BMW’s E46 3 Series is one of the juggernauts of the modifying world; there’s so many aftermarket parts available for them and therefore so much you can do without even going down the custom road.
When it comes to exterior reworks, arguably the most recognizable is the Pandem wide-body kit by TRA Kyoto. I was well reminded of this when I saw KEAN Suspensions’ E46 M3 at Ultrace 2021.
This was my second time seeing the car in person, the first being during my trip to Belgium a couple of years ago when I visited KEAN’s workshop in Evergem. The only change they’ve seemed to make in the time since is some new tyre graphics.
After years of seeing Rocket Bunny-kitted E46s, I still maintain that what KEAN has created with this car is one of the most rebellious examples. Let’s breakdown my thinking…
Firstly, it’s the wide-body. If you’re familiar with the Pandem kit, you’ll know that it isn’t available in carbon fiber form. Brothers Kenny and Andy Neirinck from KEAN made the carbon parts themselves.
Don’t worry though, this is not some kit rip-off – they actually met with Miura-san at the SEMA Show and asked if it would be alright for them to stamp out custom fenders for their project. There and then they received a blessing from the legend himself.
It’s not only the front fenders that were remade in carbon. Both doors, the bumper, trunk, hood and the air intake replacing the driver’s side headlight are all formed in the lightweight composite material. The car itself was originally black, so in order to really highlight the custom carbon fiber work, everything not carbon was wrapped in the closest vinyl color to BMW Phoenix Yellow.
Secondly, it’s the reworked suspension with KEAN air struts made in-house by the Neirinck brothers. The suspension is fully adjustable for hardness and damping, not to mention the obvious ride height drop.
Thirdly, and this is the aspect I love the most, while there were some obvious choices for wheels, the brothers decided on a set of Vipmodular VL-450s. We rarely see four-spoke wheels being used, so they’re another break from the traditional Rocket Bunny E46 builds we’ve seen.
The wheels, together with Kirkey seats and a bolt-in Wiechers Sport roll cage are all painted in custom candy red. A number of carbon fiber parts continue the style throughout the interior, while a KEAN custom hydraulic handbrake is the finishing touch.
Under the hood, Kenny and Andy saw absolutely no need to mess with the M3’s factory S54B32 straight-six engine. It already delivers in stock form, and performance wasn’t the focus of this project anyway.
With KEAN’s M3 Pandem build, we get an iconic car with an iconic bodykit – made with the expertise of long-time enthusiasts. In my book, they’re the perfect ingredients to make this BMW E46 one of best custom-modified examples anywhere.