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    Rally Round / #Saxon-Motorsport The team’s engineers take on a technical challenge. As well as prepping its own race cars for the VLN and a trip to Spa, Saxon Motorsport has been busy fettling a BMW diesel for a Polish rally raid team. #BMW / #2016

    On Cotswold Saxon’s return from round seven of the #VLN-Endurance series at the Nürburgring, the team set about preparing for round eight with its V10 #BMW-150 and #BMW-120d race cars. The 120d was again to be driven by Ellis Hadley, Martin Gibson and Tom Barrow as they completed their qualification process to compete in the #2017 24-Hour race around the infamous Nordschleife circuit. The V10 would once again be driven by team owner Nick Barrow and Miami-based regular driver Jamie Morrow.

    However, before preparation of the race cars could begin Saxon had another project to attend to. As Bosch Motorsport dealers with vast experience of competition diesel powerplants, various competition outfits come into contact with the team and become aware of its expertise. One such company, encouraged by Bosch, is Polish rally raid specialist, Neoraid. Based to the south-east of Krakow, the rally raid racing team competes in cross-country rallies worldwide, completing the Paris Dakar rally in two of its three entries since 2014 in #BMW-X3-CC s. The team had recently taken delivery of a #BMW-X5-CC with a very special early #M57 3.0-litre diesel engine developed in conjunction with #BMW-Motorsport . This is a similar unit to that used by Saxon until it switched to the current #N57 late last year. Being fitted with a Bosch Motorsport competition ECU by the engine’s previous rally raid owners, Neoraid found itself lacking the experience and data to exploit the engine’s potential and was directed towards Saxon to look for assistance. Items of note fitted to the powerplant included a bespoke CNC-machined dry sump installation with associated oil pump, a CNCmachined rocker cover replacing the standard moulded composite item, and bespoke twin-turbos with associated manifolds and actuators.

    The twin-turbo system had been developed to maintain maximum power output despite the fitting of an FIA-spec inlet restrictor, mandatory for Dakartype rally events for turbo vehicles in any fuel class. This meant additional complications for chief engineer Jon Taylor as he needed to synchronise the small VGT (Variable Geometry Turbo) with the larger unit cutting in at higher engine speeds together with the various wastegate and diverter actuators.

    Having agreed to take on the project, an understanding was reached with Neoraid that the engine would be fitted in a test rig and delivered to the team’s Hereford base by the Neoraid team manager and one of its engineers. The engine, ECU, and all components would be fully wired and ready to map. Three days were allowed for the task. However, as is often the case in motor racing, the project was a little behind schedule. Upon arrival, as can be seen from the accompanying photographs, the wiring loom was still a long way from being completed! Undaunted, Jon and the attendant engineer set about sorting out the various connections and inter-connections between components and recording all the wiring pin details so that a more suitable wiring loom could be produced later. During this phase a two-stage intake air cooling feature was discovered; this consisted of an initial air-to-water chargecooler followed by a conventional air-to-air cooler for the secondary stage. A lightweight 180A McLaren TAG alternator was fitted.

    The Bosch Competition ECU had been installed, calibrated and mapped by Bosch with bespoke Bosch-manufactured, BMW-assembled injectors, for which no data was available…

    After some head scratching – and discovering the astronomical cost of having the injectors dismantled and interrogated by Bosch – Saxon and Neoraid decided that standard BMW injectors should be fitted instead. Saxon’s experience with the M57 engine came into play here as the team’s development of the early engine resulted in it knowing which injector gives the best spray pattern and distribution characteristics for this type of endurance engine. As delivered to Hereford, the engine was also fitted with larger valves – necessitating piston cut-outs – a ported and polished cylinder head and a #Bosch-Motorsport ‘Fuel Hydraulic System’ delivering up to 2100bar of fuel line pressure!

    One problem experienced and effectively managed by Saxon whilst using this engine was a tendency for the crankcase breather to allow oil to escape. The problem has been resolved on the latest standard N57 engine and so the team’s catch tank was no longer required. This engine, however, was fitted with a bespoke oil separator pump to address the problem.

    Despite the slow start to rewire various sections and the time it took to become acquainted with several components new to Saxon, the team of Saxon and Neoraid engineers completed the task in the allotted three days in the team’s tuning bay. By the time the two engineers departed for their base in Poland they had a running engine with all components integrated and working together on a base map.

