- Post is under moderationSPACE INVADER 900hp #BMW-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91 / #BMW-335i-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring-900bhp / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91-900bhp
With 900hp from an #N54 with stock internals, this E91 Touring is really reaching for the final frontier. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
The king of fast estates has traditionally always been Audi; its automotive back catalogue is filled with examples of big power load-luggers, from the legendary RS2 Avant, mental original RS4 and equally mental RS6s, though BMW has also had a go, with the E34 M5 Touring and E61 M5 Touring. These days, though, its given up on M estates, so the fastest way to transport dogs, children and sofas, possibly all at the same time, is in something with a turbocharged straight-six under the bonnet. For example, the F31 335d xDrive will hit 0-62 in 4.9 seconds, at which point you have to ask yourself: how fast do you really need to go?
Well, if your name is Marco van Weerd, then the answer is much, much faster than that. Marco’s steed of choice is an E91 335i M Sport Touring, a fine car powered by a fine engine and plenty quick in just about any given situation but, as we all know, the twin-turbo N54 has so much more to give… Marco bought the car three years ago, completely stock, but, with a couple of modified Japanese cars in his motoring past, it was never going to stay that way for long. “From the moment I bought the car, I began modifying it right away, starting with some standard upgrades like a JB4, downpipes, intercooler etc” but that was never going to satisfy his thirst for modifying and his hunger for power. You see, Marco wasn’t interested in owning just a quick car, he wanted to push the limits of the #N54 as far as he could and that’s exactly what he’s done, taking the 3.0-litre straight-six to a staggering 900hp. It takes just a quick glance into this E91’s engine bay to see how he’s done that: with an absolutely gigantic turbo strapped to the side of the engine but, what’s a little scary, is the fact that Marco has left the engine’s internals completely stock…
“I wanted to try and break the 1000 flywheel hp mark on a stock N54 because I want to be the one to set that record,” he grins, and he’s tantalisingly close. The key to that stratospheric power output is threefold, a combination of: massive turbo, fuelling mods and the right fuel. The pictures show a Comp 6465 but that wasn’t powerful enough for Marco, so since the shoot that has been swapped for a Precision 6466 turbo running at a heady 2.5bar, with twin Tial MVS wastegates leading to a pair of screamer pipes located under the car, with that torrent of turbocharged air being passed through a 190.5mm stepped intercooler from VR Speed Factory and into an Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six Bosch injectors. These are fed by an uprated fuel system running a Fuel-It Stage 3 kit consisting of twin Walbro 450 low-pressure fuel pumps plus upgraded fuel lines with a Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content analyser, necessary because the car has been set up by JB4 Tuning Benelux to run on E60, a heady mix of ethanol and 102 octane fuel. Further enhancements include cooler NGK 5992 spark plugs and a custom exhaust, consisting of a 3.5” downpipe leading to twin 2.5” pipes with twin electronically controlled cut-outs located before the rear silencer, and finished off with twin 102mm carbon exhaust tips.
You might be concerned that running that much boost through such a massive turbo means the engine is only heading in one, inevitable direction, but you needn’t worry as a forged engine is on the cards, at which point Marco’s power goal will change from 1000hp at the crank to 1000whp… When that happens, there will be a lot of transmission work going on because, at the moment, everything here, much like everything within the engine, is completely standard and that simply won’t do when the next stage of the project gets underway. In fact, only the standard brakes have been deemed unfit for purpose and have received a seriously substantial upgrade in the shape of a D2 Racing front and rear BBK, comprising 380mm discs with eight-piston calipers and 356mm discs with four-piston calipers respectively.
You might be expecting to find some sort of serious static suspension setup leaning far towards the performance end of the spectrum, but one glance at the photos will tell you that you’d be wrong. Marco has opted for a spot of air-ride, with an Air Lift Performance 3H kit handling the suspension duties and delivering some devastating lows when fully aired out, bringing this E91 to within a whisker of the Tarmac, the nifty controller mounted simply, just ahead of the gear lever inside the car. The interior itself has been left virtually standard, bar the addition of the M Performance gear selector and carbon roundel on the steering wheel, which has also been treated to an alcantara trim panel. What Marco has done is add some serious tech to help him keep an eye on what going on under the bonnet, with a Samsung tablet running the JB4 mobile app and displaying OBD controls and tuning plus a phone equipped with the Fuel-It app, displaying fuel temperature and ethanol content, with both pieces of tech connected to the car via Bluetooth.
While the engine and interior may have been left standard, the exterior has not and here Marco has taken the opportunity to put his personal stamp on the car and really make it stand out. “In my company I have my own car lift where I can work on the car whenever I want,” he says. “I tried to build the car all to my own taste and wanted to use custom parts you cannot buy everywhere,” which is why this E91 looks so distinctive. Up front, and giving this prefacelift E91 a fresh and fierce look, he’s fitted a custom 1M front bumper specially made to go with the facelift bonnet (complete with carbon roundel) and headlights he’s also fitted, and the bumper has been further enhanced with the addition of a custom carbon front lip with custom carbon winglets at the corners. There are matt black mirrors and the side skirts have been embellished with custom carbon extension lips while at the rear you’ll find a custom carbon diffuser and custom carbon fi ns at the edges of the bumper, with all-red rear lights adding the finishing touch. Marco’s custom approach to styling and inherent perfectionism and attention to detail extends to the engine bay, which has also been adorned with a selection of custom carbon parts along with a custom carbon strut brace. The wheels too are, naturally, completely custom items produced to Marco’s exact specifications, 8.5x20” up front and 10x20” at the rear, a striking twin seven-spoke design finished in Sepang bronze. You might think that would be an odd choice to go with such an extensively black exterior, but they really work and just add something to the overall look of the car and the size is perfect too. The extensive use of carbon fibre, the aggressive styling and the sheer blackness of the thing all combine to make this one of the most ferocious-looking E91s we’ve ever crossed paths with. It’s just so mean and intimidating, an utterly ruthless-looking machine and one that has more than enough bite to back up its substantial bark.
