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2012 BMW E92 M3 Competition DCT in Space Gray

V8 Powered, DCT Transmission, 8600 RPM Redline

2012 BMW E92 M3 Competition DCT in Space Gray

On Valentines day in 2017, my wife and I went out to a nice lunch in Walnut Creek, CA. While we were eating lunch, I told her that I saw a 2012 BMW M3 for sale at a local dealership that I really liked, and was curious if she was interested in taking a look. Surprisingly, she said sure, and I quickly stuffed my face and header over to the dealer.

When I was looking at E92 M3’s, one thing stood out to me – I was drawn to the Space Gray ones. I somehow always end up with Silver or Gray cars, and the E92 M3 to me, looked handsome in Space Gray. It looked like a gentleman’s race car. I absolutely love the E92 M3 in other colors as well, but when I saw this particular one in Space Gray and Competition Package, I just fell in love.

As soon as I parked the car, I saw it. A beautiful 2012 BMW M3 in Space Gray, with Competition Package 19″ wheels, sitting at the front of the lot, looking like it wanted to come home with me. The owner of the dealership waddled out and asked if I had any questions, to which I replied, “Can I take it for a test drive?”.

As soon as the 4.0L V8 fired up, and we took it out of the lot, I knew this car was coming home with me. The car only had about 40,000 miles and was a 1 owner car. The previous owner was a Real Estate Agent in the San Francisco Bay Area and did a lot of traveling up and down I5 in California from the Bay Area to Los Angeles so I knew it had mainly freeway miles. The car had no indication of any modifications, and no indication it was ever tracked. I knew it was going to be mine.

Sittin’ pretty with 18″ Titan wheels, StopTech Trophy and Ohlins R/T Coilovers

As soon as I got the car home, I decided not to modify it for a while. I wanted to enjoy the car as is to get a good feel for the car before I start to change anything. However, that didn’t last TOO long as I went ahead and ordered BC Racing ER Type Coilovers with Swift Springs and custom valving. The guys at BC Racing were helpful and set me up with the kit that really transformed the car and gave me the lowered ride I was looking for. I immediately took the car to Thunderhill Raceway past Sacramento and really had a fun time. The car was way more capable than I was, but that is what made it fun – the car felt like it belonged on the track and I knew I would have a great time learning it’s limits, as well as my own.

Once I got the hang of the car I started to modify it more. My first exhaust was a Megan Racing Supremo axleback muffler section which was only around $550. It was one of the cheapest, yet best quality of the lower end exhausts, so I wanted to give it a shot. The exhaust made my car sound deeper and more like an American V8. I did like the sound, but the drone on the freeway was a bit too much for me, so I ultimately sold that exhaust and bought a different system. I ended up with an ESS X-Pipe with 200 Cell High Flow Cats and a Corsa axle back. The guy I bought it from had the tips cut off and new tips welded on so it had a better look and then he had the mufflers painted black (tips were still polished). It was subtle and nice, and the exhaust simply sounded amazing. I received many compliments on that exhaust. I ultimately sold it (long story!), and have been wanting to get that same setup since.

My friend ended up selling his E92 M3, and I bought his Ohlins R/T Coilovers. He threw in a free Magnaflow exhaust. I’ll get into the Ohlins a bit later, but the Magnaflow an exhaust that I knew I had to get rid of the second I put it on. The drone was really bad, and it was incredibly loud – but in a bad way. Maybe the Magnaflow is good for other cars, primarily American V8’s, but it just doesn’t work with the S65 V8.

Magnaflow Exhaust – Just say no

I currently have the factory X-Pipe with a BMW M Performance Version 1 exhaust. The guy I bought it from had the Inconel welded as it cracked (like many do), and I got a good deal on it. I do like how it sounds, and it has almost no drone, while giving the car a nice sound.

My BMW M Performance Exhaust

I love how the exhaust tips looks on this exhaust, and being OEM, the fit and finish was excellent. It’s also extremely light, being that it’s made from Inconel. The mufflers on this exhaust are really big, and they don’t look the best from the back. That’s the only downside to this exhaust. I might end up painting the mufflers black – or maybe it’s time to just try a different exhaust 🙂

Back to the suspension. I had my new-to-me Ohlins R/T Coilovers installed and the car felt softer than with the BC Racing ER Type Coilovers. Understandably so though, as the Ohlins is known for having softer springs. The ride quality is great, and the car seems to handle as well, so these are a winner. They also have Vorshlag camber plates. I had the car aligned, camber and toe adjusted, and the car has been great since.

Isn’t it just so pretty?

I then went for a big brake upgrade and decided on the StopTech Trophy kit. I did the ST60 (6 Piston) front and ST40 (4 Piston) Rear. I loved the color and thought it was a great match to my Space Gray paint as well as look nice behind my black wheels. The wheels are Titan T-S5 Forged in a 18×10.5 +25 Front and Rear. The tires are 275/35/18 Federal 595 RS-RR. I ended up getting BMW Center caps from an F87 BMW M2 which turned out to be a perfect fit.

As for the tires, I got them because they had some hype around them at the time, but the fact is – they’re LOUD. Cheap, loud and grippy. I like the tread pattern on them, but I wouldn’t buy these again. If they come out with a new version that is quieter, I would go for it, but for a 200 TW tire, they are a great price. I bought all 4 Federal tires for under $600.

GTS Front Splitter Lip

Power wise, the car is pretty much stock. I used to have an ESS Tune which bumped power a bit as well as brought the redline up to 8600. The car pulled smooth and hard all the way up to the high redline. I also bought the ESS DCT tune which helped the transmission click off really fast shifts. I still have the tune, really like it. I do believe it’s a copy of the OEM BMW GTS DCT tune though.

In the picture above, you can see the GTS replica half cage poking through. I have a GoPro camera mount as well and use it to capture track footage. You can also see my Fall Line Tow Strap with iND painted cover.

I added black gloss front kidney grills and black side grills with a new M3 logo. The back also has a blacked out iND M3 badge.

My car currently sits at around 64,000 miles and has stock rod bearings. I will get them upgraded soon, likely to BE Bearings. I had an o-ring leak on top of my DCT, which was fixed under warranty. One of my throttle actuators went out and I had to have it replaced, but other than the throttle actuator and the DCT o-ring, the car has been rock solid.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my E92 M3 posts and posts of my E46 M3 and other cars as well!

If you have any questions on my Space Gray E92 M3, please ask below. Thanks for reading!

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