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1999 BMW 328i E-46

Wheel Power’s Hamann Beast is More Than Scary

Philip Royle
Apr 1, 2001 SHARE

This E-46 won’t go chasing down narrow alleyways any time soon—not without ripping what looks like wings from the fenders, anyway. But who would want to limit this 3-Series to a narrow road? From its excessively wide body, to its bored and stroked 3.2L inline-six, Wheel Power’s Bimmer has taken on a personality all its own, and that personality only feels free rampaging through isolated canyon roads in search of anything resembling the Autobahn.

Being the exclusive importer of Hamann equipment into North America, Wheel Power knew building its new 3-Series into a project car would be plenty of fun. The one thing Wheel Power knew for sure was the car would have to be recognizable, and with that goal Wheel Power set to making its E-46 the widest Bimmer around. Fortunately, Hamann has body components called the Competition series, and included in that product line are a plethora of body parts, including fender extensions. Wheel Power quickly set to installing the entire Hamann Competition body kit, and before long the 3-Series was one of the meanest-looking cars on the road. After installing the Hamann Competition wide body, front bumper, front bumper spoiler, and rear spoiler, Wheel Power finished off the kit with Hamann side skirts, carbon-fiber diffuser, roof spoiler, headlamp covers, shell trim, and rear wing, while Hamann Sport mirrors added rear visibility.

Filling the now massively wide fenders, Wheel Power bolted on a set of silver two-piece Hamann PG2 five-spoke 19x10 wheels wrapped with Yokohama AVS Sport rubber. As if the front Yoks measuring 245/35-19 weren’t wide enough, Wheel Power opted for 265/30-19 rear rubbers to get the power to the asphalt. Although the stock 2.8L I-6 would probably never need such meaty shoes for straight-line traction, Wheel Power knew the engine they were about to switch in would. Pulling the stock engine, a Hamann-tuned 3.2L was installed wearing nothing but well-tuned Hamann goodies.

Increasing the displacement by 400cc, Hamann’s engine upgrade utilizes Hamann parts and technology to up the ante to a roaring 265 hp at 5,600 rpm and 250 lb-ft at a humble 4,000 rpm. To achieve such numbers, Hamann’s tuned engine uses a stroker crankshaft, increased-diameter pistons, balanced rods, more aggressive camshafts, high- performance valve springs, a Hamann Super Sound exhaust with DTM tips, and a reprogrammed ECU designed to take care of the engine’s air and fuel needs. When all is said and done, the Hamann-tuned inline-six is capable of ripping the Bimmer down the asphalt well past 160 mph, hitting the 60mph mark in under six seconds.

Holding the car closer to the ground, a set of H&R fully adjustable coilovers were added, as well as Hamann adjustable sway bars and a Hamann adjustable front strut brace. Now that the car could accelerate and turn, Wheel Power matched the performance with a Hamann Racing brake system. The Hamann brake kit is composed of Porsche 993 twin-turbo discs and calipers, while stainless steel brake lines were installed to handle the boiling hot brake fluid.

Although the exterior and the engine gave the attitude of a true race-bred track car, Wheel Power opted for creature comforts inside. A Hamann airbag-equipped steering wheel was added, along with a Hamann shift knob and pedals. A UUC short shifter was installed and is easily accessible from the Sparco racing seats stitched in custom red, silver, and black leather.

Not to let the rest of the car overpower the mobiletronics, Wheel Power had an audio/video system installed to rival the aggressiveness of the wide body and bored-out motor. The head unit, a Pioneer AVX-P7000CD, boasts a 7-inch motorized screen and a dash-loading CD player compatible with the Pioneer AVM-P9000R master control unit with 5.1-channel DTS surround sound. A Pioneer GEX-P7000TV TV tuner was also installed in the Bimmer. Allowing for movie-watching enjoyment, a Pioneer XDVP9 six-disc DVD changer was added, and to help point the way to the nearest stretch of open road, a Pioneer AVIC-505 navigation system was installed. Powering the Premier component speakers and the twin 12-inch TS-W1RS optical-reference subwoofers are two PRS-X720 Premier amplifiers. Taking the stereo a notch above the rest, Traffic Jams of Van Nuys, California, custom fabricated a V-shaped enclosure for the dual woofers out of lightweight MDF, utilizing the trunk pass-through to get clear-quality sound into the driver’s compartment. To finish the system, all audio components were matched to the red, silver, and black theme that already dominated the car.

Obviously German, Wheel Power’s Hamann-tuned beast feels quite at home on the canyon back roads of America. Whether punishing the asphalt with 265 horses or slicing though the air with the overly powerful and cleanly installed Pioneer audio/video system, this Bimmer is without a doubt a force to be reckoned with. All that the car asks is for you to avoid narrow roads.

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By Philip Royle
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