Got this one new in 2012 with M Sport Package. Even with that, the E92 is a bit lacking when it comes to stock looks. So, as it turns out, I ended up spending much more time and money on mods than I'd originally thought I would. Sure that sounds familiar.
With that said, here we go...
... Back in 2012: Stock
Definitely never buy a BMW without at least the M Sport package. If you care at all about non-stock looks (or looks in general), you will probably regret it otherwise.
... 2013/1: Interior Trim, Console, Arm Rest, Visors
The first things that had to go were some of the interior bits and pieces. Unless you like a bright gray color on your trim, you're stuck with pretty uneventful, shiny plastic wood grain that scratches easily.
After checking out a few M3s and our European configurations, I decided to get
... 2013/2: Grille, Reflectors, Mirrors, Wheels, Model Badge
- Original M3 carbon leather interior trim (Tischer); luckily, all of the dash, door, and rear side parts fit the 328i E92 just like they do the M3, and it's an easy install.
- Custom front and rear center console leatherette trim; an M3 front center console won't fit a 328i, so if you're like me and want something similar, you'll have to go custom (or buy an M3; whichever is cheaper) - it's also a nice contrast compared to having all of the interior trim plastered with carbon leather or carbon fiber textures. This was a custom job done by a (former) fellow forum member; all he needs is the original console parts, and you get them back wrapped.
- Euro split armrest (ECS Tuning) - not really any more functional than the regular armrest, unless your arms are really short, but it does look a lot more interesting.
- Euro sun visors (ECS Tuning) - one of the things I notice about the US is that manufacturers are much more sticker-happy, so getting rid of the safety notes helps make the interior look a little more balanced.
Lots of busy colors on the car even with the M Sport package - chrome in the front and back, orange on the sides - and the stock wheels don't exactly say "sport" either. So it was time for
... 2013/3: Spacers
- Custom 335is-style kidney grille (Mod Bargains) - the all-black Performance Grille looks just as "interesting" as the OEM chrome one; but the 335is strikes just the right balance between the two, and mixing the OEM with the Performance grille is a 10-minute job including install. Assuming I only get 50% of the potential performance out of this grille now, but I'll post a dyno for this mod when I get around to it.
- Painted side reflectors (Mod Bargains) - it just looks much nicer without any orange on the front fenders, and is definitely cheaper than a full Euro-style front bumper.
- Retrofitted auto-folding, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and auto-dimming interior mirror with compass (Peter Pan BMW) - this was just something I should have gotten when I first bought the car.
- 19" OEM 313 Performance Wheels w/Continental DWS tires (225/265) - Stock wheels? No can do. Also, these tires run much smoother than the factory run flats did.
- Lost the front plate to please the meter maids - who really wants a white rectangle on their front bumper?
- Trunk model badge delete; looks much cleaner and is more like what we prefer from the factory back in Germany.
There's not really much room to lower a BMW here in the city, unless you don't mind frequent scraping noises. But at least setting the wheels out a little doesn't hurt. 1.2cm isn't much, but it does surprisingly look a little better than stock:
... 2014: Clear Bra
- 12mm H&R spacers all around (Edge Motorworks)
Nothing to see really (which I guess is good in this case)... Got a full front clear bra
- entire hood, fenders, front bumper, side mirrors (Omega Werks). Much better than just the partial quarter-hood bra, because you don't see any edges.
Vincent at Omega Werks is also very diligent with his work, and detailers have commented on the fact that you can't see it at all. (Which is also why you'll probably want to tell your detailer that there is something there, unless you like the hazy, frozen look after your detail.)
Your car will thank you when you drive down the 1 to LA and avoid a few rock chips while you’re at it. Actually your car probably won't care, but if you're OCD about it, you probably will.
... 2015: AA Tune, Performance Exhaust, Performance Intake, (is) Sport Diffuser, Painted Calipers
If only there were as many tuning options for the 328 as there are for the 335... But a few things will make the 28 feel like new:
- Active Autowerke tune - This one took a while (and lots of forum reading) to decide on, but along with the sound of the PE, this is something BMW should have given the 328 from the factory; obviously you can’t expect miracles here, but the car pulls much better all across the rpm range, and shows less lag; staying in DS mode also helps. Definitely worth it.
- BMW OEM Performance Exhaust (Tischer) - as with the AA tune, I wasn't sure at first if this would be worth it, but turns out this is easily one of the best mods you can add to your 328; sounding better than a stock 335, but still sophisticated enough to not be ridiculous. You also find yourself rolling down the windows just to hear a bit more of it - I ultimately decided against custom tips, to keep the exhaust OEM, and because the PE chrome tips aren't half bad after all.
- BMW OEM Performance Intake (Tischer) - Easily one of the most overpriced mods for what you get in return, this is still a nice addition, especially when it comes to sound from the engine bay (just a little deeper) and not voiding your warranty. Plus, if you ever pop the hood, you'll at least have a nice carbon fiber piece staring back at you. And nothing says Performance like... well... a logo that says "Performance".
- BMW OEM Rear Sport Diffuser (Tischer) - I decided to go with a BMW OEM Sport diffuser - essentially a 335is-style diffuser for the 328i, different from the M Sport one the car came with. It came primed and just needed painting, and I actually like this OEM look better than a piece of carbon fiber on the car.
- With the parking brake diameter on the 328, OEM brake options for the rear axle are unfortunately limited; so instead of going for a front-only OEM PBK, 135i brakes, or a more expensive front-and-back BBK, I decided to go with painted calipers and brackets in a neutral silver/gray, to take care of the rust situation without drawing attention to the stock brakes; once they’re due, a nicer set of rotors will be next.