Older model BMWs tend to need more work put into them to get the most out of them. Wear and tear affects all aspects of the car but some are more crucial for performance than others. The bushings are a very important part. The better the bushing, the stiffer the ride will be. High quality bushing will stiffen up the ride and give you better handling.
If you drive hard or like to take your car to the track you can reduce chassis roll through hard cornering by adding an anti-roll bar. If you drive your BMW on both the road and the track, you can get an adjustable setup so you get the performance when you need it. Strut braces are an easy modification that help reduce chassis flex. Front and rear strut braces will ensure the car stays stable at top speeds.
An important part of performance, often overlooked, is the brakes. When you’re adding power and speed you need to make sure you also have adequate stopping power. Luckily, BMWs allow you to swap parts from other BMWs to create a bigger, better setup. If you want serious brakes, many setups are available.
To slow or even end brake fade on track cars, use grooved or drilled discs. They also enable up rated cooling which is also a benefit. These characteristics are key for track cars, but may be too much for a daily driving car as brakes may not reach optimum temperature quickly enough.
Brake pads are very important and should be chosen wisely. The type of pad you choose will depend on how you drive your car. Using a pad designed for track use 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 ones do. This will improve the feel of the brakes in any setup.
Styling is generally the part owners have the most fun with. There are almost endless parts to choose from to create your own unique BMW. The biggest choice you will make during your 3 Series project is what wheels to go for. Bimmex recommends lightweight wheels to maximize performance. This means avoiding replica wheels because they are usually heavier than standard wheels. A common wheel choice is to put 5 Series rims onto a 3 Series. If you choose this setup, be sure to use a spigot ring to reduce center bore size. Otherwise you will endure wheel wobble.