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The Best of Both Worlds – Widebody Turbo BMW 330CI E46

19 February 2024

A Japanese-inspired Euro? Callum Coombs shows us how it’s done with his boosted wide-body weapon, giving the other E46s a run for their money

Words and Photos: Deven Solanki

There’s an undeniable thrill to hosting automotive events. It immerses you in the heart of the car scene. Unique builds are everywhere, each a testament to passionate enthusiasts. Among them, one exceptional build consistently captured my attention for quite some time — today, it finally steps into the spotlight. With a quick DM on Instagram, I linked up with the owner and the rest is history. 


Meet Callum Coombs, a 25-year-old tyre and suspension technician from Hamilton. He’s the proud pilot of this out-the-gate, wide-body turbocharged 2003 BMW 330CI E46. But, before we get into the exciting nitty gritty details, let’s rewind back to when Callum was living in the UK. At 17, his heart was set on the visual aesthetic of slammed, kitted out Japanese drift cars with “wide and shiny three-piece wheels”, particularly favouring the iconic S13. The H2Oi events in the US played a huge part in fuelling his passion at a young age. Fast forward a few years and here we are in the land of the long white cloud. Unfortunately, the dream of owning an S13 was just that, a dream (for now), as they proved to be a bit out of his price range. So, he opted to go down the BMW route, which turned out to be nothing short of an obsession, buying and selling over 40 (yes, you read that correctly, 40!) BMWs to this day — E46 being his favourite chassis.

Callum’s current E46 began fairly stock; the only modification were some BBS replicas which he flicked off straight away to fund coilovers and wider, aggressive wheels. He stumbled across a cheap set of 17×7.5-inch Work VS-SS wheels, eventually fitted with 5-inch lips. Soon enough, they proved to be “way too wide and aggressive”, kicking off the wide-body transformation, as Callum wasn’t afraid of commitment. He told us, “I was always wanting to push my own expectations with what I could do with the car.” 


Sourcing a 60mm front and 70mm rear Fibre Factory wide-body kit from the UK, Callum decided to go all out. He added Rocket Bunny front and boot lips, genuine M3 bumpers and hood, along with matching Tegiwa canards, hood vents, and KDC wing mirrors to complete the look. In a nod to nostalgia from the Need for Speed era, he also included LED underglow for those late-night drives.


With a bit of good old-fashioned elbow grease (and power tools), Callum scuffed and prepped the body so that it was ready to be laid with colour, but he was torn by indecision. “I saw this Peugeot driving to work once so I ended up at the dealership late at night with my partner trying to figure out the colour,” he told us. In the end, the unforgettable ‘Blue Vertigo’ candy paint left a lasting mark on his mind.


Under the bonnet, Callum has retained the factory M54B30 3000cc six-cylinder and its internals. However, he installed a GT3582 replica turbo, mounted on a Hopwood Motorsport manifold with a T3 rear housing and a 45mm Turbosmart Hypergate, all kept in check by an AEM boost controller. To keep the engine-bay temperatures down, a custom stainless heat shield is in place. The exhaust note rumbles through a three-inch downpipe into a three-inch AdrenalinR resonator, then splits into dual three-inch shotguns that extrude out aggressively, capturing the attention of anyone in close vicinity. 

Surprisingly, Callum maintained the factory intake system, blocking the DISA valve, ICV and PCV systems, and wiring in an Audi RS4 MAF using a billet housing. The ignition system remains factory but to keep an eye on those pesky AFR readings, an AEM wideband is installed for good measure. The factory fuel system components have been binned and replaced with an AEM 340lph highflow fuel pump that is paired with 440cc injectors. Oh, and did I mention the mastermind behind this entire operation is the 20-year-old factory ECU? 

Other modifications include a 2.5–3.5-inch front mount intercooler and an electric fan conversion to keep things cool. He’s also raised the engine by 15mm, relocating the wiring and washer fluid reservoir. 

In terms of the drivetrain, Callum is plucking through all five gears with a ZF gearbox that’s set up with a Hopwood Motorsport ceramic clutch and a single-mass flywheel conversion reinforced by polyurethane mounts for stability. The 3.38:1 diff — sourced from an automatic — spins the rear wheels and the factory braking system provides more than enough power to stop them. 


Shoutout to GreshM Performance and DGMaps for providing all the tuning needs for Callum, the self-taught wizard road tuned the BMW, pushing out around 300kW and 460Nm, courtesy of 10psi boost and running on 98-octane fuel, providing more than ample power for Callum (at the time). 

The aggressive stance is a product of BC BR Series (Extreme Low version) adjustable suspension fused with 326Power 24kg rear and 16kg front springs, and two-inch rear strut risers. It’s hard to believe but the arms and knuckles are still factory, however the spare wheel well has been removed and the subframe/diff have been reinforced with Superpro polyurethane bushes. “It’s one of the stiffest cars I’ve been in and handles amazingly. Sticks to the road, considering how much camber it has and how low it is. Super responsive. It feels nimble,” Callum explained.


Now remember when Callum said his dream was to have “wide and shiny three-piece wheels”? Well, the man himself ditched the VS-SSs and built a set of Work VS-KFs that absolutely glisten and the fitment, well it ‘fits mint’. He opted for 18×11-inch (+0) in the front with 5.5-inch lips, and a mind blowing 18×12-inch (-12) with 6-inch lips in the rear that have all been polished up to a mirror finish. These are wrapped in Jinyu tyres with a 245/35R18 sizing in the front and 265/35R18 in the rear. 

The E46 is the home to an extremely rare pair of hot-pink Good Gun X N-Style buckets — apparently in NZ, there are only three of them that he knows about, and he has two of them!



The rear-seats have been stripped out and replaced with a striking snow leopard print wrap. When cruising on the streets, Callum is gripping a factory M3 wheel with a sleek carbon fibre trim. Additional interior components include a Savage Performance Boost gauge, AEM AFR gauge and a Kenwood stereo, Infinity speakers, and a JVC amp to keep everything powered. One of my absolute favourite parts of this build is the Xbox One nested in the boot. Another ‘why not?’ addition to Callum’s collection, it’s perfect to park up literally anywhere and verse your mate in a game of Forza (which they did on the photoshoot at Hampton Downs). 

Reflecting on the build, Callum is a testament to his determination. Sourcing parts was one of the toughest challenges, given that most of the modifications had to be imported from the UK at the time of the build, as local aftermarket support was limited. Looking ahead, Callum’s eyeing the addition of Lambo-style doors to top off the look because, why not? And he will be further building the motor to satisfy his crave for more power.


“I love how this car has turned out. Driving the car puts a smile on my face every time. It’s definitely a pinch-me moment to look at this car and know that I’ve built this from scratch,” he says. This is a textbook example of a build done right. Callum took all the qualities out of a slammed, kitted out Japanese drift car he visioned at a young age and slapped it straight on a blank canvas E46, blending his two passions seamlessly. “Build it how you want it to be built. Don’t listen to what everyone else has to say, because at the end of the day it is your car,” Callum muses. The words will resonate with every true car enthusiast on their passionate automotive journey. 


This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 305