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    You might think that a 507hp V10 would be enough but, as this M6 goes to show, a little bit more can go a long way. The V10 M6 is an awesome machine but there’s always room for a little improvement. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Paddy McGrath.

    The lure of a used V10 #M5 or M6 is almost impossible to resist. Prices are low, cylinder count is high and value for money is off the scale. Yes, SMG divides opinion; yes, fuel economy is dire; yes, range is poor; and, yes, the running and potential repair costs are painfully high. But come on, it’s a V10! Once you get above eight cylinders things start to feel really special. V8 BMWs, and V8 cars in general, are ten a penny but a V10 anything is much more rare and a lot more exotic. A V10 is a supercar-style of engine; it’s Italian exotica; it’s #F1 ! And the fact that now you can get a V10 in a fast German executive machine which is actually affordable is something to be celebrated – especially if someone then decides to modify their V10 M5 or M6.

    Kristjan Koik is one such man, the sort of man who buys an #E63 #M6 and decides that, yes, it’s quite good but it could be, you know, better. Estonian-born Kris cut his motoring teeth on a Lada of all things but has been into BMWs for about 15 years now, with a couple of E30s under his belt before having a fling with a modded Impreza STi. He then moved to the Emerald Isle where he got a taste for two-wheeled machinery, before marriage nipped that particular pastime in the bud and he returned to four wheels and BMWs, namely a modified #E46 M3 and this M6. “I bought the car in July 2014 from a dealer in UK and imported it to Ireland,” says Kris. “It was in absolutely immaculate condition. Since all my cars for the last couple of decades have been modified to some extent then the M6 was not going to stay stock for long. Once my lovely wife gave me the green light, I took the opportunity and bought all my dream mods before she could change her mind,” he laughs.

    The car was handed over to CA Technologies and, over the course of four weeks, underwent something of a transformation. Now, the V10 isn’t exactly short of power with a factory figure of 507hp (but typically around 485-490hp in practice) but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and Kris though it would be a shame not to have a crack at getting a bit more power from the S85. Despite being a highly-strung engine there is still a bit of latent power that can be extracted with the right selection of modifications. Step one was a remap, which added around 15-20hp. A solid start. CA Technologies also installed a Macht Schnell Power Pulley kit, which mainly improved low-end response and power. The combination of those two alone made a noticeable difference to performance. On the intake front, Kris opted for an Evolve Eventuri system, which not only looks exceedingly sexy with its carbon intake shrouds but delivers on the performance front, too. According to Evolve, the intake system has been designed to deliver improved throttle response, more torque, improved drivability and more power. Those intake shrouds ensure that the twin high-flow air filters receive cool air from outside of the engine bay, fed by a pair of nose-mounted MAY #2015 47 scoops that force air straight into the intakes at high speed. Not only does the kit deliver a healthy increase in power, another 12-15hp, it also makes an awesome noise, which is probably the second most important thing, especially where a V10 is concerned. And speaking of noise, there’s plenty more of it at the rear end thanks to the Eisenmann exhaust system CA installed with its massive quad oval pipes. If you’ve not heard an #S85 V10 running a high-flow intake and performance exhaust then let us tell you, it makes for one hell of a noise. That noise probably accounts for 95% of the V10 ownership experience and we can guarantee that whenever Kris puts his foot down all his troubles are instantly forgotten, bludgeoned into oblivion by a wailing wall of V10 noise.

    Chassis-wise, Kris hasn’t bothered with an all-singing, alldancing coilover kit, opting simply for a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs which offer a little bit of a drop, just enough to get those arches filled, and more control out on the road than the standard springs offer. With all the extra power on tap, a brake upgrade was a wise move. Kris opted for a StopTech BBK up front with sizeable six-pot calipers finished in striking yellow and clamped onto 380mm pistons with uprated StopTech pads and braided hoses at the rear.

    When it came to the wheels we reckon that, generally speaking, concave wheels are the way forward for the M6 and Kris clearly agrees: “I went for Vossen CV3s. Along with the StopTechs they are my favourite modifications on the car.” We agree. The CV3s look awesome on the big Six. The design is simplicity itself, so clean. These 20s are 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the back and they are mounted on a 75mm stud conversion kit with a set of 10mm spacers to get the stance just so.

    Inside, there are lashings of carbon fibre, with a matching, chunky Carbontech flat-bottomed steering wheel and, in terms of the exterior styling, Kris has kept things nice and simple, choosing to just accentuate the M6’s natural aggression. That’s all this car needs really. Black front and side grilles are a given and there’s a carbon front lip that helps make that front look even lower, while at the back there’s a gorgeous Vorsteiner carbon diffuser, while the angel eyes have been upgraded with a set of Umnitza Orion halos. These subtle additions have made all the difference making the car look athletic and muscular.

    Kris has taken one of BMW’s most exotic performance machines and added a little extra spice that has just given it the edge in terms of looks and performance. “I think it’s now the perfect combination of sportiness and luxury,” Kris concludes. “The M6 is here to stay.” And with that intoxicating V10 at his beck and call, who can blame him?

    DATA FILE #BMW #M6 #E63 #SMG
    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 5.0-litre V10 #S85B50 , remap, Macht Schnell power pulley kit, Evolve Eventuri intake system, RPi scoops, Eisenmann Sport exhaust with quad oval tips, seven-speed #SMG-III gearbox.
    CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) Vossen CV3 wheels in silver with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) #Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Eibach Pro-Kit springs, 10mm spacers, 75mm stud kit, StopTech BBK with six-piston calipers in yellow and 380mm slotted discs (front), StopTech uprated discs and pads with braided hoses (rear).
    EXTERIOR: Black grilles, Vorsteiner-style carbon front lip, Vorsteiner carbon rear diffuser, Umnitza Orion angel eye kit.

    INTERIOR: Carbon Tech flat-bottomed steering wheel.
    THANKS: CA Technologies International, Dorset; Autoenhance, Essex.
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    Dinan Turbo #BMW #M6 #E24 ( turbo-engined #M635CSi #E24 #1988 ) The Annihilator. By Nicholas Bissoon-Dath.

