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FC PBMW 0713 21/05/2013 16:33 Page 1

AIR-RIDE E46: STUNNING UK COUPÉ SUPERCHARGED X5 Big-power 4x4 brute fears no car

JULY 2013

£4.50

VS • 640hp • 590hp

• 454hp • 600hp TIDY E36 ’VERT DRIFTER

Scottish budget build DeNofa’s FDis clean and classy challenging E46


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As almost 3000bhp takes to the Tarmac, the earth itself trembles and the world watches, and waits, to see who will be crowned champion‌ Words: Seb de Latour Pics: Steve Hall


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F13 M6

£100,000 is a lot of money when it comes to cars but then again the new F13 M6 is a lot of car for your money. It has the honour of being the most powerful 6 Series ever created and also the fastest accelerating road-going BMW that has ever been produced. It’s fast, monumentally so, but far beyond the realms of what most of us can afford. So we got to thinking: could you get close to the incredible performance of the M6 for a fraction of the price? We began our search for four modified champions that could take on the might of the M6. We weren’t necessarily looking for cars that would beat the M6 as that would be a tall order, we just wanted cars that had enough power to stand toe-to-toe with BMW’s performance overlord and show that you don’t need £100k to get behind the wheel of a BMW that will deliver serious levels of performance. Many came forward, but only four would be chosen and, after much searching, we had our four challengers and we were ready for our no-holds-barred, near3000bhp brawl… Finished in Sakhir orange, our M6 is striking, to say the least. And, with options on board, it comes in at just over £110,000, which is a vast amount of money, but then you do get an awful lot for your outlay. Almost two tons in fact, the M6 tipping the scales at 1925kg, just 20kg less than the M5. The additional performance, a 0-62mph time 0.2 seconds quicker than its four-door counterpart, is purely down to gearing; well, you wouldn’t expect BMW’s flagship M car to be outperformed by a saloon that costs £20,000 less, would you? But trust me when I say that you won’t notice that performance difference out in the real world. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time behind the wheel of the F10 M5 and it’s fast in a big way;

24 PERFORMANCE BMW

the M6 is faster if you’re talking numbers but from behind the wheel they both feel equally ballistic. So is the M6 worth another £20k over the already incredibly impressive M5? Judging by the attention it gets from other road users, passers by and just about everyone, everywhere, you’d think the answer was yes. Looks are subjective, but you can’t argue that it’s an elegant car in design and hugely aggressive in styling. It’s a pretty spectacular thing to look at and has road presence like you wouldn’t believe. But from behind the wheel, I’m not so sure. I love the interior styling and with the £6500(!) full Merino leather, it looks and feels suitably special but the driving experience isn’t really any different to the M5. It feels big which makes it hard to thread along narrow roads with any sort of pace or confidence; the ride is stiff which makes it hard work over poor surfaces; and it sounds rather flat, muted, disappointing. It is, of course, incredibly fast. Almost too fast for the road, to be honest. The 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 develops 560bhp between 6000 and 7000rpm and there’s 502lb ft of torque available from just 1500rpm all the way to 5750rpm. The big problem is that you just can’t enjoy the performance – put your foot down with any sort of purpose for anything more than a few seconds and you’ll be in danger of losing your licence. And while it’s quick up to 100mph, it’s the way that it carries on beyond that point that really takes your breath away, although this is not something you really get to experience in the UK. Mind you, driven gently it’ll return 27mpg, which is astonishing. But we’re not here to talk about economy – we’re here to see just how fast the M6 really is. I had visions of doing rolling head-

to-head drags, getting some in-gear times and more besides but sadly, frustratingly, time and circumstances were against us so all we could do was time the cars individually, but the numbers are pretty revealing. The biggest problem with the M6 is figuring out just how to launch it. All that power and all that torque is great when you want to go fast but it makes getting off the line cleanly rather tricky. The day is dry with a little wind, and we’re doing all our runs two-up. The runway surface isn’t ideal for this sort of thing as it’s not perfectly clean and we’re launching up a slight gradient, but at least we’ve got a level playing field so whatever figures we see today will be like for like. Attempt one, I go in with traction off, all the gearbox and chassis settings on their most aggressive and manual mode. The minute I touch the accelerator, the revs flare and it’s hard work trying to get meaningful forward motion. Short-shifting into third, the M6 finally hooks up. It felt quick but as Ben reels off the numbers, we’re miles off the book time, with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds and a 0-100 time of 9.1. Attempt two is equally frustrating and the times are actually worse, the M6 refusing to hook up cleanly without mountains of wheelspin. We decide to try with the traction set to its halfway M Dynamic Mode, and line up again. The M6 won’t let you build up any sort of revs on the brakes outside of Launch Control mode, so I give up and just step off the line with full throttle. Immediately this feels much better – the M6 surges away and I keep the accelerator pinned through the upshifts. It’s quick, but my paddle work lets the side down and I end up shifting a fraction too early, which costs me some speed. Clearly, the more I get involved in the whole process, the


