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      03-02-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
vgame64
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Drives: BMW 335i
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA

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Hello Bimmerpost!

On Tuesday March 16th 2010, I was graciously invited up to BMW NA to interview the manager of BMW Performance: Eric Riehle. Beyond the interview, I tested out a BMW Performance 335i, and was given a tour of their facility.

I used this opportunity to get new and updated answers to many questions circulating the Bimmerpost community.

The questions I received were:

Q1: In my extensive discussions with BMW enthusiasts, it seems the one product we all want to see is an LSD. In your previous interview, you cited that BMW feels that their is not enough demand for one whereas several (online and offline) BMW communities shows otherwise. Will BMW Performance respond to all the enthusiasts demands to release a LSD for the 335? And what type of LSD would it be?

Eric: Currently, all non-M BMW's made since 1995 have used what is known as an "e-diff" to simulate the effects of an LSD. For most BMW owners, this is sufficient. I do realize that their is demand being shown in the US for an LSD from enthusiasts. BMW Performance is currently building a business case for the LSD. I personally would like to see an LSD for the 335, and if enough demand is shown from BMW's various markets, it will be released.

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Q2: One of the more popular items sold via the aftermarket are intake systems for the 335. In some cases, independent testing has shown that these provide small to negative gains. I feel that with BMW's engineering prowess and resources, you can craft a well designed intake that can reliably increase power and enhance the engine's audible note. Is BMW Performance working on an intake system for the 335? If not, is this something that could be added to the product pipeline in the future?

Eric: We do have an intake in consideration for the 335. It is around 75% completed in terms of development. If enough interest is shown, and a business case can be made for it, BMW Performance will release it.

Q2.5: What considerations does BMW make in Germany before releasing a product?

Eric: Longevity testing is a key component of the testing. As the engine is a mechanical device, it has limitations regarding wear from heat, stress, etc. BMW ensures that the reliability of the engine is maintained while safely going achieving the goals set for each component we sell.

Q3: I fielded many questions regarding being able to order BMW Performance parts with the car from the factory similar to how Mini sells JCW components. I agree that this would be useful in that it would save on installation costs, prevent having extra stock parts left over, and help save time/hassle. Has this been considered by BMW?

Eric: I am not sure if BMW considered this in the past. Many of the parts we install are not very difficult to install. If we were to offer these parts from the factory, too many configurations would exist and costs would increase. If the car was to be taken off the line and built elsewhere in Germany, due to labor costs, any chance of these parts being cost effective would be lost. Between the dealership and VDC, customers should not have an issue with having parts installed.

Q4: Has their been any consideration to release upgraded brake system
components for the 335, similar to the 135?


Eric: Due to crash testing, regulations, and brakes being such an integral part of the car, they need to be developed while that car is in the development stage. Unfortunately, the outlook for BMW Performance was not developed at the time the 335 was created so brakes were not developed. We do not have plans to release brakes for this generation 335, but we do plan on releasing them for future generations.

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Q5: Do any models get preferential treatment from BMW Performance? (ie: 135 over the 335?)

Eric: We do not give any model preferential treatment; if anything, it would be the contrary regarding the 135 considering that the E90 has a much larger installed user base.

Q6: Has BMW Performance considered re-branding ///M components as BMW Performance parts? (ie: brakes)

Eric: We have not considered that at this time. We do offer Motorsports products for the E90, Z4, and several other models. Catalogs of these parts can be found on BMWUSA.com. Keep in mind that these parts are not street legal.

Q7: Will BMW Performance release the amazing seats they made in the US?

Eric: When I was in Germany, I had a chance to sit in these seats...and they truly are amazing. Unfortunately due to regulations and the lack of the passenger occupancy sensor, these seats cannot be sold in the US. In order for us to add that and re-certify the seats for US (crash testing, etc), they would become cost prohibitive for most.

Q8: What differences exist between the 335is and the BMW Performance Power kit? Will these changes propagate to a new revision, or "Stage 2" Performance kit?