    The engine will now be removed from its test rig in Poland and installed in Neoraid’s X5-based rally raid car for the necessary wiring and supply systems to be installed around it. As the vehicle is all-wheel drive and Saxon’s rolling road is a single roller installation, Jon Taylor will then fly to Krakow and work at a local twin-roller road to fine-tune his map for the performance required by the team.

    To date, the project has been an interesting variation on the work carried out on the team’s own race cars but on a vehicle being built to a completely different design brief but with significant similarities in the propulsion unit. Saxon was very interested to be part of the development of the powerplant and Neoraid has gained enormous experience with the M57 engine through this collaboration so far.

    Meanwhile, as the Neoraid team returned to Poland, Saxon’s attention returned once again to its own cars. Whilst the 120d was left in a similar setup as used last time out (in order for Martin and Ellis to continue assessment of the Giti tyres), the Chinese company had been unable to produce the next development tyre specifically for the ‘Ring in time for round eight. The drivers therefore continued to collect data and experiment with the setup using the existing rubber. Further improvements to the V10 were, however, planned following the last outing.

    The hoped-for power steering improvement had failed to materialise last time out and so Jon Taylor set about fitting yet another larger capacity hydraulic pump, this time engine-driven rather than the previous electric version. This caused several packaging problems as space is at such a premium under the bonnet with the 5.0-litre engine installed and Jon resorted to purpose-made mounting brackets, belts, tensioners and idler pulleys in order to install the pump. Initial indications, however, suggested that the effort may well have been worthwhile with considerably less effort required on rapid lock-to-lock movements, whereas previously the hydraulic system failed to keep pace.


    Further work will be carried out on the paddlechange software to smooth-out gear synchronisation on up-changes. Another possible reason for this roughness emerged whilst examining the data from the previous race as it became apparent that the engine was failing to lose sufficient rpm for the next ratio to engage smoothly. To try to address this, the team has ordered a lightweight double-plate racing clutch and corresponding flywheel to reduce the energy within the drivetrain; the inertia generated by the standard 15kg flywheel/clutch combination was too high to allow the engine revs to fall fast enough. Hopefully this will improve the situation and transfer less stress to the Drenth gearbox; however, this will not be available until after the car’s next planned outing at Spa on 9-10th October.


    The team’s drivers were still anxious to dial-out some of the power-on understeer that the V10 experiences during the exit stage of a corner. Drivers reported that initial turn-in is good but despite this the car suffers with understeer as power is applied. To attempt to overcome this characteristic, the team fitted new ramps to the Drexler limited-slip diff to alter the limited-slip effect and also rebuild the spare diff with fewer active friction discs as an alternative. Both options were tested in the practice session at the ‘Ring, together with larger front tyres (now the same 285 width as fitted to the rear). In addition, a new more sophisticated traction control map was uploaded with additional feedback to make the most of the modified ramp characteristics.

    The Saxon team was confident that these changes – together with the front tyre options and all the existing setup alterations available – would enable the car to remain neutral throughout all cornering phases. The team left for the Nürburgring on the Wednesday night prior to the next race on Saturday 24 September, hopeful of a class win with the 120d and at least a podium position with the V10 if the modifications were as effective as expected.

    On arrival at Friday’s practice at the Nürburgring it soon became apparent that the reworked diff with fewer friction plates was definitely not the way to proceed and so the team quickly replaced this unit with the ‘re-ramped’ item. This, combined with the traction control upgrade and wider front tyres, immediately allowed Nick to set the V10’s fastest time around the GP circuit, cutting a full second off the car’s previous best. Meanwhile the three 120d drivers quietly set about improving the setup and doing everything possible to make sure they were in a good position to complete the following day’s race, as this alone would complete their qualification process.

    Saturday qualifying gave Nick and Jamie their first chance to gauge the new setup’s effect on the Nordscheife lap time for the V10. First, however, in order to prepare for the race, new brake discs needed to be bedded-in and so the first opportunity for this fell to Jamie, driving the second qualifying stint. Jamie duly took his chance and set the team’s first ever subnine- minute lap, qualifying in 51st place with an 8:57! The 120d set a fast time in the Alternative Fuels class, giving the three drivers hope of a competitive fourhour race.


    As the race got under way, Jamie started the first stint not knowing that the V10 was carrying an underlying gearbox problem. Having run with the aggressive upshift issue for the previous few outings, the stress had built up in the components and finally caused a failure on only the third lap of the race. As it was difficult to recover the car during the race, it was not possible to get the car back into a competitive race position and so the V10 was retired early, much to the disappointment and frustration of both drivers given the lap times being set. Meanwhile the 120d drivers were in the middle of a battle for class honours between themselves and both the 3.0-litre diesel Audi A4 and methanol/petrol hybrid Porsche Cayman with which the team had battled during the 24-Hour race in the Saxon 135d.

