Gary Martins’ family has been involved with BMWs for many years, owning both dealerships and workshops in South Africa. Gary has personally being involved with the brand since 2001, and among many things is a BMW Master Technician.
When Gary decided to open his shop, Grease Monkey Motor Garage, in 2016, he worked on anything that came through the doors. His real passion, however, was diesel-powered cars. So while the subject of this story surely doesn’t look like – and definitely doesn’t go like – a coal-rolling 2016 BMW F22 220d M Sport, that’s exactly what it started life as.
After purchasing the coupe stock, it wasn’t long before Gary became bored of its 188hp 2.0L turbo-diesel engine. He started wondering what life would be like if BMW had produced a high-power diesel version of the popular M2…
Gary’s imagination quickly got the better of him, and after coming across an X6 M50d triple-turbo engine as well as OEM front fenders and a front bumper from an M2 for sale, the future of his 220d was written.
The front left M2 fender had some light cosmetic damage, but that was quickly fixed. Gary couldn’t find original pumped M2 rear fenders or a rear bumper though, so those items were all custom made. After everything was fitted and properly gapped, the car received a full respray in matte Daytona Grey.
On top of the OEM and OEM-style bodywork upgrades, BMW Adaptive LED headlights were retrofitted, and FSU Developments custom-made a carbon fiber hood and front lip. In the rear, LED tails and an FSU boot lid and rear wing were also added.
For wheels, Gary’s fitted up a set of Asanti Athena wheels measuring 20×8.5-inch in the front and 20×10-inch in the rear, all wrapped up in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres sized 255/30R20 and 295/25R20 respectively.
While the exterior certainly looks the part, under the hood a function-first approach has been taken. Gary says that a lot of work went into the engine conversion, getting it to physically fit in the first place a real challenge. Because with three turbochargers and everything that goes with them in the mix, the 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel unit isn’t small. The lack of space also necessitated a full custom radiator setup to keep it cool.
Prior to the install, Gary went on a ceramic-coating spree and upgraded the turbos with hybrid units. He also fitted a huge custom intercooler behind the grille, Cool Boost Systems water/methanol injection, and a Nitrous Express (NX) kit. On the exhaust side you’ll find a 86mm straight-pipe stainless steel system that exits through quad Akrapovič tips.
After a custom tune (by Gary himself), a power and torque output of 610hp and 1,070Nm on 3.2bar (47psi) boost pressure was realised. Transferring those numbers to the road – or at least trying to – is an F30 330d automatic gearbox (with custom ECU tune), and an LSD-equipped F30 330d differential.
With more that three times the original power of the 220d, the standard suspension and brakes weren’t going to cut it. To solve this issue, BC Racing coilovers, adjustable stabiliser links, Powerflex bushings, and BMW F10 M5 front brakes plus M2 rear brakes with (Endless race compound pads all around) were fitted.
Likewise, the original 220d interior needed some work. It may look race-themed, but the car actually sees plenty of track day action, hence the half cage and Sabelt seat and harness to keep Gary secured and safe.
The cabin also features a BMW M steering wheel, late-model digital cluster and iDrive system with widescreen monitor, an NX touchscreen display, and AEM boost and GlowShift nitrous pressure gauges.
It may have started as a random idea, but what’s been created is testament to the skills of Gary and Grease Monkey Motor Garage.
One goal was to have the car ready to race at the Knysna Hillclimb in 2020. It was, but of course COVID ruined the opportunity to compete. If it happens this year, I’ll definitely be there to see this oil-burner smoke its tires on the start line, and quite likely the rest of the way up the hill too.