BMW has perennially been known for producing the "Ultimate Driving Machine": a harmonious blend of performance and luxury appealing to all the senses. And appealing to the masses has always been the job of the 3-Series, especially the M3.
Back in '00, BMW set the standard for performance automobiles with the release of the E46 M3. While many greeted its arrival with excitement, others were disappointed to hear there wouldn't be a sedan to compete with other marques' sporty four-doors that were gaining popularity. What could be done for those looking for the power and handling of an M3, but with the practicality of two extra doors and more space?
That is a question Jojo Cagungun asked himself in '01 when he bought a 325i sedan. He didn't plan to modify it extensively, but knew whatever the path he took, the mods had to be clean and flow with the lines of car.
During the course of modifying the car he went through many changes, starting with reputable tuners like Hamann and Schnitzer. After co-founding DPE Wheels in Los Angeles in late '03, he knew he had to take the 325i to another level and build something unique to promote the company.
As a fan of the E46 M3, he inevitably set out to create something that would match its Motorsport heritage, but with four doors. The problem he faced back then was the relative absence of aftermarket parts for the sedan that resembled the E46 M3. So his only choice was to use OEM parts. But this presented its own problems primarily because the M3 is wider than a regular 3-Series.
Helping his dream become a reality was A1 Autobody. They successfully fitted the front bumper without fender mods or cutting the bumper. This made Jojo one of the first sedan owners to successfully fit an OEM M3 bumper on a regular E46. Keeping with the theme, an OEM M-Technic rear bumper and side skirts were added. With the subsequent popularity of the Europe-only M3 CSL, Jojo incorporated a custom metal CSL-style bootlid from Technik. And to set his sedan apart, a carbon roof panel was added to again emulate the CSL.
To accentuate the carbon roof, Jojo turned to Fusion Autowerkz for a plethora of other carbon parts, including M3-style mirrors, a Schnitzer-style quad exhaust diffuser and kidney grilles.
Rounding out the new transformation, the popular Schnitzer carbon fiber lip, splitters and aluminum supports were added to the front bumper. Finally, a Vorsteiner vented carbon fiber hood was set in place to finish off the aggressive look, and to keep engine bay temperatures under control for what was to come.
And what was coming was an ASA SK1 supercharger with Technik front-mount intercooler to give the sedan 300hp and 260 lb/ft of torque. However, the only indication that something might be upgraded is the four 76mm JC Designs stainless steel exhausts, which is what most cars view when the gas pedal hits the floor.
The job of keeping the sedan glued to the road is tasked to KW's Variant 2 coilovers, which ensure the 225/30 front and 245/30 rear BFGoodrich tires remain in contact with the asphalt.
The tires are wrapped around some of Jojo's own product, namely DPEngineering's R08 Variant S wheels with an exclusive anodized finish. These have a steplip and are rivetless for a smoother finish. They're also a generous size at 20x8" front and 20x9.5" rear.
Behind the front wheels is a pair of 14" Brembo Gran Turismo rotors and four-piston calipers, while the rear gets smaller 12.6" rotors.
With the exterior taken care of, Jojo focused his attention inside. He again turned to Fusion Autowerkz to accentuate the factory details, adding carbon trim to the dash, seat backs, center console, shifter and e-brake.
Since the car had hints of M3 outside, he made sure this continued inside by retrofitting M3 seats, pedals and the dead pedal. Lastly, an M3 steering wheel was installed to give the driver something to grasp when negotiating the sweeping corners and tight apexes of California's canyon highways.
The clever combination of OEM parts and aftermarket items allows this vehicle to satisfy the owner's desire for M3 performance and aesthetics but with two extra doors.
Tech SpecJojo Cagungun
Location: Signal Hill, CA
Occupation: Co-owner of DPEngineering
2001 BMW 325i
Engine: 2.5 liter 24v i6 with ASA SK1 supercharger using TM12 compressor and ASA fuel pressure regulator, AFR controller, plumbing and brackets, Technik front-mount intercooler, JC Designs 76mm stainless steel quad exhaust, carbon fiber engine covers, billet oil cap
Drivetrain: stock Steptronic automatic
Brakes: Brembo Gran Turismo 355mm front rotors and four-piston calipers, 320mm rear rotors
Wheels & Tires: 20x8" front, 20x9.5" rear DPEngineering R08 Variant S wheels, 225/30-20 front and 245/30-20 rear BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW
Suspension: KW Variant 2 coilovers, M3 front strut bar, Alutec rear bar
Exterior: Fusion Autowerkz carbon fiber M3-style mirrors, rear diffuser, kidney grilles and roof spoiler, Vorsteiner vented carbon hood, AC Schnitzer carbon lip and splitter with aluminum supports, M3 front bumper, M-Technik rear bumper and side skirts, Technik CSL-style metal trunklid, carbon fiber roof skin, Jlevi carbon headlight trim, painted front reflectors, moldings, Jlevi Projector46 headlights with Phosphoro halos, Depo facelift clear tail lights, OEM Euro clear indicators
Interior: Fusion Autowerkz carbon fiber dash trim, E-brake, shifter, steering trim, seat backs, center console, M3 steering wheel, seats and dead pedal, OEM Euro tray, aluminum instrument rings
Thanks/Contact: DPEngineering (dpe-wheels.com), ef1motorsports.com, gorillabeast.com, A1 Autobody, Andrew at Long Beach BMW, vorsteiner.com, fusionautowerkz.com, jlevisw.com, technikpower.com, autotalent.com, e46fanatics.com