In part 7, we uploaded some GIAC software into our 2010 BMW M3’s ECU to gain a useful 10whp and 5 lb-ft on top of the 10whp and 5 lb-ft we’d previously gained from the GruppeM intake and exhaust that was fitted in part 6.
With MFest around the corner and Bimmerfest a short way off, we decided to make more visual and performance enhancing mods to the M3 in order to have something new too look at.
The parts we selected were a Vorsteiner carbon fiber trunk and front splitter. The trunk would save some weight and its CSL-style rear lip always looks dramatic. The splitter is a one-piece item that fits to the stock bumper and would replace the two-piece BMW Performance parts we current have.
Ideally, we’d paint the trunk but our budget couldn’t stretch to that, so we talked to the guys at Wraptivo about wrapping the roof in the latest 3M carbon-look vinyl to make the trunk look less conspicuous.
Finally, we fitted the H&R coilovers we ordered from Turner Motorsport when the car was first delivered. We hadn’t fitted them before because we wanted to enjoy the M3’s optional Electronic Damper Control – after years of rock-hard coilovers, a little comfort was appreciated…
We had fitted some H&R lowering springs back in part 4 of the project build, which gave us a better look and slightly firmer ride without sacrificing very much comfort. However, we always wanted to tuck the tires a little more, so finally decided to fit the coilovers.
The Vorsteiner VRS LCI Aero Boot Lid, to use its full title, harks back to the Europe-only E46 M3 CSL. These cars received a host of exclusive goodies, including the wheels, front spoiler and a raised lip on the trunk lid. BMW has continued to use a similar wheel on the M3 Competition Package, but the trunk lip has never officially returned.
Fortunately, the aftermarket has kept the memory alive and Vorsteiner’s carbon fiber trunks include this element, enhancing the car’s profile tremendously.
The trunk lid is available with either a single- or double-sided carbon fiber construction. We chose the former based on price, getting gloss black fiberglass under the lid rather than carbon top and bottom with the double-sided option. Since most people don’t look under the lid and it’s mainly covered by trim pieces, it didn’t seem like a big sacrifice.
Stripped bare, the VRS trunk weighed 12 lb, which is a significant reduction over the 25.9 lb stock trunk once we’d stripped most parts from it.
The Vorsteiner parts were fitted by Wayne Agus and Abe Nikijuluw from A1 Autobody in Huntington Beach, CA. They’ve apparently fitted hundreds of Vorsteiner parts and were certainly familiar with the procedure. It took them about 20min to remove the stock trunk, strip the fittings and refit the carbon item. However, they spent more than an hour aligning the trunk, loosening the tail lights, locking mechanism and bumper to get it perfect.
This is certainly a part you can DIY at home. The final alignment might not be as precise as A1 did ours but you can get it very close thanks to elongated fixings in each part.
It’s certainly a testament to the quality of Vorsteiner’s parts that it can be made to fit like stock, and we’ve experienced no problems since the fitting. Perhaps the only thing to be aware of is that the lighter trunk can’t be closed with one hand because the OE struts are set up for a heavier lid and require a good push to close.
|Carbon Fiber Trunk (single-sided)||Vorsteiner||$1695|
|Carbon Fiber Front Lip||Vorsteiner||$1195|
|H&R PCS Coilovers||Turner Motorsport||$1099*|
The Vorsteiner VRS Aero Front Splitter is a simple, one-piece chin spoiler that affixes to the stock M3 front bumper. We’d previously fitted the two-piece splitter from BMW Performance, which did the job equally well but we’d scraped them a few times on driveways and they were a little ragged. So we switched to the VRS part for a fresh look.
Ordinarily, the splitter would be glued into placed and secured with screws. However, since the car has to be returned to stock before too long, ours simply has self-tapping screws.
It took a matter of minutes for the A1 guys to fit it, and this is a straightforward DIY proposition.
Wraptivo carbon roof
With vinyl wraps taking over from expensive resprays as a cost-effective and fast way to alter the look of your car, it’s something we have wanted to look at in detail. Having a carbon trunk on the car presented us with an opportunity to work with Wraptivo (a division of Meguiar’s and 3M) about its range of automotive products.
Launched at the SEMA trade show two years ago, the potential for Wraptivo vinyl wraps is huge. They’re looking at vehicle-specific kits as well as a huge variety of colors and finishes.
There are currently a range of universal kits available online either through the Wraptivo online store or through Amazon and later through retail partners such as Advance Auto.
We used the Carbon Black film from the Textured Collection of the Wraptivo Universal Retail Packs. They are available in three sizes: Accessory Pack Small with a 12x48" sheet of Textured Wraptivo Film for $47.99, or Accessory Pack Large with a 24x48" sheet for $79.99. However, we decided to wrap our roof and needed the Body Panel Pack with its 48x60" sheet that costs $159.99. All kits come with a felt-tip marker, squeegee and knife.
