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    Fun Factory AC Schnitzer M240i tested. AC Schnitzer works its magic on the wonderful M240i Coupé. AC Schnitzer has taken one of BMW’s finest cars, injected it with an additional dose of adrenalin and the result is an exceedingly impressive miniature missile. Words and photography: Steve Hall.

    Here at BMW Car, we’re huge fans of the M240i, which is no surprise really considering the level of affection we developed for the M235i, which like any good relationship, just got better the more time we spent in its company. Handsome, compact coupé, powerful sonorous engine up front driving the rear wheels; it’s a recipe that would be difficult to get wrong with such good base ingredients.

    So 2016’s enhancements, which arrived when the 235 became the 240, were only ever going to deepen our desire for it. Adding 14hp and 37lb ft to a model which wasn’t exactly slow off the mark (that torque figure matches the M2) only serves to demonstrate what a fabulous engine the B58 is, combining more performance than the M235i’s BMW-N55 with greater efficiency, all the while allowing the driver to enjoy the – now unique in this class – pulsating straight-six music rendered by the B58’s machinations. At £36k it’s a hard package to beat.

    It’d be fair to say we’re fans of Schnitzer too. We realise this won’t come as a shock. With an expansive (and expanding) range we’ve had plenty cause to visit Aachen this year, and are consistently left thumbing our dictionary looking for new superlatives to sprinkle into our road test assessments. It’s on a fine run of form, hitting that sweet spot that can prove the downfall of other tuners; delivering an OEM standard of quality in a package that offers tangible benefits. So dispatching an M240i to the Schnitzer skunkworks should result in a very special package…

    Our final trip to Aachen of the year may be cold, but the forecast is bright and sunny. And with the whole day devoted to this shoot we’ve plenty of time to get to know the ACS2 4.0i. So it's a good thing our guide for the day did some diligent research (thanks Mario!) and has found some terrific roads for us to play on; one stretch in particular snaking its way along, then up a tree-lined mountain – the kind of road you imagine local petrolheads carving their way up and down in the quiet hours.

    This being Germany, we have a good few kilometers of autobahn to blast down before we reach black top more akin to a British B road (okay, with a significantly better surface) and some towns along the way to explore every facet of the ACS2’s performance and dynamics. First though, lets take in some details, starting with the element which will most irk M2 owners; the small matter of an additional 60hp and 75lb ft of torque…

    There has been much forum debate about the performance of the M240i vs the M2, given that the bona fide M car has 30hp more, identical torque and 30kg more weight. Factor in the M240i’s narrower shape and less aggressive aero and it’s easy to see why separating the junior car’s straight line performance would take a stopwatch marked in thousandths of seconds, and it’s debatable which car the exercise would favour. After Schnitzer has worked its magic, the stopwatch can safely be dispatched as the sheer thunderous energy the ACS2 demonstrates in the mid-range leaves you in no doubt: an M2 would be easy meat. With power and torque curves much the same as the standard car, power delivery mirrors the M240i – mid-range grunt swells as soon as 2000rpm is registered, by 4000rpm we’re really motoring, and the straight-six happily rips round to its 7000rpm redline with increasing vigour. But that 75lb ft of extra shove makes its presence felt everywhere, whilst the additional power sees the final flourish to the redline take the ACS2 into very senior company.

    Schnitzer realise the extra horses with its tried and tested method of an additional control box which (as with last month’s M3-based ACS3 Sport) sits atop the existing ECU and manipulates the controls to allow an increase in boost pressure, whilst being easily and invisibly reversible. That Schnitzer backs this with its own two-year warranty speaks volumes for the thoroughness of its testing programme. It explains why its claimed power figures are consistently backed up in independent testing, which isn’t something that can be said for every tuned car on the market…

    There’s a typical thoroughness to the Schnitzer approach in every element of the ACS2; the aesthetic updates address one of the few areas where criticism could be levelled at the M240i, and gives the 2 Series visual attitude to back up its performance. Not so much wolf in wolf’s clothing (that’s left to the M2), but for some there’s not enough to differentiate 218i from an M240i – not so with ACS2. The M240i’s demure aesthetic could be considered a selling point, but we think Schnitzer has struck a terrific balance by dressing the 2 Series in a smattering of high quality carbon trim pieces to complement its signature fivespoke AC1 forged alloys and the lowered ride height. As befits the Schnitzer way, many of these confer subtle aerodynamic improvements have been verified in the wind tunnel. The differences may be marginal, but when you’re driving a 400hp coupé on a road devoid of speed limits, any added high-speed stability is a welcome addition.

    Stability is aided by the Schnitzer suspension package which sits the ACS2 45mm and 50mm (front and rear respectively) closer to the ground, and waives the adaptive dampers in favour of a passive system which is mechanically adjustable in bump and rebound. The factory setup is so well judged, we doubt many will utilise the adjustment, but it’s nice to know it’s there. Some may be surprised at the omission of a locking differential even as an option, but in reality the few who would really make use of such an option are well served by some of the wilder Schnitzer products; and as we will see, this doesn’t stop the ACS2 being an absolute blast to drive on the right roads…


    Thoroughly warmed up from our sojourn through the suburbs, we join the autobahn with the ACS2 ready to demonstrate the full extent of its straight-line performance. There’s a few kilometres of built-up ‘bahn to negotiate before the derestricted sign hoves into view, during which the #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-F87 proves itself just as adept as any 2 Series Sport at low speed cruising.

    We leave the speed limit behind primed in third gear and take the opportunity to indulge in what seems to be a popular past-time in Germany – full bore acceleration when entering derestricted zones.

    It’s something the ACS2 4.0i is extremely well equipped for, punching hard with acceleration seemingly unabated as we charge through fourth and fifth gears. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too busy to explore the upper reaches of the speed spectrum, but the point is made – you’re going to need an M3 to stay in touch.

    We’re now on the roads I’d really been looking forward to. Roads which play well to the 2 Series’ compact size. We’re rolling on Continental Winter- Contact tyres, which may rob the ACS2 of the final percentile of precision, but do nothing to detract from the sweet balance innate to the chassis. All of the usual M240i traits are in situ, with the volume turned up to 11. There’s more precision, more control and more grip to manage the extra performance and on this road, winding its way up the hill interspersing 180 degree switchbacks with short straights, the ACS2 is indulgent fun. Traction proves surprisingly good, but with 443lb ft underfoot it’s easy to overwhelm the rear tyres at will – at which point the #ACS2 remains a faithful, enjoyable folly. Buoyed by the crackle of the Schnitzer Sport exhaust, I take a few more runs up and down the hill than necessary; it’s that kind of car on this kind of road…

    But then, what else were we expecting? The marriage of Schnitzer’s talents and the M240i make for a five star car; of course they do. Every element of potential critique in the M240i has been addressed, so you have a more visually alluring package that sounds better, goes better and is a more pleasing place to sit thanks to the array of Schnitzer interior trim parts. And whilst we understand that the cosmetics are not to everybody’s taste, if we were to pick and choose, the performance and chassis elements are absolutely worth having, taking the M240i on to a level of performance and driving enjoyment to worry an M2.


    CONTACT: AC Schnitzer UK
    Tel: 01485 542000 Web: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk AC Schnitzer (Germany)
    Tel: +49 (0) 241 5688130
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.de

    All of the usual M240i traits are in situ, with the volume turned up to 11. There’s more precision, more control and more grip to manage the extra performance

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-4.0i-Coupé / #ACS2-4.0i-Coupé / #AC-Schnitzer-M240i / #2017 / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M240i-Coupé / #BMW-M240i-Coupé-F22 / #BMW-M240i-F22 / #BMW / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-4.0i-Coupé-F22 / #AC-Schnitzer-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F22 / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe-F22 / #BMW-M240i-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M240i-AC-Schnitzer-F22 / #AC-Schnitzer / #ACS2-F22 /

    ENGINE: Twin-scroll turbo, straight-six, 24-valve / #BMW-N55 / #N55 / #N55-AC-Schnitzer /
    CAPACITY: 2998cc
    MAX POWER: 400hp @ 6000rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 443lb ft @ 3000rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.6 seconds
    50-120MPH: 8.6 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)

    MODIFICATIONS:

    ENGINE: AC Schnitzer performance upgrade (additional control unit) AC Schnitczer engine optics
    ENGINE: AC Schnitzer tailpipe, Sport black
    WHEELS AND TYRES: AC Schnitzer AC1 BiColour wheels, 8.5x19-inches (front and rear) with 235/35 R19 Continental WinterContact tyres all-round
    SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer ‘Racing’ package, lowered 45mm at the front and 50mm at the rear, adjustable bump and rebound
    STYLING: AC Schnitzer carbon front spoiler elements, upper rear spoiler, carbon rear spoiler, carbon fibre wing mirror covers, rear skirt protection film
    INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer aluminium pedal set and footrest, handbrake handle, key holder and floor mats

    The thunderous energy the #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2 demonstrates in the mid-range leaves you in no doubt: an M2 would be easy meat.
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    HOT STUFF M140i DRIVEN

    We get behind the wheel of BMW’s hottest non-M hatch.

