Owning a BMW that you love for the way it looks, feels, and handles is very common in our Bimmer-centric world. Loving the way your BMW looks, feels, and handles, but wanting it to go faster, is also not unusual. Brian McKinney of Texas is one BMW owner who wanted more power in his E46 M3—but he wanted it without resorting to forced induction, while still retaining the BMW look and feel. This video shows how he made that happen.
Brian sent an E46 BMW M3 to Technica Motorsports in Atlanta with the mission of swapping out the S54B32 inline six that came in the car for a BMW S65B40 V8. The reason is obvious when you understand that a bone stock S65 comes with 81 more horsepower than an original S54, and none of the S65's 414 horsepower are the result of turbocharging.
Technica Motorsports engineered and performed the swap and now Brian has an M3 with an M3 motor—just not the one that came with the car. It looks stock but does act or sound stock.
It's not just the added power that boosts this E46's performance. The E46 M3's curb weight was 3,415 pounds, while the curb weight of the E92 M3 was 3,649 pounds, so even accounting for the S65's greater weight, Brian's E46 now has a better power to weight ratio than the newer E92.
This is not the first time someone stuffed a V8 into an E46 M3. BMW did it in 2001 and won the American Le Mans GT title with it. That car was never homologated with a street version, however, which ticked off Porsche to no end.
None of the street-legal E46 M3s came from the factory with as much power as Brian's M3 has with the swapped-in S65 motor. This is good news, but here's the downside. We don't know how much Brian paid Technica for the conversion, but in the video, Tyler from Technica Motorsports said it would take six months and $50,000 to replicate the project, not counting the cost of the M3 or the engine or the transmission. Pause here for the deep breath we all just took.
Whatever the cost, Brian must have felt it was worth it to get the car he wanted with the engine he wanted and in the end, that's all that counts.
Matt Farah from the Smoking Tire podcast took Brian's M3 for a spin near Atlanta with Tyler from Technica Motorsports riding shotgun. Here is their video:
Still a BMW M engine under the hood. Looks great, sounds better, and appears to move out really well. Perhaps with a little more engineering to tighten up the steering, it could wind up as pretty near perfect. Nice car, Brian.—Scott Blazey
[Photos and video courtesy of The Smoking Tire.]