After you’ve done everything you can to enhance the engine performance and handling of your favorite driving machine, what more could you want to do? Answer: Enhance your driving experience and vehicle control with great performance seats. Typically when you change over to performance seats you have to choose between functionality and comfort, which are typically on opposite ends of the scale when it comes to seat characteristics. Furthermore, can you really improve your seating position and control without going with a full-on race seat? The guys at European Auto Source (EAS) have a great option for BMWs: Recaro Sportster CS seats and Macht Schnell floor mount adaptors.
The black-anodized, aerospace aluminum Macht Schnell mounts offer a sturdy and lightweight base to ensure you have a solid and secure mounting solution—critical when you’re installing aftermarket seats. Take a good look at these and you’ll see not all mounts are created equal in design and function. Not only are they sturdy as hell and good-looking, they offer the versatility of multiple mounting points that not only let you dial in an ideal individual seating position and use slider brackets. Not to mention provisions for mounting race harnesses or OEM seatbelt receptacle mounts.
With the low-profile mounting base and multiple mounting points, you have the ability to use these brackets with both side-mount bucket seats and bottom-mount reclineable types as we have here. Both types benefit from a lower seating position that allows for more head clearance, handy if you find yourself wearing a helmet, while still maintaining a centered position in relation to the steering wheel.
EAS is also an authorized Recaro dealer, so not only do they have full access to the range of Recaro seat offerings, they have firsthand experience with them, having used them in their own projects. Our E46 M3 project is daily driven and sees occasional track use, so the Recaro Sportster CS was selected as the ideal seating upgrade. Given the stock M3 seats are good as far as factory seats go, they don’t offer the full support and weight savings of a racing seat. On the flip side, a racing seat isn’t ideal for daily use and doesn’t offer the adjustability and functionality of the factory seat. The Sportster CS, Recaro’s top sport seat, offers a great combination of both those things. The hybrid construction gives you the benefits of a motorsport seat while providing functionality and comfort of a factory seat.
Visually, the seats are impressive. Not just in the quality and craftsmanship you’d expect from a company like Recaro, but they’re damn attractive and match the M3’s interior very well. Support is noticeably improved with the more pronounced side and thigh bolsters, but ingress and egress are hardly affected. The seats have an integrated backrest adjustment lever on the top half of the backrest to enable easy forward folding for easy access to the back seats on coupe applications like the E46. And mounted on the Macht Schnell mounts, the seat placement looks OEM and allows for the retention of the factory three-point seatbelt and belt receptacle. The combination also allows you to use a four-point harness system as well.
Simply put, the setup is awesome. The seats provide added and improved support during hard driving and reduced weight, yet they’re comfortable and convenient for daily use. Combined with the MS mounts, the Recaros offer a complete integration solution that provides a secure and ideal seating enhancement for any BMW. —Will Powers