For most people, a 900hp E91 Touring would be their final goal, but Marco’s just getting warmed up and there’s a lot more to come. “I want to make a custom wide-body kit for the car,” says Marco, running through his future plans for the Touring, “another set of custom wheels, wider this time, at least 10s up front and 12s at the rear, and I’ll also build the forged engine I want so I can hit 1000whp and that will also need an upgraded gearbox, axles and diff.” Judging by what he’s accomplished so far and his dedication and determination to extract as much power as physically possible from the N54, we don’t doubt he’ll achieve his goals and the end result is going to be something truly out of this world…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Single-Turbo E91 335i / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #N54-PTE6466 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-E91 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #N54B30-tuned / #N54-swapp , #PTE-6466 1.0 A/r T4 turbo ( #Comp-6465 turbo shown in pictures), twin #Tial-MVS wastegates with twin screamer pipes, custom intake piping, #VR-Speed-Factory 190.5mm stepped intercooler, Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six #Bosch injectors, #Fuel-It-Stage-3 kit with twin Walbro 450 low pressure fuel pumps, upgraded fuel lines, in-line Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content reader, #NGK 5992 spark plugs, custom exhaust with 3.5’’ downpipe to twin 2.5’’ piping, twin electronic cut-outs, twin carbon 102mm exhaust tips, custom carbon engine parts. Standard #ZF6HP six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) custom wheels finished in #Sepang-bronze with 225/30 (front) and 265/25 (rear) Hankook Evo S1 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3H #Air-ride system, custom carbon fibre strut brace, #D2-Racing #BBK with eight-pot calipers and 380mm floating discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 356mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR LCI bonnet, LCI headlights, custom 1M front bumper, custom carbon front lip with custom carbon tips, carbon roundels, matt black mirrors, custom carbon side skirt extensions, custom carbon rear diffuser, custom carbon fi ns, all-red rear lights
INTERIOR #M-Performance gear selector, carbon steering wheel roundel, alcantara steering wheel trim panel, Samsung tablet running JB4 mobile app, phone running Fuel-It app, 3H controller, single air tank in boot
THANKS Andreas Bäckström at PPF Racing, JB4 Tuning Benelux, custom parts by Ventura Motorsports USA, Ritchino Lippelt at MALS, carbon parts by Wheelclinic Lightweight Performance, Mike Kluinhaar at Kluinhaar Bandenservice & Design, Tim Maatman for the welding, N-XTC.com/Chemical Guys for the Quartz Coat paint protection, High Quality Detailing, Tiago Vieira at VR Speed FactoryStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCLEAN BANDIT Styled and tuned F82 M4. SLICK M4 F82 with power and poise. Passion brought forth the assassin… Keren Zeng’s ingrained love for the BMW brand has helped him deliver a killer blow with this M4. Flawless victory! Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Uy.
Assassins come in many forms. Followers of classic Japanese folklore will be familiar with the concept of the ninja or shinobi, whose function was to act as a covert spy and saboteur. Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series will know the assassins to be as gentlemanly and respected as they are deadly, fusing the cloaked secrecy of the ninja with the necessity to always leave their victims with a receipt.
And, of course, there’s the ragtag group of misfit assassins that this BMW M4 falls into; rubbing shoulders with James Bond and Liam Neeson, it’s the sort of character that’ll kick your door in, carry out the lethal task in broad daylight, utter a witty quip, shoot the cuffs on their impeccably tailored suit, and effect their graceful egress. Possibly leaping off a ledge and onto a plane or something.
This car could never be a shinobi. Look at it, it’s bright orange. But it does neatly intertwine the twin cannons of flawlessly sharp aesthetics and brutal firepower; a sublimely crafted art piece packing a horsepower figure that begins with a five. It’s primarily a functional thing, as evidenced by its gait being hunkered aggressively down rather than stylistically stanced, with the tyres displaying a usefully chunky spread of sidewall. But at the same time, its looks and sense of purpose are razor-edged. This is not a thing to be messed with, unless you’re planning on that being the last thing you ever do.
This creation is the vision-made-real of one Keren Zeng, proprietor of an automotive aftermarket shop in Victoria B.C, Canada, and lifelong BMW-fancier. “When I was in seventh grade I saw the E46 M3 on the cover of Need for Speed 9 for the first time, and I immediately fell in love with that car,” he says.
“Since then my dream machines have always been #BMW-M cars. And when the M4 came out, I placed an order without hesitation!” This long-held obsession is more than a videogame-induced fantasy, however. The passion runs somewhat deeper than that. “Owning a #BMW in my home country back when I was growing up was very, very hard,” he explains. “Not just because of the price, but also the limited availability. I loved to memorise all the car brands when I was little, and my father bought me all kinds of toy cars and asked me what models they were. I remember my favourite was the BMW 8 Series, which was a birthday gift from my father. And I was lucky enough to experience BMWs when I was a little older; at the age of 17 I drove my friend’s E92 M3, and I was totally blown away by the handling, the sound and the performance of the car. And from that time, BMW M cars have planted a very deep root in my heart.”
You see, this is no cynical tale of somebody throwing a bunch of money at an on-trend motor to win Instagram points, this is the culmination of a lifetime of aspirations and yearning. When Keren came to open up his Canadian business, the time was right to dive into the fragrantly alluring waters of M car ownership. Well, almost… he had a little practice with a 435i first.
“In 2013 in Montreal, I first saw a 435i in real life,” he breathlessly recalls. “I spied it at the downtown parking lot and the colour was Mineral grey – it immediately caught my attention; the shape of the car, the M badge just up the side vent, and the aggressive face. I told myself that one day I would own a car like this. And later that year, my dream came true.”
Neat use of ‘one day’ there, this is clearly a guy who likes to get things done with no time to shilly-shally. An Estoril blue example was bought, and duly subjected to KW coilovers, Vorsteiner wheels, Akrapovič exhaust, a feisty remap, and all the aero stuff in the M Performance catalogue. With this makeover successfully dealt with, Keren felt it was time to join the big leagues and really make that dream a reality. His name was inked on a shiny new M4’s pink slip, and the planets obligingly aligned.
“I had a pretty clear plan for the M4 from day one, based on what I’d learned from the 435i,” he explains, which makes perfect sense really. Combining age-old dreaming with first-hand experience tends to forge strong mental images. “My first set of wheels were BBS CI-Rs, powdercoated satin black. However, after having them for half a year I decided to go with HRE for its Forged series, choosing the Classic 300 – I respect classic cars and wanted to combine the retro with the modern, although in order to do so you can’t just put a classic rim on a new car, the colour choice has to be very careful. So I went with Dark Brushed Clear for the outer lip and barrel, and Satin Bronze for the face, both of which match perfectly with the Sakhir orange paint.”
In order to get the car sitting lower over these broad, chunky rims, Keren opted for Swift springs to work with the stock M4 dampers, keeping in mind that the car’s a daily driver and the factory chassis setup is already pretty mind-blowing. A set of Fall- Line Motorsports anti-roll bars found their way into the mix with the aim of making the car “track ready” (Keren’s words; he’s not playing games here), while the engine inhales and exhales a lot more freely thanks to an Eventuri cold air intake and full Akrapovič exhaust system, all remapped to make the most of those bonus horses. ETG’s clever ones-and-zeroes tuning is marketed as offering gains of 89hp and 96lb ft of torque over stock, which is certainly not to be sniffed at, and it also offers a bunch of boltons such as a speed limiter removal, transmission software and traction control reflashing, and even throttle-blipping and overrun exhaust popping. As you might imagine, Keren was pretty liberal with the box-ticking that day.
“I love clean cars, so when I choose the style of my car, I always believe that less is more,” he explains. “In order to match the body colour and details, all of my exterior pieces are carbon fibre. And the same goes for the interior – the carbon fibre upgrades are there to enhance the spirit of the M Performance brand rather than try to turn it into something else.” In addition to this OEM+ approach, there’s also been a fairly substantial input from iND, whose comprehensive range of aftermarket add-ons has been raided to yield such trophies as black kidney grilles, black boot badges, painted front reflectors to eliminate the garishness of the factory items, and painted side markers in the same vein. The overarching principle here is to hone and refine the cohesiveness of BMW’s own design and the M division’s enhancements to it; think of this car as being the next little step down the M4’s evolutionary path. “My favourite modifications are the wheels and the exhaust,” Keren continues.
