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      11-02-2010, 10:08 PM   #1
N55_BBM
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2011 135i - Stock vs. Performance Exhaust [REVIEW, PHOTOS, VIDEO]

Bought my BMW Performance Exhaust and had installed on 10/22. Took my mechanic 1:50 to remove the stock exhaust and install this one but he did a great job with it so I’m pleased. Have driven for around 400 miles at this point.

REVIEW:

The BMW PE has a much nicer grunt/note than the stock exhaust, but as can be seen from the video the difference is a lot slimmer than with other aftermarket exhausts, which I think we already knew. However, I actually don’t think that the video does enough justice because it does sound a lot better in person to be frank. Most of the difference in sound can be heard from the outside and/or with a cold engine. The exhaust really isn’t that loud, and you have to have your windows down to fully enjoy the note and all the “gurgles” and “popping” (which sound AMAZING by the way).. Doing 2nd and 3rd gear pulls with the windows open and revving up to 5500rpm sounds significantly better now. But as I said, you have to have your windows down… When comparing to stock exhaust, I can’t really hear that much of a difference with the windows up, or at least nothing close to ~$1000 worth of difference, lol. Yes you get a slightly more awesome grunt, but with the windows up it’s really not a $1000 value.

However, IMO is can be a good thing, because I want an exhaust that I hear only when I want to/am in the mood for it, and this PE does a fair job at this. It’s more about the different, more aggressive note than the volume, which I love.

But since nothing is ever perfect, there is a downside to this exhaust. Like I said, I only want to hear it when I’m in the mood, and when commuting to work at 7:30am, when I’m in for 10 min of traffic and 20 min of very busy highway driving at around 50-60mph in 6th gear, the LAST thing I want to hear is any noise whatsoever. The stock exhaust was absolutely perfect at this, close to zero noise unless you really gunned it. But the performance exhaust, is at its loudest at the 1800-2300 rpm range, so there is a some slight drone especially around 2000rpm that has been pissing me off mostly in the mornings. When maintaining your speed at that range going on a flat surface or downhill it’s completely silence, but as soon as you touch the gas a little bit to maintain speed going uphill or accelerate slightly, you do get a bit of drone. I’m getting more and more used to it I think, because it was worse last week than it is this week. And I also do recognize that I’m a huge paranoid and am excessively sensitive to any little squeak I hear in the car. So take that into consideration when reading this..

So in summary, you get a very nice grunt, some awesome gurgling and popping, it’s a thrill to rev it up and do random 2nd and 3rd gear pulls, and the exhaust isn’t that loud. However, you do need your windows open or else I don’t think the sound will be worth your money. Downside is the slight drone at around 2k rpm, so if you have extremely sensitive ears like me and can’t deal with much noise on the highway, you gotta be careful and actually personally experience it before making a purchasing decision I think.

Just to leave you with one last thought to confuse you… I didn’t really realize how good the stock N55 exhaust is until I got the PE. I’m the kind of person that would love an aggressive and loud for the weekend and spirited driving, but for daily, monotonous, low-speed commutes I’m like a woman I guess… need my car to be silent, comfortable, and classy. The 1er satisfied my needs with the stock exhaust – it was 100% silent when needed and the sound it made when driving aggressive wasn’t optimal, but wasn’t anywhere close to dissatisfying either. Now that I have this PE on, the sound when driving aggressively is optimal (any louder would be annoying or make me feel like I’m in the set of The Fast and the Furious), but the conditions I need for commuting are now sub-optimal because of drone.

Given that I spend roughly 1:15 driving each day versus maybe 5 track days a year, paying the $950 I paid for parts&install would not make that much sense if you’re going to be rational.. But it’s really hard to be rational when it comes to these things because that awesome sound is just so intoxicating. So I’m just going to have to use this more and more and decide if I can get used to the drone or not.

There is one solution, to my problem, as posted by 1SerieStud here: http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433530

However, I feel kind of “aghh” about already having paid ~$950 on parts&install for something that isn’t really that different from the stock exhaust under normal driving conditions, so I’d feel like a complete fool if I paid the mechanic even more to install the resonator and make it even more silent than it already is…

Will post updates on whether the exhaust drone improves after a few heat cycles and on whether or not I get used to it..

