The BMW 3 series became a success with the E30 in 1982, even though the series launched in 1975. The E30 was a popular model but the E30 M3 really put the 3 series on the map. The M3 was produced as “a race car for the road” and became a hit with car enthusiasts. Since then, three more successful generations have followed.
Older BMWs need more work today to get the most out of them. This is because the parts have more wear and tear from use. The bushings in particular suffer greatly as they get older. The better the bushings, the stiffer the ride; this means better overall handling.
Another simple way to get better handling is with an anti-roll bar. These bars reduce chassis roll, which makes hard cornering much smoother. If you use your car both on the road and the track you can choose an adjustable setup so your car is suited for both. Front and rear strut braces will also help reduce chassis flex. These are a great way to keep you vehicle stable at high speed.
BMW suspensions are very good right off the assembly line but any setup can be improved. Adjustable coil covers are a good first step when starting an upgrade. When doing that, it is recommended that you install adjustable top mounts as well. The lower your suspension, the better, unless you’re concerned about ride comfort in everyday settings. If so, a set of lowering springs is a better idea because the ride won’t be as stiff.
With all this talk about handling, we also need to discuss stopping. Brakes are important no matter what you use your car for. What’s nice about BMWs is that they allow you to swap parts from other BMWs to create better setups. You have to make sure the right servo and master cylinder are used, though, otherwise your brakes won’t work at all.
To stop brake fade, grooved and drilled discs are recommended. They also allow for up-rated cooling. If you use your car only for regular driving, this brake type is not ideal for you because they need to reach optimum temperature to work effectively and this will take a longer when not on the track.
You should choose your brake pads based on how you drive your car. Using a pad designed for the track may not be best for road use and visa-versa. A simple but effective way to improve braking is to install a set of stainless steel brake lines. These reduce any flex in the lines and don’t corrode like OEM pads. This will improve the feel of the brakes in any setup.