    With half-an-hour to go, the 120d put up a valiant fight and actually led the class… until drama struck. Ellis found himself pushed from behind by an overtaking GT3 car, the resulting ‘off’ leaving him stranded on a raised curb until rescued by marshals, dropping the car from contention. As a car has to pass the chequered flag to classify as a finisher and drivers have to be classified in order to obtain their 24-Hour licence, what had been a fascinating battle for class honours now became a challenge just to finish the race! Ellis cautiously brought the car back to the pits for any damage to be assessed; there was just enough time to patch up the rear of the car and check for safety issues before returning to the track for one final lap to complete the race. There were sighs of relief all-round. Mission accomplished!

    Further to the three drivers qualifying for their 24-Hour licences – and trusting that the V10 would return from Germany intact – Nick had hoped to forego round nine of the VLN Championship and travel to Holland for the 9 October Dutch Supercar round on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Nick and regular endurance driver Richard Corbett were keen to debut the 5.8-litre version of the V10 on the famous historic track. As we have previously stated, the V10 engine is restricted to 500hp at the ‘Ring but there are no such limits in Dutch Supercars so it is hoped to run in full 680hp mode for this two race (one 60-minute and one 90 minute) meeting.

    Fortunately, Jon and his team will be able to fit the replacement Drenth gearbox and reprepare the car in time for an anticipated departure for Spa on Thursday 6 October, as Nick had intended.

    The Cotswold Saxon team looks forward to reporting back on their eagerly anticipated visit to this iconic circuit after unleashing the full potential of the #V10 150 #BMW-1-Series and further developments on the Neoraid project.
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    / Tim-Cook / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-330d / #M57D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-330Cd / #BMW-330Cd-E46 / #BMW

    “Who said diesels are boring?” asks Tim. Looking at his 330d we can safely say that his certainly isn’t. It’s clear from the off that this isn’t your average 330d and Tim says he’s spent a little fortune on his E46, though we reckon it’s been worth it. With the M57D30 having so much potential it’s no surprise to learn that a lot of that fortune has found its way into the engine bay, with impressive results. There’s a bigger custom FMIC with custom 3” hard pipes and a 3” downpipe from the turbo which connects up to a 3” exhaust system. Tim’s also added a custom induction kit, which he made himself and which required the washer bottle to be relocated. The whole lot is topped-off with a remap, resulting in a very impressive 256hp and a massive 420lb ft of torque, making for some serious performance.

    On the suspension front, this E46 rides on FK lowering springs, with a 30mm drop up front and 45mm at the rear. Deep-dish Calibre 18s with 15mm front and 12mm rear spacers sort the stance. On the outside the car’s been treated to a partial camo wrap, with a vinyl wrap on the inside. A set of three additional gauges finish it off.
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    WAGONE

    With its camo wrap, DTM-inspired styling and 360hp, this E61 535d Touring is one hell of a way to get the dogs to the park. With silly styling and equally silly power, this bonkers DTM-inspired Finnish 535d Touring is about as far removed from a sensible family estate as you can imagine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

    Tourings are cool, of that there can be no doubt, but they’re ultimately pretty sensible beasts, especially in diesel form. Wouldn’t it be great if someone built an absolutely mental wagon with off-the- wall styling and something naughty under the bonnet? Well, someone has and his name is Tommi Väyrynen.

    In his early 30s, Tommi is of the age where many people would likely be considering a Touring because they’ve got at least one child either on the way or already present. In fact, his motives for purchasing a capacious estate were dog-based but the principle is the same. What he’s ended up with, however, is one hell of a dog-to-park-delivery system, and the end result is all the more astonishing because he never actually intended to modify it. However, with a long list of extensively modified cars behind him, that thought was about as futile as attempting to keep a Labrador out of a muddy puddle. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Hailing from Scandinavia, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that Tommi cut his motoring teeth on a Volvo 340 DL with a mighty Renault 1.4 under the bonnet and while it was fine summer transportation it was not so great in the winter, though likely not for the reasons you’re probably thinking of: “That is a problem of living here in north, the carburettor always froze and jammed!” he exclaims. The modifying began with this sturdy brown Volvo and continued with a Merc 190E and an extremely rare Merc E50 Lorinser before he saw the light and decided to see what Bavarian metal had to offer.