    It might be living in the shadow of the M2 but the M140i is almost as much car for a lot less money. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Gus Gregory.

    What’s great about driving the M140i is that your expectations are kept at a very reasonable level. We remember the #BMW M135i blowing us away when we first sampled it, and that too was approached with enthusiasm but few expectations. Since then the M2 has come along and while 35i has become 40i across the board, accompanied by an increase in power and performance, it’s merely a warmed- up 1 Series compared with its big-arched, fullblown M cousin.

    So why is it that driving this unassuming M140i has left us baffled? It just feels so fast. We were expecting it to feel fast because it is fast, but not this fast. It actually feels faster than the M2, which seems as bizarre, but that’s the sensation you get from behind the wheel. The reasons for the M140i’s surprising turn of pace are twofold. First, the gearbox. The nowfamiliar eight-speed unit is as good today as it was when we first sampled it, shifting seamlessly between ratios when left to its own devices and delivering near-instant upshifts and downshifts when operated in manual mode. It’s always in the right gear for any given situation and, in the unlikely event that it’s not, it’s always eager to drop a gear or two, which means that every time you prod the throttle you’re rewarded with an immediate response from the engine. The manual, which was fitted to the M2 we drove, is great but the auto is faster.

    The second reason why the M140i feels so quick is to do with the numbers it’s putting down. With 340hp it’s 30hp down on the M2 but, where the latter develops peak power at 6500rpm, the M140i makes peak power 1000rpm sooner. What really makes a difference, though, is the torque; normally, the M2 produces 343lb ft of torque, with this rising to 369lb ft under full throttle when overboost engages, but the M140i makes 369lb ft all the time. That 26lb ft advantage comes into play much earlier than the M2’s 30hp advantage and it means that, even under light throttle openings, the M140i feels massively eager and hugely responsive. In absolute terms, the more powerful M2 is quicker but the difference isn’t one you’d notice out in the real world.

    The dramatic 1 Series face-lift has resulted in a more universally appealing car that’s more elegant and dynamic than its chubby-cheeked predecessor. And the M Sport additions certainly give it a sense of sculpted muscularity.

    But in reality it’s an unassuming car. Yes, it wears 18s and has a smattering of Ferric grey details across the exterior but, at the end of the day, it’s a narrow body five-door hatch. And while there are hints of what it might be capable of, it’s really not a million miles away from an M Sport diesel. The vast majority of other road users won’t know or care what you’re driving, which means you can make discreet progress and have fun without being bothered.

    And that’s a good thing because this is a car you will be having a lot of fun in. Beyond the outright performance, the chassis is sharp and the M140i feels wonderfully crisp and responsive. The brakes are consistent and strong and the whole package feels wonderfully complete, inspiring confidence and encouraging you to drive it quickly like few other cars.

    At about £10k less than the M4, the M2 is an exceptional machine and offers astonishing value for money but, at about £10k less than the M2, the M140i is no less of an exceptional machine and also offers incredible value for money. In the real world, the M2’s performance advantage is moot and it’s the M140i that feels the quicker of the two; it might not have the looks, but it has just about everything else you could want. If you’re not a fan of the M140’s five-door body style, you could opt for the three-door or even the M240i, but the fact that you can have all of this performance wrapped up in a practical five-door package is definitely part of the appeal… and the M140i is a most appealing car. Whether or not you’d choose one over an M2 is something you need to work out for yourself. The M140i’s existence doesn’t suddenly make it difficult to recommend buying an M2, but it certainly does make you question buying anything else at this price point.

    DATA FILE #2017 / #BMW-F20 / #BMW-M140i / #BMW-M140i-F20 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F20 /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55 /
    TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual, optional eight-speed automatic #ZF8HP
    WEIGHT (EU) 1525kg (1550*)
    MAX POWER 340hp @ 5500rpm DIN
    MAX TORQUE 369lb ft @ 1520-4500rpm DIN
    0-62MPH 4.8 (4.6*)
    TOP SPEED 155mph (limited)
    EMISSIONS (C02) 179g/km (163*)
    FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 36.2 (39.8*)
    PRICE £32,405 (*) denotes automatic transmission
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    That a car built by the owners of S6 Wraps would be wrapped is no surprise but there are plenty of choice mods on this E92 that make it stand out from the crowd. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Adam Walker.

    ALL WRAPPED UP Wrapped and bagged E92 335i


    The E92 3 Series has one of the most appealing shapes going. It’s lovely and smooth, sleek, streamlined and perfectly proportioned. It still looks as good today as it did when it was launched back in 2006 but that’s not to say that it can’t be enhanced with a few tasty styling additions. The E92 has such a vast range of aftermarket support that it’s crying out to be modified, especially if it happens to be a 335i with that eminently tuneable turbo straight-six.

    That’s certainly what Dan Roache and Paige Walton, owners of S6 Wraps in Pickford, thought when buying their E92 335i but, then again, that’s no surprise considering it was always destined to be modified and built up into a show car. The pair have both owned and modified BMWs for the past four years, with a 120d and E91 320d having undergone dramatic transformations at their hands before the 335i came along. “We decided to sell both Paige’s E91 and my Audi TT to buy a joint car to turn into a show car and we knew it was going to be this 335i,” says Dan. “Paige’s uncle owned it from new, and since I had a ride in it on the first day he got it I knew I wanted to buy it from him when he was finished with it. He called me one day and gave me the first refusal so we couldn’t say no.” With the intention always being to modify the 335i, Dan and Paige had actually started buying parts before they had even bought the car, and work began almost immediately.


    As we’re sure you well know, the turbocharged straight-six in the 35i models is so keen to make more power that you’d be silly not to turn the wick up a touch, and the later single turbo N55B30 as fitted here is no less receptive to a bit of underbonnet tinkering than its twin-turbo predecessor. “The second week of owning the car we took it over to our friend Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop for a full custom 3” stainless exhaust system with a cat-less downpipe and the rest straight-through with just a back box and 4” tips,” says Dan. These would help the engine breathe and bring some extra ponies to the party but there was still more to come. “We got chatting with Burger Tuning who sent us the JB4 and BMS intake direct from the States, and our friends at Forge helped us out to get the FMIC changed for a bigger one and the car is now running approximately 400hp,” which a nice increase over the stock output of 306hp for not much effort.

    Belonging to a wrap company meant that the E92 was destined to be wrapped and aesthetics were always going to be an important aspect of the build for a company whose primary focus is how cars look. “We have always been into the clean and simple styling with nice subtle mods like carbon fibre,” says Dan, “so we knew straight away what direction we were going with the car.” That’s the sort of approach to styling that works really well with the E92’s natural clean lines. The pair’s taste for carbon fibre means that a few of the exterior elements have been touched by the exotic weave, with carbon grilles, carbon mirrors and a carbon boot spoiler plus the most impressive addition of all: the custom-fitted genuine E92 M3 carbon roof. In keeping with Dan and Paige’s appreciation of clean styling, the front bumper has been smoothed and then there’s the wrap. The colour is limited edition Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite and it is insane; at first glance it looks like just another shade of grey but then the light hits it and you realise that it’s covered in a dazzling glitter flake, which really adds an extra dimension to the colour and definitely makes this E92 stand out.

    Such a dazzling colour deserves some suitably dazzling wheels and here Dan and Paige went for a set of fully polished 19” Rotiform TMBs for the car: “We wanted the car to be a head-turner so as soon as we saw the fully polished TMBs we couldn’t say no to them,” says Dan. “At the time Rotiform was the only way we wanted to go wheel-wise and the TMB design really suits the shape of the car.” They do look fantastic on the E92 but wheels are nothing without a drop and that’s where the Air Lift 3P kit comes in. “We would only use Air Lift on the E9x platform as it’s the safest and most reliable system you can buy,” says Dan, “and we also fitted new uprated rear arms.”

