We would normally be pretty reluctant to highlight a company that so audaciously self-proclaims themselves the “freaks” of anything. Unless it is getting your “freak on.” We tend to cover that subject pretty extensively. Nevertheless, sometimes a product comes along that makes even the most skeptical among us bow our heads in solemn recognition of its greatness. Such is the very reliable, very potent, E46 M3 turbo kit from Horsepowerfreaks.
Oregon-based Horsepowerfreaks have become a success virtually overnight primarily because the application of these performance components keeps a central idea firmly within grasp; daily drivability. Without that, what’s the point? As a foundation for the kit is the venerable BMW E46 M3 that was produced from 2000-06 with a 3.2 L S54 M-tuned engine that produces 343 horses. BMW had never made a more powerful naturally aspirated engine up to that point. Matched to this powerplant was a standard 6-speed GETRAG transmission, with an option for a SMG drivelogic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. With the manual, acceleration to 62 mph was achieved in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 185 mph. Slightly slower with the SMG transmission. So in other words, a pretty decent place to start.
Although the kits come in five different progressively more extreme varieties (Stage 1, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4), even the lowliest of the bunch increases power significantly. Stage 1 produces at least 518 horses and Stage 4 a whopping 807 with 91 octane gas. Of course, with higher octane gas and some plumbing changes to go with it, those numbers can be increased to an insane 1120 hp.
To compensate for these increases, especially pushing towards the top end of that horsepower spectrum, other changes to the suspension, brakes and body are recommended to keep the M3 planted on the pavement, but otherwise each turbo kit is entirely bolt on with no cutting, wiring, welding or tuning required.
Of course, having an M3 with twice or three times the amount of power as stock is going to cost you. In fact, depending on which application, as much as another car altogether. Prices for Stage 1 kits start at $13,500 and climb dramatically to Valhalla-heights for the Stage 4 that commands almost 40-grand. Such is the price of greatness.