worse the outcome so I decide to remove the human element altogether and leave the gearbox in its fastest auto mode. I line the M6 up one final time, come off the brake and come down on the accelerator with all my might. There’s no fuss and it all feels rather undramatic, and the M6 just hooks up and launches off the line. It actually feels a little slow with just the steering and throttle to worry about but the excited yell from Ben in the passenger seat suggests I’ve finally got it right. I keep it nailed until the HUD ticks into the mid-150s and, with the end of the runway looming large, stand on the brakes. This definitely felt like the best run but what are the times? Ben’s grinning like a loon in the passenger seat: “60mph in 4.1secs!” he shouts, “and 100mph in 8.4secs!” No two ways about it, that was awesome. In fact, it was more than just awesome because riding two-up and on an incline, we’ve pretty much matched book time; BMW quotes 4.2secs to 62mph, which would make our 4.1secs to 60mph about spot-on. And while there’s no official 0-100mph time, the 0-200km/h time (124mph) is 12.6secs. Our 0-120mph time was 11.7secs and the 0-130mph time was 13.7secs, making the mid-point 12.7secs, almost bang-on. I knew the 0-60mph time was going to be quick but the 0-100mph time really blew me away; 8.4secs is incredible for a two-ton car and the increment times are equally sensational. Perhaps most impressive of all is how easy it was to extract those figures in the end, and anyone could get those numbers from and M6 time and time again. As far as accessible performance goes, you couldn’t ask for more. The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down but can anything come even remotely close to matching the M6?

F13 M6

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ENGINE: 4.4-litre V8 S63B44TU TRANSMISSION: Sevenspeed M DCT CHASSIS: 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) M Double-spoke style 342M alloys with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/40 ZR19 (front) and 295/35 ZR19 (rear) tyres, Variable Damper Control, 400mm discs and six-pot calipers (front) and 396mm and single calipers (rear) EXTERIOR: M aerodynamic bodystyling, CFRP roof INTERIOR: Full Merino leather upholstery, M multifunction seats, B&O Advanced audio system

SPEED (MPH)

TIME (SECONDS)

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130 1-140 0-150

0.6 1.3 1.9 2.7 3.4 4.1 5.0 6.1 7.2 8.4 10 11.7 13.7 16.1 19.0

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.5 1.6 11.8

V-Max: 150.8mph


E82 1M

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ENGINE: 3.0-litre straight-six N54B30, Spec R hard pipe kit, Spec R Race intercooler, Ray West remap, Evolve catless 3” downpipes with Zircotec ceramic coating, BMW N55 mid-pipes TRANSMISSION: Standard sixspeed manual CHASSIS: 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) BMW Style 359 alloys painted black with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 255/30 ZR19 (front) and 295/30 ZR19 (rear) tyres. Carbotec XP10 brake pads front and rear, HEL braided brake lines, Ray West fast road geometry EXTERIOR: BMW carbon fibre rear lip INTERIOR: BMW Performance suede steering wheel THANKS: www.a1mobiledetailing.co.uk, www.gatwickspecialistcars.co.uk

E82 1M

You might think the 1M an unlikely contender here, being led to the runway like a lamb to the slaughter, but you don’t need me to tell you that the 1M is a pretty special machine and this one is far, far removed from stock. The smallest car here is also the most expensive, with used 1M prices hovering about the £30k mark, but it still undercuts the M6 by a healthy £63,000 preoptions and mods for both parties. The 1M is an awesome piece of kit and has plenty going for it. First of all it’s light, relatively speaking, weighing in at 1495kg, a massive 430kg down on the M6 and enough for a power-to-weight ratio of 227hp/ton in stock form. Under the bonnet you’ll find the N54TU twin-turbo straight-six and you only have to so much as look at that engine and it’ll produce another 70hp. Then there’s welldocumented fact that just about every 1M ever dyno’d makes more power than BMW claims, and that makes its book 0-62mph time of 4.9secs look both hugely achievable and a little conservative. Out-ofthe-box, it’s a proper pocket rocket but it’s