    Considering how spectacular the outside is you’d be forgiven for thinking that the interior would have a hard time topping that but, if anything, the interior is even more impressive. For starters, it’s finished in stunning Dakota red leather, which make such a nice change from boring old black and works perfectly with the grey exterior. The most impressive aspect of the interior is the addition of a pair of M4 front seats, which look fantastic, are incredibly comfortable and supportive and so much more special than even the E9x M3’s seats. The plan had actually originally been to fit a pair of Audi RS4 seats but Dan and Paige didn’t like the fact that it wouldn’t have been in-keeping with the OE look, so decided to stay within the BMW family and it was definitely the right decision. There’s also a BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, complete with matching Dakota red centre stripe, while the controller for the suspension has been neatly mounted in front of the centre armrest.


    You may have also noticed the custom doorcards, which house four speakers each plus a tweeter by the door mirrors. These form part of the serious audio install; one of Dan’s favourite modifications on the entire car. But you need to look in the boot to find the real meat of the audio upgrades. The twin air tanks have been mounted in the sides of the boot while the twin Viair compressors and Air Lift manifold sit in a recess in the boot floor. Then there’s the Audison bit One digital audio processor and mono block amp powering a pair of Gladen 10” subs mounted behind the rear seats, and a four-channel amp for the two sets of Rainbow 6.5 components and Harman Kardon speakers in the front doors. It’s clearly a serious audiophile setup that has not only been beautifully installed but we wager sounds pretty incredible too.

    A lot of work and thought has gone into this E92 but, amazingly, it only took two months to build from start to finish, with everything bar the custom exhaust having been done in-house at S6 Wraps. As far as future plans are concerned, there aren’t any, because the 335i is currently up for sale, but such is the life of a project car, especially when it’s a company demo build. But that does make it easier to move on and start the next project, which we anticipate is going to be something equally eye-catching.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55B30 / #N55 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 , custom 3” turbo back de-cat exhaust system, #Forge-FMIC , #BMS intake, JB4 , six-speed auto gearbox

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) fully polished #Rotiform-TMB wheels with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Falken tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3P air suspension, EBC RedStuff pads all-round

    EXTERIOR Full wrap in Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite, smoothed front bumper, custom fit genuine E92 M3 carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre door mirrors, kidney grilles, #BMW-M-Performance spoiler

    INTERIOR M4 front seats retrimmed in Dakota red leather, custom doorcards with speaker pods housing two sets of 6.5 Rainbow components and Harman Kardon speakers, #BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, custommounted 3P controller, custom mounted Audison bit One controller, boot build for air-ride and audio including Audison bit One digital audio processor, Audison mono block amp, Audison four-channel amp, Gladen 10” subs mounted behind rear seats, twin air tanks, twin Viair compressors

    THANKS #S6-Wraps , Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop , #Burger-Tuning , #Forge-Motorsport

    “We knew straight away what direction we were going with the car”
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    AC Schnitzer M2 / #ACS2-Sport / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-Sport / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS2 / #BMW-F87 / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F87 / #2016 /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-ACS2 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-F87 / #BMW-M2-AC-Schnitzer-ACS2-F87 / #BMW-2-Series-AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-M2 /


    AC Schnitzer has revealed its full tuning programme for the M2 featuring a range of upgrades for BMW’s pocket rocket. A power upgrade is a given, and Schnitzer has extracted another 50hp from the turbocharged ‘six to give 420hp. This can be combined with Schnitzer’s upgraded chargecooler to provide a sustained, smooth power delivery.

    To ensure that it sounds as well as it goes Schnitzer has added a Sport silencer system complete with valve control with a choice of two different tailpipe trims. Fine handling is assured thanks to Schnitzer’s RS coilover setup which is fully height adjustable (30-40mm lower) and also features adjustable compression and rebound settings. For those wanting a less extreme setup there’s also a spring kit for the car, too.

    Exterior styling comprises a lower front spoiler extension, carbon front wing canards, a carbon rear diffuser and mirror covers and a choice of either a discreet rear lip spoiler or a rather more extreme ‘Racing’ rear spoiler. There are a variety of rims available in either 19- or 20-inch fitments including the forged AC1 in BiColour or matt anthracite. Type V and Type VIII wheels can also be specified, too. For further information and pricing contact AC Schnitzer.

    Contact: AC Schnitzer UK: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk or AC Schnitzer Germany: www.ac-schnitzer.de
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    RUMBLE IN THE BRONX

    With its metal wide-body conversion, air-ride and 21s, this F10 535xi is not a car you want to pick a fight with. Billy Sanchez is the kind of fella that roots for bad guys in the movies. And cars don’t get much more menacing than his aired-out F10, rolling through NYC on fat 21s… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: C3 Photography.

    The aesthetic of the gangster car has been firmly ingrained in our psyches for generations, and it’s all thanks to Hollywood. It began back in the Bonnie & Clyde days when mob bosses hurtled around in V8 Fords with running boards, their stooges standing on the sides wielding Tommy guns – but as time wore on and the game changed, gangsters were found on the silver screen rumbling menacingly through the metropolis without any of that hyperactivity, instead relying on visual drama to do the talking. Think of the quintessential mob car, you think of something long, luxurious, black-on-black, and all-American. A Lincoln Continental, say, or a Mercury Grand Marquis. The image of the gangster car evolved up until the 1970s, and then it stopped, frozen in amber as a first-half-of- Goodfellas snapshot.

    Until now, that is. The mobs, wise guys and cartels of New York City have brought a new game, and Billy Sanchez is leading the aesthetic in fine style with his badass F10. Forget your home-grown heroes, Detroit’s just a whisper on the breeze – if you want to exude menace and ill-gotten opulence on the streets of NYC today, you need some lowslung Bavarian metal.
    Not that we’re calling Billy a gangster, of course – he’s a fine, upstanding citizen. Although… his car does give us pause. It’s the sort of motor you should really be driving whilst wearing a lustrous mink coat and holding a gold-topped cane. Or, ideally, not driving at all, but being chauffeured around as you conduct your business from the back seat.

    If you’re going to be spending decent time in the car getting down to business, it makes sense to get that environment ship-shape, does it not? While the standard F10 5 Series has pretty decent internals, Billy’s approach has been one of revolution, not evolution.

    “The interior’s been entirely reworked by Exact Art Fabrications,” he airily explains, with the casual aplomb of a man who’s got his affairs in order. “It’s all trimmed in Ferrari Rosso leather, with diamond-stitched Alcantara inserts in Goya red.” The Pennsylvania-based outfit has been making a name for itself in the premium retrim game, and with quality like this you can see why the commissions are flooding in – if it’s sumptuous and aspirational, the company is jamming a needle through it and stitching it into the rides of the great and good.

    It’s not just the seats either – Exact has had a crack at reworking this 2012 535xi’s boot as well. Now, while the presence of a voluminous cargo area may be a keen selling point for the average suburban family saloon decision-maker, such concerns are but stuff and nonsense to today’s urban gangster; similarly, while a full-size sedan was the weapon of choice for the mob bosses of yore thanks to its ability to swallow a couple of stunned adversaries in the rear, that’s not how things are done these days. Let the heavies take care of the bodies in their SUVs, Billy’s crammed his boot with yet more Ferrari leather, Bentley-esque diamond quilting, and a double rainbow of air-ride hardlines that act as whirlpool ripples from the whacking great subs within.


    Oh yes, the air-ride – because being low ’n’ lazy is also vital to the casual gangster aesthetic. “It’s a custom install, featuring Air Lift hardware with 3H management,” Billy explains. This last point is noteworthy, as the new 3H system is a next-generation deal, the company’s most powerful and advanced to date; it employs height and pressure sensors to keep everything exactly where it should be, infinitely adjustable via its own smartphone app. Because you know how mob bosses feel about control.

    Let’s not get carried away with the low ’n’ lazy idea, though; if you’re running this kind of game, you need to have the ready ability to scarper if it suddenly becomes necessary to do so. This is why Goodfellas run landyachts with whacking great V8s, they need the urge in reserve. And the base for Billy’s project follows this thinking to its logical conclusion, being a 535xi. This is a model that came fresh from the factory with a 3.0-litre straight-six packing a clever twin-scroll turbo, serving up a horsepower figure that begins with a three right out-of-the-box. Add to this a full Remus exhaust system, with a Stage 2 reflash for the eight-speed autobox, and there’s more than enough sprint to underlay the swagger. If the feds come aknockin’, he can be out the back window and away in the motor in a flash. Y’know, not that he would. Billy’s a good guy, not a wise guy.