    The need for dog transportation guided his hand towards an E61 and a desire to sample the twin-turbo M57 cemented his engine choice with the 535d. This particular example came very well-spec’d, with the aptly-named Comfort seats and HUD to scratch the surface. Those first summer months were great, Tommi and his E61 enjoying the Finnish countryside together with the dogs, but come the harsh winter the E61 decided it had had enough of being reliable. “The starter stopped working, the auxiliary heating did not work, the glow plugs did not work, the battery was bad, the trunk wiring was also dead. I had to do a lot of repairing…” he says, in what might be the understatement of the year. But where a lesser man might have faltered, Tommi persevered, fixed everything and that’s when the modifying that he had no intention of doing began.


    As modifying was never on the cards, there was no plan and things just sort of happened, like the engine mods: “When I bought the car it had an engine tuning chip and because of that the exhaust manifold broke and that is where all it started,” grins Tommi. “We needed to change the manifold so at same time, when turbos were on the table, I made the wastegates as big as they could be. At the same time we also lost the cats and after that we go rid of the DPF as well.” Well, if you’re halfway to gutting your exhaust system you might as well go all the way!

    “The car then went for tuning, with my friend making the software for it, and after that we installed the biggest intercooler we could behind the front bumper.” That has now been painted red because, really, no part of this car wants to be discreet. “It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck. I love it!” he grins. The benefits of all that power and torque are obvious: it means you can get to the park extra quickly for more doggy playtime, and you can also do massive smokey burnouts, which is always fun.

    However, all of this plays second fiddle to the way the thing looks. There are no two ways about it, it’s absolutely mental and, love it or hate it, it’ll make you look. Tommi took inspiration for the car’s styling from Jon Olsson’s wide-body, 1000hp Audi RS6 which, at its wildest, was even more flat-out bonkers than Tommi’s concoction. This E61 is a faithful recreation on a marginally more sensible scale: “When I saw a picture of Jon’s car I knew straight away what I wanted to do. Me and my friend drew the shapes for the graphics and another friend cut the strips at his workshop. We wrapped the car and installed M5 grilles in the front arches. We made those DTM spoilers from plastic in my own garage and then wrapped then in carbon film; we had no problems with any of the bodywork but the best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends as they can help you.”

    The graphics are definitely the first thing on this 535d that gets your attention, and they’re certainly not shy, but neither are the outlandish aerodynamic addenda. They are headed up by that big front lip that extends out past the bumper and is held up by two bright red supports. This is then joined by a pair of dangerous-looking canards on either side of the bumper. The side blades that extend out from the sills have winglets at their front and rear edges while at the rear there’s a diffuser with some seriously aggressive vertical slats. The whole lot is then topped off with a roof box. In stark contrast to the exterior mayhem, the interior has been kept stock, but then again there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to black leather wrapped around Comfort seats and the aluminium cube interior trim.


    While in the past Tommi has been more than happy to slam his cars into the ground, with the Touring he wanted to keep things marginally more sensible. “I’m getting old!” he laughs. “My Lorinser Merc had just 6cm (just over 2”) of ground clearance but this has 12cm (just under 5”) and not only is it so much more comfortable but you can also drive faster,” and that’s probably the best reason for not absolutely dropping your car that we could possibly think of. “The suspension is actually only the M Sport suspension but with new shocks,” he continues. This isn’t much but it’s enough as this car is hardly riding like it’s on stilts, with what little arch gap there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, especially with those 20s bolted to the car. The dubs in question are TSW Mirabeaus, measuring 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the rear, and they really look fantastic on the car. “I have had wheels with big lips before but now I wanted something different so the concave design was my choice,” says Tommi. He chose wisely as they are the perfect size and the ideal style, with the twin five-spoke design really working a treat on the Touring.

    It’s a mad concoction, this, though the car that inspired it was completely unhinged so it’s all relative, really, and what’s actually the most likely thing to raise your eyebrows to the edge of your hairline is just how positive a reaction Tommi’s Touring has received upon its unveiling. “I took it to a few shows and with the #DTM look I won the ‘Best Euro Car’ award from the first show. People really like this car, I think. On the Finnish Bimmer enthusiast forum, BTCF.fi, my build thread has been read 16,000 times and no one had anything bad to say. I was quite surprised,” he chuckles, “but happy.”

