BMW's history can be traced back to 1910 when Gustav Otto, whose father invented the Otto cycle four-stroke internal combustion engine, started an aircraft factory and training school. In 1913 Karl Rapp established another manufacturing company building Austro-Daimler V12 aircraft engines. In 1916, Otto's company was bought out by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW), and shortly afterward, Rapp's company became known as Bayerische Motorenwerke BmbH (BMW). Finally, after the war, an Austrian financier named Camillo Castiglioni combined BFW with the engine building division of BMW and became a reasonably successful manufacturer of proprietary engines for aircraft and agriculture.

BMW Dixi 3/15

In 1923, BMW produced its first motorcycle, the R32, which was an immediate success. By 1928 they had launched their first automobile, a licensed copy of the Austin 7 called the BMW 3/15 Dixi. By 1933, an all-new larger car was introduced featuring a split kidney grill, and an inline six-cylinder motor, known as the 303, 315, 319, or 329, depending on displacement. This started the long lineage of BMW 3-series cars that continues to this day (with various interruptions).

BMW 2002 road race car

Modern BMW hit the scene in the swinging sixties with the 2002 sports coupe in 1968, establishing the brand's current sporting credentials. In the 1980s, successful American business professionals all fell in love with the sportiness of German luxury cars, and the BMW E30 3-series became a status symbol throughout the country. The E36 cars from 1992 were slightly larger, with a more advanced chassis, more power, and more luxury while still being sporty.

Wilwood Brakes for the BMW E36 M3

BMW E36 M3

Various specialty shops make kits with Wilwood components for earlier BMWs like the 2002 and E30, but Wilwood's official coverage starts with the 1995-1998 BMW E36 M3. Because it was also based on the E36 front suspension, the 1998-2001 Z3 roadster can also use these kits.

Wilwood's Superlite six piston big brake kit (part number 140-8797) for the E36 M3 combines the latest evolution of the motorsports-proven Superlite caliper with a 332mm (13.06") diameter rotor that is more than 13mm (0.5") larger than stock and thicker too. The forged aluminum calipers reduce deflection and improve clamping for more predictable braking, even in extreme use. The larger rotors improve brake torque and thermal capacity, while the aluminum mounting hat makes them weigh less than the stock units. A newer Lug-Drive dynamically mounted rotor race kit (part number 140-16005) is also available with the same size rotors, dynamically mounted to reduce thermal stresses and distortion, and calipers with Thermlock thermal barrier pistons.

BMW E36 M3 Superlite kit 140-8797

Part Number 140-8797

BMW E36 M3 Superlite Race Kit

Part Number 140-16005

For more powerful cars, like those with an American V8 swapped into them or forced induction, Wilwood also has E36 M3 kits with 356mm (14.00") diameter rotors for increased torque and thermal capacity. The street kit (part number 140-9300) combines the 356mm rotors with the same proven Superlite calipers as the smaller kit to really fill 18" or larger diameter wheels. The race kit (part number 140-16010) uses the more rigid Aerolite six piston calipers, with a central stiffening bridge to further reduce deflection, and 356mm Lug-Drive rotors.

BMW E36 M3 Superlite 14" street kit

Part Number 140-9300

BMW E36 M3 Superlite 14" Race kit

Part Number 140-16010

All Wilwood street car kits are designed to be compatible with the factory master cylinder, ABS system, and rear brakes. For racing with the E36 M3, Wilwood has a Lug-Drive dynamically mounted rotor kit to complement the 332mm (13.06") or 356mm (14.00") front kit. This rear kit, part number 140-16017, features Superlite four piston calipers, with pistons sized for proper front to rear brake bias, and 330mm (13.00") GT slotted 48 vane rotors.

BMW E36 E3 Rear 13" Superlite Race Kit

Part Number 140-16017

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Wilwood Brakes for the BMW E46 3-Series and M3

BMW E46 325i race car

Wilwood offers 356mm (14.00") diameter big brake kits with Aerolite six piston calipers for all of the 1999-2006 E46 models, in street or race trim. For the street use kit, 320i, 323I, 325i, 328i, and 330i models use part number 140-11974, while M3 models use part number 140-14751. These kits use proprietary Spec37 iron alloy rotors with 72 internal vanes to pump air through them, developed for their thermal stability in extreme use. For competition M3 cars needing big brakes, kit part number 140-14978 uses the race-spec Aerolite caliper and a rotor dynamically mounted to T-nuts that allows it to expand with heat.

BMW E46 Aerolite 14" street kit

Part Number 140-11974 (3-Series)
Part Number 140-14751 (M3)

BMW E46 M3 Aerolite 14" race kit

Part Number 140-14978 (M3)

All Wilwood street car kits are designed to be compatible with the factory master cylinder, ABS system, and rear brakes. Wilwood makes street and race-spec rear Superlite kits with 327mm (12.88") rotors to complement the M3 front kits above, with caliper pistons sized for proper front-to-rear bias. The street kit, part number 140-14752, reuses the existing factory drum internal parking brake. The race-spec kit, part number 140-14980, deletes the parking brake entirely.

BMW E46 M3 Superlite 12.88" rear street kit

Part Number 140-14752

BMW E46 M3 Superlite 12.88" rear race kit

Part Number 140-14980

Wilwood Brakes for the BMW E90 3-Series, and E82 1-Series

2007 BMW E90 M3

With the 3-Series getting bigger and more luxurious with each generation, BMW introduced the smaller 1-Series using a similar platform. The 1-Series ended up very close in size to the popular E30 3-Series from the 1980s, and is a popular track day and autocross vehicle.

Wilwood makes a 356mm (14.00") Aerolite six piston kit for the E90/E82, similar to the kit for the earlier cars, with GT slotted 72 vane Spec 37 rotors. Kit part number 140-13582 fits 2008-2013 128i and 135i, and 2006-2013 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i, and 335i. Both street-friendly and track-only pad compounds are available.

For the most demanding drivers of these cars, Wilwood makes an Aerolite six piston kit with massive 381mm (15.00") rotors that should be able to handle track duty on the fastest of BMW 1- or 3-Series. Kit part number 140-13919 features GT slotted 72 vane rotors similar to the above kit but upsized for more brake torque and thermal capacity.

BMW E90 Aerolite 14" street kit

Part Number 140-13582

BMW E90 Aerolite 15" street kit

Part Number 140-13919

All Wilwood street car kits are designed to be compatible with the factory master cylinder, ABS system, and rear brakes. However, Wilwood does make a complimentary Aerolite four piston rear kit for the E90 3-Series featuring a 356mm (14.00") rotor and caliper pistons sized for proper front-to-rear brake bias. The rear kit will work with either front kit and is part number 140-13583 and utilizes the factory parking brake.

BMW E90 Aerolite 14" rear street kit

Part Number 140-13583

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