“The way the HREs look and the way the Akrapovič sounds are just total eye and ear candies, it transforms the M4.” And all the while, as he gazes fondly over his creation, you can hear his brain ticking away, formulating new schemes and stratagems. It’s not finished, of course: “The orange turns so many heads, people are always taking photos of it,” he ponders. “I’m considering wrapping it in camo for the show season…”
Well, that’d certainly help the M4 to fulfil its destiny as a stealthy assassin. A sneakily applied camo would help it slither under the radar and carry out its evil deeds. As long as Keren doesn’t have the engine running, naturally – all that popping and crackling is a bit of a giveaway.
DATA FILE #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-Akrapovic / #BMW-M4-M-DCT / #BMW-M4-M-DCT-F82 / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #HRE-Classic / #HRE / #2017 / #Akrapovic
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six S55B30 / , #Akrapovič exhaust system, #ETG remap, #Eventuri intake, seven-speed M-DCT gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #HRE-Classic-300 , 255/30 (f) and 285/30 (r) Michelin Pilot Sport, #Fall-Line-Motorsports front and rear anti-roll bars, Swift springs
EXTERIOR Sakhir orange, #M-Performance rear spoiler, #RKP front lip, Kohlenstoff rear diffuser, #iND front painted reflectors, iND black grilles, iND painted trunk emblem, iND painted side markers
INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, #DCT console trim and DCT gear knob cover
THANKS Kevin King Uy for the photoshoot, Cat from iND for all the modifications, Kelvin from #ETG-Tuning-Group , #HRE , #Akrapovi , #BMW-Victoria , #KZ-Auto-GroupStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEfficient and refined, the allnew 5-series G30 also promises an improved driving experience. Does it deliver?
/ #2017 / #BMW-530d-xDrive / #BMW-530d-xDrive-G30 / #BMW-530d-G30 / #BMW-5-Series-Sedan-M-Performance-Accessories-G30 / #M-Performance-Accessories / #M-Performance / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-5-Series
Within five minutes of getting behind its wheel, the new #BMW 5-series is driving itself. This has the simultaneous effect of being impressive to the point of slack-jawed bewilderment and also crushingly depressing. Soon cars will no longer need us; people, like you and me, will be superfluous.
The new seventh-generation 5-series, coded G30, has enough driverassistance technology to be just a few steps away from fully autonomous driving. It’ll brake when required, steer through curves on the motorway, and execute a perfect lane-change manoeuvre if so commanded.
It’s hardly the most promising prospect from an evo perspective, for while the 540i’s turbocharged 3-litre straight-six fires up with its familiar cold-start theatrics, the drama is fleeting, and this new 5-series, bigger in all directions than the previous model, is more distant to the driver than ever before. that’s another way of saying it’s superbly refined, because it sets new standards in this regard, but when the project manager of driving dynamics, Albert ‘Mike’ Maier, claims ‘We’ve returned to the driving pleasure of the old 5-series cars,’ expectations are inevitably high.
The BMW 5-Series G30 may be bigger outside and more spacious inside, but it’s usefully lighter than the outgoing f10 model by as much as 100kg, and this without using a 7-series-style ‘carbon core’. instead, it’s a case of intelligent materials useage, with an aluminium bootlid, a magnesium dashboard frame and weight-saving measures almost everywhere.
This new ‘L7’ platform once again uses double wishbones on the front axle and a multi-link rear, with various suspension options: regular se models have a passive setup, m sport models the same but firmer and with a 10mm ride-height drop, and all 5s can be ordered with DDC variable dampers. The Adaptive Drive option combines DDC and Active Roll stabilisation, with the adjustable anti-roll bars now operated via electric motors, not hydraulically. Finally, there is integral Active steering, also optional, which adjusts the toe angle of the rear wheels by up to three degrees depending on almost limitless parameters.
Old habits die hard, so it’s the keys to the aforementioned 335bhp petrol version we grab first, even though it’s a rear-wheel-drive car and initially in the UK this engine – the most powerful petrol unit in the launch line-up – will only be available with xDrive all-wheel drive. xDrive is now available as an option on every model; a manual gearbox doesn’t appear on the list at all – all cars have the eight-speed Steptronic automatic ( #ZF8HP ).
It’s soon abundantly clear that the 540i is a very potent car. In UK xDrive form it’ll hit 62mph in just 4.8sec, and with the Drive Performance Control set to sport the throttle response is sharp and the gearshifts near-enough instantaneous.
And yet this isn’t the most enjoyable new 5-series on sale: it has a bland, monotonous voice and linear delivery that gets strained at high revs, a cruel comparison to make with the great naturally aspirated BMW straight-sixes of the past. In the real world it’s not really any quicker than the 530d, and is obviously thirstier.
It’s the BMW 530d G30 that feels like the car the engineers really obsessed over. With the aid of BMW’s Syntak (synergy thermoacoustic Capsule) noise insulation, the 3-litre turbodiesel unit is brilliantly refined at low revs, but has that deep, straight-six rumble when called into action that’s familiar and so cosy on the ear. And with 261bhp and 457lb ft of torque it never, ever, feels short on acceleration. (For the record, it’s 5.4sec to 62mph.) The rear-wheel steering has the effect of shortening the wheelbase, so the G30 disguises its size incredibly well. The electrically assisted steering is one of BMW’s best so far: Easygoing yet precise in Comfort so that you tend to just forget about it, but with reassuring weight added in Sport.
Both the petrol and diesel models that we sample feature variable dampers, but the optional 19-inch wheels on the former occasionally make it feel like it has lead boots over bad road contusions. The 530d xDrive, meanwhile, on standard 18s, has a spectacularly good ride quality.
In the teeming rain on twisting, hilly roads, not once does the traction light blink, the system shuffling around all 457lb ft of torque so effectively and without any perceptible sign of doing so. There’s more stiction to the steering with xDrive, making it feel that bit more genuine; turn-in is crisp (with Integral steering), grip levels mid-corner notably strong, but best of all the car will take near enough full throttle early in the corner, surging out without pushing wide. Point-to-point it’s hugely effective. Not dance-on-the- table exciting, but then this is ‘just’ a regular 5-series.
Yet for a car so refined, so imbued with a depth of competence and sense of long-term quality and solidity, it will still raise a quiet smile if your commute has a few interesting corners. Throw in the latest generation of iDrive – a triumph – and all the other tech and as an overall, everyday package the new 5-series is top of its class in evo’s eyes.
Maybe Herr Maier has a point, then, after all; it certainly bodes well for the forthcoming M5.
Technical Data Specification BMW 530d xDrive
Engine Straight-six, 2993cc, twin-turbo diesel
Power 261bhp @ 4000rpm DIN
Torque 457lb ft @ 2000-2500rpm DIN
0-62mph 5.4sec (claimed)
Top speed 155mph (limited)
Weight 1695kg (156bhp/ton)
Basic price £45,965 (SE)
+ Extraordinary refinement, easy-going performance
- Not sufficiently engaging; lacks character
Clockwise from top: styling is reserved, in the great 5-series tradition; biturbo 3-litre diesel majors on torque and refinement; cabin comfortable and loaded with the latest technology; all new 5-series are autos, no manuals.
‘It will take near enough full throttle early, surging out of a corner without pushing wide’
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- Post is under moderation
Retro #BMW-R75/6 hits ’em high, bagged F31 hits ’em low. The bike’s cool. The wagon’s cool. Hell, even the trailer’s cool. Step right up, folks, and enter Stan Chen’s wacky world of eight-wheeled wonder… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Peter Wu.