    He’s really happy with the car too, though there is one thing he’d like to add… “More power!” he grins, and that makes perfect sense because if you’re building a mad car you might as well make sure it’s completely off its rocker…

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E61 / #BMW-535d-DTM / #BMW-535d-E61 / #BMW-535d / #BMW-535d-DTM-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW-535d-Touring / / #BMW-535d-Touring-E61 / #M57D30TU / #M57D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / #TSW

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel #M57D30TU , bigger wastegates, de-cat, #DPF delete, bigger intercooler, remap, six-speed automatic gearbox / #ZF6HP / 380hp, 627lb ft

    CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #TSW-Mirabeau concave wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Aeolus tyres, M Sport suspension

    EXTERIOR Camo wrap, carbon front grilles, custom DTM spoilers, M5 arch grilles with M535d badges, rolled arches, roof box

    INTERIOR Standard Comfort seats, standard aluminium M Sport trim, auxiliary audio jack

    THANKS Backwoods Customs (bwcustoms.com)

    “It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck!”

    “The best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends”
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    FULL-ON E70 X5 X-RATED / #BMW

    We don’t see many modified X5s doing the rounds but this full-on, bad boy of an E70 makes up for that in a big way. Slammed, styled and ICE’d up. We don’t feature many X models in DRIVE-MY, but this X5 makes up for that in one fell swoop… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Tipping.



    Good as the X5 may be, it’s not a car that’s captured the imagination of #Drive-My readers, so we haven’t featured that many over the years. This is possibly because it’s a big 4x4 rather than something with retro appeal or an affordable performance machine. Fortunately, what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality with this awesome example. It’s an E70 X5 3.0sd, which means it’s got the twin-turbo diesel straight-six under the bonnet, and it belongs to Am Singh, owner of car audio distribution company #BladeICE .

    Am’s no stranger to modified cars (or feature cars) and you won’t be surprised to learn that some of those have been very audio-focused. “My first car, a Citroen AX GT, was featured in Max Power back in 1999 and a couple of years later I built a JDMspec Lexus IS200 (Altezza RS200) which I fitted a supercharger kit to. It was featured in Fast Car magazine,” he says. “I’ve built some audio heavy vehicles, too, including a Lupo GTi which was featured in sister title Performance VW magazine in 2013. I also own a Chevrolet Astro van which I’m planning to rebuild this year.”



    This X5 was purchased out of necessity when Am and his missus were expecting their second child in 2014 and the family wagon at the time – an E91 330d M Sport – was deemed too small. “I didn’t want to leave the BMW brand as the E91 was a pleasure to own,” says Am. “I found the X5 at Sytner BMW in Leicester. It was a oneowner car in fantastic condition and the back looked like it had never been sat in. The colour and interior combo instantly drew me to it and the spec was impressive too. It’s got the panoramic roof, keyless entry, Comfort seats, Saddle brown leather and, as a bonus, seven seats! Not that we plan to have any more kids, though; two is enough!” he laughs.


    So, how do you go from mild-mannered X5 to full-on feature car? “Secretly I always had plans for the car,” Am reveals, “however, things went further than I initially imagined.” This is something we’ve heard many times before. Six months of standard X5 ownership passed before Am decided that a bit of modifying was in order and started on what was to be an incredibly slippery slope.


    “Initially I purchased some KW V3 coilovers,” says Am. “Then I looked at brakes from the X5 M, which comprised massive 395mm discs and four-pot Brembo calipers. These were fitted and I ran it on stock 20s for about three months, after which I got talking to a new up-and-coming wheel manufacturer in the USA: Brada wheels.” In case you don’t know, Brada produce lovely forged wheel designs and while 20s would be plenty on most cars the X5 can pull off much bigger wheels, so it would have been rude not to indulge, really. “I wanted to go with a BBSstyle wheel with a cross-spoke design and the Brada BR-1 fits the bill perfectly,” Am continues. “So I ordered a set of 22s and these were built to order as they are a fullyforged/ CNC’d three-piece wheels in a staggered fitment. It was worth the wait and I ran them for the few months that were left of summer #2014 then took them off for winter. That’s when my mind went into overdrive.


    “I started work on the audio, as I needed a demo car for 2015. As a lot of the products I distribute were pointing towards OEM integration and exotic high-end sound quality, the X5 was the perfect base to allow me to go for an OEM+ approach and maximise my marketing possibilities. At this time I also picked up a CIC with Combox to replace the aging CCC iDrive system and I made sure it had DAB, too, while Mak’s Retrofits helped with the installation and coding.”