    If your eyes have flitted to the photos by this point, you’ll presumably have spotted the wheels. And they’re worthy of a few moments of your time, measuring a mighty 13x21” all-round. Just consider the sheer volume of that for a moment; imagine picking one up, considering its dimensions, over a foot wide and not far from two feet across. Mighty. Certainly not for shrinking violets. “They’re from Luxury Abstract,” Billy reveals, arching his fingers into a steeple and leaning forward as if to pass supreme judgement over a business rival. “They’re forged Jungo three-pieces, custom-built and made to order.” This is very much Luxury Abstract’s MO, it doesn’t sell wheels off-the-shelf – if you want a set of rims from it, you have to ask nicely and have them custom-crafted to your own unique specs. Just check out the diamond pattern on the spokes, mirroring the stitching inside. This guy’s playing for keeps here, there’s no mucking about.

    Naturally you can’t just bolt a set of 13x21”s to an F10 and expect everything to be hunky dory, you pretty much have to rework the setup from soup to nuts, and the first place you need to be looking is the bodywork. Something really quite subtle’s happened here too; you see, hidden amongst the grandeur of the wheels and the low-slung stance, it’s almost possible to miss the widebody conversion – but once you spot it, it’s an absolute mindblower.

    “The whole thing’s been widened by THE TEAM here in NYC,” Billy grins malevolently. “Every corner is three inches wider, and it’s all handcrafted in steel.” Well, if any man deserves a full metal jacket, it’s this one. He’s from the Bronx. Such heavy-handed attention to detail isn’t a want, it’s a need.
    As with all gangster types, however, there’s a whimsical, playful side. Indeed, this brutish urban cruiser plainly has a keen sense of irony, as evidenced by the subtle carbon fibre accents that make their presence felt across the car’s leading edges; the bootlid spoiler, the custom front lip, the tails of that rumbling exhaust. How much of a focus on weight-saving can there be in a car stuffed to the gills with sumptuous leather and beefy audio equipment, to necessitate the gram-shaving of carbon fibre’s mystical weave? Ah, but it’s not about power-to-weight ratios, of course. Carbon fibre has become a premium material in its own right – you can thank Pagani and Bugatti for that – so it all fits in rather neatly here. The carbon acts like the ermine edging to the hem of the gangster moll’s shift frock, a luxe fringe on a class cut.

    Before we can get too ingrained in the machinations of the build, however, we’re edged toward the door by a brace of heavies. Billy has business to attend to and, much like the effect of the colossal R1 Concepts BBK that lurks beneath his F10, the brakes are put on our investigations before we can get in too deep.

    The retardation is sudden and relentless. This is probably for our own safety, of course – what we don’t know can’t hurt us. And that goes for you too, dear reader – think of this hasty exit as a mutual protection of souls and sensibilities. For while we’d never say that Billy is anything other than squeaky clean, his 535xi is straight-up gangster.

    Wide-body conversion is surprisingly subtle but does add a purposeful 3” to each corner.
    Stunning custom interior features Ferrari Rosso leather with diamondstitched Alcantara inserts.

    DATA FILE Wide-body air-ride #BMW-F10 / #BMW-535xi / #BMW-535xi-F10 / #BMW / #N55 / #BMW-N55 / #Luxury

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six single-turbo N55B30 , full Remus exhaust system with carbon fibre tips, eight-speed auto ’box with Stage 2 reflash

    CHASSIS 13x21” (front and rear) #Luxury-Abstract-Jungo forged three-piece wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Air-Lift suspension with 3H management, R1 Concepts big brake kit with eightpot calipers and 405mm discs (front) and six-pot calipers and 385mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Full metal wide-body conversion with 3” extension to all wings carried out by THE TEAM, carbon fibre bootlid spoiler, custom carbon fibre front lip

    INTERIOR Custom interior by Exact Art Fabrications with Ferrari Rosso leather with diamond stitched Goya red Alcantara inserts, VIP boot install, Rockford Fosgate audio with 12” T1 subs

    “Every corner is three inches wider, and it’s all handcrafted in steel”
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    HIDDEN STRENGTH

    With its subtle looks, this 135i can slip under the radar, which is handy as it’s got 460whp on tap. This 135i might look fairly ordinary but appearances can be deceptive and there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye… Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.

    Disappointment is sometimes a powerful motivator. Sports teams that lose the championship one year have been known to turn that negative feeling into a springboard that pushes them to win it the next. So it was with Pete Agas and his 135i.

    Initially, he wanted a 1M Coupé, but only 200 came to Australia and he missed out on the allocation. He didn’t let that get him down, though. Instead, he purchased an E82 135i and used the leftover funds to change almost every mechanical component to make it much faster than a stock 1M ever was.

    The story begins back in late 2012, when he first purchased this Alpine white example fresh from the dealer. Having been inspired to tune cars ever since his youth (when watching Stephen Spielberg’s debut feature – Duel – made him think about tuning cars so he could outrun a psychotic truck driver), Pete wasn’t going to leave it untouched for long, and after posting a few pictures of it in its factory state on his online build thread (complete with the caption: ‘stock… yuck’), he started to modify it to suit his tastes.

    As for those tastes? “I build, tune and customise my vehicles for performance over appearance,” he says, and as you can see, the finished car reflects that. APEX ARC-8 wheels, StopTech BBK, #Hartge silencer and M Performance carbon bits aside, there is no indication from the outside that this machine puts out 460whp at low boost and pounds around race tracks with ease. Even looking under the bonnet yields nothing to the casual observer, and unless they were looking hard, enthusiasts would only spot the AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 intake and M Performance Power Kit 2 as well. Almost everything that means anything is hidden on this build, and that’s the way Pete likes it, especially as it makes it that much easier to goad other, supposedly faster, cars into a little challenge. “I frequently drive around the South Yarra area in Victoria where there are plenty of beautiful Porsches. I may have completely decimated a couple of them in a quick squirt contest…” he says with a grin.

    Of course, his E82 didn’t become this fast overnight. Indeed, having missed out on a 1M, he initially wanted just to match that car’s handling, with pure grunt not really on the radar. And even then, for the first year, Pete only drove it around with limited mods. An M Performance exhaust and exterior bits and some Rays G25 wheels upped the game from stock, but they were hardly going to help Pete reach even his initial goal. That’s why, after that 12 months, he started amassing E9x M3 suspension parts in bulk, along with other bits and pieces, so he could be ready for the next stage.

    Those E9x parts included sway bars, control arms, bushings, camber link kit and strut tower brace, to which he added Swift springs. Having basically matched the 1M’s key suspension elements, Pete then moved onto the brakes, with M Performance discs, Cool Carbon brake pads and Hard Braking front titanium shims. For a little extra grunt, he added the aforementioned Power Kit 2 and controlled it via a Quaife 3.08 helical LSD in a VAC finned, clear anodised cover. A Burger Motorsports clutch delay valve and clutch stop helped in the driveline department as well. Finally, a few extra M Performance exterior and interior parts helped round it off. Until the most recent major upgrades, the diff was actually Pete’s favourite component as it improved traction no end. “The LSD just puts the power down without the e-Diff having a field day. It was easily the most notable change when driving the car back home from the workshop for the first time.” The fact the Quaife diff works with the stock traction control is a bonus, too, even if Pete doesn’t need it in the dry.


    Now, you might think at this stage, having reached his initial goal, Pete would be satisfied and call it a day. After all, he had already created a very quick, but still very usable road car. However, the fact you see this rather faster beast before you shows he wasn’t done. What prompted him to go further were two new discoveries. Firstly, having gone this far into the BMW tuning world, he’d found a “huge amount of aftermarket potential within the BMW brand”, as well as a highly supportive and knowledgeable community to go with it.

    Secondly, having built a track-oriented car, Pete was hardly likely to keep it purely on the road, and a visit to Phillip Island one day proved rather comprehensively that while strong, his build wasn’t perfect.

    “I quickly discovered the platform needed brakes and cooling,” Pete tells us. “I also learned very quickly of the possibility of a spun rod bearing when pushing wet-sumped platforms on the track, so I quickly picked up an oil pan baffle to prevent this from happening to me.”


    Having discovered these weaknesses, Pete also bolted on an oil cooler and decided that even the upgraded brakes he had weren’t going to cut it. So, as part of the final stage of mods, he purchased a StopTech BBK, with ST60 six-pot calipers on the front and ST40 four pots on the rears, matched with StopTech’s own Street Performance pads.

    These clamp down on with Trophy Sport two-piece slotted discs to provide a significant upgrade in braking ability. Indeed, these are now Pete’s new favourite parts. “The new brakes not only look great, but they have an amazing pedal feel, are completely modular and replaceable and have a huge range of available pads.”

    That they sit this high in his estimation is a big endorsement, given the rest of the upgrades he fitted at this stage. In the engine bay, he installed a Pure N55 Stage 2 turbo, an AR Design downpipe, Maddad midpipes and the aforementioned Hartge silencer on the hot side. He also fitted the previously mentioned AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 intake, an ETS five-inch intercooler and lower charge pipe, an Evolution Raceworks black anodised chargepipe and GFB N55 diverter valve upgrade on the cool side. Unsurprisingly, given the company’s reputation, a Dinan Stage 3 135iS tune controls the lot.