THREE’S COMPANY F31 Touring and classic bike combo
There’s a fairly natural crossover between cars and motorbikes. Okay, two-wheeled mischief may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and undoubtedly for some of you it won’t be – you’ve actively shelled out your hard-earned on a car mag, after all, so you probably quite like cars), but the visceral thrills of opening the throttle and heading for the horizon are shared by both groups of enthusiasts with equal aplomb. Swapping an accelerator pedal for a twist grip, and four wheels for two, is largely immaterial in the greater pursuit of letting it all hang out, forgetting the world, and just heading out to burn some rubber. Whether your journey’s end falls at a Cars and Coffee meet or a greasy, down-low biker bar, the strength of passion is just the same.
Sitting right in the middle of this cars/bikes Venn diagram is Stan Chen, events and sponsorship manager for Toyo Tires and all-round unassailable petrolhead. If it’s got a motor and makes shouty noises, he’s in. So it makes perfect sense that he’d have a matching set of machines; that way he’s covering all bases. And when this eight-wheeled carnival sideshow rolls into town – yes, we’re counting the wheels on the trailer, as that’s very cool, too – all heads turn and Stan finds himself torn between which machine to cause mayhem with first. It’s not a bad way to live.
There are, in fact, three protagonists in this tale aside, of course, from Stan himself: Von Doom, Lil’ Doom, and The Raft. While these may sound like characters from a pastel-hued CBeebies animation, there’s a simmering aggression beneath it all. And just for the hell of it, we’re going to start with the bike.
Stan’s motorcycle is a #1973 #BMW R75/5 . Nicknamed Lil’ Doom, it was originally acquired from a mate of his who let it go on the understanding that he thought Stan could be trusted with it. He was right. What followed was a lengthy and thorough frame-off restoration at the hands of Jay from Lossa Engineering. The frame has been detabbed, which is basically the motorbike equivalent of a shaved engine bay; every superfluous tab and bracket has been ground off and smoothed, allowing all the oily bits to sit more artistically within the scaffolding of the bike’s architecture. The mudguards have been bobbed – that is, chopped shorter to look more pert and racy – and the finish of the bike is just gorgeous: it’s all been painted in BMW Mineral white, with dual pinstripes in Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green. And the motor? It’s the biggest of BMW’s /5 Series, being a 749cc boxer twin that offers an entertaining mix of rasps and rumbles through its retro black chrome exhausts. It’s a beautiful mid-Seventies sculpture, fastidiously restomodded to be 21st century useable.
Oh, and it’s been lowered, obviously. The shocks are shorter, as it has to match the car. But before we get to that, let’s look at the second character on our amusingly peculiar script: The Raft.
Now, this might be the first time we’ve featured a trailer in Performance BMW. It might be the last. But this one, The Raft, is no ordinary trailer. You see, Stan’s aim was to marry all of these ideas cohesively, and if you’ve put this level of effort into crafting a custom motorbike to match your custom car, it’d be a bit dumb to just nip down to Brian James Trailers and pick up any old generic tangle of aluminium. What Stan’s done here, then, is to create a one-off carriage for his prized and jewel-like bike. Built by Laodies Kustomz in Iowa it comprises a minimalist tubular frame, wheel arches painted to match both vehicles, a pair of HRE wheels, and a custom Kelderman air-ride system that’s controlled from the car. That’s right. Your eyes do not deceive you. When Stan airs out the wagon, the trailer airs out too. And that’s just about the coolest thing we’ve seen this year.
Ah yes, and there’s a car here as well! Can’t forget that. The reason the bike’s named Lil’ Doom is that it’s a pint-sized companion to its larger stablemate, Von Doom. This imposing creation is a 2014 F31 Touring, a 328i xDrive, and you’ll no doubt have spotted that it’s rocking the same BMW/Audi/Porsche colour scheme as both the bike and The Raft. Interestingly, it was actually bought to be a sensible car…
“This is my fourth BMW,” Stan explains. “My first was a ’95 E36 M3, which was the first car I began modifying; I went as far as putting the Rieger wide-body kit on it with custom-drilled MAE three-piece wheels. It was a must-have, as the European tuning market was getting bigger in the US during that time. But this F31? Well, my wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit for us.” At this point, it’s probably best if you just take a moment and think back to the car you were ferried about in as a tiny child. For some of you it’ll have been something cool, for many others something mundane, but we’re happy to wager that few would have been as awe-inspiring as this unique triumvirate. What a way to build childhood memories!
All of the sensible family-car touchpoints are present: it’s an xDrive model, meaning four-wheel drive and thus a reduced likelihood of getting trapped in snow or quicksand on the school run (hey, y’know, it happens). And the sizeable Thule roof box supplements the colossal boot to ensure ample stowage for nappies, spare babygrows, and unchewed copies of The Jolly Postman. And yet… something here is not quite as sensible as BMW intended.
“I definitely wanted an aero package on the car, there was no doubt about that,” Stan grins. That’s why, along with the M Sport bumpers, you’ll spot the rakish M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser and, of course, roof spoiler ramping up the aggression here. “I went with the M Performance aero package since it was a cleaner look than the other brands available,” he reasons. “It also had the very subtle but noticeable roof spoiler, and that was a must.” It’s in-keeping with the car’s sportwagon intent, too, as Stan’s opted for the 328 variant which features the N20 motor – a four-cylinder petrol, but bolstered by a perky twin-scroll turbo and considered by many to be a truly appropriate successor to the old N52 straight-sixes. Stan’s tickled it a bit, naturally, with an optimising remap and a throaty quad exhaust to help the thing breathe a little more vocally.
“The build of the car was a two-stage process,” he says. “The first stage was the aero along with the KW coilovers, something I’ve used on all my previous builds. But then I decided that air-ride would better match the overall theme of the project, so the second stage included fitting the air suspension, and custom-building the motorcycle trailer that was also on air, and that could be controlled from inside the car.
I went with HP Drivetech struts with AccuAir E-Level air management. It’s my favourite part of the build; it allows me to go as low as possible but air up as needed when going over speed bumps and into steep driveways, which I always found to be a challenge with coilovers.” Impressively, what Stan’s achieved here is to convince us that fitting air-ride to his car and making a bagged trailer to match has all been done in the name of sensibleness and practicality, and that’s exactly the sort of world we want to live in.
The wheels are 20” HRE 501s, plucked from the Vintage Series line and sporting staggered widths; Stan chose them because he likes the classic style, and we can really see where he’s coming from. Mesh wheels always suit BMWs (well, within reason), and HRE’s timeless cross-spokes flatter the F31 down to a tee. The same can also be said for the Recaro Sportster CS seats, which were selected in order to retain an OE feel but provide more of a sporty aesthetic. And that’s pretty much the ethos of the project in a nutshell. What at first seems to be a well-kept modern BMW with a classic bike on a trailer may not immediately trigger sirens in the brains of passers-by but the more you look, the more details you unearth. What Stan’s done is to fuse the practical chores of day-to-day family life with the slap-in-the-chops ability to stop the show when he rolls into town. Furthermore, he’s got a badass ’bagged BMW for cruising, as well as a zingy custom retro motorcycle for canyon-running and B-road blasts. The package deal really does tick a lot of boxes. People often talk about their ideal three-car garage but Stan’s vision of the ultimate answer only actually involves one car: with Von Doom, Lil’ Doom and The Raft working together in slick, colour-coded harmony, there’s no situation that this family can’t deal with. If only we could all have life so neatly figured out.