    With plans under way for some impressive ICE, Am decided that the X5 needed more than just an audio overhaul and resolved to completely change the look of the car. While he had originally wanted an X5 M, the price was too much of a stretch so he decided to go for the next best thing, and set about building a perfect replica. “I got to work looking at all the parts that differ on the M Sport and the X5 M,” Am says. “Initially it didn’t appear to be more than front wings, front bumper and rear bumper but it ended up being a lot more. There were many other items to consider, like headlights, quad exhaust, bumper grilles, trims, clips, bolts etc the list grew and so did the spendometer! After about seven months of searching eBay USA and eBay Germany I managed to get the majority of the parts to start the transformation. Some items had to be bought new, though, as they were insanely hard to find on the secondhand market.

    “After a couple months with the X5 M conversion I came across a set of Adaptive LED headlights that were only found on very late model X5s and X6s. BMW actually had it up as a retrofit conversion for around £3000 plus fitting. Again I searched through eBay USA and some US forums and found a complete set of headlamps. They needed a new harness and FRM3 module, which I purchased new, after which I called on Mak’s Retrofits to help me with coding-in all the features of the headlights. They totally transform the look of the car, making the front-end look like the new F models. They also offer functional benefits, such as adaptive control and a light output like I’ve never experienced before. I’ll never feel complete with regular xenon lights after having had these LED headlights!

    “The body conversion took place in spring of 2015 and in the meantime I was left to finish trimming the audio build I had fabricated during the winter. The full setup consists of four Mosconi D2 (full range Class-D) amps, Gladen Aerospace two-way speakers mounted in the A-pillars and the Gladen 201 Extreme 8” slim-mount woofers which utilise the OEM underseat location. Two Gladen SQX 10s are mounted in a trick side-ported enclosure and headed by the Mosconi 6to8 DSP – the brains of the operation. It is linked to the OEM head unit via a high level input but also has full high definition EDR 2.0 Bluetooth audio streaming capability. This means wireless audio playback via tablet or phone, and Tidal or Spotify apps work great for this. “To power the amps I opted to use three XS Power AGM batteries. I mounted them in the OEM location, secured on billet CNC hold-downs. These offer enough reserve power to cope with long audio demonstrations and enough juice to power the vast array of stock electrics throughout the car.”

    Depending on how up you are on your car audio that might well be all Greek to you but for the uninitiated a quick glance at the interior shots reveals that there is a lot of top-end audio gear stuffed into this X5, and the quality of the installation is impeccable. What’s nice is that everything is very discreet. Yes, the two-way speakers in the A-pillars are big but they don’t look out of place and the boot build is beautiful – the enclosure for the Gladen subs looks like it’s a factory item while the installation of the amps in the boot floor is elegant and understated. You probably wouldn’t even notice the Mosconi DSP controller, custommounted behind the #iDrive controls and the fact that Am has retained the factory head unit means that everything is seamlessly integrated and he’s lost none of the numerous standard functions. Beyond the audio, the wood trim has been wrapped in black for a more elegant look while the steering wheel was retrimmed by Jack at Royal Steering Wheels in black Nappa leather with contrasting stitch to match the saddle brown leather on the seats.


    If the inside looks good, the outside is nothing short of gobsmacking. Am may have invested a vast amount of time and effort on obtaining the X5 M bodywork components but it’s certainly been worth it as the end result is awesome. There’s just so much sheer aggression emanating from the X5 M styling that it’s almost enough to knock you off your feet. No corners have been cut, with a proper quad exhaust system having been fitted which sits in a gorgeous carbon fibre diffuser. And, where you’d normally expect to see an X5 in full-on off-road mode, the massive drop that Am has achieved with the KW coilovers gives the car a completely different look. The way the Brada 22s fill the gargantuan arches is just insane. Oh, and the wheels are perfection. The mirror finish on the lips with the brushed centres suits the X5 so well.

    You might have thought that was that, but Am is most not one to rest on his laurels and since our photoshoot the X5 has received a few more changes. “Initially I chose the KW V3 coilovers as I’ve always been an old-skool static type of guy,” he explains. “Despite the craze of air suspension in the last few years I went with coilovers purely because I didn’t want to use up any boot space with air tanks or compressors, as this would take away from the room I wanted to dedicate for my aural pleasure. With more and more cars using the trunk space for tanks/hardline installs and ditching audio in place of it, I wasn’t going to bow down to the air-ride gods, so I stayed static.

    “However, since this photoshoot I had to admit defeat. The KWs were being wound down more and more and as a result I had no suspension travel, often riding on the bumpstops. For a 2.5-tonne 4x4 that makes for a pretty bumpy ride! So I explored all avenues of keeping my trunk space intact and still having air suspension with the trunk looking OEM+.