not quite got the firepower to step up to the M6. If you’re going to bring a 1M to the party, you’ve got to make sure it’s a party animal, and Jamie Anderson’s 1M is just that. What we have here is the UK’s most powerful 1M, and that’s a pretty big deal. Jamie likes cars; he sells them through his dealership for starters. He owns more than a couple and he has a penchant for both modifying and BMWs. After owning an E46 M3 SMG and being unmoved by the E90 M3, Jamie fell for the 1M as he wanted something tuneable, like the Mitsubishi Evos he’s had over the years, that had the poise and balance of the M3s he’s also enjoyed. The 1M ticked all the boxes. After an age of looking with no joy, Jamie struck gold and was offered a cancelled order in black, his ideal colour, and with the 1100-mile running-in period taken care of in just a week, his thoughts turned to modifying. “The first simple mods were the N55 midpipes (giving the car a little more torque/throttle response and a deeper exhaust note) and M sport steering wheel,”

Jamie explained. “One issue I had was that the 1M kept blowing the boost pipe off even though it was running standard settings. I turned to the best in the business when it comes to all things cooling: Pete at Spec R. Pete is notorious in the Evo, Ford and Rallycross scene for producing the best quality intercoolers. I decided to commission Spec R to make me a one-off intercooler and hard pipe kit; it fits like the OEM part but is responsible for the car being able to make such good power. Whilst the car was at Spec R I ordered Evolve’s three-inch cat-less downpipes and had them sent to Zircotec for ceramic coating. With the new intercooler and downpipes fitted the car was ready for a live map to unleash its potential. “I know there are firms on the ’net who already have a good rep with BMW tuning but I’m not one to follow the masses and wanted the best in the business to map my car and one name was put forward by a few people whose opinion I valued: Ray West. He’s an ex-German Touring Car driver and after a long phone conversation I found him


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SPEED (MPH)

TIME (SECONDS)

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130

0.6 1.3 1.9 2.6 3.7 4.6 5.6 7.3 8.8 10.5 13 15.7 19.5

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.8 1.9 17.6

V-Max: 136mph

to be really likeable and very knowledgeable in all areas of tuning. One thing Ray pointed out whilst the car was left with him was that, on road tests, the 1M was very lively. This is something that everyone who has driven my car was very aware of and the one thing that every owner will agree on: in standard form the car is difficult to keep in a straight line. Ray offered to set the geometry up whilst he had the car. His tweaks along with the addition of Carbotec XP10 brake pads are the two most effective mods any 1M owner can do to improve the performance of their car. That and adding Spec R’s unbreakable hard pipe kit along with a BMW N55 exhaust mid-pipe will give a great improvement over standard whilst not breaking the bank.” So with some serious mods on board, Jamie’s 1M was heading for some serious numbers and when the call came through from Ray, it didn’t disappoint. “The final figures were 454hp and 530lb ft of torque,” he said. “I was over the moon with the torque figure but not surprised to find that it

was the most powerful 1M in the country.” 454hp is seriously impressive and while it might leave Jamie’s 1M 106hp down on the M6, that incredible torque figure bests the £100k supercar – not bad going. But the key number here is the power-to-weight ratio; now, with this much power going on, Jamie’s 1M has potentially got 304bhp per ton, and that’s something that really makes you sit up and take notice. Let’s get this party started. Jamie’s at a disadvantage here: he has a significantly lighter car, but that means less traction off the line, plus he’s got to change gears himself, so it all comes down to how fast his left hand can move. Launching is the biggest challenge but Jamie’s pretty handy behind the wheel and while there is the inevitable wheel spin, he’s in control and slams second gear home as the tyres start to hook up and once the 1M gets into its stride, it’s just a case of hanging on and making sure the shifts are perfect. It sounds awesome and feels vicious. His first go yields a 4.9secs to 60mph and an 11.1secs to 100mph. Not bad, but we both know there’s

more to come. Run two is where the magic happens. Jamie launches the 1M with a brief flurry of wheelspin before it finds purchase and he unleashes all 454bhp. The 1M is a ball of black fury as it roars up the runway, the cabin a mix of howling exhaust, road noise and vibration and this run feels intense, the 1M absolutely giving everything. When the dust settles I check the figures. It’s mission accomplished. The 0-60mph sprint was dispatched in a scant 4.6secs, which is pretty bloody quick whichever way you look at it. But perhaps even more impressive was the 0-100mph time of 10.5secs. Anything that can hit 100mph in around the ten second mark is a fast car and make no mistake. Jamie has another go afterwards but run two remains his best and his 1M has shown that it’s most definitely got the minerals to stand up to the M6. Look at the figures and you’ll see that for ever 10mph increment from 0-50mph, there’s virtually nothing in it and the M6 only starts to significantly pull away over 60mph. In my book, that’s a pretty awesome performance from the 1M.