Both the Touring and trailer air-ride systems are linked and controlled from the car.
/ 1973 / BMW-R75/5 has been colour-coded with the Touring and trailer perfectly.
Left: frame has been detabbed for a cleaner look.
“My wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit”
DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring ʻVon Doomʼ / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #HRE-501 / #HRE / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #MXP quad exhaust system with dual-wall black chrome tips, dual tune by ECU Tuning Group, full European coding by Alpine Coding, eight-speed auto ’box
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 9.5x20” (rear) #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, #HP-Drivetech struts and #AccuAir-E-Level air management system, #M-Performance big brake kit, R1 Concepts dimpled and grooved discs
EXTERIOR BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, M Sport front and rear bumpers, M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser, side panel blades and roof spoiler, Thule Sonic roof box, Thule AeroBlade Edge rack system, Huper Optik ceramic window film by STM Advanced Window Film Solutions
INTERIOR #Recaro-Sportster-CS seats, custom #AccuAir-E-Level control pad mount
DATA FILER 75/5 ʻLilʼ Doomʼ / #BMW-R75 / #BMW-R75/5-Lil-Doom
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 749cc air cooled four-stroke boxer twin, #K&N filters, Motul 7100 4T, cast aluminium BMW2Valve.com café racer starter cover, black chrome exhaust with Heatshield Cobra exhaust wrap, Shorai lithium-ion battery
CHASSIS Audi Charcoal grey wheel spokes with Porsche Irish green lips, Firestone Deluxe tyres, Lossa Engineering subframe, Charcoal de-tabbed frame, shortened front suspension with Progressive Suspension springs, #Progressive-Suspension-412-Series rear shocks
EXTERIOR #BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, R100 fuel tank with custom dimple die fuel cap recess, Crafty B brushed aluminium Mini Racer fuel cap, BMW2valve.com cast aluminium starter cover, Lossa Engineering custom mudguards, vintage brushed aluminium tail-light
INTERIOR Black leather with grey selvedge denim seat, Renthal Ultra Low handlebars, Tommaselli grips
DATA FILE #Trailer-The-Raft / #Trailer
CHASSIS 8.5x18” #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels, 225/45 Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, custom #Kelderman airride system (controlled from car), custom Irish green control arms
EXTERIOR Custom tube frame, arches painted BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, #Ford-Model-A-tail-lightsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationM Performance accessories for New Five G30 announced
/ #2017 / #BMW-530d-xDrive / #BMW-530d-xDrive-G30 / #BMW-530d-G30 / #BMW-5-Series-Sedan-M-Performance-Accessories-G30 / #M-Performance-Accessories / #M-Performance / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-5-Series
Hot on the heels of the debut of the new G30 5 Series comes a new range of BMW M Performance accessories for the car. The areas these accessories cover include: ride and handling; the interior; the exterior; and the engine. Chief among the options is an M Performance Power and Sound kit available for the 540i (in both two- and fourwheel drive guises). This increases power by 34hp, taking the total to 360hp, as well as adding an additional 37ft lb of torque, bringing the total to a very healthy 369ft lb. A new silencer system with chrome tailpipe trims completes the look (and enhances the sound) all with no impact on official fuel economy figures. The silencer system on its own can be retrofitted to the 540i or 530i with the option of circular or trapezoid pipes in chrome or carbon fibre.
BMW isn’t limiting the M Performance pack to petrol engined cars. As of summer 2017 an #M-Performance-Power-Kit will be launched for the 530d in two-wheel drive and xDrive trim. This offers similar increases to those seen on the petrol cars, with outright power increased by 27hp (totalling 292hp) and torque up 22ft lb (totalling 479 ft lb). Fuel consumption figures remain unaffected.
Underneath, owners can spec 20-inch M Performance alloy wheels in Orbit grey or a bi-colour finish. To compliment the look of the wheels, and adding to its stopping power, is an uprated braking system of vented lightweight discs clamped by fourpot callipers up front, and single-piston floating callipers at the rear. Finished in red, these callipers give the BMW-5-Series a more distinctive look.
Speaking of looks, aerodynamics are addressed with a series of upgrades for those cars already fitted with the M Sport kit and these include front spoiler additions, a rear diffuser and a rear spoiler in carbon fibre finish. As supplementary features, there is also a choice of black side sill attachments and – as an alternative to the carbon fibre version – a rear spoiler and rear diffuser made of polyurethane (PUR). Inside, a new sports steering wheel in Alcantara controls M Performance sports steering for maximum driver feedback.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIt really doesn’t seem possible that it’s already been a month since I was last penning these words and, as far as I can remember, I was having a little bit of a rant on how the Christmas season seems to start in late October these days. Now that we’re hurtling towards the festive season I’m starting to get into the mood, although what with deadlines compressing for the holiday season it doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Thank God for internet shopping is all I can say… at least until you’ve opened everything and realised you clicked the wrong size or colour or you’ve ended up with 12 of something when you only wanted one! #BMW-530d-xDrive / #BMW-530d-xDrive-G30 / #BMW-530d-G30 / #BMW-5-Series-Sedan-M-Performance-Accessories-G30 / #M-Performance-Accessories / #M-Performance / #BMW
As you’ll be able to tell from our cover image, the big news this month is the arrival of the all-new #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-5-Series which we’ve driven for the first time. Initial reactions are that it’s a superbly engineered executive express that’s considerably upped the ante in both the refinement and comfort stakes, yet it’s still a machine that’s rewarding to drive. The only caveat we have at this stage is that the cars we had to drive weren’t exactly to UK-spec and were, as tends to be the norm on international BMW launches, overloaded with all the optional equipment. BMW seems to have gone all-out with xDrive four-wheel drive on the #BMW-G30 and we were able to test the 530d in this guise, although as the car was in the Luxury trim level (which we won’t get in the UK as no one buys it) it didn’t look quite like a UK market machine. Ditto the #2017 / #BMW-540i-M-Sport-G30 which was in rear-wheel drive guise… and in the UK we’ll only be offered this model as an #xDrive . And while we’re on the subject of the 540i, who in their right mind decided to spec all the launch cars in white with black ‘rimz’? I love the shape of the new Five but this must be the most unflattering colour combination that BMW could have possibly chosen!
Hopefully when the cars start appearing on UK roads early next year we won’t be seeing a host of white ones, but it’ll certainly be illuminating to sample an entry-level #BMW-520d-G30 without #Active-Steering , #Active-Dampers and the #Dynamic-Drive anti-roll setup. In the past we’ve tended to find that the steering and anti-roll systems actually take something away from the driving experience so I’m hopeful that a bog-standard (if any new Five can be so termed these days) will drive even more impressively than the already hugely impressive cars we were able to drive on the launch.
