Project E46 M3: Part 13 – Lightweight clutch and flywheel, and more!
Lighter is almost always better!
Our E46 M3 is really coming along. It handles and slows down incredibly well, thanks to our UUC swaybars and Wilwood/UUC big brake combo that influence our sticky BF Goodrich Rival tires. Our naturally aspirated 3.2-liter inline-six cylinder engine also has plenty of grunt, thanks to basic performance upgrades like a full exhaust using Fabspeed/VAC Motorsport headers, a Castro Motorsports CSL-style air box, and total engine management controlled with an MKC-tuned AEM Infinity. Okay, so maybe the latter EMS isn’t so “basic”.
Still, try and find us an engine this size that’s generating over 320 wheel horsepower without the addition of a turbo or supercharger, let alone major engine work (this car’s valve cover has only been off once for its factory-suggested valve adjustment). And while the S54 engine breathes well with its renowned, high-flowing and high-revving cylinder head, even the torque—which is what is really limited by engine displacement in naturally-aspirated engines—is also very impressive.
The E46 M3’s peak 260-plus lb-ft of torque to the wheels rivals that of several newer and larger-engine high performance cars, including the 4.0-liter BMW M3 and non-GT3 RS 3.8-liter 997s and Cayman Porsches. In fact, if you need to compare it to something of this car’s age, we would have to go to a 3.6-liter Ferrari 360 Modena, which puts out only about 10 more wheel horsepower but over 10 lb-ft less torque, even with its 340 cc larger displacement (I know it's not the 430 or 458 but hey, it's still a Ferrari of the same year).
So now we’re at a point that getting a lot more out of the car is going to require either getting into the engine or going forced induction. While those are still future possibilities, in the meantime there are a few things we can do to enhance performance and the overall driving experience, mainly in the name of lighter weight.