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Euro Posh

CEC Unleashes Your Euro Model's Fullest Potential

Michael Shartsis
Jul 1, 2001
Photographer: Yvonne Liu

Rolling through the drive-thru of McDonald’s in a silver BMW 328i sedan is nothing out of the ordinary for many folks. However, if you’re one of those lucky peeps, watch out for the day when you’re paying for your Super-sized Quarter-Pounder value meal and out of the blue, the cashier shakes his head and says, “Damn, how can you leave this baby stock?” One quick glance around the leather-upholstered interior, another sweep across the wood-trimmed dash, and a final look into the rearview mirror only confirms your worst nightmares—this fine German automobile is in fact sitting stock, leaving its vast aftermarket tuning potential virtually untapped, unused, and wasted.

Luckily, Claus Ettensberger Corporation, more affectionately known to industry insiders as simply “CEC,” has saved numerous BMWs from their doomed fate of cruising the streets and highways of North America in stock trim. Founded in Southern California in 1990, CEC continues to bring the finest European automobile accessories straight from its European tuner counterparts (The crème de la crème of their respective fields.—MAX) for all of us to admire, appreciate, and enhance. The renowned tuning house of AC Schnitzer has been synonymous with motorsport and BMWs for decades. Hence, it was only natural for CEC to pair up with the Bavarian powerhaus when it came time to provide stateside BMW owners superb aftermarket applications.

If you want a CEC-tuned BMW with Schnitzer parts, be prepared to shell out more than your lunch money for this project. CEC is a turnkey tuner that will deliver on all its promises and make you the envy of your 90210 neighborhood. We here at MAX wanted to know what we’d get back if we dropped off the above-mentioned 328i sedan (E46, naturally.—MAX) with the CEC gurus. A few tweaks here, a few tweaks there, and voilá!

First off, CEC performed an engine makeover on the E46 by upgrading to a Schnitzer S3 3.2L engine, putting out 265 horses and a projected top speed of 165 mph (Even the coppers can’t catch up with you.—MAX). The sedan’s suspension was also sacrificed for a Schnitzer sport suspension kit. The suspension mods feature Schnitzer anti-roll bars and aluminum front strut brace, which stabilizes the car during hard cornering. For more precise gear changes that improve the car’s acceleration, a Schnitzer short shift kit, which includes an aluminum gear knob, was also added. And the car wouldn’t be complete without a stainless steel sport exhaust, also by Schnitzer.

Since we’ve already warned you about shelling out more than your lunch money, what good is a MRyde with all performance but no play? To give the Bimmer in question the right looks and attitude, CEC added the Schnitzer front spoiler, side skirts, rear spoiler, rear wing, and sports mirrors. But the fun doesn’t stop here.

The interior was also given a makeover, featuring custom leather Recaro seats and a sport airbag steering wheel wrapped in silver. For you metal freaks out there, aluminum can also be spotted on the hand brake, sport pedals, and foot rest. Oh, and the gauges are silver. Is this all, you ask? Hell, no!

For the E46 model range, Schnitzer has developed new versions of its Type III light alloy wheels in the signature five-spoke design. CEC opted for the 19x8.5-inch alloys fitted with Pirelli P7000 235/35-19s for noticeable improvements in both handling and aesthetics (Not bad, not bad at all.—MAX).

In a nutshell, top service, top-quality parts, and just plain top-notch everything is what you can expect with CEC. And for those of you who own something other than a Bimmer, CEC also represents many other world-renowned European tuners in its company lineup, including A!AvantGarde for Audi tuning, Lorinser for Mercedes-Benz tuning, Oettinger for Volkswagen/Audi tuning, TechArt for Porsche tuning, and Toyota Team Europe for Toyota/Lexus tuning. If you happen to be in the neighborhood and want to take a respite from shopping on Rodeo Drive, stop by the CEC showroom that is equipped with three service bays and a showcase of performance accessories. For those living in a more eastern, colder climate, warm up your day by visiting CEC East in New Jersey. For more information, please contact CEC at 800/766-0064 or info@cecwheels.com.

By Michael Shartsis
38 Articles

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