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The Ultimate ’Bahnstormer It’s not often that we sample the same car twice in one year, but we just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to sample the UK’s only 650hp E92 M3! Words: Bob Harper Photography: Craig Pusey
ver the years we’ve often bemoaned the fact that the choice of colours on BMW test cars are somewhat limiting – dark grey, light grey, mid grey, slate grey… not the most inspiring hues for dramatic pictures. Every now and then we’ll get a red one, but in general they’re universally subdued. However, when it comes to M cars we’re strangely drawn to the subtler colours and had we had the cash a few years ago we’d have opted for a debadged E46 M3 in Steel grey with 18-inch rims – when you’re carrying a big stick you don’t really have to shout about it unless you’re a bit of an extrovert.
Thus the E92 M3 you can see in the photos is almost our ideal spec, although we’d have gone for the subtle and less showy 18-inch wheels for the super stealthy look. And there’s no doubt about it, this particular carries a very big stick indeed. Somewhere between a telegraph pole and a caber perhaps. Externally there are very few indications that it’s endowed with enough horsepower to rip holes in the space/time continuum. From the rear the eagle-eyed might spot that the quad exhausts aren’t standard; from the side there are bright red Brembo front brake callipers, and if you catch the front at the right angle, you might even spot what appears to be some
orange plastic nestling either side of the radiator behind the kidney grilles. It’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation but M3 owners often like to personalise their cars a little so a different exhaust and some meaty stoppers aren’t really out of the ordinary, but those who are fully versed in the BMW tuning world these days should be aware that flashes of orange under the bonnet means just one thing – G-Power. Since G-Power amalgamated with supercharging wizard ASA, there seems to have been no stopping the company, and its earned itself a reputation for producing quality supercharger kits that really produce
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itâ€™s endowed with enough horsepower to rip holes in the space/time continuum
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G-POWER M3 the goods, and when you consider that ASA blowers are good enough for Alpina’s current B5S and B6S then they should be good enough for anyone. G-Power currently produces three different systems for the M3 and the one fitted to this M3 is the allsinging, all-dancing top-of-the-range kit that offers a claimed 600hp, but once it was installed on this particular M3 it appeared that the company was selling itself short. Luton-based BMW fettler Evolve carried out the conversion for a customer who wishes to remain nameless, and once the installation had been completed and the fine tuning on the rollers was being carried out, the chaps at Evolve couldn’t believe their read outs. Its Dyno Dynamics rolling road was telling them that this M3 was kicking out a scarcely believable 649hp at 8100rpm and a monstrous 445lb ft of torque at 6700rpm – peak gains of 226hp and 135lb ft over what the standard machine was figured at. Worried that there may possibly a problem with the installation Evolve put a call into G-Power’s engineers in Germany, but were told that the quoted figures are achievable in the middle of the desert when running poor quality fuel, so another 50hp was entirely consistent with cooler temperatures and Shell V-Power! The headline figures don’t paint the whole picture though and a gander at the dyno printout reveals that the supercharged motor overtakes the standard car’s 420hp at just over 5000rpm and from there on in the power curve climbs at a 45 degree angle until the red line. If the maximum torque looks like the engine might be a little peaky then consider the fact that when the standard car’s developing its maximum twist at 3600rpm, the G-Power one is already 40lb ft up on the stock item. Where the standard machine’s torque curve stays relatively flat from 4000-7000rpm the blown V8 keeps building and between 5000 and 7000rpm the supercharged version beats the standard car by between 100 and 150lb ft. All the facts and figures in the world will count for diddly squat if it doesn’t feel rapid on the road though and as I mosey away from Evolve’s HQ out into the traffic it doesn’t seem possible that there’s virtually 650hp just an ankle flex away – it’s just so tractable! You can hear a slight whine from the ‘charger so you’re in no doubt that the system is operational, but it’s just so docile in normal driving. Having said that, it’s ability to pull from ridiculously low revs in high