Sorry for the ridiculously long review, hopefully it helps someone out there!

[SPACE RESERVED FOR PHOTOS]
To be uploaded once I was my car.

VIDEO:



Disclaimer: I took these clips with my iPhone 4, so forget about the image quality or the fact the the first couple of clips were taken sideways (yes I'm an idiot, took me a while to realize). Driving was highly limited by my surroundings. And yes, the raw video files from my iphone and my iMovie project are much higher quality, had to compress to upload to youtube. I am terrible at this stuff though so feel free to offer to do it for me if you find yourself having too much free time .. I'll email or upload original files somewhere.

Last edited by N55_BBM; 11-03-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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      11-02-2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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Last edited by red-sauerkraut; 11-02-2010 at 10:21 PM.
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      11-02-2010, 10:37 PM   #3
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      11-03-2010, 01:03 PM   #4
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you should add a segment where you go through a tunnel

The PE is a very nice piece, it's only a tiny bit louder then stock, but extremely civilized. An intake will make it slightly louder again.

It has a nice howl at 3500ish RPM hard to hear in video form.
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      11-03-2010, 01:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The1 View Post
you should add a segment where you go through a tunnel

The PE is a very nice piece, it's only a tiny bit louder then stock, but extremely civilized. An intake will make it slightly louder again.

It has a nice howl at 3500ish RPM hard to hear in video form.
haha yeah if only there were a tunnel around here.. closest one I can think of is 2 hours away...!

yeah it's really pleasant to hear when you're in a racing spirit. i definitely don't want to make it louder though because the slight drone at 2000rpm is already annoying me quite enough (more on that on the review).

gotta stop doing these multiple 2 minute posts and just get to a review already...
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      11-03-2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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I don't find the drone that bad, but i'm usually going closer to 70-75mph, as the highway here in ontoario, if you're going the speed limit, you're actually being a dangerous driver.

I've never really heard my exhaust at the 60mph mark as a result.

so maybe just tap the cruise control one or two times and it might go away at 2100rpm
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      11-03-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The1 View Post
I don't find the drone that bad, but i'm usually going closer to 70-75mph, as the highway here in ontoario, if you're going the speed limit, you're actually being a dangerous driver.

I've never really heard my exhaust at the 60mph mark as a result.

so maybe just tap the cruise control one or two times and it might go away at 2100rpm
it goes away at ~2300rpm. the 13 miles of highway i take to work are 50mph limit and people go exactly 60 usually (faster than that and you'll get pulled over). so I always get a very slight drone on my way to work at 7:30am it pisses me off
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      11-03-2010, 01:21 PM   #8
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5th gear, i don't even thing our engines are as efficient in 6th gear going 50mph

i tend to hold 5th gear up until about 55mph as i feel like the car is almost chugging if i shift to 6th. and i think my gas mileage is a bit better when i do this too.... i need to test this a little more though.
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      11-03-2010, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The1 View Post
5th gear, i don't even thing our engines are as efficient in 6th gear going 50mph

i tend to hold 5th gear up until about 55mph as i feel like the car is almost chugging if i shift to 6th. and i think my gas mileage is a bit better when i do this too.... i need to test this a little more though.
I shift to 6th as soon as I can, generally it's when I reach 1900-2000rpm on 5th, which I'd guess would be around 50mph? I've been getting 22.5-23mpg consistently, and that's with a lot of highway traffic.. I drive a total of about 35-40mi each day and it's 98% highway, but still takes 1:15-1:20..
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      11-03-2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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BTW, updated the post with an extra long review. photos to come once I wash my car, which should be soon because I can barely stand staring at it in its current condition..
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      11-03-2010, 04:06 PM   #11
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Thanks for the write up, I love hearing opinions about the N55+PE.


I have a question for you though, in relation to how you like quiet when driving in the morning. Before installing the PE, did you do the golftee mod to your stock exhaust?
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      11-03-2010, 05:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylon View Post
Thanks for the write up, I love hearing opinions about the N55 PE.