    The needle races past 60 mph. The on-ramp ahead curves tightly away, but your right foot stays flat to the floor, the turbo-charged engine screaming with the hard- edged bass of a highly tuned six-cylinder in full cry. As the sign suggesting a ramp speed of 25 mph flashes past, you bend into the turn, and your passenger audibly pleads for divine protection. You feel the immense lateral loadings build as your speed rises, but the car clings to the road with no dramatics. As you merge onto the highway at more than 80 mph. you look over at the disbelieving face in the right seat. Welcome to the world of the Dinan Turbo BMW M6 E24.

    Company #AMG has the #Hammer , but #Dinan-Engineering has an equally formidable implement; think of it as the #E24-Annihilator . It blasts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, through the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 107 mph, and on to a rev-limited top speed of 172. It offers race-car handling, #BMW quality and feel, and a shove in the back dial will get anyone’s attention.

    Steve Dinan is a 34-year-old mechanical engineer and the founder of Dinan Engineering (81 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, California 94041; 415-962-9417). He has spent the last nine years of his life servicing, racing, and tuning BMW's. The Turbo M6 is his star, and he has every reason to be proud of its brilliance.

    The source of the Dinan M6’s E24 prodigious performance is its modified turbo engine. Dinan Engineering retains the 24-valve M6 block and head, but that’s about all. It lowers the compression ratio from 9.8 to 7.7:1. A specially matched Garrett T04B turbocharger supplies the boost, which is limited by a Roto-Master waste gate to 13.0 psi. A huge HKS intercooler lowers the temperature of the intake charge; at 134 mph on a 70-degree day, according to Dinan, the reduction is a whopping 160 degrees. Dinan also installs a new airflow sensor and high-flow injectors and enlarges the stock air-cleaner inlet for better breathing. 4he final touch is a #Bosch-Motronic engine-control system, reprogrammed to Dinan’s specifications by Veloz Car Computers.

    The results are 390 horsepower at 6400 rpm —134 more hp than the standard M6 E24 — and a 7300 rpm redline. Not only is the power amazing, but it feeds in smoothly and progressively in response to the throttle. Press with your right foot and full boost is available just a moment later. The thrust builds at a furious pace, and before you know it you’re traveling at twice your previous speed. It’s easy to maintain high average speeds along remote secondary roads, picking off other cars as if multiple-jumping your way to victory in a game of checkers.

    Dinan has also seen to it that the M6’s superbly controllable brakes will haul you down from high speed as often as necessary. Metallic pads grab the stock rotors, and the front brakes are cooled by means of race-car-sized ducts feeding air from two gaping intakes in the front spoiler. The Turbo M6 #E24-Turbo stops from 70 mph in only 173 feet, ten feet shorter than the stock M6 can manage.

    Dinan’s racing experience is evident in his Stage 4 suspension. The $1938 package includes firmer shocks, stiffer springs, and adjustable anti-roll bars at both ends. Negative-camber plates in front and a special rear crossmember allow the normally fixed camber settings to be adjusted at all four wheels.

    The rolling stock consists of #Goodyear Eagle ZR S or #Yokohama A-008R tires on #BBS modular aluminum wheels. In front. 225/50ZR-16 rubber is mounted on 8.0- inch rims; the rear tires are 255/50ZR-16s on 9.0-inch wheels.

    Yes, #Steve-Dinan personally tunes the sus-pensions of his cars, and he achieves impressive results. We measured 0.91 g on our skidpad; that’s 0.04 g better than a #Z52 #Corvette with 275/40ZR-17 tires. In the real world, the #Dinan-Turbo-N16 will scythe through a series of switchbacks at an incredible pace. Charge into a comer at more than twice the posted limit and the car holds its line precisely. Once past your apex, the tail digs in as you press hard on the throttle and unwind the steering. You can blast through comer after corner in this fashion, in an unending stream of speed and tire squeal and fury, yet remain in complete control.

    At the limit the car understeers just enough to let you know that you’re about to run out of grip. The rear wheels can also be provoked loose by accelerating hard in a tight comer or by sharply backing off the throttle at the limit. When the rear does let go, however, it does so slowly and predictably.

    The price of this performance is a nice, round $20,000 — not including the $59,000 that an #M6-E24 will cost you. For your extra twenty grand you get the rocket engine, the Stage 4 suspension, the wheels and tires, the brake modifications, and a special Center forced clutch.

    You also get a few compromises. The #Dinan M6s ride is substantially stiffer than the production car’s, and the front tires tend to follow highway ruts. If you find such behaviour unacceptable, Dinan Engineering offers three other suspensions for 1970-and-later BMWs, each with its own level of control and complexity. It also sells turbo kits for both 5- and 6-series BMWs (means #E34 and #E24 ). Our test car didn’t have any smog controls, but Dinan builds emissions-certified turbo engines as well.

    We’ve driven Dinan BMWs equipped with both types and found that the cleansed car suffers little in feel. Dinan’s racetrack experience and development work have paid off. The Turbo #M6 s limits are so high, and its acceleration is so aggressive, that only the most exotic performance cars on the planet can compete with it. This is a civilized race car for the street. Drag racers, beware. And heaven help anybody w ho tries to keep up with the #Dinan-Turbo #BMW-M6-E24 on a winding road.

    Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive. 4-passenger 2-door sedan #BMW-E24 series

    1988 Price as tested: $80,000

    Engine type: turbocharged and intercooled 6-inline, iron Block and aluminium head, Veloz / ##Bosch-Motronlc electronic engine control system with port fuel injection.

    Displacement 211 cu in, 3453cc #S38 / #M88
    Power (SAE net) 390 bhp at 6400 rpm
    Transmission 5 speed
    Wheelbase 103.3 in
    Length 193.8 in
    Curb weight 3537 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 4.8 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 10.8 sec
    Standing ¼-mile 13.2 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed 172 mph
    Braking 70-0 mph 173ft
    Road-holding, 300 ft dia skidpad 0.91g
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    Car #BMW-E24 #M635CSi

    The MINI departs for pastures new, the #M6 gets a new set of alloys and the #135i has come in for a dose of heavy tuning.