    “The air compressors are discreetly mounted in the side compartment and the management is hidden out of sight next to the battery bank under the amps. The fivegallon air tank is mounted on the rear tailgate behind a fabricated panel that’s been trimmed in Alcantara, and the tank has been covered in original BMW Saddle brown leather to complete the theme. I mounted the Air Lift controller into one of the front air vents for ease of access and it looks like it was there from factory.”



    Static or on air, it really makes no difference as this X5 provides a visual punch either way. Every show it’s been to it’s a crowd pleaser. A lot of work has gone into building this X5 over two years but it’s all been worth it. Am’s built himself an awesome machine and one that you’re unlikely to see replicated anytime soon, which makes it all the more cooler.

    DATA FILE #BMW-X5-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0sd-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0sd / #BMW-X5 / #KW / #BMW-Performance

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #M57TU2D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / , #Evolve remap, #Eisenmann Race exhaust with quad 90mm tips, #ZF / #ZF6HP standard six-speed automatic gearbox. 350hp, 500lb ft of torque

    CHASSIS 10.5x22” (front) and 12x22” (rear) Brada BR-1 wheels with 285/30 (front) and 335/25 (rear) Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres, #KW-V3 coilover suspension (now replaced with air-ride), X5 M #Brembo four-pot callipers with 395mm discs (front)

    EXTERIOR X5 M front and rear bumpers, front wings, LED Adaptive headlights, 35% tints rear window/doors, 50% front doors, #BMW-Performance carbon fibre front lip, Vorsteiner rear carbon fibre diffuser, modified front and rear arches, paintwork sealed and protected with #Gtechniq C1 and Exo V2 coatings

    INTERIOR Royal Steering Wheels Nappa retrim, black gloss trim panel wrap, A-pillar mounted two-way speakers, CIC with Combox retrofit, custom fabricated Mosconi DSP controller in centre console, #Gladen-Audio Aerospace 28/80 components in A-pillars, #Gladen 201 Extreme underseat mid bass drivers, 2x SQX 10 Gladen subs, 2x Mosconi D2-100.4 amps, 2x Mosconi D2- 500.1 amps, #Mosconi 6to8 DSP, 3x XS Power XE12- 40 batteries, Sky High Car Audio cabling throughout, boot install trimmed in Alcantara

    THANKS Zane at Brada Wheels, Henning at Gladen Audio, Mak’s Retrofits


    I wasn’t going to bow down to the air-ride gods so I stayed static.

    I always had plans for the car, however, things went further than I initially imagined.
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    SUPER TOURING

    Modified Tourings always look amazing, and this bagged #BMW E46 is all the proof you could possibly want. BMW’s Tourings are universally loved and when modified they reach new heights of awesome. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Bastein Bochmann and Scott Paterson.

    What is it about Tourings? Estates, Avants, wagons, whatever you call them, there’s something irresistible about them, especially when it comes to modifying. Coupés, saloons, convertibles, they can all look good, but Tourings, almost without exception, always look good. It’s funny considering that they’re arguably the most sensible and family-orientated. Perhaps going against the grain and slamming them to within an inch of their lives or granting them huge power is what makes them so appealing. It’s the act of doing exactly the opposite of what they were intended for that makes so many of you want them and makes them so good at being bad.

    Going even further against the grain is Andreas Wibstad. If there were ever any Touring rules, he has broken them all. At 23, we assume the young Norwegian has no real need for a Touring, but he’s got two of them, which suggests he is a fan of load-luggers, though his motoring past, filled with a brace of Peugeot 205s, tells a different tale. In fact, when it came to this E46, there was no great search, no long-standing belief that the E46 wagon is the Holy Grail of cars, no attempt to recapture childhood memories of family trips in BMW estates: “There was no particular reason why I bought this car,” explains Andres, matter-of-factly. “I bought it simply because I needed a bigger daily. I found it randomly online, it was in good condition and bone stock. I only planned on doing a few small things to the car when I bought it two years ago, and just tinted the windows and replaced the kidney grilles, basically small stuff.”

    Six months of happy, very mildly modified motoring followed but then fate, perhaps, stepped in: “I had a big accident where I got understeer and went straight into a ditch. I had a tree go through my windscreen. I was so angry and upset that about the crash, and everyone said the car was doomed, it would never see the road again. But after a lot of work I managed to buy the wreck back from the insurance company. And after some long months of hard work and a lot of money the car finally hit the road again, lower and better looking than ever.