    To further enhance the car’s abilities on the track, Pete also added Dinan Racing adjustable rear toe arms, Dinan front control arm bushings, Turner Motorsport solid aluminium rear subframe bushings and Ohlins Road and Track dampers. Finally, some sticky Hankook RS-3s on those handsome APEX ARC-8 wheels put all the power to the ground.


    The results are quite startling. Given the sticky rubber and LSD, you’d think traction wouldn’t be a problem, but with TC off, Pete was able to spin up the wheels well into third gear on our short spot-shoot drive. “This is with the turbo at 15psi, remember,” Pete reminds us. “It’s capable of 27 or even 30psi. Frankly, I think it’d be undriveable on the street like that. I would need drag slicks or something.”

    He’s probably right. The biggest impact, though, came from the fact that the power just kept on coming. Starting from around 3000rpm, it genuinely didn’t stop until very close to the redline. Owners of modern, well-tuned turbo cars will no doubt be nodding along to this in recognition, but for those who haven’t experienced such a longlasting rush, it’s quite the memorable event.

    Thankfully, all of Pete’s suspension changes keep the car a lot more pinned to the ground, even if traction is a bit of an issue. It’s firm, no doubt, but even the harsh, sharp-edged bumps on Melbourne’s often lumpen roads didn’t jar particularly. It’s a testament to both the quality of the parts and Pete’s careful selections. “I like to think with the right amount of planning and research, most, if not all risks [when building a car] can be mitigated,” he says knowingly. “I checked, re-checked and triple-checked the parts that were chosen for the car and I paid very close attention to their fitment and quality before proceeding with the purchase. That research, coupled with the highly talented team over at SouthernBM (his chosen workshop), made the process easy.”

    So, having now built a sleeper that can not just match a 1M but surpass it in every measure (bar width), is Pete satisfied? Is he done? Of course he isn’t. Soon after the shoot, he fitted some Kerscher 1Mstyle front wings and eventually, plans to turn it into a roadregistered track car, complete with rear seat delete, half-cage, Recaro Pole Positions, lithiumion battery, Evolution of Speed N55 manifold, E85 tune and carbon bonnet.

    This would leave him without a daily driver, though, so what gives? Well, on 14 October last year, Pete watched the livestream as #BMW introduced the M2, and soon after, strode into his local dealership and ordered a manual one in Long Beach blue. We guess he never did get over the disappointment of the 1M after all…

    StopTech ST60 front BBK boasts 355mm discs and six-pot calipers, necessary when you’ve got 460whp to play with.


    DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /
    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 / #BMW-N55 , #M-Performance-Power-Kit-2 , #Pure-Stage-2 N55-turbo, Pure N55 inlet pipe, Evolution Racewerks N55 Type III Hard Anodised Black charge pipe, #AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 N55 intake, ETX 5” FMIC with lower chargepipe, GFB N55 diverter valve upgrade, #AR-Design N55 catted downpipe with ceramic coating, Maddad midpipes, Hartge quad-exhaust outlet silencer, 42 Draft Designs O2 sensor spacer, Dinan High Capacity oil cooler, Burger Motorsports oil catch can, JB4 ISO 5.9 with flex fuel wires - Map 6, Dimple Magnetic sump plug, Walbro 455 E85 Low Pressure Fuel Pump, Dinan Stage 3 Performance Engine Software map, VAC Motorsports N54 oil pan baffle

    TRANSMISSION Standard six-speed manual transmission, Burger Motorsports modified clutch valve, Burger Motorsports Short Throw clutch stop, Quaife 3.08 helical LSD, VAC Motorsports finned differential cover (clear anodised), Dimple Magnetic transmission plug (x2), Turner Motorsport Delrin differential bushings, E46 M3 transmission bushings

    CHASSIS 8.5x18” ET45 (front) and 9.5x18” ET62 (rear) #APEX-ARC-8-Hyper-Black wheels with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Hankook Ventus RS-3 tyres, #Apex / #Apex-ARC-8 wheel stud conversion kit, #Project-Kics open-ended lug nuts, BMW E9x M3 strut tower brace, E92 M3 front and rear sway bars, E92 front upper and lower control arms, E92 rear upper control arms, E9x M3 rear lower camber link kit, Ohlins Road and Track dampers with E82 135i 7” 60Nm/MM Swift Springs (front) and E82 1M 9” 120Nm/MM Swift Springs (rear), Swift Thrust Sheets, Ohlins rear damper adjuster extenders, #Vorschlag camber plates, #Dinan-Racing adjustable rear toe arms, #Dinan Monoball front control arm bushings, #Turner-Motorsport aluminium subframe bushings, #StopTech ST60 #BBK with 355x32mm slotted, zinc-coated discs and StopTech Trophy Sport Aerohat hats (front) and #StopTech-ST40-BBK with 345x28mm slotted, zinc-coated discs and Trophy Sport Aerohat hats (rear), StopTech Street Performance pads, StopTech braided brake lines, calipers painted silver

    EXTERIOR M Performance front grille in black, M Performance carbon rear lip spoiler, BMW Blackline LCI taillights, 1M mirror conversion, Hartge dual outlet exhaust diffuser PU-RIM in gloss black, Carbon roundel decals, Philips Silver Vision indicator globes, T10 W5W Amber Chrome side indicator globes, Lux H8 V4 LED angel eyes, Final Inspection Rejuvenation Detail and Full Metal Jacket


    INTERIOR M Performance aluminium pedals, M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with yellow stripe, M Performance gear knob and Alcantara shift boot, M Performance handbrake handle and Alcantara boot, M Performance interior in carbon, M Performance illuminated door sills, Alcantara binnacle cover, JB4 Bluetooth module with Android integration, Precision LED E82 LED interior package, 35 per cent window tint

    THANKS Harold at HP Autosport, Andrew Brien and the crew at SouthernBM
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    THE SECOND COMING

    Can the M2 deliver the same sheer driving thrills as the 1M? There’s only one way to find out… The 1M rocked everyone’s world and now the M2 has descended from the heavens to deliver the people from mid-range performance mediocrity Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: #BMW

    When it was launched back in 2011, the 1M cost about £40,000; now, five years on, a 1M costs around… £40,000. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how popular the limited production hot coupé was, and still is.

    While BMW ended up producing rather a lot more cars than the 2700 it initially planned on, with a total of 6309 examples sold worldwide in the end, there were just 450 right-hand drive examples, which is at least part of the reason why second-hand prices remain so incredibly high. The other reason is that it was an absolutely awesome car; the press went mad for it, with praise being heaped on the car for delivering a driving experience akin to the E30 M3, albeit in a more modern guise. The 1M was snapped up by performance-hungry punters, delivered thrills to the chosen few and then it left us, and left us wanting. The 135i was good and the M135i and M235i, now the M140i and M240i, were even better but none of them delivered the same full-on, whiteknuckle driving experience that only a fullyfledged M car can. But now, all that changes with the arrival of the M2.

    First impressions couldn’t be better. It looks absolutely awesome, especially finished in lush and lustrous Long Beach blue, and I actually came out of the office to find one of my colleagues humping the back end of the test car we had in. Genuinely. The styling is on point, with those pumped up arches giving it an almost cartoonishly wide stance. Then you’ve got that swoopy and super aggressive front bumper, the surprisingly good-looking wheels and those shiny quad pipes at the back. It’s not the last word in finesse or delicacy, but it looks so right. The interior, nice as it is, has been singled out by pretty much everyone as a source of disappointment, and, sadly, we have to agree. It looks and feels good but what it doesn’t feel is special; the seats are identical to those in any 1 or 2 Series M Sport model, as is the steering wheels and gear knob. In fact, that only things that set the M2 apart from its lesser brethren are the suede gear knob gaiter and the interior trim, and that’s it. The seats are comfy and grippy, the steering wheel is the perfect size and the gear knob, so reminiscent of the E46 Sport’s example, fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, but, aside from the M2 logo that flashes up on the instrument cluster display when you get into the car, there’s nothing to remind you that you’ve just splashed out £45,000 on what’s meant to be a full-blown M car.

