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Driver Spotlight: BMW M3

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MSS BMW M3

Introducing Chris Jenness from Arizona, the driver of a BMW M3 with some serious bells and whistles.

Married to Sara and Dad to two daughters aged 5 and 8, Chris is a broker of manufacturing equipment who is passionate about cars.  Read on to hear why he chose MSS and his fantastic Ferrari story

Thanks for agreeing to chat to us Chris.

 No problem at all, happy to help

Tell us about the car you drive

I have a 2018 BMW M3, I bought it in 2019. It has a  ZCP  package on  –  so it’s the competition package. I also have some aftermarket stuff done to it. There is a Dinan Stage 3 kit on it, which ups to my horsepower to 572. It’s not crazy powerful but it’s a little bit different from just a stock.

To be fair, that is a good start even before MSS is on there

(Laughs) Yeah I guess

Are BMW’s your thing?

I have been a fan of BMW’s since my late teens, when I first got into cars. I’ve had friends that work for the dealerships and they would hand me the keys to some of their used  3 and 5 series to have a cruise  – it was great.

 

BMW M3 MSS

 

 

So cars are a big part of your life?

I guess, and  I read car magazines regularly as well – I think cars have always been a big part of my ‘extracurricular activities’

Car’s like this one usually have a backstory….Does yours?

Yes it does.  I was actually in China, and I closed a deal …I saw this car for sale, and contacted the guy who was in Utah – I live in Arizona, but it was the middle of the night in China.

That is brilliant!

Yup, I bought it with the Dinan Stage 3 kit on it, and basically whoever owned it, had spent about $100,000 on it, but I got it for less than that  and it was in warranty –  it was the perfect car in so many ways. I sat there, in China thinking… Okay, I just closed this deal, so yes I can afford it and I had been looking…but to be honest, I’m always looking  (laughs) So I called my wife Sara, and she said…. ‘you know what? …. go for it!’

What an amazing wife!

Oh absolutely

OK, can you tell us why you hankered for an M3?

I kept on reading about the level of performance that they allow and it’s also very flexible. 

I have two daughters and it’s a four door sedan, meaning I can put both of my girls in the back and do the school run. This car also has a very large amount of horsepower, so that when I step on it, I can pretty much walk away from most of the cars out on the street. 

It really has it all – the usability, the engine, the horsepower and also the amenities inside. It’s a really well built car. 

So for you it’s a good all rounder?

Yeah…it’s a nice car. When clients come into town, I’m not like ‘OK, here’s my high horse power car!’  because they don’t actually realize it. It drives ‘normal’ under everyday circumstances. But this was why ride quality  was important for me when I started to look at springs, and why I chose MSS. 

I needed have a good ride for when I have people in the car, they’re not thinking….’oh well, your car looks good from outside but it rides like crap’ 

Ha! Well that’s a good point! OK, tell us what you were looking to do?

I wanted to lower the car. The stock suspension on the M3, especially on the front wheels, has a massive gap! 

Can you explain a bit?

Well, BMW built them so that they have this huge amount of clearance . The whole stance looks way off from what it could look like. In my opinion it ruins ‘the look’. This is a thing that people talk about  quite a lot on the forums . People just can’t stand it. I wanted to close the gap.

So why opt for MSS?

I knew springs would drop it, but that I would be stuck with whatever that drop was.  I was also concerned about the ride quality – as I mentioned earlier. I  knew that some ride adjustable springs were OK, but you had to do major changes, or remove and alter your OEM struts.  When I was watching videos of these guys do it online, I was thinking….”I really don’t want to have to do that to my car from my driveway “

So you did the install?

Yeah I like to have a go at things… I installed it in my driveway (laughs) I have had some experience though. In my late teens/early 20s I had a Honda Civic that I did a lot of work to … I did everything…. I mean I fully rebuilt that motor all the way down to the pistons and rods and everything. 