    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,454
    MPG THIS MONTH: 21.9
    TOTAL COST: £415 (wheels and tyres)

    Having put a few miles under the M6’s wheels since I got it I had come to the conclusion that the metric rims and #Michelin-TRX rubber were going to have to go. On the one hand they do look absolutely perfect on the car and I’ve yet to see a Six on alternative rims that looks so quintessentially ‘right’ as a TRX-shod machine. The flip side of the coin is that the tyres are ferociously expensive, hard to come by and offer about as much grip in the wet as worn-out trainers on sheet ice. While this can be quite entertaining at times it does limit one’s progress and if you happen to forget what car you’re driving as you negotiate a roundabout it can be a little unnerving having to apply a liberal dose of opposite lock to keep things on the straight and narrow.

    Thus the search for a set of nonmetric rims was on the cards. The original wheels are about 16.3 inches in diameter so as far as I’m concerned the best wheels to fit are a set of 16s as to my mind this wasn’t a car that was designed with bigger rims in mind. 17s might fill the arches better but I’m more concerned with ride quality and handling balance than the ultimate in aesthetics. And perhaps most crucially so many E24s now run on the 17-inch cross-spoke threepiece Style 5 wheels, as fitted to the #E31 8 Series and the #E39 Five, that I wanted to do something a little different while still aiming for a vestige of originality in the looks department. I toyed with the idea of Alpinas but in the end decided these look better on a pre-Highline Six than the later cars. #E28 M5 16-inch cross-spokes would be perfect but are as rare as unicorns and as expensive, too. I spent ages on the wheels and tyres forum looking at what other folk had done but every time I clicked my browser window shut I felt I hadn’t got any closer to alloy nirvana for F570.

    And then I had my epiphany in Munich Legends’ car park. Sitting there was an #E24 #BMW-M635CSi sitting on a set of 16-inch cross-spoke alloys that I was pretty sure were from an E38 7 Series and also one of the optional wheels fitted to the #E39 Five. Some research confirmed that the wheel had been available on both cars – 8x16- inch on the #E38 and 7x16-inch on the E39. Whichever one I went for I would need to fit lower profile rubber in order to keep the speedo reading correctly and while the E38 rims have the correct centre bore their offset is ever so slightly wrong for a 6 Series. After some digging it transpired that some owners who had fitted these reported that the tyres could foul the front suspension leg. E39 rims bring their own problems in that the centre bore is the incorrect size, although this can be easily solved with a set of spigot rings.

    Now I’d decided what I wanted it was a case of trawling the classifieds and keeping a close eye on eBay. Being a bit of a skinflint I missed out on a couple of sets but eventually a third set popped up on my daily eBay search. What made this set particularly attractive was that they already had tyres of the correct size fitted as the seller had used them on an #E34 #535i Sport when he’d ditched the metrics. They were originally from an E38 and the seller confirmed that while they were pretty close to the front suspension leg when fitted to the E34 there wasn’t any fouling. It seems that depending on the brand of tyres fitted the shoulders of some makes bulge out further than others and it’s the tyre rather than the rim that can foul the leg. I felt I’d done my due diligence and determined not to miss out I put in a fairly high bid and waited somewhat impatiently for the auction to end. I was pleasantly surprised a week later to discover that I was the winner for the sum of £415 which wasn’t too bad, especially given the Falken Ziex 225/50 rubber fitted had only done 200 miles or so and were effectively brand-new.

    I sallied forth to Gloucestershire to pick them up and while not unmarked they did seem to be in very decent condition and the tyres were, indeed, almost brand-new. Once I’d got them home I needed to pop them into the Six so I could pop over to BM Sport (bmsport. com or 020 8304 9797) to have them fitted. This was easier said than done as I could only squeeze two of the wheels into the boot and had to pop the other two on the back seat with old coats protecting the leather.

    I could have fitted the wheels myself with the aid of a trolley jack but I wanted to have a detailed look at how close they were going to be to the front suspension leg. And when the car was up on the ramp it would also give me a chance to have a look at the ghastly exhaust that’s currently fitted as I wasn’t sure on exactly how much of the original system remained. As ever the chaps at BM Sport were fast and efficient and it seemed like only a matter of minutes before the metrics were off and the new Style 5s were on the car. They are quite tight by the front suspension leg but don’t actually foul and I’m really rather pleased with the way they look. On the road they’re a bit of a revelation being a lot quieter and significantly grippier than the TRXs. Obviously the Falkens don’t offer the ultimate grip of Pilot Sports or Conti SportContacts but by my reckoning you don’t want anything too grippy on an old chassis like the #BMW E24 as it wasn’t designed with this sort of grip in mind. And a bit of slip is entertaining, no?

    Just not too much. Overall I’m really very pleased with the new wheels and tyres, although Mrs H is less delighted about storing the TRXs which will be kept for the purposes of originality. Studying the exhaust when up on the ramp was less pleasing, though. I’m effectively going to need to find an original manifold back system as the new centre and rear sections just don’t look or sound quite right. I’ve yet to feel brave enough to find out exactly how much a new original system will cost – I know it’s going to be eye-watering – so I’m currently looking out for a decent used system, or perhaps thinking of having a bespoke system made up for the car. Decisions, decisions…
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    With full M3 styling and a very healthy 450hp this seriously mean #E91 #335i Touring is the ultimate load runner. Performance estate cars are hugely desirable things, so if BMW won’t make an #M3 Touring, you’ve just gotta do it yourself. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.

    BMW Motorsport has been busy these past few years. Back in the day you’d get your M3 or your #M5 and that was it, but nowadays those multicoloured stripes before the evocative M badge can be found on practically anything in the range. Designated ‘full’ M cars, you’ve got your M3, M4 and M5 of course; no less than three different styles of #M6 ; and then there’s your truly niche #X5-M #E70 and #X6-M #E71 big boys. Perhaps more surprising than what does exist in the M stable is what doesn’t – a Touring.

    There’s a decent market for big bummed performance cars – just look at Audi’s numerous and successful S and RS Avant weapons – but from M we’ve only ever had an E34 M5 Touring and the stonking E60 M5 Touring, and less than 2000 of both combined were ever built. We’re not about to argue with BMW M Division’s market research, but the affection many enthusiasts have for these M Tourings of old suggest there’s room for at least one in the range. An M5 Touring may not be justified with the M6 Gran Coupé a decent alternative, but how does an F80 M3 Touring grab you? Yep, we’d be keen on one too.