The other textured finishes include Carbon White, Carbon Grey, Brushed Aluminum, Brushed Titanium, Ebony Wood Brown and Ebony Wood Grey.
If you’ve ever fitted window tint film, you can wrap your car. The film is thick, so avoids creasing, and can be heated to stretch around curves or return it to its original shape if stretched too much.
Unlike tint film, you apply the vinyl to a dry surface. The material has thousands of tiny holes that allow you to push out the air very easily.
Although it’s a DIY job, we asked Joshua Daley and John Bustamante from Daley Visual to wrap our roof. They typically charge $180-225 to cover a roof including the materials. They would charge about the same to cover a hood or $3000-4000 to wrap an entire car including the door jambs, etc. As an indication of the quality of Daley Visual’s work, they wrapped the matte grey Vorsteiner M3 (cover, et 3/11) that many people thought was painted…
When we first got the M3, we already had H&R coilovers ready to install. But after driving the car for a few days with its Electronic Damper Control, we liked the option to have a comfortable or sporty ride at the push of a button. And with the Competition Package on our car, the three suspension modes were adaptive, so responded actively to the road surface, giving you a controlled ride for such a high performance car. Unable to stop ourselves totally, we did swap the stock springs for some H&R Sport coils in et 1/11. Like all H&R gear, not only did we source it from Turner Motorsport, but the change in ride comfort was negligible. Yet the handling and cosmetic improvement was instantly noticeable.
While the springs lowered the car 1" front and 0.6" rear, it wasn’t as low as we ultimately wanted to go. Therefore, we surrendered to the inevitable and took the H&R PCS coilovers to Supreme Power Parts in Placentia, CA to have them fitted.
We haven’t detailed every stage here because we’ve covered it countless times before. Visit eurotuner.com for detailed instructions on coilover fitting if you need them. Unless you have access to professional tools, we recommend the job is carried out by experts because you need to safely lift the car and clamp the springs during removal/fitting. You’ll also need to have the geometry aligned afterwards to avoid unnecessary tire wear.
Take time leveling the car to ensure the ride height is the same all-round. Supreme Power have done this so often, they nailed it first time!
H&R specifies the coilovers can lower the car from 1-1.6" front and 0.3-1.3" rear. We have the car fully dropped up front and lowered about 1" on the rear. This was to get the car level, with all four fenders the same height from the ground. However, the bodywork is naturally raked lower at the front, so measure the fender height not the sill height.
The H&R PCS dampers use cadmium-coated shock bodies for durability. In this application, the damping is adjustable via a knurled knob at the bottom of each unit. There aren’t any click stops to help you but we set them at about 30% from soft, hoping this would give us a compliant ride with good control. As it happens, the ride comfort is barely stiffer than with the lowering springs but the handling is incredible. Considering we didn’t fit any sway bars, the car easily outperformed the stock M3s during the 1-Series M track day (see separate story).
One thing to notice is the diameter of the top-mount shaft on the rear dampers. It’s thinner than on our stock EDC dampers. Although the damper is bolted into the top mount, the shaft is theoretically floating inside the mount. However, we didn’t notice any adverse affects under harsh track conditions, so all appears to be well. If your car doesn’t have EDC, this shouldn’t be a problem.
We have the car sitting very low, yet the correct wheel offsets on our 19" Forgestar wheels mean we don’t rub at all, not even on the track at triple-digit cornering speeds!
In part 9 we want to change the downpipes but our one-year loan is ending, so we may not have time
|Carbon Dash & Door Trim||BMW Performance||10/10|
|Black Kidney Grilles||BMW Performance||10/10|
|Carbon Mirrors||BMW Performance||10/10|
|Carbon Kidney Grilles||Turner Motorsport||10/10|
|Carbon Hood Vents||Turner Motorsport||10/10|
|Carbon Side Vents||Turner Motorsport||10/10|
|Wheel Spacers||Turner Motorsport||10/10|
|Longer Wheel Bolts||Turner Motorsport||10/10|
|Gran Turismo Brake Kit||Brembo||11/10|
|Carbon Door Trims||BMW Performance||12/10|
|Carbon Front Splitters||BMW Performance||12/10|
|Carbon Trunk Spoiler||BMW Performance||12/10|
|19" F14 Wheels||Forgestar||1/11|
|ContiSportContact 3||Continental Tires||1/11|
|Carbon Fiber Trunk||Vorsteiner||8/11|
|Carbon Fiber Front Splitter||Vorsteiner||8/11|