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E92 M3

Since day one, the E92 M3 has been one of my favourite M cars of all time. It looks the business and BMW absolutely hit the nail on the head with this car but the real star of the show is that engine. The S65 is, as far as I am concerned, a masterpiece and there’s plenty of reasons why it’s won the Engine of the Year 3.0- to 4.0-litre category five years in a row. 420bhp from four litres is a good place to start, developed at 8300rpm, just 100rpm short of its redline, backed up with 295lb ft of torque, available at 3900rpm. It’s an incredible engine and it makes the experience. The performance is awesome, the manual hitting 62mph in just 4.8secs and just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, DCT came along, making the car even more exciting and dropping the 0-62mph time to 4.6secs. And, despite the peaky nature of that torque figure, four litres and eight cylinders make for a hugely tractable engine that will pull high gears at low speeds readily and with little fuss and plenty of urge. The noise is spectacular. Yes, it’s muted in the cabin, it has to be when it comes to a mainstream performance car, but make no mistake, it’s far from quiet on the outside and delivers a soundtrack that will stir your soul. But the most sensational thing about the E92 M3 is the power delivery: it just does not stop. The way it revs is absolutely incredible and the power

28 PERFORMANCE BMW

builds exponentially as the engine soars; it just gets faster and louder and just when you think it can rev no more it keeps going. But things to get a bit more complicated when it comes to extracting more performance from that magical V8. If you want to keep things naturally aspirated, it’s going to potentially cost a bomb depending on how wild you want to go. Or if you dream of power on a whole other level then you need to bite the bullet, hard, and supercharge your M3. When we were organising this feature we knew we needed to bring out the big guns, and they don’t come much bigger than Evolve’s supercharged E92 M3. The Luton-based firm has been making BMWs go faster for some time now and when it comes to forced induction, it knows its onions. Imran Arshad is a name you’re likely to be familiar with if you’re a regular reader. He has brought along the company’s supercharged E92 M3 for this showdown and I reckon that if any car here can take the fight right to the M6’s doorstep, it’s this one. For starters, it’s an Evolve car, so you know it’s going to be properly sorted – Imran and co. don’t do half measures. We know what your box-fresh M3 puts out, and with an EU weight of 1675kg, that gives you a power-toweight ratio of 251hp per ton. Not bad, but there’s room for improvement. With all the mods on board the Evolve M3, it’s pushing

out 600bhp and that puts it in an altogether different league. Now we’re talking 358bhp per ton, which makes this car a weapon. The supercharger means we’ve got a forced induction head-to-head, meaning both have tons of grunt – and grunt is one thing you most definitely need when it comes to facing an F13 M6. Finally, Evolve’s M3 is DCT and now a single bead of sweat is slowly rolling down the M6’s scowling poker face. So here we are, on the runway, the Tarmac stretching off into the distance. Both Imran and I keen to see what this M3 can do. A pause, then Imran launches. There’s a lot of noise. The revs flare as the rears spin up and he’s into second. The M3 struggles again but now it grips and we’re flying, that supercharger pouring air into the engine. It feels and sounds awesome. This car is quick. Wheelspin has blighted the 0-60mph time and it’s registered a 5.2sec time. But it’s the 0-100mph time that’s really revealing: just 9.6secs. To have such a slow launch and still register such a fast 0-100 time, covering the 60-100 sprint in 4.4secs, is the mark of truly powerful and genuinely fast car. With a bit of heat in the tyres and having got the measure of the car and the surface, I reckon we’re about to see some fireworks. Imran lines the M3 up again and drops the hammer. A little wheelspin again but he’s modulating the throttle to perfection and


this time the M3 grabs the Tarmac and just goes. If anything, it feels even quicker than the M6, the incredible wall of noise from the exhaust battering your senses and the whole experience is just brutal. The numbers don’t disappoint. Yes, the initial launch could have been better but the laws of physics are against us and with this much power, this surface and these tyres, there’s not much more that Imran could have done. We hit 60mph in 4.5secs – only 0.1sec faster than the 1M. But now things get interesting. The next 40mph passes in a blur and we hit 100mph in just 8.7secs, only 0.3secs behind the M6 despite the slower launch. Beyond this the M3 is like a fighter jet and where the M6’s acceleration is starting to tail off, the M3 is only just hitting its stride. At 110mph, the M6 is just 0.2secs ahead and then, as we touch 120mph, the Evolve M3 has caught the M6, matching it at 11.7secs. And now, the M3 is gone. 130, 140, 150mph. As the speed rises, the M3 asserts its domination and the M6 has no reply to this incredible show of force. If we had a longer runway, this would have been a massacre. That you can pick up a manual E92 M3 for about £18k, a DCT example for about £24k, drop £10,000 on a supercharger and have this level of performance, enough to challenge a £100,000 M6, is incredible. I don’t know why we don’t all have one.

