- BMW F31 TOURING Slick, slammed 328i xDrive
A slick, seriously slammed and sexy Stateside F31 Touring.
If you haven’t caught F30-fever yet, be warned this beautiful blue Touring is highly infectious. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: @vossen.
Despite having been launched a good few years ago now, you could count the amount of non-M F3x cars that have been featured in DRIVE-MY on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over for whatever it is you might want to do with them. Perhaps it’s the looks that haven’t won people over or it’s simply the fact that they’re still quite expensive to buy. We’ve had plenty of M3s and M4s in our pages, but the lesser F3x models remain something of a modified rarity. Seeing a nicely-modified example, then, is reason to be happy and when it’s something as well done as this tasty Touring, it’s broad grins all-round. As the disgustingly sunny photos might suggest, this Touring is not a UK resident.
You will find it and its owner Kat Azadi cruising the streets of Miami Florida, turning plenty of heads as they go because this Touring delivers a tasty styling combo that’s hard to beat. Kat got herself off to a good start as an Estoril 328i xDrive is a mightyfine machine, the classic BMW hue looking very at home on the current models, and the 28i engine is both punchy and decent on fuel, making it a great all-rounder.
Of course, it’s practical too and that was part of the reason why Kat was drawn to the 3 Series wagon, as she explains: “I visited Europe in 2014 and caught the wagon or as you call it ‘estate’ bug! In the USA, it’s very hard to find a wagon and there are even fewer choices if you want a luxury brand. After owning sedans previously, I wanted a car with more cargo room for my dogs and moving around merchandise for the Vossen store. I travel frequently to car shows, events and visit vendors on a regular basis with my boot filled! I didn’t want a SUV and in the USA wagon choices are pretty limited.
BMW really has a winner with the 328i xDrive wagon and the Estoril blue colour was a must-have with the M Sport package! After a nationwide search, we found three Estoril blue M Sport Tourings in the USA: one in California, one in Georgia and one in Colorado. My dealership, Braman BMW, negotiated a swap and I got my car sight unseen from Colorado. The funny thing is that with Colorado being a colder part of the USA my BMW has the Cold Weather Package, which I will never use in Miami!”
Working as Vossen’s merchandise store director means that Kat is surrounded by car people and, working in that sort of environment, it would be impossible to own a standard car. Indeed, she’s no stranger to the pleasures of modified metal, having previously owned a 2013 Lexus GS, which she treated to some Vossen wheels (natch), RS-R suspension, an F-Sport front bumper and a mint wrap (literally) for good measure. The chances of the F31 remaining standard were therefore about zero…
Plans started simply enough, with Kat obviously deciding a set of Vossens were needed along with a drop in ride height. However, after a bit of internet research and talking to co-workers, she realised just what was available out there and it would have been rude not to indulge a bit…
Kat’s goal was to keep the car looking clean and subtle but at the same time make sure it stood out from the crowd. We’d say she’s definitely stuck to her brief and nailed it with the end result. The car is subtle, but once the wheels grab your attention (and they most definitely will) you’ll spot the changes that help make this Touring stand out. Rolling on Vossens was a given, but Kat was spoiled for choice when it came to choosing the right rims for her ride. “Having rocked a few different sets of Vossen wheels, I really wanted something custom this time around,” she says, “so I went with a set of new Vossen Forged LC Series wheels. The model is LC-107 in a colour called Patina gold in 9x20-inch and 10x20- inch. The team engineers the wheels for each specific vehicle so they put my car on the lift and took precise measurements before making their recommendation.”
The single-piece ten-spoke wheels look fantastic; with that wide edge running round the lip they’re just that little bit different to traditional designs, and the 20s are the perfect size for the F31 Touring. Kat’s choice of hue sits perfectly against the Estoril bodywork, Subaru having taught us many moons ago that blue and gold really complement each other. The faces of the wheels are brushed, with polished detailing along the edges of the spokes. Multi-piece offerings might be the darlings of the modified scene, but when it comes to single-piece wheels Vossen knows its onions.
“They are wrapped in 245/35 and 275/30 Toyos,” says Kat, choosing to have some rubber on the road rather than stretch, “and I love how the Brembo brakes are framed behind these wheels!” Because the calipers aren’t painted a lairy shade it’s easy to miss them, but this Touring is rocking a Brembo GT BBK front and rear, with heavy-duty calipers clamping massive 381mm crossdrilled discs up front and 343mm items at the back.
That might seem like overkill but with the high levels grip and traction, this Touring can be hustled along at a fair old pace and, with a turbocharged engine that’s responsive to tuning, Kat’s running a little more than stock power from her 328. “I had a Dynamic Turbo engine tune,” says Kat, “and it’s now making 310hp and 330lb ft of torque up from the stock 240hp and 258lb ft. I’m very happy with the results, the car now is noticeably quicker with hardly any difference in mpg.”
With brakes, wheels and performance taken care of, the suspension needed attention and Kat knew exactly what she wanted: a fully adjustable setup. For this, she turned to KW and went with a V3 coilover kit. Judging by the pictures, the suspension has been wound down to within an inch of its life, as there’s nary a gap between the tops of the tyres and the bottoms of the arches, the 20-inch Vossens tucking right up and giving this Touring an awesome look.
The final part was sorting the styling and here too Kat had a clear idea of what she wanted. “The idea was to make my wagon stand out without screaming ‘look at me!’ in regards to exterior modifications. After reviewing multiple body kits I felt the BMW M Performance kit really complemented the stock M Sport body. This included a new front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser.
“After going back and forth over the big rear wing, I decided against it. Dynamic Turbo installed the parts which were very easy to do in regards to the front bumper and side skirts. Since I had a GT Haus Meisterschaft exhaust with quad pipes the install didn’t go as planned, as Dynamic Turbo had to make some modifications to make it work. But the team there managed it and it came out amazing and I now have the only 328i xDrive with the GT Haus Meisterschaft quad exhaust! It is very loud which I love, but so I don’t want to wake the neighbours up, I ordered it with the GTC valve control which allows me to open and close the valves.” The styling is subtle, but it definitely gives the Touring more aggression and presence, plus the quad exhaust looks awesome tucked up in the rear valance.
While Kat’s kept her daily relatively sensible in some respects, she’s not compromised when it comes to ride height, picking the right wheels or the volume of her exhaust and she’s ended up with an exceedingly smart 3 Series Touring that looks good and does everything she needs. She’s not done with it yet, either, and like all of us can’t help but wonder about what’s next… “If money were no object I would bag my car on AccuAir and maybe get it painted matt blue, but I’m thinking of possibly wrapping it with the new matt clear colour that is out. And of course treating it to another set of Vossen Forged Wheels,” she laughs and hey, why not? Whatever she decides to do, things will only get even get better for this tidy Touring.
DATA FILE F31 #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-F31 / #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 / #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #Dynamic-Turbo engine tune, GT-Haus-Meisterschaft-GTC exhaust with quad Pipes and valve control, eight-speed automatic gearbox. 310hp, 330lb ft
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 wheels in Patina gold finish with brushed faces and polished windows and barrels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Toyo T1 Sport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #Brembo GT #Brembo-BBK (front and rear) with 381mm cross-drilled discs (front) and 343mm cross-drilled discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Estoril blue, BMW M Performance kit consisting of front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser
INTERIOR Stock black M Sport interior with blue trim
THANKS Jav and Mike at Vossen, Jose and Chris at Dynamic Turbo, Greg at Race Technologies, Braman #BMW and my wonderful doggies, Jetson and Charlie