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E92 – BMW M3 Performance Seats


By Thorney Motorsport – Mon, 07 Dec 2009 07:30

The observant readers will have noticed that this month we have cheated, either that or we’ve re-sprayed our black M3 white for effect and that’s not very likely. The reason for this less than subtle vehicle change for this months instalment is that we have been planning an upgrade to the seating for some time but as our own car will soon be entering its race car preparation phase there was little point in spending a lot of time upgrading the standard seats as they would soon be ripped out anyway. So step forward Tony Rodriguez and his own E92 M3. Some of you will remember Tony from previous issues, he’s already taken a couple of E46 M3’s to new territory in racing but now he’s moved up to the E92 and he contacted us for suggestions as to what we thought for upgrades.

E92_Seats_002.jpg Original Seats
E92_Seats_001.jpg Original seats.
E92_Seats_004.jpg Once seats are removed, loom can be modified.

One area we have highlighted as an issue, especially on track, was the lack of lateral support the standard seats give; you literally spend half your energy just holding onto the wheel rather than steering it and Tony agreed that it was something he was keen to sort as well. Usually we work directly with Recaro on seat upgrades but as chance would have it BMW themselves have come up with their own upgrade in the guise of their new BMW Performance seats, which incidentally are made by Recaro. So with Tony liking the look of these we agreed to sort a handy fitment guide for other owners to follow.

Well that plan fell apart quicker than MP’s expense claim, these things are not something you can fit yourself I’m afraid. Now this is a shame, the whole idea of fitting upgraded seats is pretty straight forward, aside from airbags and the like its just a case of a few bolts and some DME re-programming but the E92 is a lot cleverer than that, indeed its so clever that at the time of printing not one UK dealer has been able to fit a set of these bloody seats without losing the will to live!

E92_Seats_005.jpg Bottom half of dashboard must be taken off for loom additions.
E92_Seats_009.jpg Mid-installation, with TMS Technician Iain’s hands full.
E92_Seats_012.jpg Original Seats.

The seats themselves are lovely, based on a Recaro seat shell they are identical in shape and type to the Audi RS4, complete with side airbags, leather and alcantara with custom ‘BMW Performance’ stitched into the headrest, they look stunning and the physical process of bolting them into the car is dead simple, however the process of programming the car to accept them is not something you can do at home I’m afraid so if you decide to do this upgrade plan on some time at a dealership (or us) to get it sorted. The issue is that the E92’s DME is so sophisticated that you need to de-program out the old seats and sensors before you fit the news ones, then you need to re-program the new seats in , it all sounds easy enough but in practical terms at the time of print there wasn’t one UK dealer who was able to do it – except us of course now of course.

At the same time as fitting the seats we decided to spend a few more pounds on the BMW Performance catalogue and installed the new steering wheel (with shift lights and lap timer) along with some nice alcantara trim.

E92_Seats_003.jpg Once loom is installed, the seats can follow.
E92_Seats_007.jpg New Recaro seats have airbags built in.
E92_Seats_010.jpg Drivers seat in place.

The final result is stunning, the whole cabin now exudes quality with an element of performance missing from the standard trim – it’s a sports car now not a GT tourer. In driving the figure hugging seats do a tremendous job of holding you in place without feeling as claustrophobic as full race seats can, it’s a perfect compromise.  As a final fit to ensure complete track security we finally fitted a set of Schroth racing harness from MSAR Safety, we use Schroth for all our race cars – they are simply the best harness money can buy and we never scrimp on safety.

E92_Seats_011.jpg Once installed, the seats are striking.
E92_Seats_008.jpg The Recaro’s aren’t rigid-backed, so have full adjustment.
E92_Seats_006.jpg Seats were weighed for difference.

We’ll be doing some further work on Tony’s car as we progress as soon it will be time for our own E92 M3 to make its transition – into race car.

John

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