2008 BMW M3
If you're a BMW fan, you're probably familiar with German powerhouse tuners such as AC Schnitzer, Alpina, Hartge, etc. But while there are other great names that have improved the Bavarian brand over the years, one tuner is often overlooked - G-Power.
Founded in '71, the company established a reputation in Germany building racecars and fabricating performance parts. Yet it wasn't until recently they began making an impact beyond Europe's borders.
Two years ago G-Power created a major stir with its M5 Hurricane. The 730hp twin-supercharged V10 set a record for fastest BMW sedan in the world at 211mph. This past April, G-Power engineers built yet another prototype called the Hurricane RS using the same engine in a 6-Series chassis and reaching 228mph, making it the fastest BMW coupe in the world.
These were awesome feats but G-Power's accomplishments were relatively unknown to US enthusiasts, until now...Behold, the first supercharged E90/E92 M3 4.0 liter V8.
Supercharging technology is like a turbo. It compresses air into the intake, allowing more air flow thus creating more power. Driven by an accessory belt taken directly from the crankshaft, they have zero lag because the unit is always making boost. Less efficient than a turbo, they still work especially well when intercooled to increase air density. Furthermore, the installation is relatively straightforward since most blowers bolt to the topside of the engine without major modification.
The dynamics of a supercharger is why many manufacturers use them, such as Audi on the latest B8 S4 and Mini's first-generation Cooper S. And aftermarket blowers are a favorite among tuners like G-Power, which partnered with ASA to develop this comprehensive kit for the new M3.
Josh Shokri from California is the owner of the '08 M3 under evaluation here. He admitted to being very impatient once he bought the car and wanted the first forced induction kit available. While none of the US tuners were yet ready, G-Power was offering its kit in Europe, so authorized installer Auto Talent in Los Angeles admitted Josh's M3 for surgery.
There are two different stages of G-Power's supercharger kits. The only difference is the size of the ASA blower and the boost level. Josh opted for stage two, which G-Power claimed to produce 580hp to the crank. Included in the kit was the ASA T1-521 centrifugal blower. This type of blower gains power as the revs climb, making them very exciting to drive.
The blower is lubricated by the car's oil system and is mounted via an aluminum bracket. Also included is an enormous aluminum air box powdercoated orange, massive front-mount intercooler, boost pipes and uprated fuel injectors. The software had to be reconfigured as well to control boost at 9psi and remove the 155mph speed limiter
Auto Talent strapped Josh's car to the dyno before and after the install. It initially threw down 319whp and 245 lb-ft of torque. Once the stage two G-Power package was added, Josh had 481whp and 354 lb-ft while retaining the stock clutch and flywheel.
So we buckled ourselves into the passenger seat to experience whether this M3 could back up its claims. After all, it was the first supercharged M3 in America, so it had to be special.
At idle, the car seeemed relatively factory. There wasn't excessive engine or exhaust noise, and no rough idle. If we didn't know better, we'd have thought the car just had an exhaust.
As Josh proceeded to shift into gear and take a spin around his neighborhood, our first impression was smoothness. We wouldn't question its daily drivability because the M3 acted as if it were naturally-aspirated. There was almost no whining from the supercharger either.
When we hopped onto the freeway, our jaws dropped. In second gear, the supercharged V8 snapped us back into the seat as the car accelerated. Through each gear from 25 to 120mph, the power was aggressive as it ran to redline. The noise from the blow-off valves was pronounced, but not overbearing. The free-flowing RPI GT Race exhaust made itself known with its burly tone, while the 305-section tires in the back had no trouble finding grip once we were in third gear. At lower speeds the M3 tended to slip sideways under full throttle so Josh had to feather the throttle. He admitted the power dies off at higher RPM, but thought a larger blower might remedy it.
As for as an overall package, the M3 had it all. It braked effortlessly thanks to six-piston front, four-piston rear Brembo brakes with 380mm rotors all around. Cornering also impressed, with KW Clubsport coilovers maintaining a taut ride. It's not bouncy, yet Josh demonstrated how it could attack corners at high speed without difficulty.
The drive proved exhilarating with enough power to skip past a V10-powered M5, which he owned previously. "I sold the M5 because it wasn't the right car for me. I was never a four-door kind of person, and the V10 was sluggish in traffic. Once the new M3 came out, I liked everything about it, although it's heavy and lacked power," he explained.
We shouldn't neglect the M3's looks either. Not just about performance, the car stopped us in our tracks at M-Fest 3 (et 7/09) and was a display car in the Toyo Tires booth at the '08 SEMA Show. It sported 21" wheels at SEMA but has since made several changes.
There wasn't a great deal of aesthetic upgrades for the E92 M3, so Josh kept the theme simple and refined. It started with a Vorsteiner carbon lip, rear diffuser and trunk lid to give it more aggression. Euro Rev painted the carbon parts in satin black, while the brake calipers were repainted Porsche GT3RS orange to resemble the accents on the G-Power intercooler and plenum.
Detail changes include matte black kidneys and gills, along with color-matched markers. The headlights, angel-eyes and turn signals were also upgraded to a blue hue.
New wheels came next, and after trying sets of 21" and 20" rims, Josh reverted to a motorsport-style wheel with 19x9" front and 19x10.5" rear HRE P40s painted matte black. The one-piece forged wheels were lighter than previous sets and looked cleaner.
Josh has more plans up his sleeve, such as switching to a larger blower, but there's not much else he wants to do. The car looks gorgeous from the factory and he's done just the right amount of modifications to make it look unique and ready for the track.
2008 BMW M3
Owner: Josh Shokri
Location: Tarzana, CA
Occupation: medical supplies
Engine: 4.0 liter V8 with G-Power stage 2 supercharger kit using ASA T1-521, plenum chamber, front-mount intercooler, bigger injectors, software, RPI GT exhaust
DRIVELINE: six-speed manual with BMW Performance short shifter
Brakes: Brembo Monobloc six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers in Porsche GT3RS orange, 380mm rotors all round
Suspension: KW Clubsport coilovers
Wheels & Tires: 19x9" front, 19x10.5" rear HRE P40 wheels with 245/35-19 front, 305/30-19 rear Nitto Invo tires
Exterior: Vorsteiner carbon front lip, trunk and rear diffuser, matte black front kidney grilles and side gills, color-matched side markers, 6000K HID headlights, 6500K angel-eyes and turn signals
Interior: Defi BF boost gauge
Thanks: family and friends, Auto Talent (www.autotalent.com), Euro Rev (www.eurorev.com), KW Suspension (www.kw-suspension.com), RPI (www.raceprecision.com), Vorsteiner (www.vorsteiner.com)