That sounds like a labour of love?

Yeah, I built the motor, put a turbo on it, made well over 500 horse  – all that  on a car that was just made to have like ,180 horse or whatever it is.

I bet your neighbours loved you! 

Ha, I was always quiet!

Seriously though, you obviously have confidence in this.

Well that past experience helped give me a baseline. For me, doing springs is not the hardest thing to do for the most part,  But it is something that I could see would be daunting for other people. So it really comes down to the individual 

How did you find MSS?

I saw a cool video by Imran from Evolve, on one of the forums (I forget which one)  I have seen his videos before, and you can see he’s really trying to put out the information –  which is what you need as an enthusiast trying to do your stuff, and figure out who to go to.

His information was really good and the way that he described the system as being basically no changes to the OEM struts or anything like that, the quality is really good, all that kind of stuff and then the price point was good. 

Brilliant – then what?

I called around to a local shop which is who I bought it through.  The shop said ‘This kit is in and ready, and I can promise you it’s as perfect as it should be’. The combination of price, capability, and the ride quality… it all adds up.

 

MSS BMW M3

Can you talk to us a bit more about ride quality.

As I mentioned , I have a high horsepower car, so if I switch off traction control, I actually lose traction, at like 70 miles per hour on the highway when I step on it. There can also be this ‘jumping’ in the back of the tires…it loses compliance which is not great!

One of the things I read about MSS, was that it would stop that jumping and loss of traction.. I was also keen to stop the bouncing.  I wanted a smoother delivery of that power and better traction out of it – traction is a big issue for me in my car. I’m destroying my tires. But I’m also a lot slower than I could be when I have all this horsepower! The suspension was part of the problem.

Tell us about your first drive after you installed MSS

I drove around my neighbourhood,  because I did it in my own driveway so I’m like ‘Did I do all this right?  I was waiting for a clunk or clank… that’s always the first thing…. asking myself….’Did I put my wheels on tight enough’? The thing that goes through my head is …’Don’t screw up the car, because it’s gonna be really expensive to fix’

That is a fair worry! And???

So everything was perfectly fine 

Phew! 

Yep, the install went great! After I did some gentle driving and tests on bumps, I started driving around …then getting on the highway. We have big corners here where you can kind of take them fast. It was so cool, because just like you guys talk about, my car was much more connected to the road. It stayed more in control and flatter. My goal now is to put some additional miles on it, so that it settles and I can get the true ride height. 

That sounds like a great result?

Oh for sure

OK, Can you tell us about your first impressions when your springs arrived?

The packaging was something that you would expect to be on a display. It  was really high quality. On the inside, everything was packaged, which is kind of nice, and very cool as an enthusiast, because you’re buying a new toy! But it goes on your car and springs disappear. Having it all wrapped up like you do, say’s, ‘This is quality that you just bought’

Love that. Thank you. At this point we often ask about a favorite road trip, Do you have one to share?

Ummm. I do but it is a small one.

This sounds intriguing?

(Laughs) Well, I have been a Ferrari fanatic since I was a little kid, my brothers had the big posters on the wall, so I grew up learning about Ferrari  and Formula One.

OK….

So, when I started dating my wife, 15 years ago, she told me her cousin was dating a guy who had a Ferrari. I will be honest, I was like oh what’s he got like a 308 or something? ..But when I met him, he brought out one of his Ferrari’s –  and it was a 2004 360 Challenge Stradale. I was in shock! They’re really rare. To this day people still drool over it!

WOW!

So he brings out the car, then hands me the keys and says ‘ here, go for it man drive it’  …After all those years of being a kid only dreaming of SITTING in a Ferrari…..I got to DRIVE one.

That is quite a story!

Yeah…..We are great friends now and work together. He’s up to five Ferrari’s and I drive all of them on a regular basis, but I can tell you I don’t like any of them as much as I like my M3.

Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. Enjoy your M3 and your MSS.

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