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BMW 330i Sportech Turbo

Broadcast dates : 15th August 2004
19th August 2004

The BMW 330i naturally lends itself to modification, as it’s such a beautifully solid motorcar. In standard form it has a great suspension set up for lots of grip and driver feedback.

And the famous in-line straight-six cylinder engine remains one of the smoothest and most robust engines in the world – an ideal base for performance modification.

Sportech, the Johannesburg-based tuning firm, is run by Chad Wentzel. Chad has a motorsport background going back to his early childhood, as his father Bunny Wentzel was a top track racer in cars like Renault Gordinis and Alfa Romeos, and still is active in classic car rallying.

Sportech established itself in the so-called "optical tuning" business a number of years back.

Its high quality add-ons such as spoilers, sill extensions and air dams, for cars like Audis and Volkswagens, became famous throughout South Africa for their high quality and tasteful sportiness.

More recently Sportech has been involved in extensive engine modifications and this BMW is a showcase for the company’s endeavors in this field.

The idea was to build the fastest 330i in the country without resorting to "gas", the common term for nitrous oxide.

Turbocharging was the obvious way to go and the car uses a hybrid Turbonetics turbocharger, with a Turbosmart dump valve, custom built intercooler, Turbonetics wastegate and larger 550 cc injectors. The inlet plenum was locally-built out of aluminium and is a fine piece of workmanship.

The gearbox is a standard manual five-speed unit, but the differential is a custom-built limited-slip item to limit wheel spin.

This is necessary as on racing levels of boost, the Beemer pumps out over 350 kiloWatts – some one hundred kilowatts more than a standard M3.

In controlled street-legal competition, the Sportech BMW is awesome. It recently ran a top speed of two hundred and sixty one kilometers per hour over a one comma two kilometer sprint at the Waterkloof airbase – setting the fastest time of the day in its class.

The handling and braking departments have also been taken care of.

The car runs special Tarox brakes with 10-piston calipers and huge grooved and ventilated discs.

The Wheels are three-piece 18-inch ROH alloys with Yokohama street-race rubber – 235 by 40s in front and 265 by 35s at the rear.

The car is also about show, and sports a full Sportech kit including side sills, front and rear deep bumpers, bonnet vents and sports mirrors.

Sparco Racing seats, a Sportech pedal cluster, a racing steering wheel with an airbag and special gear knob and handbrake levers complete "The Look".

And if this isn’t entertaining enough, there is a mega Kenwood and Rockford sound system with splits, co-axials, subs and a DVD player for those moments when you feel like getting away from it all – in the cockpit of a radical street racer.

Potent street-legal racers like this are becoming cult items amongst motoring enthusiasts, and for good reason. Unlike mega-buck supercars, they are an attainable dream for many people.

Cars like the Sportech Turbo BMW fulfil an age-old dream – a fairly well-disguised wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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