    In fact, picture any of the previous gen M3s (except perhaps the E30 M3) and you can imagine that a Touring variant could have worked. Sweden’s Blend Maroof was so convinced the E91 Touring would have made it as an M car that he took it upon himself to create his own interpretation. A daunting task indeed, not least if he’d have transplanted an E9x’s 4.0-litre V8 into the front. Alas, this experienced hand at BMW modifying (he runs Sweden’s Pitstop tuning garage) was more keen on getting an authentic M3 Touring style and keeping a 335i engine in place: a motor he says has better character than the bent eight M.

    The base car is a 2007 E91 335i, which most would agree is a glorious offering in its own right. Blend bought it completely stock with no M-Sport interior goodies, and knew to do things properly it would require genuine M3 parts. “I’d always wanted an E90 M3 Touring, so it was unfortunate BMW never made one,” Blend said. “I decided I wouldn’t put a real M3 V8 engine in though as it would be more expensive, heavier and I don’t like the character of it. The V8 needs 5000 revs until it wakes up but the N54 has a smooth line, so much torque on the way up and I just love it.”

    You won’t hear us saying there’s much wrong with the #S65 V8 engine – just look at how many people lament its passing now the new M3 is forced induction – but it’s hard to fault Blend’s affection for the quite brilliant #N54 turbo six-cylinder. With over 300hp and 295lb ft on tap it’s certainly no slouch, propelling these #335is to 60mph in five seconds flat. With a bit of tuning by an expert like Blend, creating a true M beater isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. But back to the body. In Sweden you can buy genuine M3 parts through Schmiedmann, and Blend put in a significant order. Best of all, the front panels could be bolted straight on with the 335i items removed. We’ve seen #335i owners putting M3 bonnets on in the past – although it’s not perfectly flush as the M3 bonnet is longer. If you swap the arches, front bumper and the lights however there’s nothing to worry about. Except the man-hours and the huge expense of buying OEM M3 parts, of course.

    Blend has fitted an E92 M3’s front bumper with the bonnet, and gone the #E90 M3 route for the arches. He had to use an E92’s headlights wired up by a custom harness, with #E92 headlight brackets to fit, but as you can see in the pictures it’s an impressively seamless piece of work. It also looks much tougher with the brutal Pitstop custom front mount intercooler behind the bumper and a race-style carbon fibre front splitter.

    OEM E90 M3 side skirts and E92 M3 mirrors also went in place quite easily, but the rear bumper needed some serious work. To give the Touring an authentic M look, Blend bought an #E92-M3 ’s rear bumper and had to ABS plastic weld it to the top part of the original E91 item with its correct mounting brackets. The rear bumpers on these Tourings are significant chunks of plastic, so the work is highly impressive, and much like the front end, looks finished to a very high standard.

    The car’s current owner is Andro Badia (Blend recently sold the M3 Touring conversion to help pay for his next venture – more on that later), who added a carbon fibre rear diffuser to the bumper to go with the front splitter he also optioned once he took ownership. But the final exterior mods – the E91 face-lift boot and rear lights – were completed at Blend’s Pitstop premises, while the paint added to the M3 items matched the 335i’s original BMW dark green.

    “The beauty of this car was I could build what I wanted without having to go to BMW directly,” Blend said. “BMW has told me before things are impossible, such as adding heated and electric seats to this car, but to do so only took me a few hours. Sometimes you just have to believe that things can be done.” With the 335i Touring not meeting Blend’s standards for interior comfort, he got hold of genuine M Sport memory seats and used his expertise to have them functional: this was an M3 Touring project after all. On has gone an M3 DCT paddle shift steering wheel too, complete with Alcantara insert.

    To truly give a sense of purpose to this M3 Touring conversion, the correct rims and stance were imperative. What better way than to go OEM M3 shopping again, and in the E92 M3 18” Style 260 wheels painted black, and hugging the arches thanks to an FK coilover suspension setup, this Touring would be deserving of a coveted M badge from the factory. If an M3 Touring sounds like a good idea on paper, being able to see this interpretation completed gives more reason to wish BMW had built its own: this Swede is a truly desirable estate car.

    New owner Andro agrees, and even committed to buy the M3 Touring before Blend had completed the work. “The positive of buying this car was it looked like BMW itself had built it: everything looked OEM and even the M3 wheels were there,” Andro said. But can the performance match the M3 looks? Blend is convinced. As a tuning specialist he said the turbocharged N54 is easier to eke more power from than the NA V8 M3 motor, and is sure his work has boosted the 335i’s engine to 450hp. In other words, putting a genuine M3’s power figure of 420hp in the shade. While we can’t verify the performance claim, when it comes to the Swedes and engine tuning we usually don’t bother arguing. As a nation these boys know how to make magic happen in BMW engines, and big power figures are nothing new to the Scandinavians.

    “This car is faster than an #E90 M3, and I know because I tested it,” Blend said. “On a closed course the car hit 301kmh (187mph)! I just love the performance of this engine.” The DP 3” cat-less downpipe leading into a full custom 3” exhaust system, carbon air box and custom front mount intercooler will all play their part in freeing a few more ponies, but the main gains have come from what Blend calls the Pitstop Stage 3 remap.

    This full custom mapping of the engine’s ECU can reap significant gains on turbocharged engines, and Blend said he had altered the brain to get the very most from the 3.0-litre straight-six. Blend was sorry to say goodbye to his beautifully built E91 Touring M3 conversion, but as a tuning shop owner the next projects have to take priority. So successful was his M3 wagon effort he’s going bigger this time and has bought an #F11 #550i , which he said would become an M5 version with 550hp.

    Following that he wants to modernise his M3 Touring conversion by doing similar to an #F31 335i, and who knows where this will end up, particularly with Blend’s love for the new turbocharged #F80 M3. Whatever materialises, this is one man who’s sure to keep pumping out the M3 wagons if the BMW factory won’t.

