Photography by Matt Petrie @crosshair_nightmare
The i3 is BMW's answer to the affordable, electricity wave. Designed for city commuting with spatial awareness in its compact size and efficiency, the i3 is great at what it does, but it’s not unanimously loved in terms of its styling. Since the i3 styling cues veered from the mold of the common BMW or any car for that matter, Felix knew he had to give the i3 a little more attitude when he bought his.
A couple of years back, Felix's i3 was the first that I had driven. While I was a bit skeptical, it turned out to be a blast buzzing around town in. Anyone who has been behind the wheel of one will tell you that the brake re-gen feeling in the accelerator pedal does take quite a bit of getting used to, however, you can minimize your overall braking if driven correctly. My enjoyment behind the wheel of his, led me to driving it to Bimmerfest to unveil it in the Autocouture Motoring booth.
Los Angeles to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California is approximately 140 miles round trip. While this is not a significant distance, now may be a good time to emphasize an important statistic - BMW's claim for the RE version i3 is 150 miles. Remembering one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes when Kramer tested the range limits of the car down past "E", I accepted the challenge and attempted to go for it on one charge.
The morning of Bimmerfest I met Felix at his house. I hopped in the i3 and he in his Signal Green F80. While the torque of its electric motor impressively could hang with sports cars of that caliber from a dig, I had to resist the temptation of driving like a goon in battery conservation efforts. These were both equally head turning cars cruising down the street, but while others were watching us, I of course watched the dashboard information. My range plummeted more rapidly than the distance I was covering and it was quickly evident that this was going to become more challenging than I thought by the end of the day.
Since it was one of the first i3's to be modified, it drew plenty of attention at the show with positive feedback. With only a few modifications on the market, his choices were limited, but it was executed cleanly. The Cobra lowering springs sit it down nicely over the tires without sacrificing ride quality. 3D Design front and rear aero as well as gloss black kidney grills emphasize the gloss black areas. Tint was effectively used to break up the white sides of the car and sharpen the body lines.
We reached out to HRE to get a set of their Classic 501 three-piece wheels built. The traditional combination of brushed faces and polished lips were countered with an unconventional, colorful twist. The hardware was finished to match BMW's factory blue accents on the car. The odd combination of diameter and width left us with zero options for tire upgrades. No barrel was narrow enough for the i3. In order to fit the wheels back into the factory tires, HRE had to use two outer lips as the outer lip and inner barrel.
When the show concluded, the range read 71 miles to a 68-mile trip home. Luckily, I wasn’t alone heading back. I had my friend and Ultimate Klasse regular, Alex Gaudio, with his Estoril M Coupe alongside as the support vehicle. By the time I was on the traffic infested 101, my range was 10 miles and closing quickly. I was close, but my confidence was thinning. Pulling into Felix’s neighborhood, there was less than a mile to go - I had made it. Into the driveway it went, plugged in for a much-needed charge. Even coordinating trips with charging stations, the convenience of the physical charge time itself is not conducive for the average person, especially when comparing it to gas station fill ups. Despite its size, the deceivingly spacious interior proves to be a perfect, comfortable commuter for local commuting.
Photography by Brian Tober
Photography by Gabriel Milori
I was first acquainted with James (also known as FLOSS around the internet), when his previous car was making its way around the forums. It was an Alpine White E90 335i sitting on a rather unique wheel setup—a set of CCW Classics with gold centers on one side & silver centers on the other. Some hated it and some loved it, one thing for sure was that it was different. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
James had left his first E46 M3 to get the 335i sedan for his family. He also thought that he was done with the manual transmission. That’s a fairly common decision that most regret and that’s exactly what happened. The E90 was so different from the E46, James said… “It just wasn’t an ///M.” And since he only had the first E46 for four months, he felt like he had unfinished business to take care of.
He picked up this 2005 Interlago Blue E46 M3 equipped with Competition Package and of course, a 6-speed manual gearbox. It was first revealed online sporting a set of CCW Classics again. It was breathtaking with nothing more than an aggressive fitment. It retained the stock appearance yet showed some serious character. The stance was dialed in thanks to BC Racing Coilovers with custom spring sizes and rates which are now known as their Extreme drop kit.
The amber lights were added to go a different route than the typical clear or smoked option usually found on this platform. The chrome and ambers really compliment the IB in a classy way. The E46 has aged perfectly and with the HRE Vintage Series that recently came out, it was just what James needed. He went with the 501 Series because he liked that design best. Admiring HRE wheels since he was a kid, he told himself that he had to own at least one set in his lifetime. The specs are 18×10″ with 245/35 Hankook V12 (Front) & 18×12″ 285/30 Hankook V12 (Rear), filling up every last inch of those large wheel wells.
He decided to throw a different set of wheels on the other side just for our shoot (like the E90′s two face look). These are OEM BMW Style 5s custom rebarreled to 18×10/12″ with polished lips, chrome hardware and painted centers built by James himself. He has always been into wheels, but it wasn’t until his sponsorship with CCW that he started getting into refinishing wheels. Over time getting closer and chatting with the guys at CCW, he picked up a couple of things along the way from basic wheel sizing and measurements all the way to safety. He said that he’s always wanted something on the side besides a regular day job, and this let’s him get creative while doing something that he loves.
Like many ///M-owners, James bought his car because of its great performance. While the stock power may be plenty for some, he eventually got an urge for more. That’s when the decision to install a VF Engineering VF480 supercharger was made. He hasn’t dynoed the car yet, but it should be good for around 420hp to the wheels. So with unique looks and power to back it up, James's M3 has earned a spot here on our site.