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Bimmers Old And New - Editor's Letter

How do BMW engineers get it spot-on every time?

While I’ve owned an E46 BMW, I’m ashamed to admit it was a 318ci snail, bought to get around high company car tax rules in the UK. But fitted with 19" Racing Dynamics wheels and lowered to within an inch of its life, it certainly handled well. This made it interesting enough to drive daily, although it’ll never be on in my all-time list.

However, the E46 M3 was a vastly different story. Those wider fenders allowed a more aggressive stance, and with its unique bumpers, mirrors, vents and that sweet 3.2L engine, it remains a motoring highlight.

Sadly, I never spent enough time behind the wheel of this M3, but practically everybody’s grown to love them. And with prices tumbling, they’re still a popular choice for a tuning project.

Falling over Max Shapiro’s cover car at the inaugral Bimmerfest East 2011 show, we instantly knew it had something special. Not only did the car sit right, but those red brakes poking through the DPE wheels hinted at something else. Sure enough, it boasted an Active supercharger (possibly the finest mod you could make to the S54 engine) as well as a tasty interior. How could we refuse?

Admittedly, we’ve probably seen similar combinations of staggered split-rim wheels, carbon CSL bodywork and supercharged engines a thousand times, but it never seems to get old. Hopefully you agree… Email us with your opinion at the address below.

Just as we’re looking back at a classic, BMW has launched the new F30 3-Series to replace the E90 sedan. You can read our first impressions in this issue following our road and track sessions.

Although we didn’t get long enough on the sweeping turns of Laguna Seca (not as long as we’d like anyway...), we can report that the F30 is up there with the best.

It obviously looks like a facelifted E90 and shares many components, but we’re assured it’s a completely new car, designed from the tires up.

This was our first chance to sample the new N20 2.0L turbo motor. With 240hp it’s one of the more powerful four-pots out there and we were delighted with its performance. Being marginally slower and less torquey than the 335i, but giving better fuel economy and improved handling with the lighter engine, the new F30 328i is a very practical alternative to the much more expensive 335i.

However, its introduction has brought up one of my bugbears – BMW’s naming conventions. Traditionally, the number on the back referred to the chassis series and its engine size. Admittedly, turbo engine traditionally had a different number but it’s become fairly confusing and slightly ludicrous with names like the X5 xDrive35i a good example of what I mean.

In my mind, instead of 335i and 328i the new 3-Series should be called 330i Turbo and 320i Turbo. After all, who doesn’t want a car with “Turbo” in the name? Think of the sweet badges you could stick on it!

Names and numbers aside, the F30 is an amazing machine that should cause the competition more sleepless nights. We’re not sure if we love that Z4-style wedge nose yet, but hopefully it’ll grow on us.

If you enjoy the diversity of the Euro tuning scene as much as us, we seek to celebrate it with every issue. This month we have an Audi 90 VR6T, repainted Audi A4 Avant and VW Tiguan on air-ride to surprise and astound you.

But if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool VW fan, we’ve still got Mk1, Mk2 and Mk4 examples to bring inspiration and delight.

We’re also looking ahead with our VW Beetle Photochop Challenge that allows anybody to fantasize about how they’d make the new Bug more appealing. Admittedly, it’s an improvement over the previous model but turn to the article and tell me you couldn’t see yourself cruising in Francis Phillips’ R32-powered blue Beetle!

And Finally
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the mix of feature cars, show reports and tech installs in the issue. Don’t forget to visit for our latest videos, updated events calendar, Euro news and blogs. It’s a daily dose of eurotuner in between the monthly print issues. You can visit us online at as well as and

If you’ve got anything to say, or anything you’d like to see, email us at the address below. We read every one of them!

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