If you look back at the features of Ultimate Klasse’s first year you get a good idea of the standard we continually strive to showcase. Our passion for BMW’s is more than just an admiration or a job though, we are all enthusiasts with builds of our own as well. So occasionally we will share what we are driving too.
My love for this brand started when I was around the age of 14. I was a freshman in high school and I have to admit at that time I was more interested in japanese imports and exotics. It wasn’t until a senior had showed me a certain website dedicated to bimmers that my preference had dramatically changed… that website was www.dtmpower.net. I instantly fell in love with the look, the sound and everything that BMW's had to offer. Before then I had always assumed that they were just luxury cars. My first car was a ’92 E36 325i (Schwarz with black interior) and a couple years later I moved onto an ’89 E30 325i (Schwarz with black interior). That brings us to the E46, which was a 2003 330i Sport Package (5-speed manual). Although I was originally after a pre-facelift model, this one seemed to fit everything that I was looking for with the exception of the black interior.
I liked it the way it was and had no plans to modify it—but plans often change. In the first year of ownership I only added a few things here and there, an M-tech II front bumper, a slight drop on H&R Sport Springs and an iPod kit. I’m not exactly sure where it began, but I eventually went through around 10 sets of wheels and numerous parts to get the right appearance that I was looking for.
The funny thing is that I finally realized the look I was searching for was more or less the one that I started out with. In my eyes the E46 is one of BMW’s finest works of art, modernizing the classic lines while not straying too far from the looks of the past generations of the 3 series. So with that in mind, I set out to take a slightly less popular approach to this platform. I wanted to tastefully acknowledge its age by creating a nice blend of a vintage bimmer with a sleek and contemporary look.
I came across a set of AC Schnitzer Type II’s that were made during the early 90's. Being that they were designed at an older time gave it a vintage feel and the roundness of the spokes seemed to work perfectly with the rounder, more modern body style of the E46. I decided to swap out my OEM euro clear lights for a set of ambers and the OEM chrome kidney grill was back in place of the sportier matte black one.
Not everything was swapped back to the stock option though. I upgraded to an E46 M3 wheel, which in my opinion, is a must-have mod in any E46/39/53. Some other interior mods included some silver gauge faces from Bimmian, alcantara shift/ebrake boots, 3M Brushed Graphite vinyl wrapped trim, OEM M3 dead pedal and the stock grey seats were swapped out for black ones.
Those who followed the car’s progress since the beginning will tell you that when the wheels changed, so did many other parts to keep the “theme” consistent. The last stage as you see here was no different, I bought every AC Schnitzer accessory that I could get my hands on. Unfortunately with the rarity of ACS parts, not all of what I found was authentic, but aesthetically it made no difference.
After about a year of owning the car, I was interested in improving the stance. The H&R Sport springs were traded out for a set of FK Konigsport coilovers. This allowed me to get the car as low as possible with the suspension stiff enough to still drive at that height. Because each new set of wheels were more aggressive than the last, I usually had to roll the fenders after each set. So they were flared out pretty far by the time I picked up the Type II's. Because they were made for the 5 series, the offsets were perfect for my car—the rears were et15 (I added a 15mm spacer resulting in et0) and the fronts were et13.
Since this feature the car has been traded in for an E53 X5 3.0i Sport. As much as I loved my E46, this past year I wanted to get a more practical vehicle. And call me weird, but I've wanted an E53 since their debut in 1999. These car projects are never finished so I think it was just about reaching a point where I was happy with remembering the 330i this way and moving on. I hope it can be an inspiration for some out there and also show that sometimes less is more.
Photography by Matt Petrie
Kids are so impressionable to many things and one of them is cars. For those who are into the modified car scene as a whole, whether they own one or just enjoy spectating, it usually starts with a defining moment. For some it was a family member who had a special weekend car that would offer you to ride along in. As for others maybe it was seeing something truly awesome on the road and never forgetting it, which still happens continuously as you grow old. Regardless of how you came to love cars it started with one car guy and unintentionally led to another’s passion down the road. That’s the magic these M Coupes have on people.
Frequently riding shotgun in Alex’s Estoril blue coupe or driving it myself, I can’t help but notice the attention it gets from people of all ages. The older folks are puzzled as they try to identify it because they recognize the roundel, but that’s about it. To the average person it is difficult to distinguish the little Z3 roadster that lies within the angled hatch and fat, fat rear end of this quirky “clown shoe”. Kids on the other hand aren’t so much puzzled as they are hypnotized by it. They don’t care for the identification; all they know is that it looks like an operational toy. Between the color, the fully polished wheels and the occasional surf board strapped to the roof rack at the Jersey shore, it’s no wonder kids can’t take their eyes off of it.
The main reason why people don’t recognize these cars is due to their rarity. If you’ve never seen an M Coupe on the road before you’re not alone. About 3,000 were built for North America from 1998 to 2002. These cars were literally parts cars being built using bits and pieces from other models in their generation. They were built alongside the M3 in their respective years of production. The early models from 1998 to 2000 had the E36 M3 S52 engine and when production began on the E46 M3 during 2001 and 2002, you guessed it; the M Coupes came equipped with the S54. Due to the size of the clown shoe the S54 was detuned to 321hp, but that’s something that is easily reversible. Mark’s is pretty unique within their already limited community. He is one of the lucky owners stateside(less than 700) to have an S54 in his Titanium Silver coupe.
