Since it’s release in 2007, the E9X M3 has won it’s place in many enthusiast’s hearts as a future classic. With its naturally aspirated, high-revving 4.0L V8 and canyon-ready handling characteristics, the M3 delivers a driving experience like no other.
But if you’re reading this article, chances are you are looking to take your M3 to the next level. Luckily, being a 14 year old platform, there are nearly ENDLESS options for modifications for your car.
Luckily, the experts at German Muscle are here to help you navigate the different aftermarket options and go over recommendations for:
Tuning and Performance
Suspension and Handling
One of the simplest and modifications for performance and sound would be the addition of an intake to your S65 V8. We’ll be completely honest, don’t expect any huge power gains from just an intake, but you will be able to notice an increase in throttle response as well as a satisfyingly deeper engine note.
We recommend taking a look at the aFe Power Stage-2 intake system. This system out-flows the factory intake by 41%, resulting in an increase of 12hp and 9tq. We run this on our shop’s E92 M3 and I can first-handedly vouch for the increased sound and response from the motor.
If you’re looking for a more noticeable change to the driving experience of your M3, then an exhaust system is the route for you. The S65 has a beautiful exhaust note that, with the right aftermarket exhaust, will have you grinning from ear-to-ear every time you step on the gas.
Before you is the Valvetronic Designs valved exhaust system for the E9X M3. This is our favorite sounding exhaust we have come across for these cars. Available as an axle-back system, mid-pipe, or both, this exhaust captures that high-pitched F1 style “scream” M3 enthusiasts strive for. Just listen to it for yourself:
The Valvetronic system comes with everything you need to have your E9X M3 sound like a beast on your favorite backroad, or with a flick of a switch, cruise to the shops without alerting the authorities.
If you are looking for something a little less wild than the Valvetronic Designs system, Active Autowerke has an excellent solution for you. Their Signature Axle-Back Exhaust offers an unobtrusive, rich, mellow tone that pleases the ears without being too loud. Take a listen for yourself:
Tuning and Performance
Now that we’ve gone over a few ways to get your M3 sounding right, let’s go over some options to make some more power. Unfortunately being a low-displacement, naturally aspirated V8, there isn’t too much power left on the table from the factory. Yet there still are a few beneficial power mods that are worth exploring.
The Active Autowerke M3 Power Pulley Kit is a bolt-on, replacement crankshaft pulley that will net you an extra 12whp. Pair this with an intake, exhaust, and a solid tune and you can see total gains north of 40whp.
Whether your car is bone stock or has an intake, pulley, and exhaust, your M3 will GREATLY benefit from a tune. Alpine Motorsports has an excellent tuning platform that allows you customize your tune depending on your build and goals. You can add on an E85 map for extra power, a transmission tune for crisper shifts, or even a burble tune if you are into that.
Outside of tuning and a pulley, the next place to go for power would be either Test-Pipes or a Long-Tube Header system. Unfortunately given the recent tightening of EPA regulations, we won’t be discussing those options.
Forced Induction, also… Rod Bearings?
Before we get into making BIG power, there is a weak point in our motors that needs to be discussed, the dreaded rod bearing failure every M3 owner has nightmares about. To make a long story short, the S65 motor’s rod bearings tend to fail when not maintained properly. Most shops will recommend changing or upgrading the bearings on any car that has 50-60k+ miles in order to avoid total engine failure. If you plan on reading more into this issue, take a look at this link HERE.
Now that you are an expert on the S65’s rod bearings, let’s talk about boost.
The most popular way of getting big numbers out of your M3 is a supercharger kit. These tend to be quite a bit more expensive than the previous mods we discussed but the results are outstanding. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you upgrade your rod bearings before adding any sort of boost to your M3.
Pictured above is the ESS supercharger system. Running on just 6.5-7psi of boost, we’re able to bump the stock HP # of 414 all the way up to 625hp. Supporting all that boost from the Vortech Supercharger included in the kit is an upgraded intake manifold, liquid intercooler system, larger injectors, and much more to have your M3 running as strong as possible.
Suspension and Handling
While the S65 motor is the true heart of the M3, let’s not forget about the handling and everything else that goes into the driving experience of the E9X. When it comes to aftermarket suspension, there are a few routes you can go.
Looking for a cheap, inexpensive way to lower your car and improve its handling? Then the H&R Sport Lowering Springs are what you need. These will fill in that stock wheel gap and lower the center of gravity of your M3, greatly improving its handling.
Height Adjustable Springs
Looking for a little more adjustability without breaking the bank? KW’s Height Adjustable Spring kits are a great alternative to conventional springs. You can adjust the height of your vehicle with the KW height adjuster and is ideal for those who wish to keep the M3’s factory EDC (Electronic Dampening Control) system.
The KW V3 Coilover Kit offers a track worthy package for the street with its dual dampening technology. The separate and independently adjustable rebound and compression dampening allows for the end user to fine tune their suspension setup for the ultimate in handling.
The E9X M3 is a versatile platform that can serve as a blank canvas for the right enthusiast looking for an extremely customizable build. From track warrior to canyon carver to supercharged runway racer, the options are seemingly endless.
The team at German Muscle is excited for the opportunity to be your partner in your build and we encourage you to reach out to a specialist with all of your E9X M3 and S65 questions!
Make sure to follow us on Instagram: @GermanMuscleAZ