Full Porsche!

Full Porsche!

"In this Special Series about the CSL Redux Steering Wheel, I document my experiences sourcing 2x steering wheels from Germany and how it evolved into this new product.

In this new entry: I go full Porsche! I touch on the MK60 retrofit and I cheap out instead. I opted for the alternative in hopes of a simplified driving experience."


The E46 M3 saw various electronic improvements throughout production - it was a massive period of computing power increases and BMW M wanted to make the most of it.

They famously updated the DME with the CSL with the MSS54HP to support more calculations and features. I touched on this in the Special Series on the CSL airbox in the entry "A dilemma: Alpha N v MAP conversion"

In 2003, BMW M introduced the M-track steering wheel button to M world. It's the ancestor to M-Drive and MDM as we've got to know it on the E60 M5 and E92 M3, along with all following BMW M models. 

In short, M-Track mode raised the thresholds to DSC intervention, raising the slip angles for drivers that enjoy a bit of sliding actions with safety nets. 

The featured originated from the M3 CSL. 

The MK60 module. 

By September 2002, all E46 M3s came fitted with the latest MK60 DSC/ABS module. It was an extensive upgraded package including a new brake booster, a myriad of sensors and a new module.

It underpinned the new software changes for M-track mode. However, M-Track wasn't fitted to all production M3s from 2003 on. It was on the options' list except on CS/ZCP spec cars. 

Still, it could be retrofitted for cheap on 09/2002 and up E46s with an upper trim swap, and a few software changes.

The pre-09/2002 retrofit. 

I had to retrofit M-Drive on my E92 M3, although it was a ZCP, it didn't have iDrive and in Canada, that mean no M-Drive. I felt it was worth it considering the various software features it unlocks such as Servotronic, MDM and the extra Sport Plus throttle response. 

On the E46? I don't think so at this current time. The MK60 retrofit is roughly 1,200 USD for used Genuine BMW hardware. I didn't see the value for it in the current context. 

The restoration of the Phoenix is currently bleeding my dry, and choices need to be made. It needed a new set of 1,500 USD door seals recently, amongst an extra 2,000 USD in new door trims, mirror actuators and accessories. 

Being a pre-LCI 2003 car, my E46 had the older MK20 DSC/ABS module. Maybe I'll revisit this in the future. 

The Porsche way. 

As a former P-car owner of a 987.2S PDK,  my immediate urge was to remove the craptastic multi-function steering wheel. Porsche had made it worse by fitting buttons instead of shift paddles, and you could upshift/downshift on either side. It was ergonomically catastrophic. 

Taken straight from the sales ad in 2015. 

Sport Steering. 

As with anything Porsche, everything is an option. My Cayman was well spec'ed as a Tourer, but had a few things missing for the driving experience. 

I had retrofitted the Porsche Sport steering wheel on my 987.2S PDK as one of the first upgrades along with the Sport Plus functions, and a few Cayman R software changes.

The steering was a blank design - it had paddles, and subtle screens to indicate you were in Sport Plus and/or Launch Control modes.

They absolutely nailed the simplified driving experience - it was mostly all analog, except the PDK. 

The E46 M3's cheap alternative.  

The cheap alternative is ditching the multi-function upper trim and going for a 316d, Civic-spec, blank upper trim for the tinfoil conspiracists who bought into the Y2K conspiracies at the turn of the latest millennium. 

All jokes aside, the trim isn't actually cheap, BMW wants +/- 300 USD for it. I sourced a few rare units from Europe instead. 

You never know what you're getting with use trims, but these were mint. 

The blank trims have a plug to put in a connector. I don't know why. 

My lower trims are in worse shape. 

Unplug the airbags, unbolt the lower trim, and slide it in!

Tadam! Slick, simple - no fuss. I like the aesthetics - whether I miss the buttons, we'll see once it drives. 

I've been able to secure a stock of a few brand new BMW trims in Germany. 

I have made the blank upper trim optional on the CSL Redux Steering Wheel

Feel free to reach out to spec your steering wheel. 

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The latest entries to the Phoenix's build journal

E46 M3 programs
I source what I document.