As this is the last issue before Christmas more or less all that’s left for me is to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year – let’s hope that #2017 is a good one!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #2016 / #M-Performance Accessories for the #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-Coupe-F87 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW-M2-Coupe / #BMW M2 Coupé M Performance Accessories F87 / #BMW-M2-M-Performance-F87 / #BMW-M2-Coupe-M-Performance-F87
The M2 is just about to hit the streets and #BMW has already launched a range of sexy M Performance accessories for the car. Here’s what’s available…
As you’d expect there are number of options to personalise the interior of your M2 with a variety of M Performance accessories to choose from. There’s a carbon #M-DCT cover (£389); interior trim in carbon and Alcantara (£599); a choice of two steering wheels: Wheel II with race display (£1149) and Wheel III (£649 – available from June); stainless steel pedals (£99); stainless steel footrest (£110); M Performance floor mats (£74.50 for the front, £44.50 for the rear) and a set of LED door sill finishers at £149.
Prices for all M Performance accessories are inclusive of VAT but not fitting. Contact your preferred BMW retailer for more information.
There are plenty of tasty carbon additions for the M2: front spoiler side attachments (£437 each); side sill attachments (£441 each); mirror covers (£199.50 each); a rear diffuser (£880); and a carbon rear spoiler at £386. Also available in a high-gloss black finish are a pair of kidney grilles (£97.50 each) and a pair of side bars to fit the ‘gills’ in the front wings at £52.50 each.
The M Performance exhaust has been designed to not just look good, but to sound good too. It features a valve system with Bluetooth 4.0 control and two operating modes. Sport mode is approved for use on public roads and offers a sporty sound suitable for everyday situations while the Track mode has been developed for use on the race track and offers maximum volume and sound for a more intensive driving experience. In addition to the acoustic upgrade of the car, the tailpipe silencer features an embossed M Performance logo and 80mm tailpipes including a perforated inner pipe. Tailpipe trim finishers are available in either carbon (pictured above) or titanium. Exhaust (£2000); carbon fibre tailpipe trims (£899 – set of four); Titanium tailpipe trims (£599 – set of four).
BMW says that the #BMW-M-Performance Sport chassis retrofit for the M2 significantly increases the driving dynamics performance of the vehicle. It’s a height-adjustable coilover suspension setup with adjustable rebound and compression settings – 12 for rebound and 12 for compression. Price £2221.92.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation7 SERIES MADNESS / #BMW-G11 / #BMW-G12 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW / #BMW-M760Li-xDrive / #BMW-M760Li-xDrive-G12 / #V12 / #Apina-B7-G12 / #Apina-B7 / #Alpina / #BMW / #Alpina-G12 /
Alpina and BMW have lost the plot and produced arguably two of the most mental cars we’ve ever seen from either company – and they’re both 7 Series. From BMW comes the M760Li xDrive, which is one hell of a mouthful, but it’s also one hell of a car… Under the bonnet sits the new #M-Performance #TwinPower Turbo #twin-turbo-V12 engine, now weighing in at 6.6 litres and making a monstrous 600hp backed up by 590lb ft of torque and, with the #4WD #xDrive system on board, that means 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. BMW says the xDrive system has been given a rear bias and the suspension has been tuned specifically for this car and while it’s not an M7, it is an M Performance model like the M135i and so enjoys unique styling elements to distinguish it from lesser models. It’ll be launched at the end of the year and while pricing hasn’t been announced, we’re guessing it’s going to be too much for the likes of us…
Alpina, meanwhile, has taken a different route for its all-wheel drive B7, utilising its fettled version of the #N63 4.4-litre twin-turbo #V8 with the wick well and truly turned up, meaning the cylinder shortfall and capacity deficit is no handicap, the B7 outdoing the #M760Li on power, with 608hp, and matching it for torque. It’s quicker too – the 0-62mph sprint takes an unbelievable 3.7 seconds and the aerodynamically-restricted top speed is 192mph. A two-wheel drive version is available but considering it’s only £2155 cheaper and also slower, we’d pay £96,150 for the full-fat, all-wheel-drive B7.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationJust Right / #Dinan / #BMW-M235i / #BMW-M235i-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-F22 / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M235i-Dinan / #BMW-M235i-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22-Dinan / #Dinan / #2015
A finely-honed BMW M235i with #M-Performance and Dinan upgrades. It seems like the M235i is loved the world over and here we have a subtle but stylish machine from Australia using a blend of M Performance and Dinan upgrades. Words & photography: Chris Nicholls.
The M235i is, as has often been stated, the Goldilocks car of the BMW range. In terms of price, power, handling, practicality and even history, it hits the spot. This is especially the case in Australia, where #BMW list it at $55,000 in base form. In a country where a standard Cayman (the car’s natural rival in the UK) sells for double that, it has no real rivals. The new Mustang isn’t there yet, the local Holden and Ford performance heroes are much larger (and fourdoor), and none of its Japanese or European rivals are rear-wheel drive. It kind of explains why, when it first launched in Australia last year, there was actually a waiting list.
That price also makes it the perfect base for tuning. Recent economic conditions in Australia mean that while the rich get richer (as they do elsewhere) and order ever more supercars, most people aren’t in a position to spend huge sums on modification. So an already fast and affordable base is a great starting point. But what to do? Obviously there’s a limit, given most people’s budgets, so it’s probably best to just make it look nicer and go a bit faster. But here again, there are options. Do you go aftermarket for everything, or do you go factory? After all, unlike some manufacturers, BMW does offer a large number of add-ons via its M Performance program. Perhaps a mix is the best way – combining the factory fit and finish of OEM parts and using aftermarket where the manufacturer doesn’t offer what you want?
This is exactly the path Southern BM, one of Australia’s largest BMW specialists, decided to go down with its own M235i build. It realised there was room in the market for an affordable modification package to this popular performance car, and having gone the ‘all-aftermarket’ route for many of its other, more extreme builds, it wanted to offer something cheaper, simpler and easier to put together for its M235i customers.
Given body and interior modifications are one area where hassles (namely fit and finish-related) almost always occur, the first order of business was to order extensively from the M Performance catalogue for these parts. On went almost the entire range of available exterior components, including front and rear lip spoilers, rear diffuser, carbon mirror covers, black kidney grille inserts, side skirt flashes and even decals, as well as the lovely 19-inch forged, doublespoke wheels. Inside, the excellent, hi-tech M Performance Alcantara wheel with race display replaced the standard tiller, not only adding some cool looks and a great steering feel, but also extra information for the driver. Many of the plastic components and panels were replaced by Alcantara and carbon ones, too.
The results were, even after this round of alterations, profound. Decals aside, the exterior changes are subtle, but work together to help give the car a more planted, solid feel. Indeed, the extra aggression is something that many would probably argue the M235i needed from the factory. Andrew Brien, Southern BM’s co-founder, agrees, saying the looks were his team’s favourite part of the car. “We like the styling. BMW really changed up the looks with the introduction of this car and with the additional BMW M Performance parts, it really is a head-turner.”
Inside as well, the seemingly small changes all come together to make the cabin a much more inviting and pleasant place to be. Slipping into the supportive leather seats, there’s an air of not just quality (as you’d find on the standard model), but genuine sportiness thanks to the carbon cladding and Alcantara coverings. It makes the M235i really feel like a driver’s car, and it’s an interior you don’t want to get out of.