    “I used the car through 2013 and when the winter came I parked it up so no accidents would happen again. While the car was being stored I started doing research on airride and new wheels. In the beginning of 2014, a package arrived with some air-ride goodies and a couple of months later my wheels arrived and I started redoing my arches to make room for my new setup. The new paint went on and the car was ready for summer. Since then I’ve constantly been doing small stuff and making everything look as good as possible.”

    So, we’ve got air-ride but it’s not a simple, off-the-shelf setup, the E46 Touring being rather more demanding and requiring a custom-made bag over coil system, made with parts from airridesystem.pl, a small company in Poland. “I wanted air-ride simply because I wanted the car to be really low but still be drivable every day. After all, this is my daily,” he reminds us with a grin. Considering the size of the boot, Andreas has opted for a surprisingly small build, but it’s certainly striking, with a single air tank on show and painted in a vibrant shade of Jägermeister orange, complete with logo, and a matching orange air line and air gun and orange wheel brace for good measure. It looks great and still leaves a vast amount of boot space free that can actually be used, meaning it remains a practical daily proposition for Andreas.


    With serious lows comes the need for a serious set of wheels and Andreas didn’t compromise when it came to getting the perfect set for his E46. “I spent a long time searching before deciding,” he says, “and I wanted to go with a wheel style not often seen on BMWs.” The end result is mission accomplished, with the wheels in question being a set of Cosmis Racing XT-005Rs – definitely not a brand that many people talk about in BMW circles and not a wheel you see often on BMWs either.

    The wheel design itself is pretty simple; five spokes with a dish but the execution is what matters and the combination of gunmetal centres with deep machined lips on the 10x18s is striking to say the least, and the wheels look extremely impressive. The fierce-looking spiked wheel bolts won’t be to all tastes, but they certainly add an extra visual element to proceedings, as does the flash of colour from the callipers. Hats off to Andreas for making these wheels fit in the first place – the E46 likes a high offset but the 10x18 XTs only come in an ET20, which is pretty aggressive for the E46 but doable with some tyre stretch and a bit of arch work (or quite a lot in this case), as illustrated perfectly here. As far as fitment goes, Andreas has well and truly nailed it.

    To go with the aggressive wheels and aggressive stance, the exterior has been given a more aggressive look through a combination of subtle and not-so subtle additions. The BMW parts catalogue has been plundered, with an M Tech rear bumper and side skirts on board, along with an M3 front bumper for a more full-on front end further enhanced and visually lowered with a set of carbon CSL corner splitters, but the real heavy-hitter here is the vented carbon bonnet. It probably won’t be to all tastes, but here it works well considering how thuggish the rest of the car is, and the finishing touches are a pair of blacked-out headlights with CCFL angel eyes and tinted windows. It all makes for a rather angrylooking car that is definitely not something you’d want to bump into in a dark alley.

    From practical, mildly modified daily, to post-crash wreck, to stunning slammed wagon, this E46 has run the gauntlet of emotions and experiences but the end result is most definitely worth all the work that Andreas has put it in. It flies the flag for the modified Touring brigade and serves as both inspiration and aspiration for those that wish to join its ranks.

    Big boot, small build, very orange. Hidden air-ride gubbins mean the big boot remains useable, while the custom finish means what you can see is eye-catching.

    When it comes to stance and fitment, this Touring delivers big time. Cosmis Racing 18s might not be forged, three-piece and worth more than the car, but they look awesome and are something a bit different.

    “I’ve constantly been doing small stuff and making everything look as good as possible”

    DATA FILE #BMW-320d-Touring-E46 / #BMW-320d / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-320d-E46

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M57D20 / #M57 , six-speed manual.

    CHASSIS: 10x18” (front and rear) #Cosmis-Racing XT-005R wheels with 225/35 (front and rear) tyres, custom bag-over-coil setup with manually controlled valves, #EBC drilled discs (front).

    EXTERIOR: Fully resprayed in original Orient blue metallic, M3 front bumper, M3 CSL splitters, #GTR carbon fibre bonnet, #M-Tech rear bumper, M Tech side skirts, painted mouldings, rolled, pulled and cut arches all-round, blacked out headlights with retrofitted CCFL rings, tinted windows.

    INTERIOR: Black leather Sport seats, M3 steering wheel, Harman Kardon audio, custom boot build with custom Jägermeister painted tank.

    THANKS: Huge thanks to friends and family for supporting me through everything.
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