When it comes to fixing up vehicles of the European persuasion everybody from the magazine's parent company seems to come knocking at our door. While I don't mind answering a few questions here and there, over the years I've discovered that the best thing to do is make introductions and match the tunee directly with the tuner. So when one of our companyguys wanted to squeeze some extra power from his E46 M3 I immediately referred him to Tom from European Auto Source to help him sort through it. After sorting through all options, taking into account the vehicle is a daily driver and frequently he hauls precious cargo (kids) he decided to start with the tuning basics: a chip and intake.

Vehicle Data

Engine: 3.2-liter I6, dohc, 24-valve
Transmission: Six-speed SMG
Drivetrain: RWD
Mileage: 84,016
Current Modifications: Volk Racing CE28N wheels (8.5x19 front, 10.5x19 x 10.5 rear), Nitto NT05 tires (245/35 front, 275/30 rear), KW Clubsport coilovers, BMP rear shock mounts

Dyno Data
Dyno Type:
Dynojet 224XLC with WinPEP7 software
Transmission Test Gear: Fourth
Fuel Grade: 91 octane

83° F
Humidity: 21%
Peak power: 274 hp @ 7300 rpm
Peak torque: 234 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

Test Notes
All horsepower and torque numbers are quoted at the wheels. Testing was done with the same tank of 91 octane fuel for the baseline and subsequent dyno runs with the VF Intake and GIAC software. To insure consistency, the intake and coolant temps were monitored via the Bavarian Technic USB OBDII cable and software, with each dyno run starting with a coolant temp of 80 degrees C and an intake temp of 35 degrees C. All of the horsepower and torque numbers shown were SAE corrected by the Dynojet WinPEP software utilizing a correction factor of 0.99.

VF Engineering

E46 M3 Cold-Air Intake



Peak power: 280 hp @ 7200 rpm
Peak torque: 236 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Max power gain: 7 hp @ 6500 rpm
Max torque gain: 3 lb-ft @ 2700 rpm

Parts: Airbox w/lid, air filter, MAF adapter, polyurethane wedge, grommets, aluminum spacers, MAF housing, polyurethane MAF ring, silicone coupler, clamps, bolts
Tools: T20 torx, 10/13 mm socket, 3/8-inch ratchet and 6-inch extension, flat screwdriver
MSRP: $475
Installation time: 1 hour

• Billet MAF sensor retaining factory air flow straightener ensures the ECU gets the proper readings and eliminates the risk of throwing "check engine" lights
• Serviceable air filter
• Retains factory fresh air intake from front grille
• Roto-molded plastic airbox maximizes air volume and reduces heat transfer into the intake
• Removable airbox lid allows for easy filter inspection and debris removal
• Airbox is rubber mounted to help isolate vibration and allow flexibility between engine and intake
• Airbox helps direct and optimize the air flow directly into the air filter

• In extreme conditions, the lower bumper cold air feed could allow water or excess debris into the airbox

GIAC Software

91 octane program

Test 2


Peak power: 283 hp @ 7229 rpm
Peak torque: 236 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Max power gain: 15 hp @ 7700 rpm
Max torque gain: 2 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm

Parts: OBD Port Flash
MSRP: $475
Installation time: 30 minutes

• 100% reversible with no physical modifications
• Increased throttle response
• Retains all factory safety and emissions protocols
• Removes top-speed limiter
• Designed to take advantage of the increase air flow from the VFE intake
• 91 or 93 octane programming available

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