Why not an M2? Why not a Porsche? Why an M235i? Why modify any car to this extent? Simply put, IND’s Portfolio Program has never offered clients the easy way out. It is far easier to purchase one of the many incredible varieties of 911, and have Porsche build it to suit. It is far easier to begin with a more extravagant car, and simply add wheels, suspension, and an exhaust system.
It is far easier to operate a business in the tuning industry in the warmth of California. It is far easier to make a living in the tuning industry by selling cheap parts built in countries that place a low value on human lives and labor. It is far easier to do all of these things, but it is not for IND. At IND, we have never been in favor of choosing the easy solution, and it is therefore natural that our highest level of service, our Portfolio Program, caters to clients who understand that the easy road is not always the one to take. Matt, known as Pertplus online, is one such client.
It is therefore only appropriate that this car be born into the dead of the Chicago winter. It is only appropriate for this M235i to be born out of the Blue Ice.
It’s impossible not to see the elephant in the room when looking at the photos: this car is considerably wider than a factory-original M235i. The width of this car came from a need to satisfy the overall concept, our goal of creating a superior precursor to the M2, with respect to visual impact, interior fit and finish, and components used. As with many IND Portfolio Projects, this M235 was delivered to us in brand-new condition, with a mere 9 miles on the odometer. Such low mileage cars are both exciting and nerve-wracking to work with. The untouched palette granting us a unique opportunity to practice our craft on the one hand, but the absolutely perfect condition of the car setting the bar incredibly high: our final product must have identical or better fit, finish, and quality to what is possible inside BMW’s state of the art manufacturing facilities. No panel can move or rattle, no clips can be loose, and no piece of bodywork misaligned.
IND would borrow from the best available to create this M235, taking cues from BMW M, Fall Line Motorsport, BMW Performance, BBS Motorsport, KW Motorsport, 3D Design, Gruppe M, and Eisenmann to create a complete picture that enables the M spirit to thrive. We knew that the wheel and tire specs would define and constrain this project: only BBS Motorsport would do. Only 265 and 295 width tires would grant this car the correct personality.
With these sizes as the starting point, we were able to calculate the correct widths for the BBS Motorsport E05 wheels, and in turn, the correct offsets. BMW did not bless the M235i with substantial inboard clearance, and so our only choice was to go out. As with all of IND’s bodywork, careful attention was paid to the original body lines of the car. The fenders and quarter panels take inspiration from BMW’s greats like the E46 M3, and were designed to give the appearance of an original BMW part. Each flare was carefully hand-build, starting with a master tool and followed by a faithful composite layup which would eventually be bonded to the car’s body. The position, placement, scale, and shape of the flares could not interfere with the existing bodylines, and had to augment what was already in place. Although this was no small feat in its own right, we also knew that we would have to widen the side skirts to meet the car’s new hips. The basic shape of the bumpers had to be revisited as well, to ensure that the front and rear bumper could meet the new wider body work. Body lines had to be added, new shapes created, making this an exercise in design as well as fabrication. Even the 3D Design front lip was modified, to accommodate this M235’s new aggressive stance. A 3D Design trunk spoiler was added to add drama to the top of the car, enabling us to match the rear quarter panels.
Finally, we spent countless hours carefully modifying the original M235i grilles from their original single-slat versions, to the double slat style found on today's M cars. While this was a small detail, we felt that it was a critical component of the personality of the car.
-Suspension and brakes-
KW’s 3 way adjustable ClubSport coilovers were an obvious choice for this car- the damping, height, and camber adjustability was necessary for both wheel fitment and performance reasons, and KW’s relationship with BMW as an original equipment supplier was an ideal fit for a car that had to give a “built by BMW” experience. Brembo’s GT kit was again an obvious choice for this project. No other brake manufacturer owns foundries specifically to cast and forge metal in-house, giving Brembo a level of process control that is absolutely unparalleled. Brembo is a long-standing original equipment supplier, and like KW was original equipment on the venerable M3 GTS, another fact that helped to earn this GT kit a home on the Blue Ice. The GT kit calipers have been painted in an Estoril Blue color with a gold flake added to coordinate with the gold BBS Motorsport E05 wheels. Macht Schnell’s stud kit was added for easy wheel changes and a more race-ready look, rounding off the wheel and brake package.
