For the next ten minutes, forget about the new m3. save your money and ego because steven lin's latest project car shows us the twin-turbo 335i has yet to flex its muscle.
A base 335i coupe is powered by 300hp and 300 lb-ft straight six, yet is priced $15000 less than the m3 coupe, making it one of the best cars for the money, especially since a little tlc can make it rival the sportier m3. Just take a look at steven's montego blue example.
At a quick glance, the 335i looks heavily modified with its aggressive styling and eye-catching colors. however, several parts remain stock, such as the interior and stereo, because they already function well from the factory. most of the work on this car is simply bolt-on parts, needing no custom modification or tuning, making the car a great example of a project with both daily drivability and car show potential in mind.
As the general manger of iforged performance alloys - a brand many euro owners will be familiar with - regular readers will remember steven's previous feature (et 3/07). his first big build was a widebody and supercharged 540i, which created waves in the bmW community and even made an appearance at the '06 sema show in the iforged booth. fast forward one year later and steven sold the 5er to start this new e92 3-series, which was completed moments before the '07 sema show.
The sequel to steven's 540i is just as stunning, but required less work and time to complete. "after driving the 5-series for a while, i knew it was powerful but also big," he told us. "it wasn't as nimble as i wanted and since i've never owned a coupe i thought the new e92 might be nice. i was initially debating whether to go for the e46 m3, but i really liked the e92 body style and the twin-turbo motor was very appealing."
Steven didn't plan to venture as wildly as he did with the 5-series, but aimed to keep his 335i practical for daily driving. "i knew what i wanted to do with the car," he explained. "our wheel line has the perfect price point for 3-series owners so i thought a project car would boost business."
Shortly after the 335i hit north america, steven made a trip to the dealer and pre-ordered his car. few dealers in California kept manual transmissions on the lot so steven had to wait a couple more months for his new baby to be born. eight weeks later, the car arrived with parts awaiting installation.
You could probably guess the first thing steven had for his car - the iforged wheels. although they were made from scratch, it only took six weeks to put them together. The forged wheels use a two-piece construction, including a special coating on the lips. "it's something we've just started doing," he revealed. "my wheels use a sapphire-blue clear powdercoat over the lips. You can do it over chrome or polish but i chose chrome because it gives the lips a darker shine. since the car is dark blue, it matches a little better. i personally don't like true color-matched stuff, so that's why the lips have more bling to them, to contrast the car and the wheel centers."
The wheel design is from iforged's precision line and is called the essen. After determining the widest sizes and offset for the car, steven built 20x8.5" front and 20x10" rear wheels. With these sizes, the lips are maximized for depth and brake clearance. the fronts have a 2.5" lip, while the rears sport a massive 4" lip.
Wrapped around the twenties are 30- and 25-series toyo t1r tires to mimic the stock rolling diameter.
The new wheels and tires were fitted on the 335i shortly after delivery, but wouldn't have looked right with the stock ride height. so KW and local los angeles shop auto talent determined the best way to set up the suspension. "i expected the ride to be rough but it's somehow smoother than stock," he told us. "the car came with 18" run-flat wheels and tires and was really stiff. auto talent has done more than 30 setups on the e92 so knew the best suspension for street and spirited driving. they set the damping and ride height on the coilovers and i'm really surprised with how well it performs and the comfort."
While auto talent installed the new KW variant 2 coilovers, they also put on beefier 27mm front and 20mm rear h&r sway bars. the rotora brakes were also installed by auto talent, although the calipers were originally red, "everybody has red brakes," he ranted. "Yellow sets them off better." steven chose the famous porsche speed yellow to paint the front eight-piston and rear four-piston calipers. they're matched to massive 15" front and 14" rear cross-drilled rotors. "they have a little stiffer pedal feel, and are a little more sensitive but are also sturdy and stop relatively well."
The stock aerodynamics were now beginning to look out of place, so steven contacted pacificie for an exterior update, which entailed rieger bumpers and side skirts. the new body kit made the car dramatically edgier and more pronounced. a carbon front splitter and black-painted rear diffuser also add a nice contrast.
The rieger parts were fitted by dtm autobody in el monte, ca, which painted the kit and ensured a close fit. the company also fabricated the custom trunk. "it's a rieger spoiler, but they shaped it like the csl and molded it so it follows the lines of the car." surprisingly, steven told us the rieger pieces still offer good clearance. although it looks wide and aggressive in person, it's still easy to drive and he apparently doesn't have to worry about most curbs or bumps.
For the final touches, steven had dtm paint the front kidney grilles and window trim black to eliminate the stark chrome.
Steven liked the stock interior so left it unmolested. the only update was carbon trim modified by eurorev. "they took my stock dash and overlaid all the carbon," he explained. "i was afraid to buy a kit because it might not fit well but overlaying the stock pieces ensured a perfect fitment." ten pieces were installed, including the center console, dash, doors, rear console and ashtray.
Last but not least was the engine work. the 335i's twin-turbo 3.0 six is still relatively new and since no big turbo kits were available, steven consulted with auto talent. They recommended an rdsport piggyback ecu, which claims to add 30whp, plus quad exhaust system. the latter helped to create a more convincing sound and contributed 13whp.
Steven told us more engine work is on the way. "i'll do more as parts become available," he concluded. "there are people running custom software with downpipes and frontmount intercoolers making 400whp. that's my goal." it's only a matter of time before steven reaches that mark with the parts now available. for now, we can forget about that m3...
2007 BMW 335i
Engine: 3.0 liter twinturbocharged straight-six with rdsport black box software and quad exhaust, titek hKs ssQ blow-off valveDrivetrain: six-speed manual transmission suspension: KW variant 2 coilovers, h&r front and rear sway bars
BraKes: rotora cross-drilled 380mm front rotors with eightpiston calipers, 355mm rear rotors with four-piston calipers painted porsche speed yellow
Wheels & tires: 20x8.5" front and 20x10" rear iforged precision series essen wheels with 245/30-20 front, 285/25-20 rear toyo t1r tires
Exterior: rieger front bumper, carbon front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser, custom dtm autobody csl trunk lid, kidney grilles and window trim painted black, mcculloch 8000K xenon headlight upgrade owner: steven lin location: mission viejo, ca occupation: general manager of iforged
Interior: custom eurorev carbon trim on doors, console and dash
Thanks: iforged performance alloys (www.iforged.com),KW (www.kw-suspension.com),Rotora brakes (www.rotora.com),Auto talent (www.autotalent.com),DTM autobody(www.dtmautobody.com)Instyle graphics(www.instylegraphics.com),Eurorev (www.eurorev.com),Meguiar's (www.meguiars.com)Toyo tires (www.toyo.com)