    It’s not a deal breaker, though. Fire up the M2 and it barks into life with a pleasing flourish of noise from those quad pipes and the noisy cold idle gives way to a more neighbour-friendly purr once the engine has warmed up. Noise plays a big part of the buying/owning/driving experience for any car enthusiast and here the M2 excels; where the switch from V8 to straight-six resulted in the F8x M3 and M4 sounding loud, blaring and angry but not especially sexy or alluring, the six-cylinder soundtrack is the perfect fit for the M2. The volume level is spot-on: it’s quieter than the S55 in the M3 and M4, but the engine and exhaust notes also sound more natural and pleasant as a result. It’s a lovely straight-six howl, well-rounded and, based on the soundtrack, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it was turbocharged if you didn’t know.


    For the M2, BMW has turned the wick up on the single-turbo N55 further still and it’s now putting out the sort of power and torque levels you’d expect from a remapped 35i. It now makes 370hp and 343lb ft of torque, 369 on overboost, enough for a 0-62 sprint of 4.5 seconds for the manual and 4.3 seconds for DCT-equipped cars, and the top speed is obviously limited to 155mph. The engine is very strong in the mid-range, with a big hit of torque right where you want it, but it loves to rev and to get the best out of it you really need to take each gear right to the upper reaches of the rev range.

    It never feels poop-your-pants fast, despite its impressive and, let’s not forget, E9x M3-beating-on-paper acceleration figures, but it’s as fast as you’d ever need a car to be and there’s no situation where you’ll find yourself wishing you had more power. It’s not as fast as the F8x M3 or M4, which feel ballistic, but with less power it’s actually better to drive.

    Firstly, and quite importantly, it delivers a far more analogue driving experience than most modern machinery; there’s no variable steering, no adjustable damping, no multiple modes and settings that need to be explored and examined before you can actually start driving the thing. The only thing you need to do is put it in Sport mode to sharpen up the throttle response, then decide how much traction control you want and you’re ready.

    Where the M3 and M4 struggle with traction even in ideal conditions, the M2 has no such trouble and, full-throttle first gear launches aside, it puts the power down without any fuss. It also flows beautifully when piloted along a fast, empty stretch of Tarmac and delivers real driving thrills, the sort that get your heart pumping and spread a broad grin across your face. It also feels incredibly planted; the suspension is firm, yes, but it’s incredibly well damped and is never upset by bumps and undulations in the road. It feels like it’s really attached to the road rather than about to go skipping off into a hedge when the going gets rough. The M2 is a really good car. It looks and feels fantastic to drive, is as quick as you could ever want a car to be, sounds good, delivers genuine driving thrills and does it all whilst costing over £10k less than an M4 and delivering a better driving experience. It really is about as good as it gets.


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F87 / #BMW-M2 / #BMW-M2-F87 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F87 / #2016 /
    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55 / #BMW / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe
    TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual, optional seven-speed #M-DCT / #DCT / #BMW-DCT /
    WEIGHT (EU) 1570kg (1595*)
    MAX POWER 370hp @ 6500rpm
    MAX TORQUE 343 (369) lb ft @ 1400-5560rpm
    0-62MPH 4.5 (4.3*)
    TOP SPEED 155mph (limited)
    EMISSIONS (CO²) 199g/km (185*)
    FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 33.2 (35.8*)
    PRICE (OTR) £44,070
    (*) denotes M DCT transmission


    “It looks absolutely awesome especially finished in lush Long Beach blue”
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    TOTAL WHITEOUT
    A stunning matt white, wide-body BMW E92 335i. The E92 bar has been raised to sublime proportions with Carlos Molina’s dazzling matt white wide-body 335i. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Eric Eikenberry.


    Perhaps the best news for us modifiers with the launch of the new F30 3-Series is the inevitable plummet in prices for the outgoing E9x models on the used market. So get yourself ready, soon these desirable fifth-gen Threes will be flooding the classified websites at prices more and more will be able to afford. That means it’s the time to get some modifying plans in place, and if you’re after a bit of inspiration, it’d be a good idea to look west to America and witness some of the latest E90/2 creations currently leading the scene.

    Carlos Molina Jr. will be a name familiar to many reading PBMW, as his cars and modifying exploits have been widely publicised on the internet and in magazines. His killer E46 show car has been long on the scene since its SEMA 2008 introduction, but inevitably Carlos was tempted by a new project by 2011, this time based on the then current E92 Coupé.

    In its sweetest of sweet-six engine guise, an E92 335i with a twin-turbocharged 3.0- litre is a talented platform to start work on. Carlos took the plunge and put his order in, ready to get busy with a Prior Design body kit he’d spied. “I saw glimpses of a full widebody kit on the internet, and was told that no one in the US had the full kit,” he said.

    This chance at exclusivity convinced Carlos to commit to the German Prior Design offering, and just one peek at the spectacular body is enough to convince most that he made the right choice. Here is an E92 that successfully maintains its attractive factory styling, but adds muscles in exactly the right places. And sat on those achingly good-looking concave polished-lip DPEs with barely-there rubber bands wrapped round them, it’s a show-stopper both on the street and in the modified car halls.

    Once Carlos had decided on the widebody, he was introduced to Michael Borja from Rollin’ Art who’d have a big say in the dramatic final results you see today. “Mr Borja was known for his meticulous painting ability, especially with matt paints,” Carlos said. “We discussed the build, and decided on a Bianco Fugi white matt pearl.”

    And what a choice it was. Fresh, contemporary and very, very sexy, this matt white hue emphasises the aggressive curvature of the wide-body and, especially under show lights and street lights, you’re left in little doubt that this is a very special BMW. The body work has been meticulously carried out, with the metal work of the rear wheel wells given relief cuts and then shaped to the glass fibre Prior Design wide-arch for added reinforcement.

    The full kit comprises the fattened arches, side skirts, front and rear bumpers and the vented and bulged bonnet. With subtle Prior Design wings for the bootlid and roof, the look is certainly not too over-the-top, more a case of elegant aggression. Such a style is seen on the likes of BMW’s new M6, with its factory 20-inch wheels sharing much in the way of desirable style with Carlos’ 20-inch DPE rolling stock.


    The wheels sit on Tein adjustable Super Sport coilover suspension for the required slammed stance, and this thing will be a mean handler with the Whiteline front and rear anti-roll bars acting as back up. The DPEs also allow plenty of vision for the anchors behind, consisting of Rotora 14-inch discs clenched by Rotora six-pots up front and four-pots at the rear. Powdercoating these white adds even more flair behind the rims, while H2 ceramic brake pads ensure the full complement is there for pulling up promptly when this E92’s fettled powerplant is properly exercised.

    While Carlos was discussing plans with Rollin’ Art in Las Vegas, it became clear that the rest of the car needed to match the level of the body. “The discussion did not end with the exterior,” he said. “I wanted the interior, engine and audio extensively worked, too.” This has been achieved and then some. Little wonder then that this E92 had more than a few crowds around it at the Accele booth at the giant SEMA show.

    Starting with the cabin, this is a plush masterpiece dripping in Alcantara and carbon fibre, with the stand-out ACE Custom Steering blue steering wheel breaking up the classy blacks and greys. In true old-school racer fashion the front seats are Cobra carbon fibre items re-wrapped in Rollin’ Art diamond stitch while the surrounding gaiters, headliner and interior pillars are Alcantara. Throw in an Active Autowerke polished aluminium gear knob, NRG carbon handbrake and UUC carbon race pedals and Carlos has a sublime area to go to work in. You’ll also find parts of the mighty ICE install in here too.

    There’s an Accele rear view mirror with integrated screen, and who doesn’t like a bit of personal voyeurism when out enjoying an enthusiastic drive? Check out the Accele mini video camera pointed at the driver, just to log all the fun goings-on this E92 offers.

    Moving under the bootlid and there’s a veritable party to discover. Once again there are acres of Alcantara for some classy lining, and it looks superb surrounding not one but two 19-inch Accele monitors. One of these is for the bootlid’s inside while the second, on the back of the rear seats, is split into four sections to display the view from the different cameras this car features. Amps, subs and a Sony PS3 all add to the beautifully lit and presented boot install, one that even the harshest of show judges would struggle to not award top marks to.

    Now that could have been that for Carlos’ E92, and we couldn’t have blamed him if the fantastic combination of six-speed manual gearbox mated to the multi-award winning 3.0-litre twin-turbo proved ample in the performance department. Not so.


    “While all the aesthetics were being upgraded at Rollin’ Art, I turned to my good friend Chad Stett, owner of Stett Performance, for some engine goodies,” Carlos said. “He provided a new dual intake, charge pipe, oil cooler and upgraded vacuum reservoirs I’d suggested. No performance upgrade there, but they sure do look great next to all the other Stett Performance items powdercoated red in the engine bay.”

    Yes, it’s pretty showy under that bonnet too with various Stett red flashes, plus there’s a BMW badged Axis Power Racing carbon fibre engine cover and braided hoses. Well, you didn’t expect it just to be dull factory plastic engine shrouds did you? As tasty as the under-bonnet aesthetics are, there’s plenty of substance to match the style.


