The allure of the M3 is so strong that, a few years ago, we got our hands on a 1992 (E36) BMW 325i and set about tinkering with it to bring it within striking distance of an M3 of that generation. Here’s how the project has evolved thus far – with a little help from our friends (such as Peter Chacko from Cochin, also known as the Britannica of Automobiles)…
The E36 is known for a driver centric cockpit, but it was seriously let down but a massive airbag wheel. Now, you can’t approach M-performance without feeling it through the rim of the steering wheel. Enter a 3-spoke M-Technik sport steering wheel from an E30 M3. Feels much nicer! By the way, the steering rack is also new, but it’s a stock 325i piece. Lots of other new stock parts have also found their way into the engine bay, and the entire interior has been spruced up as well.
Now, we all know that you can’t go faster without ‘go-faster’ stickers – hence the name – except that I have driven a tuned E36 325i at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and it was brilliant!
You can have all the go in the world, but if you can’t stop it’s not very useful, is it? And so Pete’s supplied a set of Tarox rotors and pads all around. Tarox is a very famous Italian brake specialist, and the curved grooves on the surface of the F2000 rotors apparently provide effective heat dissipation for track use. We can’t confirm that as yet, though, as we’ve just got them. The wheels are a set of 17-inch Borbet rims.
A BMW is known for its 50:50 weight distribution & neutral handling, and so the suspension is absolutely crucial. The dampers are a set of mono-tube Bilstein B6 gas shocks, while the springs are a set of H&R OE Sport Springs, and all of this will shortly be further stiffened by a pair of adjustable H&R sway bars, which are on order from Pete’s. We’ve been careful to strike the right balance between ride and handling to ensure that the car is usable everyday. Of course, all the bushings – front and back – are new…
A beautiful Supersprint exhaust – right from the stainless steel headers, to the resonator (cat replacement), muffler, and (chrome tipped) tail pipes – was sourced from Pete’s. Supersprint is an Italian performance exhaust manufacturer that’s been around since 1955, and the performance difference across the rev range is immediate and immense. Now we need to find a dyno to actually measure the performance gain…