Toward the end of summer, my beloved 323i wagon spent time at Wile Motorsport in Walpole, Massachusetts. While I’ve already explained the massive improvements to my shifter, I didn’t touch on the brake upgrade that Jake and the Wile team also completed.
I’ve had braking issues with this car since I bought it back in late 2017. First my front passenger-side caliper sized, then rear passenger-side, and finally, the driver’s side front and rear, all seized throughout my ownership. I had finally had enough and after sourcing OEM replacements for the first two seizures, I decided to make an upgrade the third time round. After discussing different options with the team at Wile (more like them talking me off the ledge, nearly going for 996 brakes) we decided that for my application, 330i front brakes and rebuilt rears would do the trick.
I have been driving the car on this setup since August, and for those fun weekend drives, the difference has been a welcome change. First, the peace of mind in having an absolutely dialed braking setup is something I haven’t ever had before. Driving confidence is way up, and I feel myself able to push the car a bit harder, knowing that, unless I properly get it wrong, I won’t end up in a hedge. Brake fade is also way down, because with the larger-diameter rotors and beefier caliper setup (paired with some rad stainless lines), I am able to really use the whole pedal for longer. While stopping power is only a small increase, this added endurance alone was worth the upgrade.
Overall, this relatively small, not-sexy upgrade has transformed the way I feel about my wagon: Going into every drive with confidence is such a great feeling! For anyone looking at brake upgrades for their stock E46, and who don’t want to break the bank on the BMW Performance/135i kit or 996 setup, a 330i setup is a worthy choice.—Tucker Beatty
[Photos courtesy Tucker Beatty.]