My performance air intake system was finally installed yesterday. I drive a steptronic so I can’t say how much better this system might perform with the 6MT. Expectations and impressions/opinions follow.
I was expecting to receive better throttle responses over a broad rpm range, lessen a perceived dropoff at about 1500 rpms and hopefully feel a bit quicker acceleration. From what I’ve come across about modern normally aspirated BMW engines it is difficult to extract any significant horsepower and torque increases just by adding bolt-on products here and there. I’ve done the Dinan powertrain stuff on an old E46 and know what a disappointment that can be after having spent thousands of dollars. For those owners who measure the value of a product strictly in terms of numbers gained and 0-60 times, this intake system is NOT for you. This project was entered into with a view towards achieving more practical gains for a daily driver. No racing for me.
In D mode throttle response feels about the same below 2,000 rpms. Stab the gas pedal more than ¾ of the way down and at 4,000+ rpms there is a sudden rush of power and the tach needle climbs quickly to 5,000+. I don’t remember sensing that much of a rush with the stock intake before. It felt a bit more linear in the past. It seems as though the new intake opens up the floodgates the higher the rpms climb.
Shift into DS mode and this is where I believe the new intake shines, for me anyway. Previously, the car felt kind of jumpy from a standing start. Now acceleration is still strong but smoother at lower rpms. Jump on the gas while cruising anywhere above 40 mph/2,100 rpms and the car pulls strongly and quickly past 5,000 rpms. Throttle responses are immediate. There is a little more kick. Very nice. I can see improvements in freeway passing here.
And finally, the sound. On the freeway when accelerating the engine sings more clearly with a slightly deeper voice; no hint of raspiness. I think the tone is a tad deeper but you can judge for yourself by viewing the attached video. There’s also a couple of pics with the new intake installed and a pic of the old one unassembled.
One other thing – design style. The BMW performance intake integrates nicely within the general layout of the engine bay. It gives a very clean and finished look plus the carbon fiber is a nice touch. Other cars with certain types of aftermarket intakes especially those with open cone designs (which serves a functional purpose) look out of place and out of proportion.
Anyway, this BMW product is a great product even though a little pricey. I’m sure the tuner community will eventually come around with alternatives that may be less expensive but with similar gains/benefits. For now, however, this intake blends functional benefits with style and warranty that no one has yet matched as far as I can tell. To conclude, allow me to borrow the title of a 3 Series article…”Bar, raised…Bench, marked”.
Before & after: