Everything changed when the first E90 model hit the scene, as it’s clean fluid design was actually considered somewhat “radical” by casual owners and critics alike over its conservative E46 predecessor. However, this hasn’t stopped many owners from getting their E90 modified.
The E90 has dominated both the new and used BMW car sales since it’s inception with good reason. It’s a near flawless machine inside and out, combining its iconic design with wonderful handling and engine performance.
Even so, the original design’s specifications (including much of the exterior trim, and a few engine components) leave owners with many opportunities to upgrade their E90s and really fine tune it with their own unique, individual flair.
When it comes to E90 modifications, you really can’t go wrong. Whether you desire a clean classy look or something straight from the racetrack – this article will cover everything you need.
We will detail the following E90 mods (click each individual link to jump to the section):
- Rear Spoilers
- Front Bumpers/Lips
- LED Logo Lights
When it comes to brands, we’ve done extensive research finding E90 accessories we not only prefer for our own vehicles, but that are the highest rated in their respective category or website.
Finally, upgrading your E90 with performance mods is a process, and you don’t’ have to change everything at once. We begin with exterior upgrades that are easiest and most noticeable.
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy.
1. E90 WHEELS
We’ll start out by saying this: OEM E90 stock wheels have a lot of room for improvement. No offense to anyone still happily rocking their factory rims, but for those of us looking to add a little flair to our E90s, the wheels are a fantastic place to start.
One of the fastest, most effective ways to give your E90 an instant facelift is to outfit it with a new set of rims. Regardless of which E90 3 series you drive, throwing on 4 brand new wheels will instantly make your car pop and have heads spinning.
Wheels are very individualistic – you want something unique that really expresses who you are. BBS, ALZOR, AND Genuine BMW all make some great “aftermarket” rims and manufacture a variety of both 18”s and 19”s, depending on your taste.
Here are several different sizes, colors, and designs to choose from to get you started.
A BMW E90 exhaust upgrade mainly serves three functions – it changes the look of your rear end, it alters the sound of your engine and it can potentially increase horsepower. The first two are purely subjective – the exhaust sound and appearance depends on your own personal taste.
Choosing the correct exhaust for your E90 is a balancing act; the trick is to fins an exhaust that delivers the most most raw power yet is pleasing to both the ears and the eyes.
Finding the ideal pitch and volume in an exhaust is a process that can take some time to get how you want it, but is incredibly rewarding. It’s all a matter of personal preference. There are no right or wrong answers.
Again, do your research when making the decision. Maybe you want the cat back full exhaust upgrade, or just some carbon fiber tips. It depends mostly on your budget and your skills as a mechanic.
3. UPGRADED SUSPENSION
Upgrading your E90’s suspension is up next on the list of BMW mods. Most E90 owners agree that their car looks better when they are lowered, and upgrading the suspension can often mean a more aggressive handling ride.
There’s a couple ways you can upgrade the suspension on your 2007-2013 3 series: lowering springs and new shocks or coilovers.
Coilovers tend to be the most popular choice among E90 owners looking to add race style handling to their vehicle. They offer more adjustability than a stock strut/shock setup. They also lower the car giving it a more powerful look.
4. E90 EXTERIOR ACCESSORIES
One thing to consider when shopping for exterior upgrades is identifying your E90’s paint color code. The paint code is located on a label in the engine compartment…usually on the right strut tower. Many vendors will list multiple paint codes variations of their products, so knowing your code is essential to ensuring you receive the correct part.
Front Bumpers, Lips, and Splitters
When it comes to your front bumper, there’s an endless variety of configurations available making sure you create something that hasn’t been done before. The M3 style bumper modification for your E90 is by far the most popular, and definitely the best-looking.
If you don’t have the budget for a brand new bumper, a set of splitters or a front lip is always a nice addition even for OEM stock E90 bumpers. They’re often times half the price and don’t require you to remove the entire front of your BMW.
The rear spoiler is probably the easiest and most cost effective upgrade you can make to your E90, and a lot of times has the most dramatic visual effect.
As with the other modifications we have listed, your spoiler should tie in with the overall look of your car and fit your individualistic tastes. The E90, being as versatile as it is, offers you a plethora of different spoiler upgrades.
These spoilers (available on Amazon) are very popular among E90 enthusiasts in terms of style, fitment, reviews, and overall quality. Carbon Fiber spoilers are by far the most popular for E90’s, so we included two below – the first and third recommendations are CF.
Many owners looking to upgrade the rear end of their 3 series cars often consider the M-style rear bumper. It is by far the most aggressive rear bumper on the market – it adds a nice sleek look on a BMW E90. The problem is, the OEM factory exhaust on non M vehicles will not line up with the normal M series bumper.
Be aware that attempting to replace the rear bumper on your E90 is challengine – it requires completely removing the old bumper which can be a very intensive job. However if you’re up to the challenge, the following are excellent M style rear bumper conversion kits for a reasonable price.
Upgrading your E90’s lighting can be money well spent whether or not you drive at night. Besides being another way to set your BMW apart, your lights not only allow you to see, but most importantly be seen!
Swapping your BMW’s headlight bulbs for something more creative can be a fu endeavor. There’s a plethora of different styles and colors online for you to choose from, most of them at a reasonable price.
Don’t forget about your BMW E90’s side markers. Spice them up, along with your rear tail and license plate lights, with something that pops.
LED Door Lights
Also, don’t forget about these cool little LED laser logos that light up the ground when you open your doors!Table could not be displayed.
6. UPGRADED BRAKES
Many BMW E90 enthusiasts are looking for ways to upgrade the looks of their brake calipers. Unfortunately this is a difficult and expensive procedure – it is a major undertaking to disassemble your brake components and change them out.
Big brake kits look great, but cost a fortune. Often the parts and labor costs more than the vehicle is worth.
Because of this, many BMW E90 owners have opted to just repaint their stock calipers while they are on the vehicle. There is nothing wrong with doing this, as long as you take your time prepping them. Although completely dissembling the brake calipers, sandblasting them then repainting them is the preferred method, unfortunately this is just not feasible for the average home mechanic.
If you decide you want to repaint your BMW E90 brake calipers while they remain installed on the car, be sure to properly clean and prep them. First, remove the wheel. Then thoroughly clean the caliber with Brakleen, being sure to remove all of the grease and debris. If their is scaling, using a wire wheel or brush to remove the loose paint. Make sure to tape off all of the parts you don’t want painted like brake lines, brake rotors, control arms, etc. Spending the extra time prepping makes all the difference in the world.
Lastly, only use a high quality brake caliper paint. Brake calipers emit immense heat, so you must use a product like the ones below to avoid peeling and scaling.
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