E92 M3

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ENGINE: 4.0-litre V8 S65B40, Evolve supercharger kit with Rotrex C38 91 supercharger running 7psi, front-mount air-to-air intercooler, CNC machined plenum, dual recirculating dump valves, Evolve map, Evolve E-Tronic exhaust with primary cat delete and wireless remote valve control TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed M DCT CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) BMW Style 220 alloys with ContiSuperSportContact 3 245/35 ZR19 (front) and 265/35 ZR19 (rear) tyres EXTERIOR: Standard

SPEED (MPH)

TIME (SECONDS)

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130 0-140 0-150

0.8 1.5 2.2 3.1 3.8 4.5 5.6 6.6 7.6 8.7 10.2 11.7 13.5 15.7 18.2

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.6 1.8 11.3

INTERIOR: Standard V-Max: 153.6mph


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E39 M5

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, E60 550i short-shift kit CHASSIS: 8x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) BMW Style 65 alloys with Continental ContiSportContact 3 245/40 ZR18 (front) and 275/35 ZR18 (rear) tyres. Bilstein B8 Sprint dampers, Intrax springs, Dinan adjustable rear anti-roll bar, BMW X5 thrust arm bushes, custom alignment, StopTech ST40 BBK with four-pot calipers and 355mm discs (front), custom-made pads, Goodridge stainless steel brake lines EXTERIOR: Standard INTERIOR: Custom boost gauge to mimic BMW gauge design, Peake code reader, steering wheel retrimmed in Alcantara and new M stitching

SPEED (MPH)

TIME (SECONDS)

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130 0-140

0.6 1.3 2 3.2 3.9 4.8 6 7.2 8.5 10.3 12.2 14.4 16.7 20.2

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.9 2.1 14.7

V-Max: 143.5mph

E39 M5

ENGINE: 4.9-litre V8 S62B50, ESS VT 570 supercharger kit, Alpha N management, custom Monster crankcase ventilation system with Cobra vacuum pump, Monster custom remap, Aquamist HFS 3 methanol injection system, Bosch Green Giant 450cc injectors, Stealth Aeromotive 340lph high-power fuel pump, custom-made Van Manen exhaust manifolds, decat pipes, custom balance pipes, stock rear boxes

What can you say about the E39 M5? Legend? I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. The E39 M5 was very different to the E34 M5 it replaced: more refined, more laidback, perhaps less of a sports car but no less of an M car. This is the car that I dreamed of when it was first launched and I wasn’t alone. It looks awesome, with just the right mix of aggression and elegance. It sounds wonderful. It’s seriously quick and it’s a hugely engaging thing to drive. At the heart of the E39 M5 beats the marvellous S62 V8. 4.9-litres, 400bhp, 369lb ft of torque spread thick across the rev range, enough for a conservative 0-62mph time of 5.3secs. The fact that you can get your hands on an E39 M5 for as little as £5000 is bordering on obscene and because the E39 M5 has been around for so long, the list of performance upgrades is longer and more comprehensive than you could even begin to imagine. And, you can get real, meaningful gains from the S62 without spending an absolute fortune if you want to keep it NA, such as getting rid of the hugely restrictive M62 manifolds. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, that sort of attitude just won’t cut it here so, as with the E92 M3, you need a supercharger and there are plenty to choose from. We knew we had to have an E39 M5 here and we knew it had to be something special, and Kumaran Mahalingam’s example doesn’t disappoint. He’s been pretty exhaustive in his ongoing quest to build the ultimate E39 M5 – the list of the performance modifications fitted to his M5 reads like the ultimate bigpower tuning wishlist. The core component around which the rest of the car has been constructed is the supercharger; it’s a


