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      05-16-2021, 12:03 PM   #12
edycol
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Drives: 2011 328i xDrive
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Colorado Springs

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk94 View Post
There's plenty of E9X M3 track cars nowadays. Non-M's, not so much.

N54's aren't great for serious track work, been there and done that with a N54 135i. Too many issues with overheating and it's very difficult to sort out so they make good power but don't overheat if you want to drive a 30 minute session. N52's are great, if you're willing to accept the car will be (relatively) slow, power wise. Upgraded radiator and maybe an oil cooler, depending on your ability level and how hard you drive, and it'll just keep going all day with no overheating issues like the N54's. The N52 cars are also quite a bit lighter then the N54 equivalent (128 vs 135 and 328 vs 335, etc.)

I totally agree though that the E9X/E8X era of cars is an excellent sweet spot. Still a decent sized car, relatively light, hydraulic steering and good, modern suspension geometry.

Why so many M3 but hardly any non-M's? Because up until recently, you could get a E9X M3 for pretty cheap and have a very capable track car with a few simple mods. You'd have to put A LOT of money in a 328 or even a 335 to get it as capable as the M3 with a good set of track tires, pads and a decent alignment. On the M3's, cooling isn't much of a problem. You can run way bigger tires. Stock brakes with race pads and fluid are good enough for 95% of people that will track them, and the list goes on.

Now that prices of the E9x M3's are getting silly, the non-M's start to be a serious consideration. I'd advise going N52 - less headaches, less maintenance and less overall issues to deal with.
I installed 335 oil cooler on my N52. I was running 50 minutes on track at 5,000ft altitude and that sucker won't go over 245f. The brakes are the one that started eventually to fade as I just spent too much time on track. And mind you, I didn't remove cowling and engine cover purposely. I wanted to see how effective OE cooler from 335 is on my N52. Altitude is much harder on engine than high ambient temperature alone.
Also, people should take into consideration that they can bump power on N52 fairly chep.
3-stage intake, euro intake box, ECU flash alone can give 270hp on crank. Headers etc. could bring 260-270whp.
RWD 328 can easily be upgraded with M3 control arms from TRW front and back. Bilstein B6 or B8 depending on springs, powerflex bushings, and one has a serious contender.
I am currently doing upgrades on my suspension, xDrive:
Rear M3 control arms
Rear subframe powerflex bushings
B6 dampers (do not want to lower car).
Appreciate 0