Visiting The BMW Doctor -- aka Checkshop

Acquiring a new car is always an exciting moment, especially if it's something like an M3, but that feeling is multiplied by an order of magnitude when you finally get the opportunity to make that car truly yours.

This is where Otsuka-san from renowned Checkshop comes in.  After our numerous encounters at Tokyo Auto Salon, Track and Show, and most recently Motor Fan Festa, I have asked him if his team were willing to work on my M3 and he agreed!

Before we go any further I would like to extend my gratitude to a buddy of mine who took delivery of some goodies from the US and managed to squeeze four massive tires into his R32 GTR.  Who said Skyline's weren't practical?

So without further ado, we are here, so let's have a look what Otsuka-san has around his shop.

On top of being a specialist in BMW and Porsches tuning, Otsuka-san imports vehicles from US and Europe as well officially distributing JRZ suspension and Pokal and Agio wheels in Japan.    On his free time he races around Fuji Speedway. I don't think I have ever met a man more dedicated to cars than him.

This GT3RS is a culmination of everything that Otsuka-san is doing - it's a European import which is about to get a set of Stoptech brakes and JRZ coils.

Next to my buddy's GTR is a true modern classic - the SLS.  Arguably these cars have a lot more character than the AMG GT...

Then I stumbled across this: The BMW M4 slammed on a set of 18 inch Pokal wheels.  The car also featured a straight pipe exhaust made by engineers at Checkshop.  God, it sounded mean!

But it had nothing on this one:  this BMW M5 featured a full carbon exhaust and it sounded like World War Three!

Sitting next to Lexus RCF on Volk Racing G25 wheels these two cars personify automotive nirvana.

The only 2 cars you ever need: a family car and a daily driver?

the BMW was slammed on a set of Agio wheels with JRZ adjustable coils.  Front and rear splitters, side skirts and rear spoiler are crafted by Kohlenstoff

Speaking of coils, as goodies were coming out of the boxes it was time to get to work on my M3

The Bilstein B12 kit for BMW M3 is not sold in Japan despite delivering excellent bang for the buck, being simple and yet very well balanced.  Not having adjustable option is a negative, but they are pretty much plug and play, configured to match the progressive Eibach Pro Kit springs that are included in the set.

 The car was lifted and the old wheels came off,

revealing the stock components that pretty much make M3 what it is, and ironically what everyone loves to upgrade.

As for wheels, remember my old 335i? Well I was happy to part with the car in favor of the M3, but I developed a special affection towards the TE37TTA wheels and ended up keeping them.  After doing some math I have decided to have a go at fitting them on the M3 with 15mm spacers at all corners.

And... I think it worked perfectly!

Here is the end result!

Bilstein system has lowered the car just enough to delete the factory wheel gap allowing for more aggressive offset wheels to go on without any visual imbalances.

Tires of choice are Continental Extreme Contact DW which are known for their exceptional wet grip and are best in class when it comes to ride comfort and noise.  After all, this is a family car.

Sizes are 255/35/R19 in front and
massive 275/35/R19 in the rear;

both 10mm over stock width, which make the car look even meaner from the rear.  Just look at that track width!

Some may remember wheels sizes of 8.5J and 9.5J front and rear meaning that the fitment ended up quite meaty, which is exactly what I wanted for this car to give a sporty and aggressive look.

For those who noticed, I have also picked up a double slant gloss black grill from Ebay, which combines nicely with similar finish on the wheel spokes.

Overall, I am very happy with how the car came out.  On top of the excellent looks the car became a lot more compliant and smooth.  Absence of road noise made me appreciate the engine sound a lot more and while comfortable the suspension improved corner stability and steering response.  This is exactly how I wanted my ///M to be: sports car at heart and yet comfortable and luxurious when it needs to be!

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