As always with this disease, modifications were made to these coupes to further distinguish them from the rest. Mark is running a set of 16” BBS RS faces with Rotiform bubble lips reaching a final size of 18x9f and 18x11r. Suspension is dialed in with Ground Control coil overs and Vorshlag camber plates bringing him down just atop the tires for a purposeful, enjoyable drop. Out back he’s got a 3.73 LSD rebuilt with a three-clutch setup from bimmerdiffs.com and a custom catback exahaust with Magnaflow 14815 mufflers and stainless steel piping done by Piper Motorsports. Authentic AC Schnitzer flippers in front help accentuate the splitters and tie into the body lines nicely. Inside he makes this car feel more at home with European dash panels, glovebox and driver’s side kick panel. Nothing is overly done and just the right amount of work was placed in every area of Mark’s car to give it a clean European look.
Alex’s coupe is sporting original Kinesis K57 wheels in double-staggered form (Kinesis is now owned by Asanti and sold their wheel designs to CCW). The fronts are 17×9.5 while the rear is 18×11.5. He is slammed on TC Kline coil overs with SWIFT springs up front to get him a little closer to those 17’s. The interior is the factory Estoril blue two toned seats and dash with an upgraded Momo steering wheel. The front end is simple and clean with shaved reflectors in the bumper and custom headlights. Unhappy with the DEPO headlight option, he made his own custom retrofitted projectors and shrouds to help him see at night as this car is daily driven in rotation with 3 other BMW’s in his driveway. “Daily driven” need not be a sticker on his window to let people know this car gets driven often and hard. One look at the odometer and you’ll have to do a double take because it is currently clocked in at 209,000 miles. No typo here, whether it is to work or to go skate with friends this car is getting redlined and sideways daily.
The rear end on these cars is wide enough to make any other modded car owner jealous. The curves are undeniable and the room for aggressive setups is almost as endless as Alex’s rear step lips. Mark is stuffing an awesomely meaty 295 in the rear on his 11, while Alex opted for a 275 on his 11.5 with a lower offset. Despite their different styles, both Mark and Alex are executing flawlessly and representing the Z3 M Coupe community in proper fashion.
Photography by Dan Wagener & Kielan Prince
I remember the first time that I laid eyes on Anthony Care’s 1998 M3. I was abruptly stopped as I was scrolling through a thread with coverage of H2O ’10 on Bimmerforums. It was a panning shot of Anthony cruising the strip in Ocean City, MD. I found myself staring for a second and then searching for more photos of it. If I remember correctly, I even sent him a PM just to tell him how much that I loved his car.
Since then the car has become even more appealing. The car went much lower, the BBS RS received new lips and the stance was dialed in. Stock vaders were swapped out for Corbeaus with 4 pt. harnesses. FX-R Xenon Projectors and E46 shrouds were retrofitted. Many suspension, bushing, etc. upgrades were added and proper maintenance was addressed.
The aggressive stance of the car is definitely what gives it such character. I personally think that his has a bit of an OG Euro flair to it, like you would typically find on a German or Polish built BMW. You don’t usually see it pulled off just right like this here in the states.
This was actually slated to be our very first feature to launch the site with, but as we were getting everything ready to put it together, we got word from Anthony that he was getting some new wheels. Wheels worth waiting for.
A set of AC Schnitzer Rennsport Type Is in 17 x 9/10″. They’re dream wheels to many and a true work of art themselves.
For a short while Anthony also had a set of BBS RFs and RS Turbofans on the car, while they looked great, they just didn’t suit the car quite as well as the RS 212/197s. At the time, I was skeptical that the car could get any better. Oh, how I was wrong. The ACS took his car to a whole new level.
As we were driving around looking for a location to take photos I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly comfortable the ride was. That’s thanks to the Stanceworks Zero Clearance coilovers built by AST. I was shocked (pun intended) at how great the quality was, no rubbing, no harsh bumps, no bouncing… it was excellent.
And, in case you were wondering why a "stance car" has racing seats, a roll cage, etc. It’s because Anthony didn’t just build this car for looks. Actually the performance modifications were addressed before the aesthetics.
Under the hood is a full bolt-on Conforti tuned S52 motor with Schrick cams (as well as some other enhancements). A custom 3″ exhaust with vibrant res. and muffler with rare Eisenmann dual pipes was also added. Running a very respectable time of 13.1 at 108mph, I’d say this M3 stays true to its motorsport heritage. When the car is taken out to the strip or for an autocross, it’s as easy as spinning the coils up, bolting on the track wheels (SSRs with 245/255 tires) and it’s back to the “practical” state in 30 minutes.
The best of both worlds comes to mind. Improving on the looks and performance, Anthony has a built a well-rounded car that I think many can respect no matter their preference.