Watching the late Tanabe-san from Power House Amuse hammer his Ericsson M3 through the twisty Tsukuba infield will always remain a fond memory for me. Amuse’s exhaust was a match made in heaven for the E92 M3; I don’t think there was a better-sounding aftermarket system available for the car’s naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 engine.
Thanks to factory turbocharging, things are a little different – and quieter – these days when it comes to BMWs, but that’s opened up a lot of opportunity in the aftermarket as Japanese tuners like Assist from Kyoto attempt to get the most out of the N55 engine.
Their demo car is one that really stood out at the recent Rev Speed Super Battle. Based on the M235i and not the M2, it boasted a rather JDM approach in terms of visual presentation, starting off with the obligatory trunk lid-mounted GT wing, which is a must-have for any car that hits the track in Japan.
What really set it apart, however, were the front and rear fender flares. These aren’t designed by Kei Miura, but are actually part of the M Performance racing package for the single-make race F22 you can buy from BMW. These carbon fiber overfenders even come with four widened inner fender liners, just because factory-supplied stuff is normally rather well designed and developed.
What sealed the deal was the wheel choice: RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s finished off in the same satin bronze we’ve been used to seeing on legendary rims like the TE37 and CE28s. Behind them sit a set of monoblock Endless racing calipers, and the rubber of choice is Yokohama’s stickiest radial, the Advan A052.
Assist even scored a pretty experienced driver to put the car through its paces at the event. After only a couple of laps, Nobuteru Taniguchi posted the car’s fastest time of the day – a 1:00.899.
Hit play above to see how effortlessly the ZF 8-speed auto-equipped M235i laps around the familiar Tsukuba layout.
Other exterior touches include a carbon fiber hood to take a little weight off the front of the car.
There are more carbon accents, including M Performance carbon side skirts and a rear diffuser section, from which the Laptorr exhaust system peeks through with its large tail pipes.
The two-piece rear fender flares have no problem swallowing up the 11-inch-wide rear ZE40s and the 295-section rubber they’re wrapped in.
So as you can see, function has set the theme for pretty much every upgrade to this car, something that certainly can’t be said for all the overfender-clad cars we come across in our travels.
The interior has been stripped of its stock leather and electric seats and fitted with proper Recaro buckets, fixed into position via rails that Assist has developed for a range of BMW models.
Joining the exhaust system is a GruppeM ram air carbon intake, very similar to the one I run on Project Drop Top. The engine has been custom mapped to take into consideration the upgrades as well as the larger intercooler now employed. Seeing as there is little space to fit a conventional tower bar, additional bracing has been fitted around the front struts.
A 1-minute-flat lap is still a big deal at Tsukuba, and I find it impressive how a lightly tuned M235i can achieve these sort of numbers. That said, I would love to see a properly tuned M4 attempt a time at Tsukuba. Maybe Assist can built one as their next demo car…
Dino Dalle Carbonare