So, the Bimmian M3 needles (available here http://www.bimmian.com/M-Style-Red-N...-E90-3-Series)
After getting them in (in a very timely fashion), they looked pretty good. Solid construction, identical size. I'd give the paint finish and needle form a 9/10 (disregarding the ugly gloss black covers).
I knew I wasn't going to run these with the gloss covers so I used the matte ones from my stock needles. Replacing these takes some work. There are 2 pins which stick out of the covers and run through the clear needles and are lightly melted over the needles to keep them in place. Score the melted part with a small blade, then use the same blade to carefully pry the cover from the needle. Do this for both sets of needles. All pins remained intact with the OEM covers, but some pins broke off the bimmian covers and remained inside the needle channels. I used an appropriately sized drill bit to clear the channels, and replaced the bimmian needles onto the pins of the OEM covers. Finally, I used a soldering iron on low heat to lightly melt the top of the pins over the bimmian needles, exactly as they were fixed originally.
With that taken care of, I was happy with how they looked.
Next I installed them to an OEM M3 cluster board (factory white LEDs) and was disappointed. They lit very dimly compared to OEM M3 needles (see my post earlier in the thread). I think this is due to 3 factors. 1) the light absorbing surface area of the bimmian needles is about 1.5x smaller than OEM (you can see it as the difference between the beginning of the needle and mounting pin in the 4th photo) 2) the plastic used in the bimmian needles isn't as refractive and a smaller portion of light is bent into the needle. 3) the red paint isn't as bright as OEM M3 and/or isn't applied to absorb as much light from the needle.
Also, fitment on the larger needles wasn't great. The channel for the motor pins is too big and they're not tight enough. Not a big deal, you can just use a drop of hot glue or something similar before sliding them on; this will lock them in place and should unstick when you go to pull them off again. Smaller needles fit fine.
I don't mean to bash Bimmian, but from the photo in their listing, it looks just as if they took OEM M3 needles and replaced the covers with their glossy covers. A bit misrepresentative imo. Just compare the last 2 photos and draw your own conclusion.
tl;dr: can't recommend these. don't absorb light like OEM needles and are too dim. you'll get better results from coloring stock needles.