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      04-08-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
dtm@heart's Avatar

Drives: Mystic 330i
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: San Jose, CA.

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E90 330i NA: BMW Performance Intake, Exhaust, BMS PBX, and Scoops! One Stop Review!

E90 330i NA: BMW Performance Intake, Exhaust, BMS PBX, and Scoops! One Stop Review!

I have had the fortune of coming across each one of these pieces recently, and was able to get them on the car in sequence over the last month. The following review is aimed to give a comprehensive idea of what to expect from the addition of these power mods to the NA motor both individually and in aggregate.

First off, I have to admit that due to my own time and facilities constraints, I did not perform the installation of the PBX or the performance exhaust, so i have no expertise in that area. I was prepared based on the links below, but that is the extent of my knowledge. Thanks in advance to those who wrote up instructions:

BMW Performance Intake (nevets1):
BMW Performance Exhaust (FrankiE90):
Scoops (Riss Racing):

The Parts:
The parts were installed onto the car in sequence in order to differentiate the gain of each piece. I did the intake first, exhaust, then PBX, then scoops.

BMW Performance Intake:
I came from the AFE Stage 2 intake which had a great sound, negligible performance gains, but I noticed the acceleration was sometimes jerky. When I switched to the BMW Performance Intake, I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed by the sound. With the silencer still in place from the OEM boot, and the carbon filter, this intake was only slightly louder than the OEM intake. Since the design is based on the OEM intake this makes sense. Once I warmed it up and got it on the freeway onramp is where I noticed the difference. The car pulled stronger and power was delivered more smoothly all the way to redline. It felt like the car wanted to rev, like it was more comfortable being driven hard. The butt dyno didnt feel much, but overall it was a better feel. Whether this is the best intake, worth the money, etc. etc. is still debatable, as everything is in the eyes of the beholder. However for my purposes, retaining the warranty, higher quality and better integrated design of the OEM performance unit, and the smoothness of acceleration and rev-happy response made it worth it for me.

BMW Performance Exhaust:
I picked up my car after having Phuonger install it on the lift at Speed Element. As we started the car, there was a small roar as the motor turned over, which quickly returned to near stock noise levels as the idle stabilized. Putting it into gear and reversing out of the bay, I could hear that any throttle resulted in an aggressive but not overly loud exhaust tone which brought a smile to my face. Getting the car out on the road, interior noise was minimal under normal acceleration and cruising, but when I got on it… OH MAN.

People who have previously reviewed this exhaust have said this is their favorite mod. I’m going to have to add myself to the list of people who have reluctantly shelled out the cash for this unit, only to be blown away at how awesome it sounds. You quickly forget about how much cash you just dropped on the exhaust and focus on where you’re going to floor it next. This exhaust screams under WOT; not in a deafening way, but in a way that makes you want to drive with your windows down and the radio off.

Butt dyno, again I didn’t notice anything too significant, but with the less restrictive pipes and amazing sound to let you know it’s working, I took BMW’s word for it, it seems like there’s a few extra horses in there. Combined with the intake, the motor is one smooth operator. Pulls strong to redline, and sounds the part now. I don’t want to sound ignorant for this comparison, but it sounds like a slow Ferrari… You get the point; If you heard this coming down the street, you would be left guessing until you saw it.

There are many very good videos of this exhaust out there, but they just can’t communicate how amazing it sounds in real life. I won’t waste my time trying to explain the details of the growl under acceleration, the burble/crackle when you let off… you gotta find one to hear in person, or you gotta get one for yourself. This is THE exhaust for NA E9x, period.

Burger Tuning Powerbox PBX:
I had the PBX installed at the same time as the exhaust, but turned off the performance mapping until I got a feel for the exhaust. After an hour or so of driving, I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer and stopped to set the PBX to map 3 for 60% throttle tune and performance tune ON. I drove the car around getting a feel for it, knowing that the ECU would gradually adapt to the performance tune to come full force. On the other hand, I was immediately able to notice the throttle response. Revs rise and fall much much MUCH quicker than stock, and along with the intake and exhaust, just really takes the NA I6 to a new level. The car rockets through 1st and 2nd on a moments notice, 3rd and 4th are pretty money for backroad blasting and canyon cruising. 5th and 6th are now useful to pass on the freeway. I completed my impression of the PBX tune upon the install of my MFD scoops painted SF Giants orange!

M-Force Design Air Scoops:
Let me just start by saying that there is a lot of speculation as to whether scoops do anything for the N52. I think this CAN be true depending on your setup. Fortunately I was not disappointed by mine. In conjunction with the intake, exhaust, and PBX, I can say that the scoops make a noticeable difference above 70 mph. With the scoops on, I did a few pulls working my way down the gears.

70mph in 6th feels about the same due to gearing
70mph in 5th feels similar, but revs pick up quicker once in the powerband
70mph in 4th is quick and really takes off once I hit 5000 rpm

70mph in 3rd… Ok boys and girls, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that when the 330i has full boltons with this tune, it pulls like a 335i in the sweet spot. I haven’t felt the ‘omg this is kinda scary’ acceleration since the first time I drove my stage 2 9-2x. But unlike the 9-2x, the pull is smooth, linear and controlled, and doesn’t drop off until you’re well into ‘arrest me’ territory. That’s the best I can explain it.

Not much more that I can say about this setup that hasn’t already been covered above or in other reviews. I can say this, however. If you are wanting that extra kick, needing to breathe life into a fading romance with your NA e9x, but don’t want to take the hit of depreciation and selling your car for a 335i only to deal with hpfp issues, you need to try this setup.

At msrp, you’ll run yourself about 2 grand. I was fortunate not to have to shell out that much, but let me say that I felt pretty bad about spending this much on the performance parts for an already very good motor… until I installed them. Now I don’t regret any of it.

Until I have an opportunity to dyno, my best guess is that based on the spec sheet estimates for these pieces, I wouldn’t doubt a net gain of at least 25-30 chp, but don’t quote me. I’m not concerned with that and neither should you. The bottom line is that it feels excellent all around. You will have a smile on your face. You will drive your car for no reason other than to smile. You will be in love again.

I officially endorse BMW Performance Intake, Exhaust, Burger Tuning PBX, and Scoops!

Special thanks to:
-Dr.Phuonger? for help on the installs!
-The forum members I dealt with for the great deals on genuine BMW Performance.
-BMS for designing an awesome product
-Whoever invented scoops, that shit is underrated

Last edited by dtm@heart; 04-08-2010 at 05:59 PM.