I have a question for you though, in relation to how you like quiet when driving in the morning. Before installing the PE, did you do the golftee mod to your stock exhaust?
Nope, went straight to PE. To be honest I learned what the golf tee mod was a week ago haha.

Part of me thinks I should've tried that before going for the PE but knowing me I would've wanted the PE anyway. Like I said I dont think the PE is thaaaat different from the stock system volume-wise (except for drone) so I can see how I'd prob be unsatisfied with the golf tee mod.

And also I'd rather keep my car with original BMW parts and something about the golf tee mod just seems really sketchy and not worth the added 10% volume increase to me...

And to be honest the performance exhaust is starting to grow more and more on me.. Temperature outside is in the 40s here and except for high speed highway driving I find I now always have my windows open despite the cold
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      11-03-2010, 10:19 PM   #13
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The PE is louder then the golf t mod. the golf t mod sounds nice, but nothing like the PE

something else to note, there's no advantages to going the golf t mod route other then a slight sound increase. as opposed to the 5+ horsepower of the PE (that number will change with tunes.)
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      11-03-2010, 10:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The1 View Post
The PE is louder then the golf t mod. the golf t mod sounds nice, but nothing like the PE

something else to note, there's no advantages to going the golf t mod route other then a slight sound increase. as opposed to the 5+ horsepower of the PE (that number will change with tunes.)


The margin for error on different dynos vary between 3-5hp. One dyno may say you gained 5hp, but another may say you lost 3hp, as was the case with the 135i project car Eurotuner magazine built with all BMW performance parts. Their dyno consistently showed a 3hp loss at the wheels.

To me, 5hp isnt going to translate into anything noticeable on the road. Most people are going to get an aftermarket exhaust purely for the sound.
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      11-04-2010, 09:10 AM   #15
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It sounds good, on my N54 PE there is ZERO drone. I'm a fan of the secondary cats because of this.
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      03-15-2012, 08:14 PM   #16
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Anybody in the Boston area have the BMW PE on an N55? I'm picking up my new 1er next week and I am debating having the PE installed before delivery. I don't trust videos to accurately represent the sound or the volume, though, and I want to hear it in person first.

I also live in the city, so I don't want to annoy my neighbors, but I know the stock exhaust will be too quiet. I am also considering a CP-E and would love to hear one of those in person.
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      03-15-2012, 08:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavpilot2k View Post
Anybody in the Boston area have the BMW PE on an N55? I'm picking up my new 1er next week and I am debating having the PE installed before delivery. I don't trust videos to accurately represent the sound or the volume, though, and I want to hear it in person first.
N54 with PE, but I'm in the suburbs.

Agree mostly with this review. I don't notice any drone. And I agree with the windows up I don't notice it that much (and that's a good thing). I open my windows when getting off the highway just to hear the car. I also find myself turning off the stereo frequently.

My neighbors do notice the cold start in my garage. That's a good thing.

It's exactly what I want in an exhaust (not for everyone though, I can understand some people wanting something much more agressive).
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      03-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #18
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N54 with PE, but I'm in the suburbs.

Agree mostly with this review. I don't notice any drone. And I agree with the windows up I don't notice it that much (and that's a good thing). I open my windows when getting off the highway just to hear the car. I also find myself turning off the stereo frequently.

My neighbors do notice the cold start in my garage. That's a good thing.

It's exactly what I want in an exhaust (not for everyone though, I can understand some people wanting something much more agressive).
Thanks. I don't want too aggressive. My neighborhood is all old Victorians with no garages, only driveways in between.
Don;t want to piss off the neighbors, but I want to HEAR that engine, even inside.
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      03-17-2012, 08:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavpilot2k View Post
Thanks. I don't want too aggressive. My neighborhood is all old Victorians with no garages, only driveways in between.
Don;t want to piss off the neighbors, but I want to HEAR that engine, even inside.
Don't get me wrong -- the PE is probably the least aggressive, quietest non-stock exhaust on the market.
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      03-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #20
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I will probably go with it if my sales rep gives me a decent deal on delivery. Otherwise I LOVE the tone of the CP-E.
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