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After a period of absence, Kelleners Sport has returned to the
BMW tuning scene and its 535i looks set to bring the brand
back with a bang
Words: Sebastian de Latour Photography: Dave Smith
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B MW enthusiasts will no doubt recognise
Visually, the Kelleners 535i is nothing short of
spectacular – it looks like it would eat your children
when you weren’t looking and have your dog for
dessert. But somehow it manages to be both
incredibly aggressive and hugely intimidating but
without coming across as vulgar or over the top.
While I can appreciate that perhaps Kelleners’ styling
won’t appeal to all tastes, I personally think it’s
awesome and however menacing it may appear in
the photos, in the metal it’s terrifying. Kelleners has
worked hard to ensure that the bodystyling isn’t made
up of separate sections but that each piece of the
whole kit flows into the next, making it look a lot
more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
The front bumper can take the bulk of the credit
when it comes to the 535i’s looks because it does
most of the work and it’s what gives the car its visual
clout. It appears that whoever designed it left their
pencil and compass at home and only had their set
square to hand because it’s a riot of right angles,
eschewing curves in favour of bold square shapes. It
makes the F10 look massively wide, with those
squared-off edges that house the vertical LED arrays.
the Kelleners Sport name, though in
recent years it has been notable in the
BMW tuning scene only by its absence
and it’s been quite some time since the
company has brought out any new products. But,
thankfully, Kelleners Sport is making a welcome return
to the BMW scene, in a new location, under new
management and with the facilities and technical
expertise of Mercedes tuning expert Carlsson to hand.
And, judging by its first car, it’s off to a cracking start.
The car that has been tasked with the responsibility
of re-introducing the company to the world is the F10
535i and the team at Kelleners Sport has been
working away furiously for the best part of 2010 to
create a package for the car from scratch in order to
have it ready for its grand unveiling at the Essen
Motorshow last December. I can’t even begin to
imagine how daunting it must be to try and create a
styling package from scratch at the best of times but
when it’s for the first car from an essentially new
company, it has to be absolutely bang on. No
pressure then.
50 BMW car
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The slim central air intake is flanked by two
purposeful intakes and, usefully, the bumper employs
a modular design. See that silver lip below the central
intake? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to have it.
And that stainless steel mesh is optional, too. I’ve
seen the car with and without it and I can’t really
decide which looks better – without the mesh and
with some black grilles and black wheels, it would
look incredibly mean and about as stealthy as is
possible with a car like this, but on the other hand, if
you’re going to the effort of fitting a styling kit that’s
so aggressive and unsubtle, then you might as well
go all out. I like the fact that Kelleners has eschewed
the use of any chrome on this car as well, as far too
many tuners (AC Schnitzer, I’m looking at you) seem
obsessed with the shiny stuff. Stainless steel though,
I’ve got a lot of time for. At the bottom corners of the
front bumper are two little fins that protrude slightly
and the line they create along the bottom edge is
picked up by the side skirts and the elongated design
of these, with their flared rear sections, has been
created to give the car a more coupé-like appearance
in profile, so I’m told. I’m not usually a fan of side
FEBRUARY 2011 51
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skirts but I think these look really good – I like the
way they make the car appear even lower and I’d
even go so far as to agree with the coupé profile idea.
The flared rear sections of the skirts are then taken up
by the bottom edge of the rear bumper and this
features a central diffuser section which can be
painted in a contrasting colour to the rest of the
bumper – grey in this case – which is a nice touch as
it makes it more prominent and gives the rear
bumper a more purposeful look. I love the big, fat,
shiny quartet of exhausts, too. Each pair is staggered
slightly and they sit right at the edges of the bumper,
making the car look indecently wide from the rear
and they’re massive – not so much hinting at this
car’s potential as announcing it to the world via
megaphone with accompanying fireworks and laser
show. There’s also a rear spoiler, which is surprisingly
large but blends in with the lines of the car to such a
degree that unless you’re looking for it, it’s easy to
miss, especially on a black car. Finally, at least on this
example, Kelleners has left the interior well alone,
opting only for some branded mats and a pedal set.
And that’s fine by me because the standard F10
interior is so nice I can’t see any reason to go around
filling it full of trinkets.
I’m naturally a little nervous about taking to the
streets in the one and only Kelleners 535i currently in
existence – kerbing a wheel or grinding the front
bumper on the tarmac doesn’t bear thinking about –
but as Kelleners’ MD Marco Reinberg explains, the
idea behind the car was to create a styling package
that looks good but without compromising usability.
“We have lowered the car,” he says, “but not so much
that you can’t use it – there’s still plenty of ground
clearance and you don’t have to worry about scraping
the bumper or skirts.” That’s good to hear.
The 535i fires with a four-gun salute courtesy of its
sports exhaust and settles into a restrained yet
purposeful idle. Sitting behind the steering wheel with
your feet obscuring the Kelleners pedals and your
legs covering the Kelleners logo on the floor mat,
aside from the gentle throb of the exhaust there’s
nothing to suggest that this is anything other than a
standard 5 Series, which makes a nice change. A
sport suspension kit is available for the F10 from
Kelleners but this car was just fitted with a set of
lowering springs which drop the ride height by
30mm, enough to make the 5 Series look a bit more
purposeful but not so low as to render it undriveable.
This car has been specced with VDC and retains the
adjustable dampers so even though the ride is
naturally a little firmer than standard on the sport
springs, you can still either soften it up or firm it
further if you so desire.
The Kelleners 535i wears the company’s Hamburg
design alloys in a 20-inch diameter, though they are
also available as 19s. There’s so much going on here
that the wheels just shouldn’t work and yet in the
metal they are stunning. They are a 15-spoke design
with five single spokes and ten spokes arranged in
pairs with a recessed feature on the outside of each
pair and the spokes extend out from the centre of
the wheel at a slight angle before bending back in to
the edge of the wheel. This does mean that the
knuckle in the spokes does protrude ever so slightly
beyond the safety net of the of the tyres so there’s
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