    The boosted six-cylinder features a Nitrous Express nitrous system with the various associated accoutrements, while a full custom exhaust by SuperSport has been fabricated to work with the Prior Design bodykit. AFE has provided the downpipe and throttle body, while a Race Precision front-mounted intercooler helps keep temperatures down more effectively than the stock item not designed for the healthy leap in power here. There was also good cause to beef the transmission up too, with Centreforce providing a performance clutch and lightened flywheel to handle the increased load.

    The end result of all this? Well, it’s fantasy stuff really. The finished article is one of the finest examples of E92 tuning we’ve ever seen and is a credit to Carlos and his many sponsors and supporters involved in the build. His wide-body 2011 335i demands your attention even at a show as outrageous as SEMA and, crucially, here’s a modified #BMW that has pride of place in a show booth, tearing through the city streets under neon lights, or even out on your favourite country road thanks to its comprehensive performance and chassis enhancements.

    So there’s your inspiration. The E9x model prices are on the tumble and with examples like Carlos’ 335i to aspire to we hope to see plenty more flooding our scene in the near future. This perfectly-painted wide-body may have had more coin spent on it than most modifiers can stretch to, but we hope to see more of its ilk from those brave enough to attempt it. However, for now we’re just happy to sit back and enjoy this masterwork in all its pearly matt white glory.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #2011 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #N55B30 / #N55 / #BMW-N55 / #ESS-Tuning / #BMW-E92-Widebody / #BMW-E92-Prior-Design / #DPE /

    ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line-six cylinder with #SuperSport full custom exhaust made for #Prior-Design body kit, AFE downpipe and throttle body, #Nitrous-Express remote bottle opener, purge valve kit, bottle pressure gauge, #GENX-2 accessory kit and #IntraCooler kit, Axis #Power-Racing carbon fibre engine cover, #NRG carbon fibre valve cover, bulkhead cover, PS loop cover and panel covers, Race Precision front-mounted intercooler and Ram Air scoop system, Stett Performance / #ESS-Tuning-ECU mapping, Stett Performance twin intake version 2 powdercoated Stett red, charge pipe version 2 powdercoated #Stett red with #Tial blow-off valve, #Stett-Performance carbon fibre catch can, oil cooler system, stainless steel vacuum reservoirs powdercoated Stett red and intake duct block-off plate

    TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual with Centreforce performance clutch and lightened flywheel

    CHASSIS: 10x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) #DPE-CS5 super concave three-piece wheels shod in 255/30 (front) and 285/25 (rear) Toyo T1R tyres. Tein adjustable Super Sport coilover suspension, #Whiteline front and rear anti-roll bars, Powerflex control arm bushes, Rotora 14-inch brake discs, #Rotora six-pot calipers (front) and four-pot calipers (rear) powdercoated white by Rollin’ Art, Rotora SS brake lines and H2 ceramic pads

    EXTERIOR: #Prior-Design wide-body conversion, front bumper, boot lip spoiler, window wing, rear bumper, bonnet, front fenders, rear fender flares and side skirts, Rollin’ Art Bianco Fugi white full body respray

    INTERIOR: Cobra carbon fibre race seats re-wrapped in Rollin’ Art diamond stitch, ACE Custom Steering steering wheel, Active Autowerke polished aluminium gearshift knob, Accele rear view mirror with integrated screen, Accele mini video camera pointed at driver, NRG carbon fibre handbrake and 16- piece interior kit, Rollin’ Art Alcantara suede gearshift gaiter, handbrake gaiter, headliner, boot liner and A- and C-pillars, UUC carbon fibre race pedals

    ICE: Accele 19-inch boot monitor (split into four sections for the different cameras in car), 19-inch bootlid monitor, rear view mirror with monitor on rear view, hidden switches, actuators, FM modulator, video amplifier, video switcher and rear view camera, Sony PS3, Diamond Audio twin 12-inch subs, components, mono amp and four-channel amp, Street Wires 2* chrome cap and Street Wires audio/visual wiring throughout

    THANKS: Eric Eikenberry for helping to get my vehicles in print, Mike Borja @ Rollin’ Art for the paint and transport, Chad Stett @ Stett Performance for support and developing the vacuum reservoirs, Stan Chen @ Toyo Tires for over 12 years of tyre support, Will Baty @ CenterForce for using the 335 as a test vehicle for future upgrades, Eloy Way @ Race Precision for believing in the build since SEMA ’07, Andreas Belzek @ Prior Design, Brian Paille @ Accele for supporting another BMW build, Bob Chanthavongsa @ Diamond Audio for last minute audio support
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    Just Right / #Dinan / #BMW-M235i / #BMW-M235i-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-F22 / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M235i-Dinan / #BMW-M235i-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22-Dinan / #Dinan / #2015


    A finely-honed BMW M235i with #M-Performance and Dinan upgrades. It seems like the M235i is loved the world over and here we have a subtle but stylish machine from Australia using a blend of M Performance and Dinan upgrades. Words & photography: Chris Nicholls.

    The M235i is, as has often been stated, the Goldilocks car of the BMW range. In terms of price, power, handling, practicality and even history, it hits the spot. This is especially the case in Australia, where #BMW list it at $55,000 in base form. In a country where a standard Cayman (the car’s natural rival in the UK) sells for double that, it has no real rivals. The new Mustang isn’t there yet, the local Holden and Ford performance heroes are much larger (and fourdoor), and none of its Japanese or European rivals are rear-wheel drive. It kind of explains why, when it first launched in Australia last year, there was actually a waiting list.


    That price also makes it the perfect base for tuning. Recent economic conditions in Australia mean that while the rich get richer (as they do elsewhere) and order ever more supercars, most people aren’t in a position to spend huge sums on modification. So an already fast and affordable base is a great starting point. But what to do? Obviously there’s a limit, given most people’s budgets, so it’s probably best to just make it look nicer and go a bit faster. But here again, there are options. Do you go aftermarket for everything, or do you go factory? After all, unlike some manufacturers, BMW does offer a large number of add-ons via its M Performance program. Perhaps a mix is the best way – combining the factory fit and finish of OEM parts and using aftermarket where the manufacturer doesn’t offer what you want?

    This is exactly the path Southern BM, one of Australia’s largest BMW specialists, decided to go down with its own M235i build. It realised there was room in the market for an affordable modification package to this popular performance car, and having gone the ‘all-aftermarket’ route for many of its other, more extreme builds, it wanted to offer something cheaper, simpler and easier to put together for its M235i customers.


    Given body and interior modifications are one area where hassles (namely fit and finish-related) almost always occur, the first order of business was to order extensively from the M Performance catalogue for these parts. On went almost the entire range of available exterior components, including front and rear lip spoilers, rear diffuser, carbon mirror covers, black kidney grille inserts, side skirt flashes and even decals, as well as the lovely 19-inch forged, doublespoke wheels. Inside, the excellent, hi-tech M Performance Alcantara wheel with race display replaced the standard tiller, not only adding some cool looks and a great steering feel, but also extra information for the driver. Many of the plastic components and panels were replaced by Alcantara and carbon ones, too.

    The results were, even after this round of alterations, profound. Decals aside, the exterior changes are subtle, but work together to help give the car a more planted, solid feel. Indeed, the extra aggression is something that many would probably argue the M235i needed from the factory. Andrew Brien, Southern BM’s co-founder, agrees, saying the looks were his team’s favourite part of the car. “We like the styling. BMW really changed up the looks with the introduction of this car and with the additional BMW M Performance parts, it really is a head-turner.”

    Inside as well, the seemingly small changes all come together to make the cabin a much more inviting and pleasant place to be. Slipping into the supportive leather seats, there’s an air of not just quality (as you’d find on the standard model), but genuine sportiness thanks to the carbon cladding and Alcantara coverings. It makes the M235i really feel like a driver’s car, and it’s an interior you don’t want to get out of.

    Initially, Southern BM also fitted an M Performance exhaust and brake discs to try and add some extra sportiness, but while the exhaust fitted perfectly and sounded great, Brien and his team also wanted to offer something more for customers, so as part of fitting a Dinan P1 Power Package (the aftermarket part of the mix), the M Performance system got dropped in favour of the included Dinan Free Flow stainless steel exhaust.


