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Motorsports & Track Forum
From Auto-X to Trackday to Racing and Professional Motorsports this is the place to discuss making BMWs fast

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:34 AM   #1
wallie330i
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Best E46 for track events

I used to have a 2001 330I several years ago and it was a great car. I want to get into tracking but not competitively. If you had a choice, which E46 would you buy due to its track friendliness? The goal will be to strip which ever car I end up with. Things I would like to consider are cost, power, chassis, and upgradability.

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:43 AM   #2
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hard question... Not! The M3 of course, but if youre talking about drag racing then just go buy a mustang, corvette, or camaro. BMW's are not meant for the drag strip in anyway shape or form. You go right ahead and launch an M3 (or anyother of the e46's) at the drag strip with some slicks on there and tell me how long the output shafts from the diff hold up. I know! Not long!
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:48 AM   #3
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Definitely not into drag racing.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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Well then I'd still say the M3 for sure, but if that is out of your price range then I would say a 330i or maybe a 328i. It is a little easier to make more power from the M52 series engine but it does start with a lower amount of power to begin with, as far as suspension, driveline, and brake all of the same mods are more or less available. I would honestly say that if the e46 M3 is out of your price range then you might go for the e36 M3 since it runs about the same as a 330 nowadays and there are much more engine upgrades available, and you can make a decent amount of power relatively cheaply (300 at the flywheel for around 3k) you definately cant do that with a 330 or 328. BTW reading my post I realized that it sounds like I may have possibly draged my car. Just for the record this is not so I have seen 2 friends do this though and it was not pretty...
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M3 - Not enough room to list
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:48 AM   #5
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BMW's are not meant for the drag strip in anyway shape or form.
I think a lot of people in the FI forum would disagree^ Maybe the violence of SMG + slicks has something to do with your experience? BMW's were not born for the drag strip but they'll work.

To the OP: A 330 sounds about right - more power than a 328 to begin with, beefy driveline components and cheaper parts than the M3. For tracking you'd want to address the oil pump nut/harmonic issue and do the TMS subframe reinforcements while you were doing track prep. You'll find a lot of info on this forum.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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An M3 has more horsepower than anyone should have when starting out at the track IMO. It can be done in an M3 but it's unnecessary and unsafe. A 330 is an easy choice due to its cheap parts and easy to control power.

Plus, I also think that heel/toe shifting is an art that everyone should master out on track before moving on to sequential gearboxes.

I don't think that subframe reinforcement is necessary in areas of the US where metal doesn't fatigue as much as long as its a 2004+ 330's. I even talked to TMS and they told me that reinforcing the subframe isn't necessary unless you are running massively increased power on a 2004+ 330. If I had a 1999-2001 330 though then I'd definitely reinforce. Something to think about while shopping since a 2002-2003 will prove to be a little bit easier to deal with.

ZHPs also have a loctited OPN which can help with the nut not falling off. It's not a permanent solution but its good to get you by for the first year or two while you're learning.

Last edited by SpeedDemon; 03-10-2010 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:46 AM   #7
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I don't think that subframe reinforcement is necessary in areas of the US where metal doesn't fatigue as much and on 2004+ 330's. I even talked to TMS and they told me that reinforcing the subframe isn't necessary unless you are running massively increased power on a 2004+ 330.
Good to know^
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #8
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Keep the 330i as it's a good basis. You'll definitely need suspension mods and better brakes, maybe a limited slip differential. Be careful about stripping out too much as you don't want to take the car out of balance, unless you want to invest in a fully adjustable suspension setup.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:13 AM   #9
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the correct answer to this question is an e36 M3, its right in the sweet spot for price, performance, and handling in a track car
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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the correct answer to this question is an e36 M3, its right in the sweet spot for price, performance, and handling in a track car
ok ok - let's stay on topic
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #11
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A 330ci w/ a manual transmission is the best start. It can be made into an awesome track car right away with just stainless steel brake lines, some Motul 600 brake fluid, and separate set of racing brake pads and rotors. You'll see night and day difference with that setup.
If you want more power, the M3 coupe is the best option. Again, do the brake upgrade and that'll last you for a long time. Then, you can fiddle with adjustable suspension and the lot. For the M3, the SMG is actually perfect for the track. (The track is the one place where, even if you're a hater, you really can't knock the SMG.)
I disagree that the M3 is too much power for the beginner. I started with the M3 and it was a fantastic car to learn on, because it cleaned up my mistakes. It was responsive and stable, and had the power to teach me how to control the back end. If I had too much power, I would begin to lose the back end in the turns. If anything, it was a better learning platform because it taught me more restraint and control. Now, a supercharged M3 or a Ferrari Enzo would be terrible for beginner track use, but an M3 with 333bhp isn't all that bad, IMO.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:30 PM   #12
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As above. I started tracking w. my M3 when it was stock, and I don't think you can do any better. It's got enough power that you won't be wanting to get more horses after you get some good experience. At the same time, it's got enough power that it will make you learn to be smooth with your inputs, which is key to driving any car well. No matter what you get, the first thing to upgrade (the only thing you REALLY need to upgrade, is the brakes. No stock brakes are made for tracking. Lines and fluid are probably enough, depending on how hard you go at it.
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:54 PM   #13
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330. Parts and upgrades are MUCH cheaper.
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:56 PM   #14
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:58 PM   #15
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Definitely not into drag racing.
Thats the dumbest thing i ever heard the ///M is not a drag queen. shes so much more. All around the best track e46 you can buy. end thread
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:06 PM   #16
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Thats the dumbest thing i ever heard the ///M is not a drag queen. shes so much more. All around the best track e46 you can buy. end thread
The OP said he's not into drag racing.. Some people drag race them to see how they perform in a straight line - why's that dumb?

Also - what is going on in your sig? It's hilarious
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:10 PM   #17
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The OP said he's not into drag racing.. Some people drag race them to see how they perform in a straight line - why's that dumb?
I beg to differ...



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Old 03-10-2010, 05:26 PM   #18
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why the fck are we talking about drag racing?
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:32 PM   #19
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I beg to differ...
haha saw that^ earlier today - somehow I knew it'd make its way in here

I think that's kind of an isolated case though -
People in FI forum with HPF M3's have been running stock half shafts and going to the strip on drag radials for awhile. Their power levels are nowhere near stock. Their half shafts are fine.

Here's the commentary so far:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...g+strip&page=4
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:37 PM   #20
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haha saw that^ earlier today - somehow I knew it'd make its way in here

I think that's kind of an isolated case though -
People in FI forum with HPF M3's have been running stock half shafts and going to the strip on drag radials for awhile. Their power levels are nowhere near stock. Their half shafts are fine.
It's mostly for entertainment purposes. That guy is pretty funny.
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