    DATA FILE BMW E91 335i Touring

    ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six N54B30, DP 3” cat-less downpipe, DP 3” custom exhaust system with Simon’s mufflers, quad 3.5” glossy black exhaust tips, Pitstop carbon fibre air intake with sport air filter, Pitstop custom front mount intercooler, Pitstop Stage 3 ECU remap.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) black E92x M3 Style 260 wheels with 15mm spacers with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) tyres, FK coilover suspension.

    EXTERIOR: Genuine E92 M3 bonnet, front bumper and mirrors (with 3M gloss black wrap), genuine E90 M3 arches and side skirts, modified genuine E92 M3 rear bumper custom blended with standard E91 rear bumper, E92 headlights with custom harness and genuine brackets, Schmiedmann carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, E91 face-lift (LCI) boot and rear lights, roof rails removed, BMW Tiefgreen (A43) paint.

    INTERIOR: Genuine M Sport with custom installed electric memory seats, E92 M3 DCT paddle shift steering wheel with Alcantara insert, Schmiedmann floor mats.

    THANKS: Blend at Pitstop for building the car, my friends and crew at Sthlm(s)low, Marcin and Piotr at MPM Garage and Viktor at Schmiedmann Sverige.
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    The #E24 #M635CSi gets an almost clean bill of health, the #M235i departs for pastures new, the #135i embarks on the first steps of some serious tuning plus a round up from the rest of the fleet.

    I’ve spent a month with a big Six back in my life and I have to say I’ve not regretted it yet! It was with some trepidation that I headed off with #F570 to see Jags and Nigel at BM Sport (020 8304 9797, bmsportcom) to see how much of a hound I had bought and to have a look at why it was running hot in traffic. I was keen to get this latter problem sorted as soon as possible as there’s nothing worse than trying to drive a car out of London if you’re constantly living in fear of it overheating.

    I dropped the Six off and waited with bated breath and eventually the call came through… and the good news was that I hadn’t bought a complete munter. Jags was almost complimentary about the car which is more or less unheard of. The chaps have given it a thorough going over and while there may be some corrosion hidden away it’s not immediately obvious which is great news – less good was the fact that it needed a new viscous fan clutch and a radiator. I was expecting the former to cure the running hot in traffic issue but to immediately have to shell out on a radiator was irritating and only goes to show that you really should take someone with you who knows what they’re looking at when buying a car. I’ve been banging on about this sort of thing in buying guides for longer than I care to remember but do I ever heed my own advice?

    The top of the radiator had expanded significantly which was plain to see if I’d taken the trouble to look at it closely, and while it wouldn’t have stopped me from buying the car I would have tried to knock a few hundred quid off before buying. Still, live and learn, eh? What I did need to decide was what to fit to the M6 and it looked like I had two choices, an OEM radiator from #BMW at £320 plus VAT or a Hella one for not quite half that. In the end I decided to go for the BMW unit as I don’t have much experience of Hella when it comes to radiators and I figured if a BMW radiator had managed to last 26 years and 160k miles then it was probably the one to go for. Not wanting to spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar I went the whole hog and got an OEM fan clutch too and once these had been fitted along with a new engine breather pipe that had split and some sundry anti-freeze I was left with a bill for £700. Other items that had been noted were the front control arm bushes were starting to split, there was a small weep from a diff seal and the air-con belt was cracked.

    There was no point doing anything about the latter as the car is still equipped with the R12 air-con system with which it left the factory – I’ll see about converting it to R134a but it’s not exactly a priority – so for the time being I’ve just had the air-con belt removed so it won’t do any damage if it were to snap. The diff seal can be kept an eye on and the suspension bits can wait while my wallet recovers from the cooling system repair.

    It was a joy to collect the car a week or so later (the radiator had to come from Germany) and get about fully exploring its performance now that I knew it wasn’t about to split in half underneath me. Despite being separated by a scant few years from the E34 M5 that’s just left the fleet the #M6 is a very different driving experience – it does feel older, but not in a bad way. You have to concentrate more to drive it quickly and it doesn’t feel as light on its toes as the M5, but in an odd way I think I love it even more – there’s a tremendous sense of occasion when you take it out for a drive and even my kids who generally love all the new test cars with all their bells and whistles positively encourage me to take the Six out for a spin. I’ve nearly lost count of the number of thumbs up I’ve had from other road users too. Despite the financial outlay it’s fair to say that it’s been a very good month.

    BMW E24 M635CSi
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,304
    MPG THIS MONTH: 20.5
    TOTAL COST: £700 (radiator, fan clutch, breather pipe)
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    BMW E24 #M635CSi

    Well there I was feeling pretty smug that I’d managed to buy an M6 and bar the radiator problem it had been given a pretty clean bill of health. I was looking forward to many months of happy motoring without having to dip too far into my pocket when it hit me that the MoT was due… quite why I didn’t check this prior to collecting it from BM Sport for the first time was beyond me. And I do feel a trifle foolish buying a car with only a month or so of valid MoT left on it. Worse was to come when I also realised that the VED was due! Despite having been given a (relatively) clean bill of health the prospect of an MoT on an older car always has me fearing the worst and I did worry that the control arm bushes that Jags had mentioned were starting to split might be the cause of more expense. In the event all this fretting turned out to be in vain as I received the call not that long after I had dropped the #M6 off at BM Sport that it had returned from the MoT with a fresh new pass certificate. Woo hoo! There were two advisories – a little corrosion to the driver’s side footwell and a slightly loose driver’s seat. Well, it wouldn’t be a 6 Series if there wasn’t some corrosion, and the driver’s seat was something I knew about – it’s ever so slightly twisted due to the fact that the frame looks to be on its way out. Things to ponder in the new year, I guess…

    I have bought one item for the Six this month – an emblem for the top of the gear lever. It’s not a huge thing, but it irritates me when cars have the wrong one and my #E24 has a later logo fitted – the one where there’s an M logo sitting in the middle of the gear pattern. I find these a bit naff, and as the car should have had a gear emblem with the simple tricolour stripe in the top left corner I set about trying to find one of these. It seemed as if there were none to be had for love nor money – they’re no longer available from #BMW – but eventually I tracked one down in America from someone who had obviously bought a massive job lot of parts from a dealer at some point. For the princely sum of around ten quid (including postage) I was the proud owner of a new gear knob emblem! I haven’t fitted it yet mind, as I am a bit worried about damaging the leather! So that will be another job to be contemplated while digesting the turkey.

    One other item that will need attention soon is the driver’s door lock which is excessively stiff and if you lock the car on deadlock there can be a few minutes of panic when trying to unlock the car as the key just doesn’t want to turn. A bit of jiggling usually does the job, but eventually I know I’ll be locked out of the damn thing! The key works perfectly in the passenger door, boot and ignition so it looks like I’ll need to have the driver’s door lock rebuilt with new tumblers… providing I can find someone who still remembers how to do this sort of thing.

    But for the time being I’m still loving the big coupé (although having said that it appears to be dwarfed by just about every modern car I park it next to) and now that the roads are becoming more slippery I’m enjoying remembering the art of travelling ever so slightly sideways around roundabouts at about 10mph. Those TRXs are rubbish when it comes to wet grip, but it is hugely entertaining! I might have to find some middle ground with some slightly more grippy modern rubber although this will also require an imperial set of rims. I shall scour eBay for some suitable replacements over winter but don’t want to get the Style 5 17-inch crossspokes that just about everyone fits to E24s these days. I’ll keep you posted.

    BMW E24 M635CSi
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,406
    MPG THIS MONTH: 19.8
    TOTAL COST: £60 (MoT, emblem)
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    Hard Charger #2015 . We get behind the wheel of Evolve’s modified #F13 M6. The M6 isn’t exactly slow but Evolve has managed to extract more power and torque to create a hugely fast and entertaining machine. Words & photography: Bob Harper.

    While I wouldn’t say there are plenty of modern BMWs that you emerge from thinking ‘that could do with more power’ there are a few that don’t quite seem to have enough sparkle. Sure, they can keep up fine with other traffic but on the odd occasion when you’re looking for a little bit more pizzazz they don’t deliver and fall short of having the required mumbo to make their chassis come alive. It’s safe to say though that the current crop of M cars don’t fall into this category and I don’t think I’ve ever emerged from a stint behind the wheel of a current M5 or M6 thinking, ‘yeah, with more power that would be just about perfect’.

    But let’s face it, I’m not BMW’s intended audience for the twin-turbo V8 monsters – mainly as I lack the required funds to enter the club – and stepping from a diesel 2.0-litre VW Group product into an M5 or M6 test car will inevitably make the BMWs feel even more like rocket ships. But if you were an owner of one of these fine beasts you could well become accustomed to the power the longer you own it, and you may inevitably come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s not quite quick enough. It’s also worth remembering that many owners of these cars might have something even more exotic in their garage and the M car might just be their daily driver with the exotic reserved for high days and holidays.

    However, if you’re interested in extracting more power from the #S63 V8 you don’t have quite as many options as you do if you want to map your #E90 #320d . BMW is increasingly making it harder and harder for the tuning companies to crack its ECU codes and this is something that’s only going to get more complex in the future, and it’s for this reason that many companies have decided to move over to the use of tuning boxes or piggyback ECUs. We don’t want to go into the particular pros and cons of remapping versus tuning boxes but for now it will probably suffice to say that both have their plus and minus points but in the future you may find that if you want to electronically extract more power from your BMW you’ll need a piggyback system to do it. Luton-based Evolve Automotive has been at the #BMW tuning game for a long time now and has become a very well-respected name within the community and must have carried out more dyno runs and engine maps than it cares to remember.

    While these were the bread and butter of its business, it’s currently branching out and now offers supercharger kits, air intakes and exhausts to name just a few. And these aren’t bought-in components from other companies as Evolve develops and tests all of its own components. Over the past few years it has seen the writing on the wall as far as remapping is concerned and while it’s not going to stop looking into how best to crack BMW’s latest encryption it has decided to look into piggyback ECUs and start offering them to its customers.

    Which is why we’re currently getting behind the wheel of a menacing-looking black #F13 #M6 Coupé that’s been fitted with one of its new systems. We didn’t ask how much additional power Evolve is claiming for its piggyback ECU as sometimes knowing a car has x more horsepower tricks your mind into believing that it’s x mph faster. No, we wanted to sample this M6 and then discover whether our conclusions were correct or not. We’ve not picked the ideal day for our test, though, as it’s a trifle foggy – the road surfaces are still slick with early morning dew and trying to transmit what turns out to be a lot of power is proving tricky in the lower gears. We elect to take pictures first and see if things dry out somewhat and eventually we do find some roads that while not bone dry seem to offer decent grip levels.

    And boy does this M6 take off like the proverbial scalded cat. It’s bonkers fast and seems to have an abundance of power and torque throughout the rev range. Throttle response is razor sharp and at no time does it ever really cross your mind that this unit is turbocharged – flex your right ankle and it lunges for the next county. There’s a section of lightly trafficked duel carriageway not a million miles from Evolve’s HQ and it has a stretch of around three miles between two roundabouts that enables you to drive it a few times to make sure that no boys in blue and waiting up ahead and also allows you to find a window when there’s no traffic about to really delve into its performance. We do so, and while we limit ourselves to just one high-speed run (and I’m not about to say how fast that was) we are simply blown away by the way it piles on pace and just keeps going. Even at much lower speeds it bounds forward seemingly no matter which gear it’s in or how many revs its running, and while it’s impossible to say how much quicker it is than a standard M6 there’s no doubt it feels a hell of a lot stronger.

    When we return to Evolve we discover that its piggyback ECU offers up an additional 50hp and 77lb ft of torque – gains of just under 10 per cent from BMW’s quoted power figure and just over 15 per cent more torque. However, most M5s and M6s make far more than their factory quoted figures on the dyno and this car we’ve driven is no exception. On Evolve’s rolling road its headline figures are now 692hp and 642lb ft of torque – no wonder the car’s owner thinks it’s as fast as his #Ferrari-F12 !

    Currently Evolve is buying in the hardware for its piggyback ECU conversion but writes its own software to go on it and this currently just tricks the BMW ECU into thinking that it needs to be supplying a little bit more boost. It might sound simple, but boy is it effective. Evolve is currently looking at developing its own system from scratch but for the time being there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a devastatingly effective upgrade. It costs £995 and can be easily removed from the car when it goes in for a dealer visit or when you sell the car – Evolve can even wipe the piggyback ECU and install a tune for another car.

