July 3, 2022

Serving up slick OEM+ styling, on-point stance, and a wholesome dose of supercharged energy, this significantly tasty E46 325ci demonstrates completely why the fourth-gen BMW 3 Collection is a modder’s dream.

Characteristic from Efficiency BMW journal. Photographs: Jason Dodd.

There as soon as was a time when the E46 was the most cost effective method into 3 Collection possession and even the most cost effective method into BMW possession, however these days are lengthy gone. You may nonetheless discover cheap-ish E46s with excessive miles and in lower than good situation, but when it’s bought two doorways and 6 cylinders, like Josh Nichols’ (@builds_by_joshy) instance, then a very good one will set you again just a few quid as individuals are beginning to recognize them. And the E46 deserves an entire lot of appreciation. It’s an amazing automotive – it nonetheless seems to be good, it’s enjoyable and interesting to drive, sensible, and, in terms of modding, there’s a lot on the market to select from that it’s a little bit bit overwhelming. Not that that was an issue for Josh, thoughts, as a result of one look at his BMW 325Ci is sufficient to inform you that he’s bought this entire modifying factor properly and actually sorted.

Josh is clearly a BMW fan, he wouldn’t be driving round in a modded E46 if he wasn’t, however simply how large of a fan he’s turns into clear after chatting to him for a couple of minutes. “I’ve been into BMWs ever since my first automotive 10 years in the past, an E46 320Ci. The reliability and luxury irrespective of how laborious they’re pushed make them particular,” he enthuses. “I purchased the E46 as a result of I’d heard that they slide properly; it was only a bit underpowered, however I do love RWD!” Josh grins, and he’s actually not mendacity as this 325Ci is joined by a BMW E46 M3 Convertible and an E91 M Sport Touring, a really good three-car storage.

“I purchased my 325Ci as a result of the automotive I had beforehand was a headache with many issues, and so I sourced this E46 because it had been properly taken care of with a very good historical past,” explains Josh. “The plan was to construct a automotive to a excessive commonplace that’s nonetheless usable. A plan to change the E46 with air experience for the stance look but additionally run some mods that go well with my driving wants and create good energy! The unique plan has now been achieved, and it seems to be and drives precisely how I needed it to,” he smiles. That Josh had a plan in thoughts from the off comes as no shock if you be taught that he’s owned 60 automobiles previously 10 years, most of which have been modded, and he’s undoubtedly put all that acquired data and experience to good use.

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Supercharged E46 325ci

This E46 may be very a lot the entire bundle, delivering in an enormous method when it comes to each seems to be and efficiency, and it’s a really good-looking 3 Collection certainly. “I simply needed the automotive to look clear with the OEM+ styling, how I really feel the 46 ought to look,” explains Josh about his aesthetic mods. “A lot of the modification work was carried out by Jamie at RPM England. An awesome relationship has been constructed between Jamie and me over the previous two years whereas constructing the 46. I now have extra automobiles which might be usually with Jamie receiving {custom} modifications or upkeep of some type,” he smiles.

The outside mods are refined, however they undoubtedly make a huge impact. Up entrance, the bumper has been enhanced with the addition of a CSL lip that has been moulded in, and it seems to be implausible consequently; it actually fills the entire bumper out and offers this supercharged E46 325ci a lot extra presence. Josh has additionally added black grilles, and, shifting down the edges, you’ll spot the aspect blades and carbon mirror caps. On the rear, in the meantime, there sits an aggressive M4 rear spoiler and a diffuser, each additionally completed in carbon. This mixture of styling mods works so properly collectively and has delivered that OEM+ look that Josh was aiming for. The ending touches, in the meantime, are the carbon roundels and black 318Ci badge he’s added, and that’s the proper solution to bait individuals who suppose this automotive is all present and no go…

Supercharged E46 325ci

With sharp styling, you want some lows and the correct wheels to match, and Josh has picked a wheel and suspension combo that basically delivers. “My plan was all the time to run air-ride, and I selected it for the consolation and flexibility it gives, permitting me to drive it wherever with out clearance issues and air-out when at automotive exhibits giving the low/stance look,” he says. Dropped low, this E46 seems to be implausible, and Josh’s alternative of wheels is the proper accompaniment for the air-ride, and so they play an enormous half in how good this E46 seems to be. “I really like these wheels because the fitment works rather well. Operating Japanese wheels on a German automotive goes towards the grain a little bit. I like that!” he grins, and we’re completely on board with that. The 18” Japan Racing JR12s he’s chosen look nice and go well with the automotive so properly – the combo of gray centres and silver lips is a timeless one, and the deep dish design works fantastically properly on the E46. The fitment is good and aggressive, filling out the arches to perfection when Josh is on the transfer and seeing the lips simply resting on the tyre sidewalls when the 325Ci is dropped at exhibits. It’s positively scrumptious.

