If there’s one thing Daniel Karankevich has in almost overwhelming abundance, it’s a passion for building cars – specifically those wearing BMW badges.
Dan’s BMW addiction began at age 16, when he drove a friend’s ’94 E36 320i. To this day he remembers its smooth engine and the sense of control behind the wheel, attributes lacking in the Mazda 626 he was passed down from his grandfather as a first car.
Ten years on from that first taste of BMW, Dan now works as an automation engineer, collects die-cast cars, and runs a community of like-minded car enthusiasts called URXDS. For his daily commute in Estonia he drives an OEM+ E39 525i, but it’s the other BMW in Dan’s garage that we’re looking at today.
Dan’s first E46 was a 318i model that he lowered on coilovers and made some small interior modifications to. But after the car was involved in a crash and damaged beyond repair, he had no choice but to go looking for another. What Dan found on a local classified ad website was a 1999 BMW 328Ci Coupe.
From the outset, Dan wanted to build his E46 up with a stance vision. A set of generic coilovers were fitted first, but poor handling at the desired ride height (read: low) required a few modifications to be made, including fitter some much stiffer springs. The welder was also busted out to make some necessary alterations to the chassis.
It was all in the name of fitment, which in Dan’s case revolves around a set of Work Meister S1 three-piece wheels – 18×10-inch up front and 18×10.5-inch out back.
There’s a practical gap between the widened arches and wheel lips so the static car is actually usable.
Elsewhere outside, the front bumper is an M item that’s had its foglight openings deleted, and the entire body has been resprayed in Grauschwarz, a Porsche GT3 RS color. A few days before I met up with Dan to shoot his car the hood badge was stolen, but I think it just adds to the punk image of this E46.
That large intercooler up front gives away the fact that forced induction is in the mix, but otherwise it’s a rather stealth setup with the turbo almost sitting under the 328Ci’s factory-fitted M52TUB28 engine. Combined with an upgraded fuel system and a custom exhaust, the turbo 2.8L setup is reputedly good for 450hp.
The interior is full of custom touches, from the billet shifter, to a hilarious number of air fresheners, to stickers, to the one-off horn button on a QSP sports wheel. Interestingly though, all the details still complement the Alcantara trim.
Shooting next to a modern art gallery, Dan’s E46 attracted a lot of positive comment – and rightly so. It’s hard to classify the build as a sleeper, but I don’t think anyone would be expecting it to pack the punch that it does. Maybe stance and performance can go hand in hand after all.