A Tuner’s Guide to the E92 BMW M3

Brakes

Even though the E9x M3 doesn’t come with fancy brand name brake calipers, the E9x M3 is worthy of light track duty right off the showroom floor. Front brakes are rather large single piston sliding calipers and they clamp hold of 2-piece, cross drilled and ventilated, 360mmx30mm rotors. The rear brakes are also single piston calipers, clamping 2-piece, 350x24mm cross drilled and ventilated rotors. The efficiency of the brake rotors to dissipate heat is what allows this, the most powerful and heaviest of naturally aspirated M3’s to be so track capable.

A base model E92 M3 tips the scales at over 3,500. Fully loaded, the E92 M3 can weigh 3,700 lbs or more. It is a heavy car. Interestingly, given BMW’s motorsports history, BMW opted not to utilize a fixed caliper such as Brembo on this car, given it’s weight and track oriented nature.

That’s not to say the M3 requires modification in order to enjoy on the track. Many owners claimed to successfully track these cars right off the showroom floor. How many laps they’ll be able to run at full steam without boiling fluid or glazing the pads is another question.

Factory pads provide great performance on the street and apparently can take some track abuse. Due to the mass of the M3 and the speeds it carries, the cost of consumables can add up. For those looking to regularly track their M car, it’s a good idea to have a separate set of brake pads for the track use.

Forged wheels and 2-piece rotors on a red E92 M3
Factory 2-piece rotors hidden behind forged 18″ wheels.

Aftermarket Solutions

Most everyone who tracks these cars will undoubtedly install brake pads designed operate at much higher temperature than the factory pads. It goes without saying that high temperature brake fluid is also a necessity. This combination generally does the trick.

The issue that many M3 owners experience is the cost of consumables due to the rate of rotor and pad wear. Plan on spending $600 or more for quality replacement rotors. Of course the life of the brae pads and rotors will vary greatly depending on the race track and driving style but it isn’t uncommon to go through a set of front pads in 1 or 2 track weekends.

Currently, the most popular brake upgrades for track use are:
1. Super ATE Type 200 fluid ($12)
2. PFC 08 brake pads ($450’ish for front and rear).
3. StopTech stainless steel brake lines ($100)

If tracking heavily, and want to spend less time worrying about braking capability and the cost of consumables, you might jump straight to a big brake kit. Any of the below brake kits offer a substantial improvement over the factory setup.

1. 368x36mm AP Racing Radi-Cal 6-Piston ($,3500)
2. 365x32mm Brembo 6-Piston front brake kit ($4,400)
3. 380x35mm StopTech ST60 6-piston front brake kit ($3,000)
4. 355x35mm StopTech ST40 4-piston front brake kit ($2,300)
5. 372x32mm Performance Friction 4-piston front brake kit ($4,400)

While matching a front big brake kit with a rear brake kits sounds ideal, upgrading only the front end is perfectly acceptable. Rarely ever is a rear big brake kit ever warranted on the E92 M3.

The Good and Bad

Pros Cons
Light Track Duty Ready Single Piston Calipers
Brake Pad Selection Expensive Rotors
Aftermarket Options Rate of Consumables

1. Engine | 2. Transmission | 3. Chassis | 4. Suspension | 5. Brakes | 6. Wheels and Tires