Eric: The main difference between the power kit and the 335is the overboost feature which momentarily increases torque levels. Hardware wise, the 335is has a beefier flywheel that can handle the additional torque. Early in the development phase of the power kit, we considered released multiple power levels. But as it stands, the costs involved with adding the flywheel into the 335i would be expensive due to the lengthy labour and ~$1000+ cost of the flywheel. So in effect, this would be cost prohibitive for most.

Q9: Have the price cuts improved sales for BMW Performance? How does BMW Performance determine pricing?

Eric: I took a look at the sales figures and they have improved since the price cuts. This is very encouraging. We determine the pricing by assesing what our product offers in terms of functionality, features, fit, and finish in comparison with other aftermarket manufacturers. We place a small price premium because we feel our products offer a higer overall quality and we include a warranty on the parts.

[u2b]<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/RbbMwZtGa2k&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/RbbMwZtGa2k&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>[/u2b]

Q10: Will BMW Performance make new parts for the N55, and will existing N54 parts transfer over?

Eric: BMW Performance will be making a power kit for the N55 that will bring power levels up to the same levels of the existing N54 power kit. Overboost is undecided at this time. Keep in mind that N54 will slowly be phased out in favor of the N55 due to efficiency and other factors, so the N55 will be targeted moving forward.

The current BMW Performance exhaust should have no problem being ported over to the N55 platform.


Q11: Has BMW Performance considered bundling parts together?

Eric: I am creating several packages as we speak. Estimated availability is around May. I would like to bundle together the power kit and the exhaust in a performance package. Another kit could be aesthetics and wheels or suspension and wheels. We would offer a discount on the bundles as added incentive.

Q12: What is BMW Performance's plan for the Z4?

Eric: We do offer parts for the Z4 currently such as the black kidney grills and 313 wheels. We will monitor sales and decide whether or not we should expand our offerings. We do have a performance diffusor coming out soon for the Z4.

Q13: What does BMW Performance have planned for the ///M3?

Eric: I personally would like to see some of the GTS parts trickle down into our market. I would love to see the titanium exhaust, but nothing is decided at this time.

Q14: Will BMW Performance release a suspension upgrade for the xi models?

Eric: When BMW created the suspension for the xi models, they decided the dampening rates and ride height for a specific purpose. If a BMW Performance suspension were to be installed, it would negate those design decisions. The exhaust and power kit do work on the xi models.

Q15: Any plans for BMW Performance diesel parts?

Eric: The 335d is an amazingly fast car…in no short part due to the 400+ ft-lbs of torque. Despite this, we feel that most people still look at gasoline powered engines as a more performance oriented option. This is slowly changing and we will actively monitor this segment of the market.

Q16: Will any of the 335is parts such as the black-tipped exhaust be sold for the 335i?

Eric: We don't have any plans to bring these parts to the 335i

Q17: Do you know anything about the M1 you could shed light on?

Eric: Honestly, I don't know anything about it's status currently. I have talked to several folks within the company but have not uncovered any answers.

Q18: Any idea if the new HPFP will solve the HPFP failure issue?

Eric: I haven't been following the issues in great detail due to it being outside of my focus area. I did read a service bulletin for long cranks that stated a new software update was released: ISTA-P 2.37. For more mechanical issues, a new pump was in development, but I am not sure of the status currently.

Q19: Does BMW Performance have any products in the pipeline for 2010+?

Eric: Yes! We are unveiling a new product lineup for the X6. The lineup includes a 21" wheel set, an aerodynamic kit, exhaust, power kit for the N63 and N54 engines, and a new full alcantara steering wheel.

Q20: Are there any products you are specifically proud of?

Eric: I really like the steering wheels that we have. The full alcantara wheel with the yellow stripe is a great wheel. The electronic wheel is another great wheel that has shift lights and measures 1/4 mile times, longitudinal and lateral G-force measurement, and shows oil/water temperature. It truly is a unique product offering.

Thank you Eric Riehle, BMW NA, and Bimmerpost for this opportunity!

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(I am not playing with my phone, I am timing each video segment because of my SLR's video limitation! And ignore my hair, it refuses to cooperate. )

Last edited by vgame64; 03-23-2010 at 01:05 PM.