Project E46 M3, Part 17: Preferred exhaust, MKC/AEM tune


Check out some wide-open throttle sounds of the M3 on MKC’s dyno.

With how well the M3 seems to be performing, and given its 80-90 lb weight reduction thus far, we’re confident we’ve achieved one of the original goals—to be comparable to the performance of an E90/E92 BMW M3 with the 4.0-liter S65 V8 engine. There’s only one way to find out. Did we reach our goals? Stay tuned for the next part!

In the meantime, let us show you what we did to prepare the car for spring time with parts from First, they’ve got nice Denso wiper blades that are actually a bit nicer than the factory units. Second, we ordered another carbon-activated cabin air filter since noticing a hint of engine smell when using the ventilation system.

Since installing this (which literally takes 1 minute to do, if that) the smell has vanished. Our last unit lasted since 2012.

If you’re read this far then you probably like BMWs. Assuming so, let’s see what else MKC has got going on in its workshop. It looks like this E36 BMW M3 will be getting a few things shoved up its sleeves.

The E36 M3 will be running a Forced Performance 3794R turbo, which MKC modified to accept a turbo-mounted wastegate from Precision Turbo. I so remember the day I was getting my E36 M3 turbocharged (my goodness, that was 16 years ago–time has flown). It was my first turbocharged car. Those were super exciting times indeed!


  1. Dear All
    Just read your exhaust articles on the E46 M3. I’d like to replicate what you did with the VAC / Fabspeed headers, standard cat section then Corsa cat back. I’ve looked on VAC’s website but they only appear to sell Active Autowerke Performance headers ( Can you comment on this please? Do you think I’ll get the same / similar results that you did. I would like the slight improvement in power, no drone, decent quality and fitment, etc. My car is mainly road going with some track days.
    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Kind regards, John

    1. hi John, the droning issue will be taken car of at the mid-section and back/muffler end of the exhaust, especially the back. As long as the AA headers are similar fitment (legnth-wise) with the previous Fabspeed/VAC units, you should be fine, and I would assume make similar power, too. But that’s a question for VAC. Personally I’ve never had any problems with AA products, and I ran a lot of it in my earlier “E36” days. All of their exhaust stuff fit well, too. And if you still decide to go with Fabspeed, may just have to get them direct, is all, if VAC doesn’t carry it anymore. Thanks for reading, and best of luck!

  2. Thanks very much for the response. I have emailed Fabspeed as it looks like they only do left hand drive fitment but mine’s a right hand drive. Will see where this goes. Appreciate your help.
    Regards, John

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