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BMW Plasma Direct Ignition Install

Ignition Solutions’ Plasma Direct Ignition Put To The Test

Jason Jackman
Nov 1, 2002
Photographer: MIke Shartsis

In today’s tuner aftermarket of ad gimmicks and wordplay, it’s difficult to know what will and will not give you horsepower increases. In most cases, tuners and racers will tell you that you can’t obtain horsepower from spark, a spark is a spark, end of story, thank you, next, please. We found that’s not always the case (yes, we have dyno sheets to prove it). Enter Ignition Solutions, a San Diego–based company that has invented a new type of ignition system for your European car.

We went to R&D Dyno in Gardena, California, to get the Ignition Solutions crew to “put their money where their mouth is” on their new Plasma Direct Ignition system. We really should have kept quiet. They provided the car, a stock ’01 BMW 330Ci, and we said show us some horsepower increases. Then they whisked us away into the garage, wooed us over with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee, and went to work on the car.

The Plasma Direct Ignition is really as close as you can get to plug-and-play as far as modding goes. Most ignition systems require cutting into the harness and not many people like to do that. The Ignition Solutions Plasma Direct Ignition offers an alternative to that route. To install the system is as easy as: remove old coils, replace with Ignition Solutions coils. We were going to have a group of first graders come in to do it, but our legal department said something about “child labor laws” and “big lawsuit” in the same sentence, so we figured it was bad.

In stock form, the BMW produced 193.1 whp and 195.0 lb-ft of torque. We then equipped the car with the Plasma Direct Ignition coils and pulled it back onto the dyno. When it was all done the car had pulled a significant increase in horsepower and torque. The end results showed the car dyno-testing at 198.7 whp and 196.0 lb-ft of torque. The way the technology works is to amplify the primary and secondary spark by 100 percent. In your average ignition system, about 99 percent of the spark is wasted in what’s called a “long duration spark”. By using a faster spark and increasing the charge you waste less and use more. The way they get the system to spark faster is by using an alternating current, which results in almost four times the spark during the initial discharge. In the end we learned two lessons: One is, you can get horsepower from spark. The second is, you can probably live off of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

The Numbers:
Baseline HP: 193.1
Baseline TQ: 195.0
Ignition Solutions HP: 198.7
Ignition Solutions TQ: 196.0

Tech Facts:
Vehicle: 2001 BMW 330 Ci
Engine: 3.0L I-6 Cylinder
Parts: Ignition Solutions Plasma Direct Ignition
MSRP: $775.99

Pertinent Info:
The Ignition Solutions Plasma Direct Ignition is a replacement for the stock ignition system that offers a cleaner, more powerful spark. Unlike a lot of aftermarket ignition systems, it doesn’t require cutting into your stock harness, which can save a ton of headaches if you don’t like wiring schematics. The ignition system was also tested on a dyno for before- and-after results. The tests were performed on a Dynojet 248c and the car was in bone-stock form when we did the tests.


Ignition Solutions
San Diego, CA 92126
By Jason Jackman
18 Articles



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