    What we’d really like to do is come back in the summer with a standard M6 so we can drive them back-to-back to discover quite how much faster the Evolve M6 is over a standard example or perhaps we should take a selection of modified machinery to the test track and get some figures on them… Hmm, I think that might be one of next summer’s cover features sorted!

    Evolve tuning box is tucked away discreetly but delivers oodles of power and torque on the dyno.
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    Longtermers #1988 #BMW #E24 #M635CSi . Another busy month for the fleet with the M5 and 320d requiring some dealership fettling. And the editor goes mad and buys an M635CSi …

    If you read my farewell to the E34 #M5 in last month’s issue you could be forgiven for thinking that the last thing I was going to do once the #E34 had departed was to sink a whole load of money that I don’t really have into another classic BMW. As you can see from the accompanying pictures that’s exactly what I’ve done! I really shouldn’t be let out on my own or be allowed unsupervised access to the internet…

    Long time readers will know that I absolutely love the E24 6 Series and once the proceeds of the M5’s sale were burning a hole in my bank account I couldn’t help but have a little surf to see how much a #635CSi was going for these days. Safe to say that the bottom end of the 6 Series market is fraught with danger – there are plenty of machines out there that look pretty decent in the pictures but are actually complete and utter hounds. Hidden somewhere in this pack of dogs is the occasional gem but these are the ones that sell within a few hours of being advertised and I kept arriving far too late to secure a purchase. And at the back of my mind there was a nagging doubt that I simply wouldn’t be happy with a 635CSi.

    My past history includes a #1983 635CSi that had been unusually spec’d with pukka Recaro seats, a dogleg ‘box and a limited-slip differential and once I had finished removing all the tin worm and attending to a few mechanical maladies it really was an absolute peach. This rather fine machine was exchanged for what was, in essence, a rather ropey M635CSi and having sampled them both in the past I knew that if I were to purchase even a good 635 the call of the #M88 twin-cam in the M car would always be too strong to resist. So I put the idea of buying a Six on the back burner – much to Mrs H’s satisfaction.

    And then somehow I found myself on a train heading for Coventry to look at an #M635CSi that I’d spotted on eBay. The mileage was high, but it looked pretty good in the pictures… Against it was the fact that it was a Highline and I actually prefer the look of the earlier chrome bumper machines but it was Lachs silver (like my previous #M6 ) and had the added bonus of a fairly recent timing chain replacement which needs doing every 100k miles in these. The guy selling it was nice too…

    So a deal was struck, we visited the bank for some complicated transferral of monies, I added it to my insurance and headed off down the M1! Truth be told I was sold from the moment he opened the lock-up but the initial road test sealed the deal as it did drive very nicely indeed. Fearing the worst I set off with a full tank of super unleaded cursing that I hadn’t had a chance to transfer my RAC cover over to the ’Six. I needn’t have worried though as the M ran like clockwork down to Sevenoaks with the sonorous straight-six making itself heard over the radio as I experimented with how much performance was still on offer. It’s obviously not modern day fast but it still seems like it retains the vast majority of its 286hp.

    BMW made just 524 right-hand drive M635CSis between March #1984 and February #1989 and of that number just 102 were the later Highline model that I’ve just invested my children’s university fund in to. My car was built in September 1988 and like many of these cars was used extensively by its first owners who added the vast majority of the 161,000 miles that it has covered. Old MoTs reveal that it’s generally covered around a 1000 miles a year for the past five years which I’m hoping is enough to have kept everything in decent working order.

    It’s not perfect of course, they never are once they’ve done this many miles, but it seems to be fairly free of any life-threatening corrosion and apart from a slight tendency to run hot in traffic, mechanically it seems spot on. The headlamp wash doesn’t work – do they ever? – and neither do the headlamp height adjusters or the aircon but everything else seems to function as it’s meant to. The interior in particular is in pretty fine order and bar a slightly creaky driver’s seat there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount that needs doing in there.

    At some point someone has replaced the standard exhaust with the monstrosity that’s now poking our from the rear valance – if they had opted for a twin-pipe exit it wouldn’t have been nearly so bad as the system itself is quite tuneful but to my mind it’s a complete eyesore and needs replacing.

    It’ll be off to BM Sport shortly for a good going over with a fine tooth comb and hopefully the verdict won’t be that it’s a complete and utter hound! Fingers crossed.

    Bob Harper LONGTERMERS
    YEAR: 1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,124
    MPG THIS MONTH: 21.4
    TOTAL COST: My wife reads this!
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    Greek Chic. With a supercharged #M54 sitting up front and #Z4 M underpinnings, this is one Compact that’s got the bite to match its bark. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Alex Lychnaras.

    Compacts are, we have to say, not something often seen in Drive-MY. Whether it’s because they’re rarely a choice for the more hardcore tuners, or because they look like they’ve been reversed at speed into a brick wall, who knows? What we do know, though, is that George Theodorakopoulous (yes, he’s Greek) has built one hell of a Compact, combining force-induced six cylinder power with aggressive looks and intelligent chassis mods for the perfect all-rounder.

    Things started in May #2002 when George bought the #E46 #316ti brand-new; he takes up the story: “I have been interested in BMWs ever since I drove a 2002, which belonged to an ex-girlfriend’s dad. The handling of that car made an impression on me and pulled me towards rear-wheel drive later on in life. I bought the best brand-new model I could afford at the time, as tax laws back in 2002 didn’t allow for me to buy a car with a greater engine capacity, and I really appreciate the Compact concept as a lightweight four-seater with potential for big upgrades.” It’s a big step on from George’s first car, an ’82 Ford Cortina with a 2.0-litre bolted in place of the original 1600cc engine (which had expired after 200,000 miles). However he doesn’t count the engine swap as a mod as “it was so crude and incomplete” – which, in his eyes, makes the Compact his first properly modified car!

    “When I bought the Compact I was instructed to run it in carefully for 2000–2500 miles, but after 1000 miles I couldn’t help but floor it!” Of course, back then the car was running around on a relatively insignificant 115bhp – enough to keep the light, rear-wheel drive chassis interesting but hardly enough to set the world on fire. “Two years after I bought the car, I started to upgrade it with slight modifications – an air filter, exhaust, ECU remap and so on – but I was disappointed by the lack of results. To make matters worse I had to endure the scorn of people telling me that a decent modification couldn’t be done to this model!” he explains.

