What’s your first BMW modification?

Tuning | August 11th, 2015 by 6
f80 m3 painted engine covers turner project car bmw parts 1 w1000 750x500

BMW has quite a large following of loyal fans. BMW fans diligently follow the Bavarian brand and create different communities all around the world. Inside …

BMW has quite a large following of loyal fans. BMW fans diligently follow the Bavarian brand and create different communities all around the world. Inside of these little Bimmer communities, fans and owners like to customize their BMWs to set them apart from the others. This makes each BMW in these groups unique and special. It isn’t hard to see why this is so enticing to BMW fans.

But customizing can come in various different forms. There are people who just like to slightly modify, some like to only cosmetically modify, some like to go full blown “Fast and Furious” on their BMWs and some like to create sleepers by hooking up the engine but leaving the exterior alone. Often times, customization hooks people, like an addiction. They start out small and then it turns into something that they do religiously.

f80 m3 painted engine covers turner project car bmw parts 7 w1000 750x500

Early modifications, which get people’s foot in the door, tend to be something minute. Blacking out the kidney grilles is a popular first modification. It’s a simple and inexpensive mod that can be done at home within minutes, but it adds a level of extra sportiness and aggression to the front end of the BMW. It’s actually one of the small mods I’ve done to my E36. It’s incredibly popular and almost every modded BMW has black kidney grilles.

bmwblog bmw 1m 211 750x496

Another is the decklid lip spoiler. These spoilers are tiny, so they don’t give it the Subaru WRX look, they’re inexpensive and easy to install. But they do add some sportiness to the rear end. Some models don’t look as good as others with it, but some do look really good. Another common first mod to the rear of BMWs is smoked taillights. While I’m not the biggest fan of smoked taillights, they are really common and inexpensive, so if that’s what you’re into then it’s a good first mod.

Vorsteiner BMW F30 3-Series Deck Lid Spoiler

However, by far and away, the most common first modification to a BMW, or any car for that matter, is the addition of new wheels. If someone is into modding, the first thing they do when they get a new car is look for new wheels. It’s like an unwritten rule in the modding community that if a car has stock wheels it’s no good. Admittedly, it’s the first mod I ever did to my BMW, as I shamefully bought M3 wheels to put on my 328i.

BMW F82 M4 With Vorsteiner Flow Forged V-FF 102 Wheels

So modding can be fun and it can start out as just minor alterations but can grow into an addiction. So which mod did you first perform that got you hooked into BMW modifications?

6 responses to “What’s your first BMW modification?”

  1. Daniel Johnson says:

    When I first got my 2011 328i Sport Wagon the first thing I did was start to work through a list of the things I wanted to get for it once I had it paid off. I had wheels, tires, suspension, 330i intake manifold + tune, BMW performance intake/exhaust, short-shift kit and strut bar all picked out. Now I am 2 years later still without a single change, and some of the things I wanted originally I realized would probably just make the car worse. The car rides good and firm on 17″ tires/wheels, so really I have no reason to move up to 18″, and thankfully the 17″ wheels are growing on me. The car is already low enough with the sport suspension, and going any lower would make me rub entering my driveway, and for now I am happy with the way the suspension performs, so I have ruled that out as well. I find it nice that on long drives I can turn up the radio and drown out road and drivetrain noise, so I decided against a sporty exhaust. And since this car will never see the track, I think the short-shift kit would just be more a pain than anything. So after creating a list of things I want to do I have pretty much rolled back on everything. The only item I am still considering is the 330i intake manifold. And now there are some supercharger options available for the N52, so I will be toying with that idea, but will be waiting to see reliability reports of that system and want to see a good number of reports showing potential gains first.

    Along the same vein, when I picked up my 1990 M3 it was lowered as far as it could go on Ground Control suspension with 17×8 wheels, sport brake pads, ecu chip, racing wheel. My first mod that took me ~1 month to track down was a set of OEM 15×7 wheels, and a few months later the 3-spoke mtech steering wheel, and just recently finally got around to raising the car ~1″which is still ~1″ lower than stock. The M3 is a little more interesting to me, as I want to get the car back to as close to original as possible, to see what it is was capable of, and then decide for myself where I think it can be improved and start re-tuning it as I see fit, instead of continuing to mod a car that someone else tuned the way they wanted it.

    • Shawn Sepehry says:

      I completely relate to what you’re saying in regards to planning and sleeping on it rather than jumping in. I jumped in and bought aluminum pedals and a shift knob, both of which looked cheap afterwards and I went back to clean, high-quality, OEM parts.

      The modding feels like a necessity and you feel left out if you don’t have it. I realized this is due to the fact that when you type in your car’s name in Google, the first 4 rows are all super custom cars and yours feels plain in comparison.

      Another thing I wanted to say is about the wheels specifically regarding the “…unwritten rule in the modding community that if a car has stock wheels it’s no good”. This may be true for basic low-spec wheels but I don’t understand replacing the M3 stock wheels with HRE wheels. If you put those wheels side-by-side, can you truly say that the HRE looks better than the gorgeous OEM wheels? I think it’s more about being different than better. I upgraded to replica 19″ wheels for my e60 but the more images I see of the 17 and 18s, the more it grows on me.

      It’s all about perspective.

      • Daniel Johnson says:

        I agree, I have a soft spot for the 15″ e30 m3 basket weaves, and even more so for the 16″ of the same. Almost all 17″ wheels on the e36 m3 were lovely. The stock 18″ e46 m3 wheels looked great, better IMO than the 19″. And same goes for the e90/92 m3. The only exception for me is the latest F80 m3. To me the 18″ are just ever so slightly bland and boring compared to the 19″, and the fact that the carbon ceramics require a 19″ wheel helps hit home that BMW likely did it on purpose, to try and get people to buy carbon ceramics.

      • Tony says:

        Personally, I love my stock 18s on my e90 m3. I think they look perfect and better than the 19s…and I get compliments on them all the time. They provide a nice beefy and aggressive look, add to the bulldog squat that the e90 m3 has.

  2. Reino-five-five-oh says:

    None yet, but likely the exhaust. For a V8, this thing is too dang quiet.

    • BeEmWe says:

      Thumbs up! I had an X5 35i with BMW Performance Exhaust System, and I loved the roar. Now I have an X5 50i, and despite better engine sound, it is too quiet for a V8.

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