But it's not just their track performance that makes StopTech brakes so good. It's also pedal feel and their modulated response, the linear way pedal force translates into braking force. Simply put, the StopTechs feel better than the factory system. They feel more connected and visceral.
In any case, I'm pleased with Project M3. I'm becoming more comfortable with its capabilities and am ready to take it to the next level.
OK, I lied. Two months ago I mentioned Project M3 was being fitted with a supercharger. The truth is, I wussed out and cancelled the install. I feared changing the M3's character would kill it. During the 2006 SEMA show in Las Vegas, I queried every single person I met-even complete strangers-if they'd like a supercharged M3. Everyone, including the polyester jumpsuit-clad guy playing the nickel slots, said yes. And then there are guys like Aaron Neumann, guys I respect who say it's a solid idea. And even if it doesn't work out, the supercharger system (and everything else for this matter) is easily reversible. That's the beauty of bolt-on performance parts.
Sex On Wheels, Bro. Sex... On... Wheels.So says the stoned surfer-dude near Huntington Beach. Narcotic-enhanced perceptions aside, he's right. The 645i is damn sexy no matter what your state of mind. We've made a few changes since you last saw the 6er, namely the hood and brakes.
The former was a risky move at best. Regarding aftermarket body panels, our experience has been mixed. For every decent panel we've purchased, there have been twice as many returned. The few we ended up keeping required so much work, they ended up costing three times the price of an OE piece. And angels cry when gorgeous cars are fitted with second-rate parts. Although there are many aftermarket carbon fiber body component manufacturers, few can replicate the quality of an OE supplier. The folks at Vorsteiner got pretty damn close. Although this was to be a temporary mod, we've decided to leave it in place. It looks that good.
Utilizing aerospace composite technology, each Vorsteiner body component is labor intensive and takes some three days to be fully realized. Multiple layers of aerospace-grade carbon fiber material are laid over steel or high-temp epoxy-based molds, after which injected resins are compressed via a high-pressure vacuum chamber. The curing process takes 24 hours, then the unit is put into an oven for additional heat-treating. The dry carbon fiber vacuumed plastic (DCFVP) uses far less resin than traditional hand-laid components, making it some 30 percent lighter and much stronger due to the fully impregnated carbon fiber. DCFVP also eliminates air bubbles and irregularities while the high-temp (and expensive) resin is far more robust than the standard stuff.
Peter Nam, a Vorsteiner partner, describes the difference between his components and those made elsewhere: "We sub-contract for several aerospace companies using the same technology that's used in building your 6 Series' hood," Nam says. "Although Vorsteiner products tend to be more expensive, they are the best in the business. Have you seen what happens to hand-laid carbon fiber after a few months in the hot sun? It ain't pretty. I guess that's why BMW Motorsport is interested in our components." According to Nam, Vorsteiner will be building prototype body parts for BMW's E90 racecar. Not a bad product endorsement.
Our good friends at EvoSport recommended Quality Craft in Huntington Beach, California, for painting duties. Turned out to be a good tip. Quality Craft has been painting high-end vehicles for 20 years and its clients include Orange County's ubiquitous Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mercedes and Ferraris. Ray Gallagher of Quality Craft rated the Vorsteiner hood in the "upper echelon" of its species.