint down for more grip at both ends. To that end, he’s fitted grippy 235/35 front and 265/30 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres, which look absolutely perfect.

    Our final stop on our tour of Darren’s E46 is the interior – and what an interior it is. Much like the rest of the project, Darren’s approach is far from shy. The whole lot was essentially gutted, making things a little easier for the retrimmers, who were tasked with covering the lot in sumptuous red Nappa leather – not before Darren had added an OEM black carpet in place of the original grey one, mind you. The parcel shelf was also given a covering of black alcantara, while much of the plastic trim was replaced with black parts from the OEM catalogue, or repainted black. OEM mats and a selection of M goodies almost complete the spec, and it’s worth noting that Darren also renewed every single nut, bolt, washer, clip and bracket in the process. The cherry on the top of the awesome interior is the dash, which has been flocked for a motorsport feel and has benefited from a trio of gauges monitoring the boost, oil pressure and voltage. The factory dials have also been changed to white to match this trio, which is a neat touch.

    Truly unrecognisable as an early E46, Darren’s 323Ci is a real stunner. So thorough is his reworking that his Three looks and feels like something that’s just left the factory. Attention to detail like this is not seen often – no stone has been left unturned, and we’d happily go as far as saying it’s one of the best E46s in Ireland – or at least from what we’ve seen. Considering the enormous makeover the car’s had, to do it all in just nine months is amazing and just goes to show that you can do whatever you like with a bit of help from your friends.

    DATA FILE #BMW-323Ci-E46 / #BMW-323Ci / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged / #M52/ #BMW-M52 / #M52-Supercharged / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #ESS / #BMW-325Ci / #BMW-325Ci-E46 / #BBS-LM / #BBS /

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M52TUB25 , #ESS-TS1 supercharger kit including inlet manifold and larger injectors, #Powertec air filter with custom heat shield and air intake hose, #Supersprint manifold-back exhaust system, ECU remap by #Simpson-Motorsport , carbon fibre rocker cover and fuel rail cover, custom ESS decal for rocker cover, chrome oil filler cap, new OEM: fuel filter, oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner, sub-engine protection unit. Black painted: front air intake unit, ECU cover, expansion tank cover, battery unit box and more. Standard five-speed manual gearbox, ST1 short shifter, new OEM: clutch, flex disc, gearbox mounts.


    CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS LMs fully rebuilt with powdercoated gold centres and polished dishes, shod in 235/35 and 265/30 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-2 coilovers, new OEM: wishbones, bushes, track rod ends and all nuts, bolts and washers. #Turner-Motorsport RTAB limiter kit fitted, all components cleaned and repainted including underside of shell, new jacking rubbers. #AP-Racing front brake kit using four-pot calipers and 330mm grooved discs, new OEM rear discs and M3 calipers painted red, new brake lines with braided flexi-hoses, new OEM handbrake shoes, Ferodo brake fluid.


    EXTERIOR: Full respray in white with a black roof, #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, Reiger front splitter, CSL-style rear spoiler, customised M Sport rear bumper, carbon fibre kidney grilles, carbon fibre diffuser, carbon fibre badges, smoked front and side indicators, LED rear light units with smoked indicators and reverse lights, new OEM foglights and surrounding M-tech mouldings, new OEM arch liners, new OEM brackets and clips throughout, new factory stickers throughout.

    INTERIOR: Full retrim in red Nappa leather, parcel shelf retrimmed in black alcantara, full black OEM carpet, most of remaining trim replaced with new black components or new grey components sprayed black, ST1 footrest and pedals, new OEM door and boot rubbers, M Sport gear knob and handbrake handle, new OEM floor mats, flocked dashboard, custom gauge pod (also flocked) holding Stuart Warner 52mm boost, oil pressure and volt gauges, white Lockwood dials, new OEM speakers all-round
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