I like playing what if as much as the next guy, and today’s objective is to select different attributes from some of my favorite BMWs over the years, and to combine them all into one hypothetical vehicle—the ultimate parts-bin special, if you will.
Let’s start with a chassis. BMW has delivered nearly endless chassis choices over the years. To this day, my favorite BMW platform to drive has to be my car, the E46. There’s plenty of room in the engine bay for drivetrain combinations. It’s relatively stiff in comparison to older 3er generations, just the right size to feel chuckable—and most important, I’d have it in wagon form, with a twist. In this fantasy world where anything is possible, I’d shorten the wheelbase, lose the rear doors, and create an E46 “shooting brake” of sorts. Yes, I could just have an M coupe, but a one-off E46 shooting brake is just a bit cooler.
Now the fun part, the drivetrain: This is where the real creativity begins, with so many engine choices—S54, N54, S14, M88, and so many others. Since it would fit, the S65 V8 would be my choice. How wild would it be to have a howling, motorsport-derived V8 in my little nonchalant E46 wagon? With all of the naturally-aspirated induction noise paired with that incredible exhaust pitch, you’d never get me out!
Assuming that the gear ratios would work, I’d have the Getrag five-speed out of the M roadster, which was quite easily the most fun I’ve had shifting gears: nice throw, great feel. This dream pairing in a rear-wheel-drive format would make for a pretty incredible vehicle. Let’s pretend the weight distribution and packaging would work out, okay?
I’d pair this incredible drivetrain-and-chassis combination with the renowned Z3 steering rack. For brakes, I have to go with F90 M5 stopping power; these brakes are absolutely massive, and probably overkill for this application, but you’re better off stopped than wrapped around a tree.
As far as the interior is concerned, I love the feel of F80 M3 seats. They’re comfortable, they have great lumbar support, and there are super-cool harness cutouts for extra scene points. I need something that I won’t mind spending quite a lot of time in, and these seats should do the trick nicely. A black leather interior will complement what I have planned for the exterior nicely.
The steering wheel is the driver’s direct connection to any car. For some reason, I have an affinity for the E39 540i M Sport wheel. It’s from a car I grew up with, and I love the classic feel.
And finally, styling: If the shooting brake body style wasn’t enough of a head turner, I’d have to have the car in my absolute favorite BMW color of all time, Dakar Yellow. This is probably another oddball choice, but for some reason I fell in love with this color on the E36 M3—and I’ve promised myself I’ll own one at some point. All of this sitting on Style 32 wheels would be a pretty wild setup.
Now that you’ve heard mine, what’s your dream BMW Parts-Bin Special?—Tucker Beatty
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]