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Modification Modification
Car: BMW | 3 Series | E46 | SE | Coupe
Engine: M43TU | 2.0 | Inline 4 | (Valvetronic) | N/A | Petrol

E46 318 Ci Modifications

A classic shape in coupe form.

Exterior

18 MV2 Alloy wheels

18" MV2 Alloy wheels

The MV2 is a classic wheel design and really complements the E46. The car came with 16" wheels and they appeared lost in the cavernous arches. A set of second hand wheels were duly sourced, and they were absolutely as new.

The wheels are shod with Continental SportContact 225/40/18 which is a good all round tyre. The wheels are a direct replacement with the existing 16's and have the same rolling radius.

Facelift SE bumper ready to be fitted

OEM Facelift SE Front bumper

The pre-facelift SE Bumper front bumper is very fussy looking, and really lets the car down. The facelift in 2003 bought a much smoother looking front bumper so it was decided to fit this.

OEM Facelift SE Front bumper

The carrier can be removed from the old bumper skin and swapped on to the new one, it is only secured with plastic clip, once done the bumper is ready to fit. The new bumper looked to use identical fog lights to the existing one, indeed they fit the holes perfectly however it was soon apparent the fittings are completely different.

OEM Facelift SE Front bumper

Rather than spend £100+ on new fog lights, some brackets were fashioned from strips of steel and 'L brackets from a local hardware store. These do the job adequately by fixing to the aluminium bumper carrier and also the rear of the bumper cover.

Interior

OEM Centre armrest

OEM Centre armrest

This is probably one of the most worthwhile interior modifications available, centre arm rests really add to the comfort factor on a long journey. Fitting requires the armrest itself and also an arm rest specific centre console. The arm rest bolts to fittings on the transmission tunnel which are on all models.

OEM Cup holders & coin storage

OEM Cup holders & coin storage

Standard spec is two storage trays in the centre console, Dad wanted cup holders as they also smarten up this area somewhat. Fitting simply involves squeezing together the old tray at the top and withdrawing, snap together the cup holder/coin storage unit and push in.

OEM Front-loading CD

OEM Front-loading CD

The usual configuration in E46's is a Business tape player and CD changer in the boot. This is OK if you don't listen to a lot of music but I find it extremely inconvenient as I tend to swap CD's frequently, even on short journeys.

Fitting the Business CD really is easy, it's simply a case of prying off the passenger and central belt line trims. Once these are removed, the original unit can be withdrawn after its two securing screws are removed.

OEM Walnut wood trim

OEM Walnut wood trim

The coupe comes with a variety of trim options; ranging from a basic painted finish, through aluminium took to various textured finishes.

Wood trim lifts the black interior, but Birch and Myrtle would look garish next to the exterior colour so, Walnut was selected. Fitting is easy, the dash pieces simply pry off, and the door sections require little more than a Phillips screwdriver. The gear knob pulls off and its replacement simply pushes back on. The whole job takes less than an hour.

Completed state

© Mark Stewart, Thursday 15th June 2006
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