Initially, Southern BM also fitted an M Performance exhaust and brake discs to try and add some extra sportiness, but while the exhaust fitted perfectly and sounded great, Brien and his team also wanted to offer something more for customers, so as part of fitting a Dinan P1 Power Package (the aftermarket part of the mix), the M Performance system got dropped in favour of the included Dinan Free Flow stainless steel exhaust.
Moving the car around for the shoot, it became obvious how different the Dinan exhaust was from the M Performance one, too. Listening to a YouTube video Southern BM posted of the factory version prior to the shoot, it’s clear the OEM pipes added a great bark on start up, a throaty burble on idle and a harder-edged metallic sound when revved, but the Dinan version steps it up a notch. You still get the bark on start up and burbling idle, but you get an even harder metallic kick on revving and it’s noticeably more baritone in its delivery. Southern BM has videos of both exhausts on its YouTube channel so they’re worth checking out for yourself if you’re planning to make such a move.
The rest of the P1 package includes a carbon fibre cold air intake and Dinantronics Stage 2 tune, and fitting it all together was a smart move. Not only are all the parts designed to work in unison, in keeping with the whole ‘no fuss’ concept Southern BM wanted to offer, but attempting to tune things itself didn’t make much sense anyway.
“With the introduction of the F-series cars, the tuning market changed a lot. These cars are no longer easily tuneable by means of flash tuning via OBD. We are Dinan dealers and the software development team at Dinan have great resources and talent to achieve a more enjoyable driver experience,” says Brien. The fact it also offers high-quality, ‘no compromise’ parts is just icing on the cake, so it’s no wonder Southern BM went with this kit.
It’s hard to argue with the results, too. A quick chassis dyno check showed the components added 50whp, and while that’s less than the 56hp claimed by Dinan, as we all know, dyno differences, the weather on the day and other factors always come into play, so the claim seems solid.
Interestingly, Brien argues that “the most impressive part of the tune is the increase in torque (a claimed 84lb ft), which allows you to pull hard when you open up the throttle”. As they say, though, power is nothing without control, which is why the final step in building this machine was fitting a #Quaife-ATB diff. “What is lacking on modern BMW cars is mechanical grip,” says Brien. “As you pull out of a corner, you want the throttle to respond, not react to traction control, so the Quaife LSD is a must-have.”
For the unfamiliar, Quaife’s ATB series uses a helical, torque-biasing unit (as opposed to the more common clutch packs) which may not provide the same aggressive lock-up, but is much more usable on the road. Indeed, it’s likely you won’t notice it at all during daily driving – there is no clunking or recalcitrance. As with the rest of the build, it’s essentially like it was there from the factory.
While it wasn’t possible to try the diff out at speed on the day of the shoot, riding along in a highly tuned 135i with one fitted a few weeks beforehand gave some insight into how much of a difference it makes. Not only does it work with the factory DSC, but when you turn the electronic aids off and slam the throttle, instead of traction control limiting things, both wheels spin up at equal speed and you get to enjoy the full accelerative force of the fettled N55 engine. It’s sublime. There’s also a very noticeable increase in turn-in, which, combined with the extra grip from the 19-inch Pirellis on the M235i, would no doubt transform it from being a nice, fast daily to a much more enjoyable winding road weapon. Indeed, Brien says that is exactly the case: “Not that the original car is in need of upgrades – they are nice cars out-of-the-box – but with these upgrades it makes this a really nice car and more enjoyable to drive.”
Interestingly, despite the ever-increasing popularity of track days, Brien says he hasn’t taken it out on track just yet to truly test its limits, but then, that wasn’t ever really the brief for this car. “We weren’t looking to build a track car. To us, they are different beasts, looking to achieve different results. This car is a road tourer that you can have some comforts in if you are out cruising, but performs if you want to take the car to task up in the mountains.”
Brien says they have considered building a “more extreme version”, and for track use would recommend Dinan anti-roll bars and Monoball kit, as well as performance pads, but for now, he’s happy with where the car is. “This build is to show the road user what can be achieved when looking for a clean road tourer,” he says. That ‘clean’ part is actually worth mentioning for those who might perhaps be unaware how important a low-key car is in Australia, especially the state of Victoria, where Southern BM is based. That’s because Australia in general, and Victoria in particular, has very restrictive laws when it comes to car modification. Bar some very small freedoms (mainly wheels, suspension and engine tuning mods that result in no more than a 20 per cent power gain), almost any aftermarket performance tuning needs to be certified by approved workshops, and given the truly serious stuff will likely never pass certification anyway, most people don’t even try.
Even when they are approved or within legal boundaries to begin with, poorly-trained police can still pull your car over if they think it’s illegal and stick a nice, yellow defect notice on your windscreen that can’t be removed until you show them proof or get things recertified. This is why Victorian enthusiasts these days often try and go unnoticed and avoid police attention in the first place, and while this M235i is only lightly modified and therefore completely legal, the fact it’s relatively subtle means you’re likely to avoid being pulled over unnecessarily.
Actually, the fact it can fly under the radar means this M235i ticks another box on the Goldilocks list. Right price, right performance, right practicality level and even right amount of tuning to be legal and avoid scrutiny. It really is just right.
CONTACT: Southern BM
TECH DATA #Southern-BM F22 M235i
ENGINE: #BMW-N55 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six / #N55
POWER: 308rwhp (230rwkW)
ENGINE MODIFICATIONS: #Dinan-P1 Power Package (carbon fibre cold air intake, free flow stainless steel exhaust, #Dinantronics Stage 2 tune)
DRIVELINE MODIFICATIONS: Standard #ZF eight-speed #Steptronic automatic gearbox #Quaife ATB LSD
CHASSIS/SUSPENSION MODIFICATIONS: Standard M Performance adaptive dampers / Standard suspension arms and anti-roll bars
WHEELS AND TYRES: M Performance double-spoke 624 forged wheels (7.5x19-inch front, 8x19-inch rear), Pirelli P Zero RSC tyres (225/35 R19 front, 245/30 R19 rear)
BRAKES: Stock M Performance #Brembo aluminium brake callipers (four-piston front, two-piston rear), #M-Performance cross-drilled and slotted s (370mm x 30mm front, 345mm x 24mm rear)
M Performance front splitter
M Performance carbon fibre rear spoiler
M Performance rear diffuser
M Performance carbon fibre mirror caps
M Performance side stripes kit
M Performance Rocker Panel film set
M Performance gloss black grilles
M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with carbon trim and race display
M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara interior trim set
M Performance carbon fibre shifter console
M Performance carbon fibre selector lever trim
M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara handbrake handle assembly
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- Post is under moderationALL EYEZ ON M3
It takes very little to get the F80 M3 looking absolutely awesome, as this example so effortlessly proves. The F8x M3 and M4 have captured the hearts and minds of the modified BMW scene and it doesn’t take much to bring out the best in them. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
It’s taken us a little while to warm to the F3x 3 Series but we got there in the end. You’d have thought that by now it would be a bit of a make or break moment seeing as it’s been out for a good few years and while an SE on small wheels leaves a bit to be desired, an M Sport has a lot more going for it, while the M3 and M4 are a whole other matter altogether. It’s been about 18 months since we sampled the high performance duo and hopefully that’s enough time for everyone to get over the fact that there’s now an M4, and get on with enjoying it. And while the S55 sounds nowhere near as good as the S65 V8 does, the M3 and M4 can be made to look utterly spectacular with very little effort. Even in stock form the pairing ooze unbridled aggression; it spills out of every crease and angle of their styling. Tapping into this and unleashing it turns the visual impact dial all the way up to 11. It’s the lowness and wideness that does it. Both just have so much road presence and while the M4’s body is wider, the M3’s narrower body but identical track means it gets those pumped up arches that give it a stance to die for.
Amir Khoshnevis (F80_M3 on Instagram) clearly agrees because the F80 M3 you’re looking at belongs to him. Mind you, seeing as he’s an eye doctor, you’d expect him to have an eye for these things (sorry!). But he clearly genuinely does because he’s made this M3 look so good. It’s the latest in a long line of modified M3s that the good doctor has owned, the result of growing up in a family that was into BMWs: “My first BMW love was an Alpine white E30 owned by my cousin, before I could even drive. The brand has been in my family for as long as I can recall.” For Amir’s BMWs have always been about the driver experience. “People would always say: if you love to drive, buy a Bimmer; if you want to have someone drive you, buy a Benz! My first BMW was a 1997 E36 M3 Saloon. I saved money after graduating and had nothing else in mind but the M3. I had to own it.” This was followed by an E46, E92 and E90, all enhanced with suspension upgrades, performance exhausts and M Performance goodies. And that path could only lead to one possible destination…
“Buying the F80 was the logical progression,” says Amir. “Moving forward with the M3 brand, I had to be the first to have one. I took delivery of the first one supplied to my local dealer in mid-July 2014. While we don’t doubt that there were some thoughts about modifying swirling about his brain Amir admits he never planned to go as far as he actually has. He’s not stopped either, the modifications constantly evolving and he’s even reinvented the car since we first saw it, honing it into an even more devastatingly handsome brute of a machine.
Alpine white is a great choice of colour, though we’re glad we’re not the ones who have to keep it clean, and it really makes all the black elements on the body pop. Amir has raided the M Performance catalogue, adding an M Performance front lip that makes the front end seem so much more complete with added carbon splitters, custom side skirts, a subtle sliver of a rear spoiler and a rather beefy rear diffuser that fills out the bumper perfectly. Below the bumper are the massive 102mm quad pipes of the GTHaus Meisterschaft GTC exhaust.
“Another great modification is the use of Modesta glass coating for the paint and the wheels,” says Amir. “The folks at Carolina Auto Image applied the coating in order to protect the paint (after paint correction) and to ensure the paint effectively repels water. It also gives the Alpine white significant depth and enhanced reflective properties, too.”
Judging by how incredibly glossy that paintwork looks in the photos, it’s money well spent. Perusing the paintwork you’ll also spot the gloss black grille surrounds from IND Distribution along with matching side markers and vents, while the front reflectors have been painted and there’s more carbon in the form of a numberplate cover and rear M badge. We love it not only for its relative subtlety but for the fact that all the elements combine to make a real difference.
So, Amir had his F80 M3 looking sharp but he still needed to address the small matter of wheels and suspension. If you’ve been following Thorney Motorsport’s running reports on its M4 you’ll know that the standard setup isn’t best suited to allowing the car to comfortably and capably deliver all its power, so that’s definitely an area that needs addressing for anyone that’s intent on using the M3 seriously; and there’s no harm in a little lowering while you’re at it now, is there? As for the wheels, well, we think it’s fair to say that BMWs in recent times haven’t been sporting the most elegant or stylish of wheel designs. We’re struggling to think of a recent #BMW wheel that has come anywhere near to something like the Style 5 or Contour or M Parallel for sheer desirability. And while the M3’s 19s aren’t horrible, there’s lots of room for improvement. We all know how important wheels are to the overall look of your car and so does Amir as he’s already on his second set in about 18 months, and it’s not as if his first set was ropey. “I chose to go with MORR Wheels first because I wanted a more custom and personal build for my car. The company delivered with a beautiful set that was perfectly matched to the F80,” he explains. And, having seen those wheels on the car, we have to agree that it was a great combination. But there’s always room for improvement. “After hearing about the FI-R by BBS, I hounded IND Distribution to help me get one of the first sets available in the States,” he continues. “ They were able to secure one for me and the wait began. The FI-R is an engineering marvel. These 19” wheels weigh 16.5lb in the front and 17.5lb in the rear!
They are not only beautiful but serve a great function, reducing unsprung weight.” The FI-Rs do indeed look fantastic on the F80, and the 19s are the perfect size for the body. IND Distribution also carried out some custom pinstriping on the wheels for Amir, highlighting the #BBS lettering and the word ‘forged’ in gloss black. And, in a world obsessed with stretch, we like the fact that a performance BMW has been fitted with some suitably serious rubber, with beefy 265/30 and 295/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres front and rear respectively filling the space between rim and arch perfectly, with a little help from the suspension, of course.
“I had the KW HAS kit first (adjustable lowering springs) in order to close the unusually large wheel gap in the front of the car (mostly),” says Amir, “but I was looking for improved ride and performance and decided to change to the #KW Variant 3 coilovers recently. The difference is remarkable. The handling, road feel, cornering and balance have all improved over the stock and HAS Kit.” And let’s not forget the adjustable ride height that allows for the perfect drop.
Fling open the driver’s door and things get very red, very quickly. That’s all good with us as we’re big fans of colourful interiors. With BMW finally fitting the M3 and M4 with the kind of seats you would expect to find in a car of this calibre – and the kind of seats that Audis and even Fiestas have been enjoying for a while – there’s little need or desire to go changing them, especially when illuminated logos come into the equation.
Amir has, however, put in an order for a set of sexy Mode Carbon carbon (obviously) seat backs, which will go perfectly with the lashings of carbon you’ll find adorning most surfaces in the cabin, with the magical black weave coating the M Performance gear selector and handbrake lever, DCT surround and the bottom of the M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, complete with digital gauge and there’s also an M Performance pedal set.
As good as this M3 may look, Amir is far from finished and he’s already planning the next round of modifications. “It took just over a year to do all this but I’m starting phase two now, so it’s definitely not over! I have a more aggressive build in mind and I’m starting on that project with new wheels (which are currently in production and should be the best of the bunch), an exhaust system with a tune, and some exterior enhancements to follow,” he says. Phase one was good but phase two sounds even better. When it comes to modifying M3s, the doctor is most definitely in.
“If you love to drive, buy a Bimmer; if you want to have someone drive you, buy a Benz!”
Very red interior has been slathered in carbon fibre.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #S55B30 / #S55 , #GTHAUS #Meisterschaft GTC exhaust with 102mm tips, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #BBS-FI-R wheels with custom black gloss pinstriping, 265/30 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #KW-V3 coilovers.
EXTERIOR Modesta glass coating, M Performance carbon fibre splitters, rear spoiler, diffuser, front lip, custom Aeroflow Dynamics side skirts, IND Distribution gloss black front grille surrounds, side markers and vents, rear M3 emblem, cf number plate cover, painted front reflectors.
INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with digital gauge, M Performance carbon fibre gear selector, handbrake lever and #DCT surround, #M-Performance pedal set.
THANKS IND Distribution, Carolina Auto Image, Hendrick BMW.
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