Founded in 2002 by two motorsport enthusiasts, A SPEC Products would soon be regarded as one of the premier suppliers of elusive performance parts for the import scene, making on-time shipping a priority and six-month waiting a thing of the past. During this process, A Spec (pronounced A-spec) soon realized many of the parts that were requested weren't of the quality they wanted, so the company took things into its own hands and started producing parts of its own.
Focusing on the popular Mitsubishi Evo, A Spec was successful in its mission and the business continued to grow. But with its roots firmly planted in the Japanese import scene, we were somewhat surprised to discover the firm was getting into the Euro market. In fact, it announced its arrival with a stunning F30 BMW 335i.
Finished in Melbourne Red - one of those great colors that seems to glow and absorb natural light, looking showroom-fresh in any environment - the car was instantly noticeable at the 2013 SEMA Show where it was unveiled to the public.
"Our goal was to create a unique body kit from carbon fiber that would add some aggression to the car," said A Spec marketing director, Tuan Nguyen. And yes, you read that correctly, the kit is 100% vacuum-formed carbon fiber, and it's not just the bumper...
The A Spec F30 body kit comprised the front and rear bumpers, hood, side skirts, trunk spoiler, roof overlay with sunroof and antenna cutouts, mirror caps and kidney grilles. A Spec Products asserted that each piece was necessary to dramatically transform the 3 Series' appearance, and we had to agree. Job well done.
The fit and finish was extremely good, which was just as well because this 335i attracts attention wherever it goes. And while the carbon body kit is a star player, it's only part of the A Spec Products' F30 package.
"We loved the power of the N55 3.0L turbo motor, but wanted better throttle response and definitely a nice exhaust note," Tuan told us.
So A Spec decided to remove the factory F30 catalytic converter in favor of its own high-flow unit, which allowed the turbo to spool quicker thanks to better airflow, and is claimed to provide gains across the powerband.
The tuner also installed its own cat-back, quad-tip exhaust system. "We spent a great deal of time tuning the exhaust note and love how the car now sounds," Tuan explained, "although we'd still like to see more power, so we're developing our own Power Box 2 piggy-back ECU upgrade plus a carbon fiber intake system."
With the exhaust system added, the A Spec team needed to ensure the car was suited to high-speed use, not leaving any area untouched. They began by working with stomping superstars, Alcon Components, to create an A Spec-branded big-brake kit. It included six-piston calipers up front with four-pistons in the rear, coated in bright yellow to ensure they don't go unnoticed.
The large 380mm front rotors were accommodated behind A Spec's own VF35 three-piece forged wheels. "We wanted to accentuate the tougher lines of our 335i, so the deep, concave, five-spoke design was a perfect fit," Tuan said.
The wheels were neatly tucked into the fenders by KW Variant 3 coilovers - one of the few things not directly developed by A Spec itself. During our drive, the BMW was nicely compliant around town and was hard to upset on the mountains roads.
The V3s suited this chassis well, especially when paired with sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and the aforementioned big brakes. In fact, the A Spec F30 inspired lots of confidence, supported by the wonderful Recaro Sportster CS seats - we've not found a car these didn't improve.
So how much will the A Spec treatment impact your wallet? We wish we could tell you but the parts including the carbon fiber body kit were so new the prices were unavailable. But stay tuned for an update as soon as it's announced. And for those of you wishing to do something similar to your BMW 1 or 4 Series, the good news is that A Spec is in the midst of creating something for both these models, and we'll also bring you this announcement as soon as possible.
2013 BMW 335i
A Spec Products
El Monte, CA
Engine 3.0-liter N55 six-cylinder 24v turbo with A Spec high-flow cat and stainless steel cat-back exhaust with quad tips
Drivetrain eight-speed ZF automatic transmission
Brakes Alcon/A Spec six-piston calipers, 380mm rotors f, four-piston calipers, 355mm rotors r, Pagid pads
Suspension KW Variant 3 coilovers
Wheels & Tires 19x9" f, 19x10" r A Spec VF35 wheels, 235/40 R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
Exterior A Spec carbon fiber front and rear bumpers, hood, side skirts, trunk spoiler, roof overlay, mirror caps, kidney grilles
Interior Recaro Sportser CS seats