The BMW 3 Series has been a popular go-to option for car enthusiasts for decades. Partly because of the wide selection the 3 Series models cover, and partly because of its reputation and performance on the streets.
The 3 Series witnessed a lot of fame after starring in EA’s Need For Speed: Most Wanted game back in 2005. It quickly became a street-racing icon in the eyes of car lovers.
Whether you own an older E46 M3 or a new 320I, or whether your 3 Series is a sedan or a two-door, there are some modifications you can install on your ride to make it go faster, look better, and sound angrier. Here’s what we think you need to take into account when modding your BMW 3 Series.
Wheels & Brakes: The Essentials
We believe the first thing you need to look for are two pairs of new rims and tires for your BMW 3 Series. Not that there’s anything wrong with the stock set in terms of performance, but you can always do better. Plus, changing rims can make your car stand out with a unique personality in a parking lot.
Many famous companies make decent sports rims, so make sure to take your time to be tasteful. Some of the very well-known names in this industry are VOSSEN Wheels, HRE, BBS, OEM, OZ, etc. Based on your taste and your desired performance, you can choose pairs of rims to start modding your BMW 3 Series. (Changing the rims can make your 3 Series stand out from your next-door neighbor’s car, but we’d recommend not changing them to the typical street-racer wannabe type rims.)
When choosing rims, make sure you’re taking their weight and size into account. A lighter set of rims can help your car sprint smoother. A bigger set might look cooler and sportier, but if you drive your car on rough roads, we recommend sticking to 18-inch rims; a 20-inch set might strain the tires on poor-quality asphalt.
While you’re at it, you might want to change stock brakes with after-market models that can provide better performance. Stoptech Street Performance, EBC Redstuff, and OEM models are some of the well-known options you can equip your 3-series with if your stock brakes are old and leave a lot of brake dust.
With these modifications, not only will your car stand out, but it will also feel better when cruising down the streets.
Air Intake Systems and Exhaust: No Power, No Gain
One of the most important goals of modding a car is to add more power to it. By helping the airflow better in the engine, you can substantially increase your 3 Series’ horsepower. After all, as much as your engine needs fuel, it needs oxygen.
An affordable yet effective way to help the airflow better is to install a cold air intake system. It allows the engine to suck cooler air into the system. Cooler air is denser and contains more oxygen. More oxygen means your fuel can burn better in the cylinders, which means the cylinders can move quicker and make your car faster. Installing a cold air intake system on a 3 Series wouldn’t require much expertise and can be done with tools in an average-equipped garage.
Another step in the same direction for your 3 Series can be installing a turbocharger or a supercharger. They can cost a lot, and installing them is more complicated than installing a cold air intake system. Still, they can substantially increase horsepower, especially if you have a V6 model. Long story short, what these machines do is blowing air into the engine. A turbocharger uses leftover gas coming out of the exhaust to move its turbines, while a supercharger is belt-driven.
Another great investment can be modding the exhaust system. A performance exhaust system has a bigger pipe, which helps the airflow and makes a better roaring sound.
The Exterior: Make It Shine… In Style
BMW 3 Series models already look sporty, but that hasn’t stopped car enthusiasts from making their 3 Series look “badder” with proper modifications. A modification that can make any BMW shine is a suspension drop. By using springs or Coilovers, you can lower your BMW 3 Series to eliminate that body roll.
On a side note, lower suspension can make your after-market rims “pop.” So, if you’ve changed your wheels already, make sure to lower the suspension as well.
Besides lowering the suspension, you can purchase after-market body kits for your 3 Series to customize it in every way you want. OEM, Kerscher, Hertge, Racing Dynamics, and Breyton are some of the trustworthy brands that make beautiful body kits for BMW 3 Series that you can install onto your car.
The Interior: Battleground-ready Cockpit
What’s a king without a throne? What’s a car enthusiast without racing seats?
Suppose you’re dead-serious about having the best performance possible. In that case, you can go for pro racing seats that are non-electric and aren’t heated. They may not be the comfiest option, but they reduce a lot of weight, which results in much better performance.
There are still other options to go for that are lighter than the stock seats, look sporty, and offer electric adjustments and heat.
So you keep a Demon on a leash… how about helping her express her vengeful spirit even more than before?
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