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Sooo I've spent a lot of time reading about how to squeeze power out of the M54. The winning combo seems to be an M50 intake manifold with port matching, catless headers, and cams. But you're still not looking at that much power. Sub 300. That being said, how much power do you really need? I have no problem keeping pace on a mountain road in my even slower 325, it lacks a little on the track but you're already ~35hp up from where I'm at. The chassis is the shining point for this car, and the M54 is actually quite reliable, and does sound quite nice IMO.

What I would do is whatever suspension mods you already have plans for, a limited slip diff (I'm very happy with my diffsonline unit), a ZHP steering rack (the yellow tag 712 rack. one of my favorite things I've done to my car, if not my favorite), and then the basic motor bolt ons listed above. Also maybe a BBK for the front, I've read that 330 rears are generally adequate for track use but you'd likely want a little more stopping power. At least it's not the pathetic discs I have on my 325.
 

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No. Just no. That particular instance is only mildly acceptable because its a 318 and the motor in that thing was anemic. Otherwise, just why. That is a case where the LS was a good option, not a VQ.
Idk, I don't view the non M E46 as a sacred chassis. I do quite like the M54 and my 5 year plan is to get a 3.0 and do the mods I suggested to the OP. But I like to see creative swaps like this. I do think these cars need 6 cylinders at least, an SR20 would be a little weird imo, but a VQ is fine. Plus they seemed to be from New Zealand where I don't imagine there's too many LSs laying around
 

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Look, to each their own, and the NZ thing makes a little more sense. I hadn't realized that. My commentary has nothing to do with the sacredness of the car, just why go through the effort for a VQ. It's a fine engine, but its just fine nothing special. I'd sooner do a N54 swap than that.
Sorry I've spent too much time on the e46 subreddit where a 318 is held in the same regard as an M3CSL. VQ wouldn't be my go to either, but I can see the appeal in their power output and how common they are.
 

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Something super important that's not engine related and hasn't been brought up. The way the rear trailing arms are designed, there is slight change in toe when the suspension compresses. This means your alignment will be changing mid corner. This can be fixed with a spherical bearing in place of the rear trailing arm bushing. Poly bushings tend to bind and don't really fix the problem. Since you mentioned tracking the car, this is a must do upgrade. It's likely a part of the spec E46 package but others have suggested good reasons not to go that route, so if you end up piecing together your own suspension package include this.
 

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The M54 is one of the last reliable straight 6 normally aspirated cars from BMW. These cars are on the rise in value. I wouldnt modify it at all. These cars have been claimed to be the last good product to come out of Stuttgart. Maybe go through a re-build with it if you want a project. There is an awesome video from 50's Kid on youtube that does a full re-build. I have this same engine in my e85 with a 6 speed and love it. 50s kid also does a manual swap and all the typical things to tackle on these cars.
They made over a million of these cars. Also OP doesn't seem to have any plans that involve cutting of the chassis, just things that can be bolted in. Even the LS swap at this point is reversible. If he'll get more enjoyment from some modification, I see no reason to hold back. Also Stuttgart is Porsche, BMW is from Munich ;)
 

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The OEM clutch is a dual mass which isn't the best for performance applications, although it is quite luxurious. I plan on swapping for a single mass when it finally goes, which will allow me to be a little more reckless with doing launches and the like, and will be significantly lighter, although to be fair the stock set up has held up through a lot of abuse.

Regardless of your clutch setup, remove the clutch delay valve from your clutch line. It's the big fat cylinder on the line, there's a bottleneck that causes the clutch to slip on engagement, which again while luxurious, not good for performance driving. DIY
 

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CDV delete is great advice--if OP has the hose he can do it before he even gets the transmission. I really struggle to understand why they include those darn things in the first place. Maybe so people didn't stall on the test drives?

Single mass...I'd recommend driving one first if you can find one. Depends on the car, how smooth you are on the throttle, and how comfortable you want to be. Between the gear lash and the jerky behavior on/off throttle, pretty sure I look like an idiot putting around parking lots in the single mass cars I've had. 😂
CDV is supposedly to give a smoother engagement, makes shifting less jerky in theory. But you can't slam gears like a Honda, and if you're trying to be smooth already it's weird to get used to the extra slip.

Regarding Dual mass vs single, I'd agree it's not strictly necessary for OP as it seems like this will be a trackable street car, and the extra chatter might not be worth it. For me, the car in question has a poly bushed drivetrain, half an interior, and squeaky brakes. At this point, NVH isn't a huge priority haha
 

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And haha yeah I definitely meant for his car. I've been following your posts and have little doubt you'll want a single mass in your car. In fact I'm very much looking forward to when your car inevitably becomes a spec e46. ;)
Do I go spec e46 or time attack? Hmmm, luckily I have a few years to think that over
 

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Oh hell yeah. I've been on the lookout for these for a while and have checked out a bunch of DIYs. I'm also excited to crap the CCV and DISA eventually.
Looking forward to seeing you do it. I wanted to do it, forgot about it, and spent this year's budget on brakes, so I'll live vicariously through you
 
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