gears suggests that there’s something a bit special under the bonnet. Finally we escape Luton’s traffic and find the deserted dual carriageway we’ve been searching for and can bury the throttle for the first time. It’s as if Captain Kirk has just given the command to engage warp drive – the scenery becomes massively blurred, your eyes struggle to focus and your internal organs nearly end up on the back seat. The performance is simply monstrous and it doesn’t really matter which gear you’re in or what revs are displayed on the rev counter – plant the throttle and it just flies. As this was a customer’s car who had been generous enough to let us sample its performance we didn’t attempt lots of standing starts or put any figures on it, but the one (almost) full-bore acceleration run through the gears did demonstrate that it’s performance is immense. The poor old DSC traction control nearly has a coronary as it tries to harness 649hp – there’s wheelspin in the first three gears and while it settles down once you hit fourth, the DSC telltale light is still flashing. And that wasn’t even using full throttle! What it would be like in the wet almost doesn’t bear thinking about… This is a car in which you would have to be as restrained as its sober colour scheme if you have any desire to retain a driver’s licence. Originally, Evolve was simply commissioned to install the supercharger, although as this is the highest output system that G-Power produces there’s more to it than simply bolting the bright orange ASA T1-522 supercharger and air box to the car. There are eight bespoke Siemens injectors, an intercooler, high flow cats and the Akropovic titanium exhaust that bears tips etched with the G-Power logo. However, once the car was up and running, the chaps at Evolve felt dutybound to inform their customer that the standard stoppers just weren’t up to the job of coping with the additional power. So the decision was taken to install the Brembo brakes – meaty 380mm floating discs with six-pot callipers were deemed sufficient, and they do a great job of washing off speed, and should do so time after time. While many companies might have been tempted to go to town on the car and upgrade other components, Evolve felt that the standard EDC suspension was more than up to the job of coping with the additional power. The switchable system
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G Power M3 ENGINE: V8, 32-valve, 3999cc MODIFICATIONS: ASA T1-521 supercharger, high capacity intercooler, Siemens high flow injectors, recalibrated ECU, high flow catalytic converters, titanium exhaust system, Brembo 380mm discs & six-pot callipers MAX POWER: 649hp @ 8100rpm MAX TORQUE: 445lb ft @ 6700rpm TOP SPEED: 200mph (est) 0-125MPH: 12.7 seconds (tested in Germany) 62-125MPH: 7.8 seconds (tested in Germany)
might not give the M3 the road-hugging stance so loved by many tuners and customers, but we reckon the stealthy stance and the excellent ride quality afforded by the system along with its great chassis control when pushing on makes it a no-brainer to leave as standard. While we’re chatting with the Evolve guys about the car we agree on the fact that as this car stands, it’s just too fast for the UK’s road system. If you use the performance to the full you’ll either lose your licence or risk doing yourself some real harm. In Germany it’s probably a different matter, but for the UK we’d probably advise going for one of G-Power’s lower boost systems which would not only save you a wedge of cash, but make the car more suitable for UK use while still being brutally fast.
Once back at Evolve’s HQ we had a good poke around under the bonnet and while you might need sunglasses to look at the kit for any length of time, the quality of the parts just can’t be faulted. Evolve agree that all the G-Power components are beautifully fabricated and show me the carbon fibre air filter housing box that’s just arrived for the car. Again it’s beautifully finished with quality connectors, and even the bolts to fit it with have that solid, machined feel to them – no part of the G-Power system feels like it’s been scrimped on or under-engineered. And as a result it’s not cheap. If this is a conversion you’d like to have on your M3 then you’d better be sitting down as €22,000 or £20,000 (fitted) is a lot of money in anyone’s book. You’ll need to find an additional £4200 for the Brembos, too. Add that lot to the price
of a new M3 with a few tasty options and you’re looking at the best part of £80k which puts you in line for junior exotica such as a Porsche 911, Carrera 4S or GT3. On the other hand a cherished secondhand M3 can be bagged these days for around the £30,000 mark, and chances are you’ll be able to find one with the options you want, too. Add the blower and brakes and it’ll cost the same as a new M3, but have significantly more performance – the ultimate stealth machine. We’ll have ours debadged in grey please ●
CONTACT: Evolve Tel: 0871 231 1001 Web: www.evolveautomotive.com Email: email@example.com
Published on May 25, 2010
It’s not often that we sample the same car twice in one year, but we just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to sample the UK’s only 650hp E...