- BMW’s own M Performance catalog provides an excellent “OEM+” aftermarket program for E9X M3 owners.
- IND’s aftermarket seat belt program offers unique, colored webbing solutions to coordinate with your interior scheme or exterior color.
- Sparco’s QRT seat leverages lightweight production methods to scrub significant curb weight from the E92 while providing much-welcomed lateral support.
After several months of being on the road, we were finally able to settle back in to add another chapter to our Jerez Black Project E92 build. In our last article, we upgraded the car’s suspension, wheels, and tires to achieve a much-improved ride and overall chassis responsiveness. In this round, we turn our attention inward to address the E92’s rather clinical interior and improve on its touch points. You’ll notice a familiar backdrop to these enhancements: we’re back at R/T Tuning in Montgomeryville, PA, to make sure everything goes in without a hitch.
BMW M PERFORMANCE STEERING WHEEL
While BMW’s in-house upgrades are nothing new, their coveted M Performance division has embraced the “mod mentality” much more in recent years; the catalog has grown exponentially since this shift and lucky owners — especially from E9X forward — are able to add a plethora of BMW-backed goodies to their cars. Two Alcantara steering wheels are available for the E9X: one boasts a motorsport-derived yellow 12 o’clock stripe with white stitching (32302157308) and the other opts for a Bavarian blue accent with M tri-color stitching (32302212772). In either case, the overall diameter remains identical to OEM, allowing you to reuse your factory airbag and retain an unobstructed view of your gauges. The material upgrade is worth its weight in gold; because Alcantara provides a more assured grip, the additional feedback allows our previously installed suspension upgrades to shine even more.
IND SPORT EVO TRIBUTE SEAT BELT SET
The E92 M3 is still thought of as a relatively modern car, but there’s no ignoring that even the last car off the production line is nearly a decade old. As such, nearly every component is on the table for potential replacement, including an item that we rarely consider: seat belts. Although seat belts are rarely thought about as wear items, they are an undeniably vital component of your car’s safety system that, allegedly, should be replaced every 10-15 years. Fortunately, IND has gone through the trouble to turn a hum-drum maintenance item into an opportunity to mod. By utilizing OEM reels with a variety of aftermarket webbing colors, IND is able to offer enthusiasts a unique opportunity to personalize their seat belts (IND-E92-M3BELTSET) without compromising on safety. Speed Yellow webbing was chosen to properly coordinate with our newly installed steering wheel. Even though the rear seats will rarely be used in our Project E92 (more on this shortly), matching rear belts were added for a more complete interior aesthetic.
SPARCO QRT PERFORMANCE SEATS
Sparco is best known as one of the leading manufacturers of racing safety equipment, but they have also leveraged their advanced manufacturing capabilities to equip some of the most renowned marques on the street (Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Bugatti, etc.) as well. Since BMW is, unfortunately, not on that list, the factory E92 M3 seats are decidedly “GT” in fit and appearance. They are adequately supple and offer loads of adjustability for longer stints, but these features come at the expense of weight. To quell this mass, we opted to fit a set of lightweight QRT Performance seats (008012RPNR) into our M3. The QRT Performance seat represents the luxury evolution of the QRT-R race seat — the same FIA-approved race shell is utilized — but instead of velour, the road-going QRT is covered in Italian Leather and Alcantara. The result is a seat that performs as well as it looks. Despite being a non-reclinable bucket, the QRT’s proportions make it a surprisingly comfortable place to be during long driving sessions and the exponential gain in overall support again compounds the effect of our suspension upgrades. As an added bonus, the seats’ native white contrast stitching matches the BMW M Performance steering wheel swimmingly.
Much like replacing the OEM exhaust with the Akrapovic system, the M Performance steering wheel, and seat belts install with predictable ease — both are, essentially, factory replacements for equal parts where the major investment is time and care to effectively release the OEM airbag. In the case of the belts, make sure that every clip seats properly. Admittedly, the fact that we removed the OEM seats made access to the rear seatbelts a much friendlier endeavor.
Speaking of seats, while most aftermarket installations often present a mathematical conundrum of seat widths, side mounts, sliders, and rail combinations, Macht Schnell has the nearest plug-and-play solution that we’ve seen for this platform. Their Clubsport Seat Mount (70.10.200) eliminates the typical guesswork and is multi-way adjustable to suit most aftermarket seat widths. What a lifesaver.
All in all, another successful chapter is written in our E92 Project journey! Now that we have a lot of tactile experiences sorted, the next chapter will focus on enhancing some of the E92’s signature traits. Stay tuned!