    Because of this, it was time for an upgrade… and George didn’t do it by halves. The M54 is a proven powerplant, and in the biggest 3.0-litre version it packs quite a punch: 230bhp, in fact. With the help of his local authorised BMW outlet, the staff of which all own modified BMWs, plans were made to squeeze the big six under the bonnet. With the Compact’s chassis being closely related to the Z4, the ultimate solution for a gearbox was the six-speeder from the Z4 M, from which many other parts were taken, too, something we’ll come to later.

    Not content with merely doubling the Compact’s output, George took the decision to gift the engine a 1.6-litre European Supercharging Systems Stage 2 Twin Screw supercharger, providing a huge lift in power and torque thanks to a constant supply of boosted air. A custom aluminium intake and a Setrab intercooler channel air into the engine, whilst a Snow Performance stand-alone water/methanol injection system keeps inlet temperatures ultra-cool when George puts his foot down. Controlling the whole lot is a remapped ECU, supplied by ESS Tuning, which governs enlarged Bosch injectors for optimum results, while Schrick cams help get more air in and out of the cylinders. The exhaust has been completely upgraded, too, with a Supersprint manifold taking waste gases to #BMW E46 M3 cats, behind which sits a Bastuck quad exit rear section for more efficient flow and a tasty exhaust note.

    Channeling the power of the new supercharged lump to the ground effectively would certainly have proved too much for the standard drivetrain but George has been very intelligent in his way of solving the problem. Not only has he used the aforementioned six-speed gearbox from the Z4 M, but he has taken the propshaft and entire rear axle out, too. This means that it now has a limited-slip diff, perfect for providing the traction he needs with such an increase in power, not to mention a lot stronger over the standard transmission.

    Underneath, the entire car is more Z4 M than #E46-Compact . All the suspension arms, braces, hubs and brakes have been transferred over. Combine this with Bilstein PSS10 coilovers and SRP strut braces front and rear, and you’ve got a very interesting setup indeed! The wheels are currently 8.5x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) M6 replica wheels, shod in 225/40 and 255/35 Contintental SportContact 2s respectively which, although they suit the car well, will be due for replacement soon. “I am still looking at new wheels – #BBS , Breyton, you name it – although when I saw these M6 wheels first fitted to my car I really liked them,” says George. Exterior-wise, the Compact has been a largely custom effort. The front bumper is based on the standard one but with the centre vent cut out to make it larger for better cooling. As well as that, George has added AC #Schnitzer corner splitters, but the front end looks are really completed by the work that’s been done to the bonnet. Gone are the separator sections that usually sit between the headlights, and instead he’s added bad-boy style extensions, which sit nicely over the outer light units. As well as that, there’s hand-made vents which also help channel the air through the engine’s radiator and the heat exchanger for the intercooler.

    The side skirts, mirrors and rear bumper are far simpler affairs, being pretty much off-the-shelf M Sport items, although the rear bumper has been trimmed to accept the quad exhausts and its pert rump has been further enhanced by way of an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler and matching three-piece bootlid spoiler. The arches have seen many hours of work, though, subtly adding extra width and a much more muscular shoulderline.

    “My idea was to give the car a sporty look without the basic concept becoming lost,” explains George. “I used the existing lines and curves of the car and intensified them so that the look is more distinctive while trying to avoid changing the basic dimensions of the car. The ideas were mine and limited only by the capability of the garage and by the support of my mechanic, who agreed not to take the body kit to extremes.” It’s certainly worked and when combined with tinted windows and smoked lights, it’s safe to say this is one Compact you wouldn’t get in the way of. Inside, things are relatively standard as the red leather looks great as it is. Having said that, the car wouldn’t be complete without a few additions – perhaps the most noticeable of which is the instrument cluster. The clocks themselves have been swapped for Schmiedmann items. There’s also an E-pod system, housing an AEM boost and oil temperature gauge, to keep a closer eye on the under-bonnet goings-on.

    George has, without a doubt, created one of the best Compacts we’ve ever seen. Running an estimated 400bhp, it’ll show even M Division’s latest baby a thing or two – not bad for something which once boasted less than 120bhp. George has shown that the baby of the E36 and E46 3 series line-up has more to show, which is by no means an easy feat. Taking suspension and the underpinnings from an M Division sibling, and then fitting a mighty supercharged M54, has been a simple and effective strategy that’s been executed to perfection. Whoever said Compacts were inferior? Not us…


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six M54, Schrick cams, ESS TS2+ supercharger with custom aluminium intake, Laminova filled Setrab intercooler, Supersprint exhaust manifold, E46 #M3 cat section, Bastuck quad-exit DTM-style rear exhaust section, Snow Performance water-methanol standalone injection system, larger Bosch injectors, mapping by ESS. Full Z4 M transmission including six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) #M6 replica wheels shod in 225/40 and 255/35 Contintental SportContact2 tyres respectively. Complete #Z4-M suspension setup front and rear, #Bilstein PSS10 coilovers, SRP strut braces front and rear. Z4M brake setup front and rear.

    EXTERIOR: Custom bonnet with hand-made air vents and bad-boy style extension, custom front bumper with reshaped central vent, AC-Schnitzer corner splitters, M Sport side skirts, mirrors and rear bumper, #AC-Schnitzer roof spoiler and three-piece bootlid spoiler, Sport mirrors, custom hand-made arches, custom vents in front wings, matt black kidney grilles, OEM xenon headlights with CCFL angel eyes, clear front indicators, smoked side repeaters and taillights, LED number plate lights, carbon fibre roundels, tinted windows.

    INTERIOR: Red leather interior with electric seats and Sport steering wheel, U-turn trim panels, Schmiedmann clocks and chrome surrounds, E-pod system with #AEM boost and oil temperature guages, AC Schnitzer pedal set, handbrake lever and gear knob.

    “I had to endure the scorn of people telling me that a decent modification couldn’t be done to this model!”

    “I used the existing lines and curves of the car and intensified them so that the look is more distinctive”
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