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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > E90 track car or E46



View Poll Results: Dedicated budget track toy
Rusty e36 3 10.71%
Subframe e46 16 57.14%
Obese e90 9 32.14%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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      11-30-2017, 07:36 PM   #1
bryce86
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E90 track car or E46

I am looking for a cheap and cheerful way of doing winter track days and joining my friends in summer here in the UK.

I have looked at all models 36/46/90, non M's. Here our cars suffer from rust so I have more or less dismissed the e36. They're almost the same price as the newer generations. So that leaves 46 or 90 in 325 or 330.

Price wise the 46's are only 500-1000 cheaper.

I want to keep the spending to a minimum so the mods will consist of two buckets, harnesses, coilovers, bushes, pads and lines, fluid plus sticky tyres.

I will FULLY strip the car to leave only the essentials. Will one be lighter than the other?

I welcome your thoughts and experience.
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      11-30-2017, 10:09 PM   #2
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      12-01-2017, 10:14 AM   #3
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Will you be adding a roll cage to any of these?
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      12-01-2017, 12:26 PM   #4
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330 E46 all the way. Assuming all the trouble areas (which you seem to be aware of) have been addressed the platform is fantastic for the track. All the parts will be cheaper than E90 simply by virtue of it being the older model. Stateside there is a spec E46 class that is gaining a decent following and vendors are starting to line up to offer the spec parts at very competitive pricing. You'll still have shipping to worry about, but I think the vendor support for that series is only going to increase as the large number of spec E30 cars simply get too old and beat up to keep racing and people start to transition to spec E46.

Guys are getting track-prepped E46s at and under 2800 lbs all day long without having to get crazy with carbon fiber hoods, roofs, trunks, etc. Good luck doing that with an E90.

No-brainer if you ask me.
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      12-01-2017, 06:37 PM   #5
bryce86
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I won't be adding a cage as it's a low budget thing. .

Does anyone know the stripped weight of an e90 as a comparison to the 2800 e46.

Two reasons that the e90 appeal more are because I intend on racing a 325 in the RCN (grass roots racing at Nurburgring) next year, as well as already having an e92 M3 that is an all out track car. The e92 lives in Germany so not useable here in UK but the 90 would give me additional practice in the same cabin and similar chassis.

Last edited by bryce86; 12-01-2017 at 06:46 PM.
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      12-23-2017, 09:57 AM   #6
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I vote for the obese E90. I turned mine into a track car and I am loving it. Granted, mine is 335i with tons of mods.
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      12-26-2017, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryce86 View Post
I am looking for a cheap and cheerful way of doing winter track days and joining my friends in summer here in the UK.

I have looked at all models 36/46/90, non M's. Here our cars suffer from rust so I have more or less dismissed the e36. They're almost the same price as the newer generations. So that leaves 46 or 90 in 325 or 330.

Price wise the 46's are only 500-1000 cheaper.

I want to keep the spending to a minimum so the mods will consist of two buckets, harnesses, coilovers, bushes, pads and lines, fluid plus sticky tyres.

I will FULLY strip the car to leave only the essentials. Will one be lighter than the other?

I welcome your thoughts and experience.
Didn't you have a E46 before? I swore I remember you from E46fantatics...
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      12-26-2017, 01:54 PM   #8
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I'm in a similar predicament. I track my e90 335i now and I love it but the consumables and random sensors that i've had throw a code after track days scare me away from keeping it in track duty. I've been leaning towards an e46 330i for the cost, chassis improvements over the e36 and the spec e46 support that was mentioned above. I've driven my dads e46 330i and the steering feels a lot more connected than I get in the e90. It's a lot slower but at my skill level I don't need the power that my 335i makes. So if it were my money i'd buy an e46.
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      01-05-2018, 11:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patsbimmer1 View Post
I've driven my dads e46 330i and the steering feels a lot more connected than I get in the e90.
Have you thought about swapping in an M3 steering rack? It has a 12:1 ratio as opposed to the 16:1 and from feedback from guys who've done it they say it transforms the car. I'm going to do it myself within the next few weeks.
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      01-11-2018, 06:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
Have you thought about swapping in an M3 steering rack? It has a 12:1 ratio as opposed to the 16:1 and from feedback from guys who've done it they say it transforms the car. I'm going to do it myself within the next few weeks.
You know, to be honest this never even crossed my mind. That's a good idea! I looked and the cost is about $800 for a new one.
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      01-12-2018, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmithvmi View Post
Have you thought about swapping in an M3 steering rack? It has a 12:1 ratio as opposed to the 16:1 and from feedback from guys who've done it they say it transforms the car. I'm going to do it myself within the next few weeks.
I have one swapped. This is probably why SO MANY people complain about the E8x and E9x. Almost every other popular enthusiast car has a much quicker ratio. Hop into a brz with a 13:1 ratio and it feels like a racecar in terms of "responsiveness." In reality, all you're feeling is the 23.5% quicker steering ratio...

I wish we could do even better than 12.5:1, but that alone is an amazing difference!

FYI, a used rack cost me $350. Ebay sells them even cheaper sometimes.
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      01-12-2018, 05:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnks2 View Post
I have one swapped. This is probably why SO MANY people complain about the E8x and E9x. Almost every other popular enthusiast car has a much quicker ratio. Hop into a brz with a 13:1 ratio and it feels like a racecar in terms of "responsiveness." In reality, all you're feeling is the 23.5% quicker steering ratio...

I wish we could do even better than 12.5:1, but that alone is an amazing difference!

FYI, a used rack cost me $350. Ebay sells them even cheaper sometimes.
What did you do with the electrical connection to the rack? Set it up for some voltage as assist or left it disconnected?
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      01-12-2018, 06:08 PM   #13
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if it is non-M, I would just stick with e90 n54 or n52 with some header/dp and a mild tune, then just spend the rest of budget on chassis mods.

e46's is light and raw, but that ancient semi-trail arm rear suspension and a weak/problematic chassis is not something you probably want.
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      01-12-2018, 06:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justpete View Post
What did you do with the electrical connection to the rack? Set it up for some voltage as assist or left it disconnected?
Left it disconnected. Steering really is not that much heavier.
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      01-12-2018, 06:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnks2 View Post
Left it disconnected. Steering really is not that much heavier.
Thanks, will get this done while it's in the shop.
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