How do you make a great car like an M3 better? You don't you can only make it different.
Last week I got a call from Les saying he wanted me to take his M3 down to Magnaflow for a cat-back exhaust install. He wanted me to take it because I am, as he says and I readily admit, a tech geek. He wanted someone with a tech background to go down, absorb the tech vibe and make sure the kit went on well.
- But I digress, back to making the car better.
While I was driving down to Magnaflow, I got stuck in traffic. Big surprise at 8am in Southern California. While I was motoring along a few of our Super-Highways at 15mph I found myself agreeing with Les that the Konis really do improve the ride quality at lower speeds. The bast way I can describe it, is it takes the BANGS and turns them into thuds. I think it probably hurt the maximum performance of the car, but thats the beauty of adjustable shocks. If I want it stiffer I just turn the knob. So did this make the car better, well I don't know, some people would say no because you have taken some of the sporty edge off the car. It rides better at slower speeds, but you loose a little at stability at high speeds.
The looks of the BBS Wheels are completely subjective. I think they are just about the perfect looking wheel on the car. They look racy and aggressive, yet they are understated enough that some people actually don't notice they are after market. To me, that is the perfect wheel. The quantitative facts are that they are lighter. This improves ride quality, handling, accelerating, braking just about everything but make the stereo sound better.
The exhaust is another area of qualitative evaluation. I have always thought the stock North American M3s sounded like a grizzly bear attacking a trash bag full of tin cans. It has a loud deep growl but then there is this hollow metallic din that comes from the exhaust. Some people love it others hate it. The Magnaflow exhaust has all but gotten that rid of that sound. I think it sounds great, actually better from outside the car than inside. Again this is subjective, however we haven't dynoed the system yet. This will give us half of the real qualitative data. The days are gone of getting huge horsepower numbers out of a simple cat-back exhaust. The factory engineers are getting to good at their jobs at they just can't leave that much horsepower on the table for tuners to find later. I am sure we would see 8 to 10hp on the dyno, but then the question is, are you going to feel that on a 330hp car. Better or just different?
The big news is the loss of thirty pounds. Yes thirty pounds was shaved off the car. I am beginning to think that weight savings is the only true way to truly improve a car. Faster, better handling, stopping and braking and you even get better gas mileage.