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- Post is under moderationGENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT ROAD WARRIOR – fearsome 426hp wide-body #BMW 335i doubles as a daily driver. Sensible is a relative term, as this wide-body 335i proves. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jape Tiitinen. Sometimes in life, you just have to be sensible. Although as Toni Kärkkäinen’s startling 335i proves, ‘sensible’ is a malleable term on a sliding scale…
‘Life,’ sang indie stalwarts Mansun in the 1990s, ‘is a series of compromises.’ You only get to live once, so do the things you love and make time to make yourself happy, but at the same time life is not a solo endeavour – if you’re playing it right, you’ll have other people involved; it could be the clichéd 2.4 kids, spouse and mortgage scenario, or it might be your online car buddies, or the dudes you hang out with in the lockup when you’re spannering your projects together. Whatever the situation, your decisions and choices are seldom informed solely by what will make you happy. It has to be what makes you and your network happy, reaching compromises, being accommodating to all. Living unselfishly is the key to fulfilment.
Still, this doesn’t have to mean you can’t do the things you want to do. Take the 335i we’re looking at here – it screams many evocative verbs at you, but ‘compromise’ isn’t really one of them, is it? “This all began back in #2012 when our baby girl arrived on the scene,” explains owner Toni Kärkkäinen. “We had to change my girlfriend’s 1 Series for an E90 3 Series because the 1 Series was just too small. After that, I started thinking that I needed to upgrade my own car – to a newer model of course… Our E90 felt good to drive, so I started thinking about an E92 or E93 because I like two-door cars. I was looking at the M3 version, naturally, but I couldn’t afford it, and after some hard thinking I realised that the convertible E93 didn’t meet my needs as it didn’t have enough boot space, so the most sensible option was the E92 335i.”
Yep, he did just use the word ‘sensible’ there, and he’s to be applauded for that. It takes some fortitude to convince yourself that such a decision can be explained rationally – although the inherent element of perceived compromise does, arguably, make the endeavour an easier sell. Let’s just skim over the fact that the real turning point in the decision-making process was when Toni saw Prior Design’s wide-body kit for the E92… We should point out at this point that Toni isn’t your average family man with a couple of BMWs on the drive, but is in fact CEO and owner of Schmiedmann Finland. This is a brand you may be familiar with; founded in Denmark in 1996, what began as an importer of BMW parts rapidly expanded across Scandinavia and beyond, the sale of new and used official parts being augmented by its own bespoke, Schmiedmann-branded products – exhausts systems, short-shift kits, manifolds, you name it. So there is a certain business case to be made for Toni to be doing such wild things to his own car…
The man’s got form, too. His personal car history is, as you might imagine, studded with Bavarian greatness, from his E46 330Ci that he modded to M3 CSL specs with original parts (along with G-Power supercharger and three-colour leather retrim) to his old-skool E36 325i, he’s in his comfort zone when he’s doing this kind of stuff. A safe pair of hands.
So, the 335i – how, and where? “I’ve always imported my cars into Finland, either personally or with someone else doing it for me, due to the fact that it all works out cheaper and you get better equipment, like leather and iDrive and so on,” Toni explains.
“There were no reasonably-priced E92 335is in Finland at the time anyway, so I sourced this car from Germany – although it was originally from Italy. It was checked over by a trusted person from the Blauweiss import company and found to be in good overall condition. It was a basic car with basic wheels, nothing special, but that didn’t matter, as I knew that I’d be changing everything!”
So, true to his word as well as his principles, Toni set about tearing the car down pretty much as soon as it arrived on Finnish soil. Time waits for no man, eh? A stack of parts started to build up as more and more of that uninspiring stock fare got unbolted and ditched, ready to swap out for inspirational upgrades. But then events took an unexpected turn…“When we did the test installation of the Prior Design wide-body kit, we realised that we’d have to do quite a lot more work than we’d originally anticipated to make it look as it should,” Toni recalls with a raised eyebrow. “The front bumper and wing alignment was off on both sides, and there were many other similar small issues to deal with.” None of this is insurmountable stuff however, and the fact that everything now sits so straight and true is testament to the tenacity and patience of the Schmiedmann crew. It was certainly worth putting in the extra hours.
“Then – finally – came the day that the car was taken away to be painted. The decision about the colour was made a couple of days before – Matt Sparkling Graphite Metallic,” he remembers. “It was not an easy decision and I took a big risk, but it was totally worth it.” Again, though, this wasn’t all plain sailing. As amenable and eager-to-please as the 335i generally is, it has to be said that this particular one was fighting back.
