There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and widebody BMWs. No sooner does the German manufacturer introduce a new model, than people scramble to create an even more memorable profile.
Generally, it's the German tuners who claim they did it first. Having close ties to the manufacturer and getting the cars ahead of everybody else certainly helps. However, a malaise has fallen over the German tuning scene of late, which means they weren't first out of the starting blocks.
The honor of being first across the line goes to Sam Said at Technik Engineering in Marina Del Rey, CA. From speaking to him, he didn't seem to realize there was a race to be won. He built the car at his own pace to meet his personal requirements and is very pleased with how it turned out.
In the business for about six years, Sam also runs Rennsport, a wholesale distributor for products like ASA superchargers and Gruppe M intakes. Two years ago, he decided to create Technik Engineering. This second company makes performance parts such as pistons, rods, cams, etc., and builds cars in order to showcase the products.
Previous notable projects have included an E46 M3 sedan and Z4 3.0 Roadster. All are built to an impeccably high quality and distinguished by an elegant restraint that's overlooked in the BMW tuning scene.
Sam appears to have an eye for what's instinctively right. He builds a car until it's perfectly balanced before moving on to the next one. You won't find trinkets or baubles on Technik cars.
Last year, he bought a '06 E90 BMW 330i. He widened the rear on the sedan before giving it a 30hp increase with his stage 2 intake, header and software upgrade.
We asked Sam for his thoughts when he heard about the new E92 335i Coupe: "I heard rumors about the car but couldn't believe a company like BMW, that's so focused on naturally-aspirated engines, would build a twin-turbo. But when it appeared the rumors were true, I ran to my BMW dealer and put a deposit down," he said.
Despite being the first to build a widebody E92, Sam seemed more excited by the engineering on his 335i. "We've just tweaked the tuning and the motor showed 415hp and 490 lb/ft on the dyno," he enthused. "This is great because we'd only fitted a Gruppe M intake, custom Sebring cat-back exhaust and a Haltech management computer.
"We're waiting for a Supersprint turbo-back exhaust. Combined with the software we're developing, we have high hopes for the car. I really think it's going to give the new M3 V8 a run for its money when it arrives," Sam said.
Being one of the first people to work on the E92 335i caused problems of its own. Since there weren't many parts available, Sam stuck to what he knew. "I'm personal friends with Gruppe M, so they sent me the first intake they built," he told us. As usual, the carbon intake is a thing of beauty.
Similarly the exhaust is the first of its kind, being a custom cat-back system from Sebring with 2.5" tubing and distinctive 4" tailpipes.
When it was time to explore options for the exterior, Sam decided the stock 255/35-18 rear tires were simply too skinny. "We knew our turbo would have a lot of torque, so we wanted to go wider," he confirmed.
To do this, he cut away the outer edge of the rear fenders and then welded in a 2" metal extension on either side. This followed the original lines, so doesn't look like an add-on at all. With all the work done in metal, it's very hard to detect anything's been done until you stand behind it and see the huge meat under the rear corners.
After the rear fenders were stretched, the stock rear bumper and side skirts were then heated until soft and molded so they flowed with the wider lines.
Up front, he kept the factory Aero spoiler, which appears surprisingly aggressive for a stock part. At the other end, he sliced open the stock trunk lid and welded in an M3 CSL-style lip. The finished trunk appears muscular yet original, such is the quality of craftsmanship.
The work was entrusted to Sam's friend Gary, who works at Eli's Auto Center in North Hollywood, CA. "He's a metal sculptor, so I take all my projects there," Sam confided.
"I'm a huge fan of LMs," he continued, referring to the BBS under each corner. "I use them whenever I can because they never look wrong." In this instance he was able to use a 19x11" wheel, which was mounted with a 305/25 P Zero Rosso to the car. Once installed, the rear fenders were built around them.
Up front we found a 19x8.5" with a 245/30 tire. "For weight distribution, BMW use plastic front fenders, so there's not much we could do with them, but a 245/30 tire on the front is pretty decent," Sam remarked.
The car is lowered by the proper amount. "I always use KW Variant 1 coilovers on my cars," Sam said. "It's the best out there.
"I always use Brembo as well. This car has 380mm slotted front rotors with a six-piston caliper, while the rear uses a four-piston with a 345mm drilled rotor.
"I thought the interior was pretty cherry," Sam continued, "so we only added a Motorsport steering wheel. That's all that it really needed."
Viewing the car so early in its development, we wondered what plans Sam is still hatching for his 335i. So far, he is starting a turbo upgrade and replacing the small, stock twin-turbos with a single Garrett GT35 and a front-mount intercooler. "This turbo works very well on a 3.0 motor. One turbo allow us more boost," he explained. "Since there's less room to fit two larger turbos between the block and the inner fender, our plan is to first drop the compression with a metal gasket and see how it goes. If necessary, we'll upgrade the rods and pistons as well."
As Sam gets to grips with BMW's newest performance car, we asked what's next for Technik Engineering: "I picked up my new M6 today..." Sam told us. So now we know!
Tech Spec 2007 BMW 335i
Owner: Sam Said
Location: Marina Del Rey, California
Occupation: BMW tuner
Engine: three liter 24v twin-turbo six cylinder with Haltech engine management, Gruppe M intake, Sebring cat-back exhaust
Transmission: stock six-speed manual
Suspension: KW Variant 1 coilovers
Brakes: Brembo six-piston front calipers with 380mm slotted rotors, four-piston rear calipers with 345mm rotors
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5" front and 19x11" rear BBS LM wheels, 245/30-19 and 305/25-19 Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires
Exterior: custom rear fenders with factory sills and rear bumper modified to match, factory Aero front bumper, custom CSL-style trunk lid, black kidney grille
Interior: M Sport steering wheel
Contact: Technik Engineering (www.technikpower.com)