-Intake and exhaust system-
A car with this visual presence would not be complete without a matching growl. We turned to Eisenmann to give this car its sound, and to remove restriction from the original BMW exhaust system. Eisenmann’s exhaust system was hand-built from 304 stainless steel and shipped directly to IND, giving this M235 a chance to be the first in the United States to enjoy the powerful roar granted by the Eisenmann exhaust. A Gruppe M intake was imported from Japan to add induction wail to the soundtrack, giving the drivetrain the personality it deserves. Finally, IND finished the engine cover in a wrinkle black with blue details, perfectly aligning the look of the intake manifold with our “OEM Plus” goal.
Our biggest challenge was to create an interior that would maintain BMW’s design language and philosophy, while simultaneously besting BMW at every turn. Starting with BMW’s own Euro-only Performance fabric as a guiding theme, IND transformed every surface of the M235’s interior, giving this car an absolutely one-of-a-kind driving environment.
BMW’s extensive use of Alcantara in the Performance line enabled IND to follow suit. After removing every single interior component from the car, we began to change the car’s cabin piece by piece. The dash was upholstered in Alcantara with color-coded blue stitch. The headliner and rear parcel shelf followed, and both are now wrapped in fresh Alcantara. BMW’s Euro-only Performance fabric was imported, its distinctive hexagonal pattern to be applied sparingly throughout the cabin in order to perfectly accompany the BMW Performance interior trim set.
Simply adding BMW Performance seats would not suit a project of this caliber, so IND upholstered the new Performance seats with the same Alcnatara and Performance hex fabric, adding blue stitch to perfectly coordinate the interior with the car’s Estoril Blue color. Custom-webbed blue belts were a must, adding vibrancy.
This set of seats was wrapped in full unlike our previous Performance seat projects to give the car’s interior a more luxurious feel. The seat backs, and even recline adjustment knobs are all wrapped in Alcantara, all with blue color coordinated stich! Illuminated M logos from the F82 M4 cars were an extra touch, giving these Performance seats an even more distinctive personality.
Our Performance steering wheel with carbon trim was wrapped in a perforated Alcantara, following BMW’s own style choice of material while adding the classic feel of a perforated grip. BMW Performance carbon shift and parking brake handles complement the BMW Performance shift knob surround, all of which are customized further with perforated Alcantara carefully matched to the steering wheel. An Awron gauge system was installed to display a myriad of engine vitals, providing data on oil temperature, water temperature, boost, and a great deal of additional data at a glance. 3D Design pedals complete the driver interface, giving much-needed grip in all driving scenarios.
Finally, the car visited the master race car builders at Fall Line Motorsports for the best possible alignment, and a limited slip differential install. This would complete the car dynamically, and make the M235 as interactive and engaging as an M car should be.
Our partners at Fall Line always have an incredible array of race cars under their roof, but what we saw quietly nestled on their last storage lift that day left me in absolute shock for nearly half of an hour.
The Porsche 962 is an absolute treasure in the racing world. Only a few exist on the planet, and they are truly incredible machines, with the one seen here valued at over $2,000,000. The 962 operated in races around the world, ranging from IMSA to the All Japan Prototype Championship, to Group C, and was driven by legends like Hans Stuck. Few prototype cars have such a decorated history, or such a long service life. To have this M235i project worked on in the same building as a real 962 is an honor, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Finally, after several months of intense effort, the Blue Ice M235i is ready to send home to its owner. Matt did not simply grant us to opportunity to modify an M235i, but rather an opportunity to reach beyond our own abilities, to push our creative talent, and to create a car that is at once extreme in its scope of modification, and subtle in the way those modifications are presented. Matt, thank you for taking this journey with us, not because it was easy, but because it was worth it.
-Bonus shots and details