“After I got the car back to the workshop, I noticed some issues with the paint,” Toni sighs. “There were too many small imperfections all around the car, so it needed to be repainted. The matt colour is not easy to paint, because all the smallest little particles are visible under the surface and you just can’t polish them away. The front bumper was repainted three or four times, the rear bumper and bonnet twice, and so on. But after I was finally happy with the painting, I started to put the car back together. Quite soon I realised that I had to get some 1M and M3 parts to get the body looking the way I wanted, like inner wheelhouse covers, brake ducts and so on – yes, of course I should have known to get these parts earlier, but I was so excited to get car done and ready for the Bimmerparty show! Overall, the build was not as straightforward as I thought it would be, but I did manage to get the car ready two days before my deadline and won the first Show ’n’ Shine prize at Bimmerparty…”
You’ll also be pleased to learn that the boisterous aesthetics are not the whole story. While the stock 335i is no slouch, Toni’s spruced things up in the underbonnet area with a pair of uprated Schmiedmann Stage 1 turbos, working in conjunction with the firm’s proprietary downpipes, a huge Wagner Tuning intercooler, Burger Motorsport filters and the guiding hand of custom management; it’s now putting out 426hp, which is pretty rowdy. The drivetrain’s been beefed up to suit, with a Quaife LSD and diff cooling plate, although Toni admits that this has crept back on to the to-do list. “I’m looking at clutch options,” he says, “as 455lb ft of torque is having some effects!”
He’s also talking about revamping the interior, although we’re big fans of how it is so far – the Coral red Dakota leather is outstanding. What a poke in the eye to the perceived wisdom that seats should be black or grey! This factory-option hide is so bright it makes other things in the world a few shades less red simply by existing. And what’s even more fun inside the car is that Toni’s seen fit to install an Awron Performance display system; this is an awesome all-in-one digital gauge that fits inside one of the air vents, relaying information about boost, torque, speed, acceleration, temperatures, all sorts. It’s like playing Gran Turismo for real.
The most important element of the story is that Toni’s stayed true to the original compromise, if we can still even dare to use that loaded term, as while countless hours have been expended on getting the aesthetics just-so and the performance enough to make the surface of the asphalt tremble with apprehension, it’s still a car that he can ferry the family about in without any trouble. “Oh yes, it gets used daily, even throughout the winter,” he nods. “We use it for our big summer family holiday trips too, which often causes amusing reactions.
People often ask how we use it so often with it being so low or how we manage to fit the whole family in there, but we do!” All of this, combined with the fact that the car seems to always be winning prizes at shows across Europe, proves that Toni has done something right. Compromise isn’t a dirty word. As this build conclusively demonstrates, it’s just another milestone along the road to project car success. Your car, your rules – if it’s right for you, then that’s just about as right as it needs to be.
Oh yes, it certainly gets used daily. We use it for our family holiday trips too.
Custom front lip and M4-style angel eye halos up front, Schmiedmann exhaust at the back.
Vibrant Coral red interior enhanced by #BMW-Performance steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, Schmiedmann pedals and Awron vent-mounted digital display.
DATA FILE #Schmiedmann / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-335i-Schmiedmann-E92 / #BMW-335i-Schmiedmann /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #Schmiedmann-Stage-1-turbos , Schmiedmann downpipes, #Wagner-Tuning-EVO-2-Competition intercooler, #Burger-Motorsport DCI air filters, #AJ-Tech custom DME software, Schmiedmann rear sport silencers with high-gloss black pipes, six-speed manual, Quaife LSD and differential cooling plate.
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET0 (front) and 11x19” ET-5 (rear) #BC-Racing-HB29 / #BC-Racing wheels in matt bronze with 225/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) tyres, #Lowtec H9.4R coilovers, M3 front wishbones and radius rods, M3 rear subframe bushings, #Zimmerman drilled brake discs with EBC RedStuff pads.
EXTERIOR Matt Sparkling Graphite Metallic, Prior Design PD-M1 wide-body aerodynamic kit, custom front spoiler lip, Schmiedmann EVO bonnet, Schmiedmann EVO II bootlid, LCI face-lift tinted rear lights, tinted headlights inside and out, M4-style angel eye rings, tinted M3 side repeaters.
INTERIOR Full leather Coral red Dakota interior, Schmiedmann Exclusive red floor mats, Schmiedmann Exclusive black/red alloy pedal set, BMW LED interior light upgrade, BMW Performance steering wheel with display, BMW Performance gear knob and Kinetic short-shift system, #BMW Performance handbrake handle, Awron Performance display.
THANKS Special thanks to my girlfriend of course and everybody who has helped me with this car.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.