    Moving the car around for the shoot, it became obvious how different the Dinan exhaust was from the M Performance one, too. Listening to a YouTube video Southern BM posted of the factory version prior to the shoot, it’s clear the OEM pipes added a great bark on start up, a throaty burble on idle and a harder-edged metallic sound when revved, but the Dinan version steps it up a notch. You still get the bark on start up and burbling idle, but you get an even harder metallic kick on revving and it’s noticeably more baritone in its delivery. Southern BM has videos of both exhausts on its YouTube channel so they’re worth checking out for yourself if you’re planning to make such a move.

    The rest of the P1 package includes a carbon fibre cold air intake and Dinantronics Stage 2 tune, and fitting it all together was a smart move. Not only are all the parts designed to work in unison, in keeping with the whole ‘no fuss’ concept Southern BM wanted to offer, but attempting to tune things itself didn’t make much sense anyway.

    “With the introduction of the F-series cars, the tuning market changed a lot. These cars are no longer easily tuneable by means of flash tuning via OBD. We are Dinan dealers and the software development team at Dinan have great resources and talent to achieve a more enjoyable driver experience,” says Brien. The fact it also offers high-quality, ‘no compromise’ parts is just icing on the cake, so it’s no wonder Southern BM went with this kit.


    It’s hard to argue with the results, too. A quick chassis dyno check showed the components added 50whp, and while that’s less than the 56hp claimed by Dinan, as we all know, dyno differences, the weather on the day and other factors always come into play, so the claim seems solid.

    Interestingly, Brien argues that “the most impressive part of the tune is the increase in torque (a claimed 84lb ft), which allows you to pull hard when you open up the throttle”. As they say, though, power is nothing without control, which is why the final step in building this machine was fitting a #Quaife-ATB diff. “What is lacking on modern BMW cars is mechanical grip,” says Brien. “As you pull out of a corner, you want the throttle to respond, not react to traction control, so the Quaife LSD is a must-have.”

    For the unfamiliar, Quaife’s ATB series uses a helical, torque-biasing unit (as opposed to the more common clutch packs) which may not provide the same aggressive lock-up, but is much more usable on the road. Indeed, it’s likely you won’t notice it at all during daily driving – there is no clunking or recalcitrance. As with the rest of the build, it’s essentially like it was there from the factory.

    While it wasn’t possible to try the diff out at speed on the day of the shoot, riding along in a highly tuned 135i with one fitted a few weeks beforehand gave some insight into how much of a difference it makes. Not only does it work with the factory DSC, but when you turn the electronic aids off and slam the throttle, instead of traction control limiting things, both wheels spin up at equal speed and you get to enjoy the full accelerative force of the fettled N55 engine. It’s sublime. There’s also a very noticeable increase in turn-in, which, combined with the extra grip from the 19-inch Pirellis on the M235i, would no doubt transform it from being a nice, fast daily to a much more enjoyable winding road weapon. Indeed, Brien says that is exactly the case: “Not that the original car is in need of upgrades – they are nice cars out-of-the-box – but with these upgrades it makes this a really nice car and more enjoyable to drive.”

    Interestingly, despite the ever-increasing popularity of track days, Brien says he hasn’t taken it out on track just yet to truly test its limits, but then, that wasn’t ever really the brief for this car. “We weren’t looking to build a track car. To us, they are different beasts, looking to achieve different results. This car is a road tourer that you can have some comforts in if you are out cruising, but performs if you want to take the car to task up in the mountains.”

    Brien says they have considered building a “more extreme version”, and for track use would recommend Dinan anti-roll bars and Monoball kit, as well as performance pads, but for now, he’s happy with where the car is. “This build is to show the road user what can be achieved when looking for a clean road tourer,” he says. That ‘clean’ part is actually worth mentioning for those who might perhaps be unaware how important a low-key car is in Australia, especially the state of Victoria, where Southern BM is based. That’s because Australia in general, and Victoria in particular, has very restrictive laws when it comes to car modification. Bar some very small freedoms (mainly wheels, suspension and engine tuning mods that result in no more than a 20 per cent power gain), almost any aftermarket performance tuning needs to be certified by approved workshops, and given the truly serious stuff will likely never pass certification anyway, most people don’t even try.


    Even when they are approved or within legal boundaries to begin with, poorly-trained police can still pull your car over if they think it’s illegal and stick a nice, yellow defect notice on your windscreen that can’t be removed until you show them proof or get things recertified. This is why Victorian enthusiasts these days often try and go unnoticed and avoid police attention in the first place, and while this M235i is only lightly modified and therefore completely legal, the fact it’s relatively subtle means you’re likely to avoid being pulled over unnecessarily.

    Actually, the fact it can fly under the radar means this M235i ticks another box on the Goldilocks list. Right price, right performance, right practicality level and even right amount of tuning to be legal and avoid scrutiny. It really is just right.

    CONTACT: Southern BM
    Website: www.southernbm.com.au


    TECH DATA #Southern-BM F22 M235i

    ENGINE: #BMW-N55 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six / #N55
    POWER: 308rwhp (230rwkW)
    ENGINE MODIFICATIONS: #Dinan-P1 Power Package (carbon fibre cold air intake, free flow stainless steel exhaust, #Dinantronics Stage 2 tune)
    DRIVELINE MODIFICATIONS: Standard #ZF eight-speed #Steptronic automatic gearbox #Quaife ATB LSD
    CHASSIS/SUSPENSION MODIFICATIONS: Standard M Performance adaptive dampers / Standard suspension arms and anti-roll bars
    WHEELS AND TYRES: M Performance double-spoke 624 forged wheels (7.5x19-inch front, 8x19-inch rear), Pirelli P Zero RSC tyres (225/35 R19 front, 245/30 R19 rear)
    BRAKES: Stock M Performance #Brembo aluminium brake callipers (four-piston front, two-piston rear), #M-Performance cross-drilled and slotted s (370mm x 30mm front, 345mm x 24mm rear)

    EXTERIOR:
    M Performance front splitter
    M Performance carbon fibre rear spoiler
    M Performance rear diffuser
    M Performance carbon fibre mirror caps
    M Performance side stripes kit
    M Performance Rocker Panel film set
    M Performance gloss black grilles

    INTERIOR:
    M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with carbon trim and race display
    M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara interior trim set
    M Performance carbon fibre shifter console
    M Performance carbon fibre selector lever trim
    M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara handbrake handle assembly
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    BMW has added to its range of #M-Performance vehicles with the announcement of the latest hot Sports Activity Coupé, the new X4 M40i. #BMW-X4-M40i / #BMW-X4 / #BMW / #2015 / #BMW-F26 / #BMW-X4-M40i-F26 / #BMW-X4-F26 / #N55B30T0 / #N55B30 / #N55 /

    BMW has revealed the details on its range-topping M Performance X4, the M40i, and it looks like it will be a blistering performer. Under its bonnet will be a new version of the turbocharged 2979cc straight-six that’s seen service in a large number of BMWs and it’s perhaps interesting to note that this is the older engine, not the new Baukasten modular unit that’s just been released in the new 340i. #BMW says that there is some shared componentry between the engine in the M40i and the S55 in the M3 and M4 so that would probably account for why the new modular unit hasn’t been used.

    The BMW X4 M40i does have a set of impressive vital statistics; 360hp at 5800-6000rpm, 343lb ft of torque from 1350 to 5250rpm, a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. Despite these impressive figures it’ll return a claimed 32.8mpg and emits 199g/km of CO2. The TwinPower turbo ‘six is mated to a standard fit eightspeed Steptronic ‘box that we’re familiar with from the rest of the range but it’s been specially tuned for this M Performance model and will also feature shift paddles and launch control. To ensure it sounds as good as it performs BMW has also equipped the M40i with an M Performance tuned exhaust that also features intelligent valve control so it’s quiet on a cruise but more vocal when being extended.

    While the chassis in the X4 is an excellent basis it’s needed a little fine-honing for this M Performance machine and as a result BMW has fitted stronger springs and anti-roll bars, increased the camber on the front axle and added the adaptive dampers that have been specifically tuned to M Performance spec. It also features xDrive with a rear wheel-drive bias and Performance Control and the brakes have been uprated to cope with the additional performance.

    Externally it features the same M aero kit as the regular M Sport model but the M40i has a couple of ferric grey inserts in the front bumper and mirror caps in the same colour while at the rear the X4 M40i has a twin exit exhaust with one pipe on either side of the car rather than two pipes exiting the rear on the left hand side à la xDrive35i. Standard wheels for the car will be 19-inch light alloy items – eight and a half inches wide at the front and nine and a half at the rear, but the car seen in the pictures features the optional 20-inch items that will be unique to the model.

    Inside it’s pretty much as per the M Sport model although there’s an M leather steering wheel, an M gear shift lever, sport seats and model-specific door sills kick plates. Currently BMW UK has no plans to list the X4 40i in the UK.
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