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tweaked ESS VT 570 kit running Alpha N management and Kumaran has fitted a heavily modified Monster crankcase ventilation system which uses a Cobra CCV pump to suck out all the crankcase pressure at anything over 2psi of boost pressure. On top of that there’s a Monster custom remap and then we have the Aquamist HFS 2 Methanol Injection System, fed by a custommade 2.5-gallon tank hidden in the boot. Then there are the Bosch Green Giant injectors and the Stealth Automotive 340lph fuel pump, which ensure that the engine gets enough fuel to match the typhoon being blown by that monstrous supercharger. But that’s not all: Kumaran has added custom Van Manen exhaust manifolds, decat pipes and custom balance pipes, topping it all off with a set of Bilstein B8 Sprint dampers and Intrax springs along with a Dinan adjustable rear anti-roll bar and a StopTech ST40 big brake kit with custom-made parts. Impressive doesn’t even begin to cover it. And just how much power can we look forward to experiencing today? Kumaran’s not certain, but reckons the E39 M5 is pushing out somewhere in the region of 640bhp. It’s actually a miracle that Kumaran is here at all as just five days ago his supercharger decided to lunch itself. Bad news at the best of times, disastrous when you’re expected to represent for E39 M5s the world over in a brawl with an F13 M6. Wasting no time, he got straight on the phone to ESS and ordered a replacement supercharger, which arrived two days before our event. Amazingly, he managed to fit it and with the M5 making all the right noises, I’m keen to see just what this beast can do.

With this much power on tap and an undoubtedly indecent amount of torque as well, I wager traction is going to be a problem once again and as Kumaran launches off the line on his first run, the E39 M5 scrabbles for grip on the runway surface. Kumaran snatches second and gets back on the throttle when it becomes clear that something’s wrong and he backs off. We’ve got a misfire, and head back to our parking area to figure out what’s gone wrong. Kumaran is checking his in-car fault code reader display and then goes for the timehonoured technical solution to every problem: he turns the car off and turns it back on again. It seems to have done the trick and as he blips the throttle, the M5 sounds in rude health. Time to try again. Kumaran gets run number two underway, but there’s a load of wheelspin as the rear tyres refuse to even attempt to find some grip against the onslaught of power that they’re being bombarded with. His gearshifts are good and the M5 feels fast but the lack of traction has let the side down and we only manage to get to 60mph in 5.3secs and it takes 11.2secs to do 0-100mph, but at least we’ve had one good run and Kumaran has a feel for the car. We line up once again and I brace myself against the seat as Kumaran dumps the clutch. The launch is perfect, just the faintest hint of wheelspin but this time the tyres give their all and with some fine throttle work, the M5 hooks up and surges down the runway. This feels good and as Kumaran fires each gearshift home I’m feeling positive that we’re going to see some impressive figures. The 0-60mph time of 4.8secs isn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination and the

launch on this run couldn’t have been any better, although it does show that despite their varying power outputs and weights, the three modified BMWs that we’ve timed so far have all put in a very similar performance for the 0-60mph sprint and traction is always going to be a major limitation. Above that, it’s less of an issue and that’s where the big-power cars come into their own. Comparing the E39 M5 to the 1M is interesting because despite being 0.4secs behind at the 70mph mark, at 80mph the M5 has not only made up this deficit, it’s now 0.1secs ahead. And from that point on the gap continues to grow, the extra power of the M5 really making its presence felt. The 0-100mph time of 10.3 seconds is far from slow, but again it’s not quite as ballistic as I was hoping for. We only find out later that, in his mad rush to fit the supercharger the day before the shoot, Kumaran rewired his Cobra pump incorrectly, meaning it couldn’t evacuate the crankcase pressure, hence the misfires and lack of performance, though that’s relative. So, far from a conclusive demonstration of the potential that a supercharged E39 M5 has, but the fact that, despite its issues, the car still managed to clock up some seriously impressive times speaks volumes for just how quick this car is when in peak shape. And the fact that you could pick up an E39 M5 for £5000, spend £15,000 on a supercharger and some supporting mods and have over 600bhp for just £20,000 is bordering on the absurd. Oh, and for those worried about modifying high mileage cars, Kumaran’s E39 M5 has covered almost 158,000 miles, which is definitely food for thought.