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Josh might have stopped there, and he’d have himself a fantastic-looking E46 that he might have been actually pleased with, however at this level, the floor of this construct had solely simply been scratched. Josh needed his 325Ci to look good, however he additionally needed it to come back with a wholesome serving to of energy, and so the following step was to handle that a part of the construct. “I selected the ESS Vortech V3 supercharger package for its energy output and reliability. I used to be toying with the thought of doing a turbo conversion, however I favored the thought of a supercharger setup. I believe it actually fits the engine bay properly and appears prefer it ought to have all the time been there,” grins Josh.

“With the cautious set up from Jamie at RPM England and the prime quality of the elements from ESS, the engine bay is unquestionably part of the automotive I usually have a look at and love,” he says with a smile. “Many individuals prefer to make sure that the bodywork is trying recent and clear (as do I), however I prefer to often have the engine bay detailed to understand what’s underneath the bonnet. The Mishimoto cooling system was an amazing addition to run with the supercharger package to make sure reliability and environment friendly cooling with the added energy,” Josh says. It is a killer setup that’s actually endowed the M54 with some critical muscle, round 300hp in actual fact. To offer his supercharged E46 325ci a correct soundtrack, Josh has had a de-cat carried out and a stainless-steel exhaust system fitted, whereas a solid-mass flywheel conversion and a DC Efficiency clutch package be sure that the transmission is as much as the duty of placing all that energy to the tarmac.

The ultimate a part of the automotive that Josh turned his consideration to was the inside, and it actually doesn’t disappoint. “I needed to go for the clubsport look. I did resolve, although, to retain the rear seats when having the cage put in because it’s probably not the completed factor. I believe it seems to be nice and retains the inside trying clear and tidy. Folks usually touch upon it and marvel why. It’s not just like the seats could be occupied, however that’s not the purpose to me,” he causes, and modding is all the time about doing your personal factor and what’s best for you. In line with the clubsport look, the cage is joined by a pair of Corbeau Membership Sport single-piece bucket seats, accompanied by TRS four-point harnesses. There’s an Alcantara steering wheel with a carbon roundel, and the sprint trim and door armrests have been completed in Alcantara. The ending touches are a custom-mounted Pioneer double-DIN touchscreen head unit, a vent-mounted increase gauge, a set of alloy pedals. Because the shoot, Josh has additionally added a Coolerworx shifter with an RPM England shifter encompass, giving the inside much more of a clubsport really feel.


Supercharged E46 325ci

The truth that this automotive has loved some extra mods since we shot it makes it clear that Josh isn’t about to go away it alone, even after two years of modding. “I’m planning some small tweaks right here and there to supply extra energy and create some extra {custom} elements. There are all the time plans, even once I suppose I’ve completed it,” he laughs, and that’s simply how modding a automotive goes. However it doesn’t matter what different mods Josh has deliberate, nothing will prime that supercharger. “It’s my favorite mod. It reworked the automotive’s driveability and actually modified the persona of this automotive!” he enthuses, and we’re not stunned. With its on-point styling and stance, and the facility to again up these seems to be, this supercharged E46 325ci is the proper modded bundle. It’s no shock that Josh, and the BMW scene, is so eager on the fourth-gen 3 Collection, and this instance is an absolute belter.

Tech Spec: Supercharged E46 325ci

Engine & Transmission:

2.5-litre straight-six M54B25, ESS Vortech V-3 Si supercharger package, Mishimoto cooling system, CCV delete with oil catch can set up, de-cat and chrome steel exhaust system. 5-speed guide gearbox, solid-mass flywheel conversion, DC Efficiency clutch package


Approx. 300hp


9×18” ET20 (entrance) and 10×18” ET24 (rear) Japan Racing JR12 wheels with 205/40 (entrance) and 225/40 (rear) tyres, Air Elevate Efficiency air-ride with V2 administration, EBC brake improve (entrance and rear)


Black grilles, CSL lip moulded to entrance bumper, aspect blades, carbon mirror caps, rear diffuser and M4-style rear spoiler, carbon roundels, black 318Ci badge


Corbeau Membership Sport seats, TRS four-point harnesses, roll-cage, Coolerworx shifter and RPM England shifter encompass (fitted after shoot), Alcantara sprint panels and door armrests, Alcantara steering wheel with carbon roundel, alloy pedals, Pioneer double-DIN head unit, vent-mounted increase gauge