Sunday, June 23, 2019

Project M4: Highs and Lows

A couple weeks ago I loaded my fresh Mag Blue Volk Racing ZE40's in the M and began my trip to Eastside Motoring in Waltham, MA. As the loyal followers of JDMphasis may know, my buddy Brian has worked on all of my cars for the past 10+ years. I trust Brian with the care of the cars, but I also trust his knowledge and I respect his opinions. On top of that, I know he will never take advantage of me when it comes to pricing. He will give me the best price he possibly can and when he cannot match a price, he is upfront and honest about it. I have followed Brian around from shop to shop over the years. He started working at Eastside about 6 months ago. Thus, I made my first trip over there with the M.



I arrived and received the grand tour. I saw everything from BMW's and Mercedes to Porsches, Lotuses, a Rolls, a McLaren, etc. They work on everything. 

My exhaust system had arrived that day, so opening up those boxes was, of course, on the top of my list of things to do.





Remus cat-back with 102MM tips. I was stoked to get this system installed. It works with the OEM valve control and I opted for the 102MM tips (carbon fiber) because I believe the OEM tips are just a bit too small. I feel like these tips fill up the rear bumper cut-outs perfectly.


Tips are fire. (Yes, that is the plate from the SRT. It will be gone soon.)

Brian and I then went over everything that we had planned for the car. The car was set to get the new springs installed. I opted for Swift Sport Spec-R springs because of their stellar reputation, as well as my positive experience with them. I have used them on one of my Z's as well as on the SRT. I have had no complaints. Of course, the wheels and tires were on the list, too, as well as an alignment. Installing the IND painted rear reflector set and tinting the rear taillights were two smaller yet quite noticeable modifications on our list, as well.



I think the taillights came out nice. If they were any darker, I would not like them. I think the completely blacked-out look is a little tacky and makes the project look cheap. I might have preferred them just a bit lighter, but I cannot complain. They look good. You can see the exhaust tips in this shot, as well. I love them.

The stance. The stance is perfect. The car is not slammed, but it is clearly lower than stock. Aggressive, but not ridiculous and undriveable. (The photo below was taken the day the springs were installed. I believe they have settled just a bit more than shown here.)


Of course, the wheels were the biggest part of this phase of modification. I was really excited to see these wheels mounted on this car. Ultimately I decided on this set of 19" Volk Racing ZE40's, in part, because they actually had them in stock in my preferred fitment specifications.


Unfortunately, upon test-fitting the wheels, it was discovered that these wheels would not clear the monstrous carbon ceramic brakes. Apparently there was a misunderstanding when I inquired about these wheels and it was confirmed that I would not have any clearance issues. Needless to say, I was not happy. I reached back out to Vivid and explained the situation. They were able to track down a set of 20" Advan GT rollers for me in the Titanium Blue finish that I had initially inquired about. They are in Japan, but I was told I could get them within 2 weeks (as opposed to the standard 6-8 weeks).


The GT is actually the wheel I had inquired about initially, but, when I was told it would take a few months to get them from Japan, I decided to go with the Volk Racing ZE40's.Perhaps the fitment mishap is a blessing in disguise? The GT's should be arriving this week. I cannot wait...

When the new rollers arrive, I will make a decision on tires and get the M back over to Eastside to get them mounted. Pictures will follow. Stay tuned...



JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Project M4: Finally Registered!

It has taken me a couple weeks, but the M4 is finally legal to drive! I had a few issues with the Registry of Motor Vehicles in getting the vehicle registered because I had every piece of paperwork from the sale of the Jeep and the purchase of the BMW except the Bill of Sale. Because I purchased the vehicle out-of-state, I had not paid sales tax in my home state. Thus, I had to make multiple trips to the Registry to get everything squared away Now, Uncle Sam has been paid and the M4 is on the road...

Headaches out of the way, I took the car out for the first time today. I could not have picked a worse time to go for a ride, however, as it was during rush hour traffic. I did not care. I just wanted to take it out. 

First impressions - Plain and simple, I have to learn the car. Without even putting the car in gear, the technology, at first brush, can be overwhelming. There are a lot of settings and options and personalizations with which I need to become comfortable. Once I gain some confidence and learn what every light and button means, I will feel more at home behind the wheel.



Some of these buttons, knobs, settings, and personalizations will be relatively easy to figure out. It is just a matter of spending some time in the car, even just sitting in park and playing with everything. Others, however, will take some more time and effort.

Having the car sitting for a couple weeks without being able to legally drive it, my only desire today was to take it for a spin. I was not too concerned with the technology and 'becoming one' with my new project. I just wanted to drive it. So, I did. I drove about 50 miles on both backroads and highway. I did play around a little bit with the sport settings for steering, suspension, and throttle, but other than that, I just drove. I did not mess with the DCT (dual clutch) or paddles, but I promise I will.

With limited drive time under my belt and less-than-ideal driving conditions (time of day), I do not feel as though I can comment too thoroughly on the driving characteristics of the car, but I can say that I enjoyed the few times that I was able to accelerate. The handling feels tight and stable, though I am transitioning from a 5,100-pound SUV, so a Lincoln Towncar might feel taut to me right now. The braking is fantastic. Granted, I was not doing any 100 to 0 runs, but I did definitely underestimate the distance when coming to a stop at a few red lights, akin to gliding on ice then hitting a patch of rubber. (Again, I am coming from a 5,100-pound SUV.) 

One further opinion I have is that the exhaust note needs to be meaner. Perhaps this opinion is due to my own personal preferences and experiences, but, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the windows down, I want to hear the car bit when I hit the gas pedal. I did not get to "open it up" at all, but when I do, I want the car to growl. This "concern" will be addressed in due time...

I look forward to learning this car. And I look forward to driving this car. I also look forward to sharing more...

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Project M4: Small Bits

Last week I received a couple small pieces from IND Distribution. Nothing crazy, but still pretty stoked. I am sure this will not be my last purchase from these guys. 

BMW M Performance Alcantara Key Case. (Because who doesn't need a really cool key case for their M key?


IND Painted Rear Reflector Set

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Will never get old...

Top Secret R34


JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Monday, April 15, 2019

Project M4: Wheels

BMW offers some nice-looking wheels for the M cars. The set of wheels on the M4 I purchased is not one of those sets. Not that I would not be swapping out OEM wheels for aftermarket wheels regardless of what came on it from the factory, but I knew, as soon as I saw this car, that footwork would be priority #1 with this project.

I looked around quite a bit before deciding on wheels. I did not have one wheel that had that "Have to have!" feel for me in regards to this project. I was open to multiple different possibilities. Advan, BBS, Volk, Enkei, SSR, and WORK were all wheels that I looked into before making my decision. I reached out to multiple sources for wheels and I was told many of the styles in my specs are out of stock in the US and the wait would be anywhere between 3 to 6 months. Yuck.

Then I reached out to a source from whom I have never purchased anything: Vivid Racing. The customer service was great. I had a response to my email inquiry within minutes. My questions were answered promptly and I was sent pictures upon request. Not only that, they had two sets of wheels IN STOCK with M4 fitment in the exact specifications for which I was looking!

I decided on a set of 19" Volk ZE40 wheels in Magnesium Blue. Mag Blue has been one of my favorite finishes from the time I first saw it probably 15 years ago. (I owned a set of Mag Blue CE28's years ago, but I ended up selling them before I ever had them mounted.) I am really looking forward to seeing how these wheels look against the Austin Yellow of the M4. Enjoy the pictures.







Oh, and I received these pictures from the dealership yesterday. The car is currently en route! 



JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation