BMW Workshop Will Breathe New Life into Your M3
You love your M3, but you’ve finally decided that it’s time to visit a BMW workshop and bring your ride back up to speed with other modern performance cars. Despite the M3 being as formidable as they come in the sports car market, the performance benchmark rises so quickly that even an E46, with its 3.2-liter straight-six screamer, now seems almost mild next to newer rivals. We look at some key upgrades for your E36, E46 or E92 M3.
Wheels and Tires – E92 M3
The E92 M3 got many things right. Its naturally aspirated V8 motor added a different, but no less compelling, feel to BMW’s halo model. For the most part, the redesign was also a real success, except in one fairly critical area – wheels. The E92’s standard rims just didn’t cut it, especially considering how integral the wheel designs were to the appeal of the E36 and E46. So, as a good starting step, we recommend larger, lightweight items that can handle track use. For example, one-piece carbon fiber rims from Carbon Revolution look fantastic, and weigh in at just over 18 pounds per wheel for a performance-enhancing weight saving. Couple them with performance rubber such as Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires, and you’ll end up with an M3 that looks and feels more befitting of the badge.
BMW M3 Performance Package – E46 M3
Still viewed by many as the best ever M3 (thanks to its high-revving engine, near-perfect proportions, and a certain intoxicating fun factor), the E46 has nevertheless showed signs of its age for some time now. This is why Fabspeed’s Total Performance Solution will revitalize your M3. Included in the package are Sport Headers (doing away with the standard items, which were prone to failure), Sport Catalytic Converters, and various high performance components to improve acoustics and performance. Nothing sounds quite like an E46 M3, but kitted out with this performance package, it sounds even better.
Suspension (Springs and Coilovers) – all models
Despite its lofty position in the BMW range, conservative factory standards mean that M3s can generally be dropped without significantly affecting practicality. What you will get is an even more aggressive look (and, unless you own a new M4, with its heavily flared bodywork and angry face, your M3 stands to benefit). It all comes down to exactly what you want from your car. If yours is a daily driver, consider lowering springs or coil overs. Look for a performance spring kit offering a drop of around 0.6-0.8 inches for visibly pleasing results.
Freshening Up Your E36
We’ll end off with a few of the key upgrades to keep your E36 suitably beefed up to leave a smile on your face. Yes, your E36 is now firmly in the “old” category, but there are some fairly straightforward ways to increase performance, and do away with undoubtedly tired components. First off, if you want more power (and here’s hoping that your motor is still in relatively good condition), you might consider retrofitting a M50 intake manifold for your M52 or S52 engine. The power band will be altered and you will notice greater top-end delivery. In terms of your suspension, consider the Motorsport X-Brace to reduce flex, and provide noticeable gains in your vehicle’s handling. A number of other suspension upgrades are available for this model.
If your M3 is feeling a bit long in the tooth and in need of some work, these are just a few of the ways in which you can upgrade your BMW classic.