This BMW 3 Series Wagon Has a Turbodiesel Mercedes Heart

This BMW 3 Series Wagon Has a Turbodiesel Mercedes Heart

11/09/2021

Engine swaps have long served as a staple of the annual aftermarket super trade-show and as such, you can expect to see some of usual suspects shoehorned into dozens of SEMA display cars. The infamous LS, as well as the 2JZ Toyota and RB-series Nissan engines, have been utilized time and time again and continue to be fan favorites. Professional drifter Dylan Hughes, however, wanted to do something a little less common.

Separating From the Crowd

There aren’t a large number of wagon builds at the yearly Las Vegas automotive bash, and of the bunch there probably aren’t any powered by a diesel engine swap. Using an E46 wagon chassis, a Mercedes Benz OM606 I-6 is the power plant of choice for Hughes’ creation. Somewhat uncommon in the import enthusiast circle, the DOHC, 24-valve brute is available with up to 25:1 compression in some configurations and will rev to 6,000 rpm. For this project, a Garrett G35-1050 hangs from a Diesel Pump U.K. exhaust manifold.

Diesel Pump also supplied the slick center-feed billet aluminum intake manifold that steals the spotlight when the hood is open. Its triangular shape helps deliver air to all the cylinders evenly and eliminates incoming air from crashing into the third runner, like the original did. Dimensionally shorter and able to orient its 3-inch inlet (stock is 2.5 inches) up or down, depending on the setup, the smooth velocity stacks inside insure dynamic flow. Not to be outshined, the entire long block has been cleaned, prepped, and painted, and topped off with a carbon fiber cover.

Spray Can Artistry

The paint used on the engine bay as well as the entire interior, both of which were completely stripped prior to the custom cage work that spans the length of the chassis, doesn’t come from nozzle of a paint gun, but rather 29 cans of STEEL-IT Coatings. The unique coating can be sprayed or rolled on and contains steel micro-flakes combined with resins, including epoxy and polyurethane that, once cured, offer a stainless-steel barrier that protects the finished product from corrosion and flaking. The paint lays down in a uniform pattern and dries to a matte finish that looks incredible on this Bimmer.

None of the rattle can work was covered up inside the cabin as it remains a strictly business environment. The dash has been replaced by a featherweight carbon fiber version that will no doubt be fitted with a digital cluster once the final touches are applied. A quartet of Sparco QRT-K carbon fiber-backed seats will soon be laced with harnesses so that ride-along activities can commence. You’ve seen bucket seats mounted in the rear of other cars before, and sometimes they look like complete hack jobs. Not the case here, as Hughes went to town on the mounting brackets that he came up with and used thick metal and intricate welding work for the utmost safety.

The wild black and white livery, highlighted by a contrasting Royal Purple logo plays down the body mods, but look closely and you can see the Big Duck Club fender extensions that add considerable width to the wagon’s front and rear. The newfound wheel arch spacing allows for 18-inCH Advan RG-D2 with GT Radial Champiro SX2 RS rubber to fit perfectly after the ride height adjustment provided by BC Racing NA suspension.

The Home Stretch

Not 100 percent complete yet, Dylan Hughes’ BMW drift taxi is getting damn close with all of the heavy lifting complete and the home stretch within sight.

Expect to see this build at various events carrying three lucky passengers in a very unique take on the E46 chassis.

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