Friday, January 10, 2020

Project M4: Aero

First off, Happy New Year!

I seem to post every few months now when I used to post multiple times a week. I have no good excuses. I apologize for the lack of activity/content.

I have completed a few updates to the M4 since my last post here. I have really enjoyed driving/learning this car and it certainly attracts more attention than the SRT did. I am not quite sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. 

I spent a considerable amount of time researching aero for the M4. Of course, I was leaning towards the Japanese companies because, well, I love Japanese parts. The attention to detail is the biggest draw for me. However, I went a different route when I chose APR Performance for the front and sides. I do not regret that decision. At all. These carbon fiber aero parts are legitimate. Fit and finish is second to none. On top of that, I love the aggressive yet classy look these parts provide. As for the rear diffuser, I went with Kohlenstoff, which, as far as I know, is actually a Japanese aerodynamics company, though it does not sound it. 

Mixing and matching aero parts can be risky. I did not want the front and sides to clash with the rear. I wanted them to complement one and other. In my opinion, the level of aggression is perfect. Not too much, not too little. The ideal amount. On top of that, I confirmed that the carbon fiber weave on these parts matched. I do have a few other plans for the exterior of the M, but the pictures below are of the vehicle in its current form. More changes coming later in 2020...

  • APR Performance Carbon Fiber Front Lip
  • APR Performance Carbon Fiber Side Rocker Extensions
  • Kohlenstoff Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser

Thank you for continuing to follow JDMphasis, though my posts have been few and far between.

The following shots are from a quick photoshoot by Eastside Motoring who installed all of these parts. Big thanks, as always, to my trusted friend Brian. 

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, August 31, 2019


I do not think TE37's will ever be boring to me...

Be Real. Buy Real.

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Project M4: Rolling along...

It has been a couple months since I have posted regarding the progress of the M. Everything is coming together and my next phase of modifications is in the works. Here are a few shots of the car as it sits currently.

[Temporary] Front Lip Splitter installed.

20" Advan GT Premium wrapped in Falken rubber. Note the stud kit and the first set of Burnt Ti Muteki lugs in the US.

When I first bought the car everyone asked me why I chose this color. No one seemed to like it. One friend of mine remarked, "I like everything about it, except the color." Thus, the new tags... UGLYM4, which also happens to be my IG handle: Ugly_M4.

I swapped out the plain carbon fiber license plate frame for a carbon fiber BMW M Performance frame. It is growing on me. Also, notice the bolts and washers. I created my own kit using burnt titanium hardware from Came out nice, if you ask me. A nice complement to the Muteki burnt ti lugs. 

Thank you for following. Stay tuned for more...

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation

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