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E60 M5

022-034 PBMW 0713 10/05/2013 14:22 Page 32

E60 M5

And so we come to our final contender and a car that could potentially be the strongest challenger here. Each subsequent generation of M car is always faster than its predecessor but in the case of the E60 M5, it was significantly faster than the car it replaced, with a 0-62mph time of just 4.7secs, making it over half a second faster then its predecessor. No two ways about it, the E60 M5 was, and remains, an astonishingly fast car and there are two very good reasons for that: the S85 V10 and SMG III. Where the S62 had been all about grunt, the S85 was all about revs, with the peak power output of 507bhp produced at a heady 7750rpm, just 500rpm shy of the redline, while the torque peak of 384lb ft didn’t turn up until 6100rpm. It’s an incredible engine, nothing short of an engineering masterpiece and I’m not ashamed to admit that out of all the incredible numbers and facts that this engine generated, my favourite remains the fact that it weighs just 1kg more than the E39 M5’s S62. Now that’s progress. As for SMG III, well love it or hate it you can’t deny it’s a very clever piece of kit. Seven

32 PERFORMANCE BMW

gears, 11 shift programs, launch control and shift speeds of 65 milliseconds. Brutal it may have been, but it got results. You can pick up E60 M5s for about £14,000 and that is quite frankly unbelievable value for a five-litre V10-powered super saloon – incredible performance, technology and a seriously exotic engine for that sort of money is just criminal. And if the stock car isn’t fast enough for you, there are options available, though modifying an E60 M5 is not a poor man’s game, especially if you keep things naturally aspirated. In the face of a full-on forced induction onslaught, the E60 M5 that we’ve brought along today is 100 per cent supercharger-free. Madness? Don’t be so sure. You see, I’ve driven this M5 before and I remember it being pretty quick. It’s since changed hands but current owner Graham Troth has taken on arguably one of the most powerful naturally aspirated E60 M5s around, thanks to the previous owner’s exuberant modifying habits. Let’s talk numbers. The biggest number we’ve got is the dyno-verified 590bhp that this E60 M5 is now developing.

ENGINE: 5.0-litre V10 S85B50, Evosport power pulleys, RPi intake kit and block-off plates, aFe panel filters, RPi oil cooler, remap, Supersprint exhaust manifolds, Supersprint de-cat pipes, crosspipe and rear boxes TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed SMG III, M variable diff lock CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) BMW Style 166 alloys painted anthracite with Michelin Pilot Sport 255/40 ZR19 (front) and 285/35 ZR19 (rear) tyres. StopTech six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 355mm discs (rear) EXTERIOR: CA Automotive carbon front kidney and side grilles. Gloss black boot badge, Umnitza V3 LED angel eyes INTERIOR: Vinyl carbon-wrapped trim

The smallest number is the 4.1-second 060mph time that the previous owner achieved using timing gear. There’s another number as well: 215mph – the top speed this car has recorded. Those are some pretty serious figures and they mean that, potentially, this E60 M5 could take the fight right to the F13 M6 and maybe even beat it. Pie in the sky? Those figures make for pretty compelling reading and while the torque figure might ‘only’ be 425lb ft, 77lb ft down on the M6, the M5 weighs 1855kg, no lightweight, but a useful 70kg lighter than the F13 M6. This means a power-to-weight ratio of 318bhp per ton, comfortably more than the M6. There are some significant modifications on board, which isn’t surprising when you consider how much additional power has been squeezed out of a naturally aspirated engine that was already pushing out over 101bhp per litre when stock. This M5 was the development car for Supersprint’s RHD exhaust manifolds, so it makes sense that it’s also been fitted with a complete Supersprint exhaust system, including de-cat pipes,


022-034 PBMW 0713 16/05/2013 12:04 Page 33

SPEED (MPH)

TIME (SECONDS)

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130 0-140

1.5 2.4 3.2 3.8 4.8 5.6 6.8 8.0 9.2 10.9 12.6 14.5 16.8 19.3

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.6 2.0 13.6

V-Max: 143.5mph

crosspipe and rear boxes. There’s an RPi Ram air intake system, Evosport power pulleys, an RPi SV1 oil cooler and a remap adds the finishing touch. You’re looking at about £10,000-worth of performance upgrades, not including the BBK and chassis upgrades, but that means you could build a car with this sort of power for under £30k, and we’d say that’s value for money. Graham’s previous ride was an E39 M5 so he’s no stranger to powerful BMWs and after 130,000 miles of happy motoring he was on the lookout for something more powerful. With three kids to accommodate and a lot of motorway miles to deal with, initial thoughts of something fast and Japanese quickly turned to an E60 M5. With plans to modify the car he bought, finding a car that had been so thoroughly modified already was a real stroke of luck. That was 18 months ago and Graham has no plans to sell it anytime soon. The 153,000 miles now showing on the clock haven’t blunted its performance one bit, though Graham has already spent £3000 just keeping the car on the road.

I know what this car is capable of but that was in the hands of the previous owner so Graham’s got a lot to live up to here. No pressure. He lines the M5 up, runs through the pre-launch procedure to make sure the electronics are in their correct settings for this sort of situation, and punches it. We’re away in a blur of vibration, noise and wheelspin before the first ‘BANG!’ from the gearbox lets me know that we’re in second gear. A bit more wheelspin and another ‘BANG!’ and we’re up in to third; now the tyres are gripping and the V10 wails as it fills its massive lungs and lunges for the redline. It feels fast and sounds incredible but has that launch cost us precious time? Run one over, we saunter back to the start position and as I check the figures, it’s clear that the M5 is going to be a tricky machine to get the measure of. The 0-60mph time is 5.7secs, while the 0-100mph time is 11.4secs. We’ve got a reference point and Graham knows what he’s got to do. We line up for run two and as we take off, the M5 once more refuses to launch cleanly, floundering in a heap of

wheelspin. Take a look at the figures and you’ll see that Graham’s 0-10mph and 0-20mph times were the slowest of the day by a significant margin, the E60 M5 looking like the hardest car here to launch by far. But now something happens: the wheelspin disappears and the rear tyres finally find some traction and the M5 monsters the next few increments and while the 0-60mph time of 5.6secs is disappointing, 100mph comes up in 10.9secs, and it’s clear the M5 is making up for lost time now. Another 10mph and it’s outpaced the 1M and is hot on the heels of the E39 M5. At 140mph it’s ahead by a fraction. Interestingly both drivers manage to hit exactly the same top speed of 143.5mph. The E60 M5’s 3050mph and 50-70mph times were both faster than the E39 M5 and so was its 30-130mph time. If only the M5 had been a more cooperative car to launch, we could have seen some seriously impressive figures. As its performance at higher speeds showed, this is certainly not a slow car. That you can enjoy so much power from such an exotic engine for so little outlay needs to be celebrated.


022-034 PBMW 0713 10/05/2013 14:22 Page 34

Conclusion

There’s a lot to take in here. Let’s start with the M6. It’s ridiculously fast. Two-up, accelerating up an incline on a less than ideal surface, it pretty much matched book time from 0-62mph and to 124mph. Perhaps what’s most amazing is how easy it was to extract those figures from the car. My mum could have sat in the M6 and got exactly the same numbers out of it as I did. That makes me feel slightly less heroic about my efforts, but it also demonstrates just how accessible all that performance is. Whether or not it’s worth £100,000 is an entirely different matter. Its incredible speed left me wideeyed with wonder but it didn’t make me love the car any more, which is telling. Elsewhere we can conclude that, for about £30,000, you can build yourself a modified BMW that is almost as fast as an M6, and that’s something to be very happy about. And if you’ve got an E92 M3 you know that all you need to do is strap a honking great supercharger to it, give yourself enough room and you can outrun an F13 M6. There’s also a lot more to launching a car cleanly and really making the most of all the power that you might have at your disposal than you might think. Unless your launch is perfect, your gear changes absolute, your throttle control millimetric in its precision,

34 PERFORMANCE BMW

you’re not going to see what your car is really capable of. As our four challengers disappear off into the sunset, all of them can hold their heads high. They were brave enough to take on the might of the M6, and, while not all put down

the sort of times they would have liked, they did their best and they all proved that it needn’t cost the earth to build a modified BMW that can take on even the fastest metal around and hold its own. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is a happy ending l

TIME (SECONDS) SPEED (MPH)

F13 M6

E82 1M

E92 M3

E39 M5

E60 M5

0-10 0-20 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 0-130 0-140 0-150

0.6 1.3 1.9 2.7 3.4 4.1 5.0 6.1 7.2 8.4 10 11.7 13.7 16.1 19.0

0.6 1.3 1.9 2.6 3.7 4.6 5.6 7.3 8.8 10.5 13 15.7 19.5 15.7 18.2

0.8 1.5 2.2 3.1 3.8 4.5 5.6 6.6 7.6 8.7 10.2 11.7 13.5 20.2

0.6 1.3 2 3.2 3.9 4.8 6 7.2 8.5 10.3 12.2 14.4 16.7 19.3

1.5 2.4 3.2 3.8 4.8 5.6 6.8 8.0 9.2 10.9 12.6 14.5 16.8

30-50 50-70 30-130

1.5 1.6 11.8

1.8 1.9 17.6

1.6 1.8 11.3

1.9 2.1 14.7

1.6 2.0 13.6

150.8mph

136mph

153.6mph

143.5mph

143.5mph

V-Max:

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