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2010 BMW M3 - Project M3 Makeover Part 10 - Project M3

Dyno-testing a new cat-back exhaust from BMW Performance.

Greg Emmerson
Oct 7, 2011
Eurp 1110 01+2010 bmw m3+cover Photo 1/8   |   2010 BMW M3 - Project M3 Makeover Part 10 - Project M3

This is an emotional time for us. As I write, Project M3 is being disassembled for its returns to BMW. Our year with Munich’s hot rod has come to an end and we must give it back as we found it.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve fitted a ton of parts and must thank all the companies who participated in the project with the supply, installation or testing of so many products. You can find a full list of parts below, along with the issue they appeared in. Everything also appears at

Having fitted a number of cosmetic parts from BMW Performance (BMWP), we wanted to see how BMW’s own sports exhaust would compare to systems previously sampled from aFe (et 3/11) and GruppeM (et 4/11).

For this final installment, we didn’t fit the product to our project car. Instead, we borrowed an E92 M3 from BMW that had already been fitted with the official BMWP cat-back exhaust. We simply dynoed it and fitted a stock system for comparison.

So while the baseline numbers and photos are different to our project car, we believe this is one of the first dyno tests of the BMWP exhaust.

BMW Performance Exhaust
Several years ago, BMW realized many customers were spending large sums of money on aftermarket parts and decided to get in on the act. Their advantage is that anything sold under the BMW Performance banner won’t affect your warranty. The parts are manufactured to the highest standards and can be added to new car financing.

Eurp 1110 02+2010 bmw m3+cat back exhaust Photo 2/8   |   2010 BMW M3 - Project M3 Makeover Part 10 - Project M3

Available from your local dealer or on the web (see below), the BMWP range is continually expanding and popular among Bimmer enthusiasts looking for tuning parts with factory approval.

We previously fitted a slew of BMWP parts to our 135i project car, including a cat-back exhaust. Despite the OE quality and wonderful sound, we were disappointed to discover no power gain.

Unlike the 135i system (where a 10hp power increase was claimed), BMWP is more circumspect with the M3 and only proclaimed a weight saving and sound improvement.

Manufactured from Inconel, the thinner chrome-nickel alloy saves a claimed 40% over stock, or about 20 lb. It also boasts titanium tailpipes etched with the official M logo for the final stamp of approval.

While the fit and finish is OE quality, so is the price. At $4374 it isn’t cheap, although it’s certainly not the most expensive on the market either.

Part Supplier Price
Cat-back exhaust BMW Performance $4374.32

We returned to DC Performance in Culver City, CA for our dyno testing. The team is incredibly helpful and extremely knowledgeable. They specialize in dyno tuning and diagnostics (see sidebar) on two in-house dynos.

Before driving onto DC’s Dynojet rollers we weighed the exhausts. Surprisingly, we couldn’t find the 20 lb saving that was promised. Instead, the stock cat-back exhaust weighed 49 lb, while the BMWP system was 40.5 lb…

The M3 we tested was a demonstration vehicle for BMW Performance. As such, it came equipped with a BMWP carbon fiber front splitter, rear spoiler, mirrors, black grilles and black 19" Competition wheels. The BMWP exhaust was the only performance addition.

Not wishing to rain on anybody’s parade, we were slightly disappointed by the sound. The BMWP system on our 135i was superb, yet the M3 seemed rather muted by comparison. That will obviously appeal to many owners since it won’t attract unwanted attention, and it doesn’t drone on the freeway. We captured the sound on video so you can decide for yourself (at

Fitting the exhaust was straightforward. Simply loosen the clamps in the middle of the car and drop it off the four hangers. You also need to release brackets from either side of the muffler itself, removing the earth straps in the process. With access to a lift, this is a DIY job.

The BMW Performance exhaust looks similar to the stock system, although the materials are clearly superior. It has two interconnected mufflers rather than the OE part’s one-piece suitcase.

Chris Jensen from DC Performance was again at the controls as we went for a baseline dyno with the stock exhaust. He did a number of runs to normalize the engine temps and ECU. We then took an average of these runs to eliminate the extremes and better represent that output.

On the day, which was about 76˚F with 21% humidity, the peak numbers were 342.5hp to the wheels at 8200rpm and 244.7 lb-ft at 6900rpm. As you can see, it’s not a particularly flat torque curve but most M3s we’ve tested exhibit this characteristic wave.

With the BMW Performance exhaust fitted, Chris repeated the dyno process and this time the averaged runs produced 344.2hp to the wheels at 8100rpm and 246.8 lb-ft at 6900rpm.

While it’s single digits, it’s worth noting that not every sports exhaust adds power to the M3, so the increase is appreciated. We obviously saw more power on some dyno runs, with gains of 4-5hp, but since we sought an average, this reflects a typical increase. It’s also worth noting that it does boost the low speed torque curve, which is worth having on the M3.

So if you want a mid-priced system with a better exhaust note that saves weight, adds power and torque but won’t affect your warranty, BMW Performance is your best option.

DC Performance
DC Performance is a specialty performance shop that offers complete dynamometer testing and tuning for all two- and four-wheel drive vehicles. The dyno facility has an in-ground 224X Dynojet chassis dyno and Dynapack AWD load dyno that allows them to test and tune any car on the market, with complete load control and accuracy.

The company also offers custom tuning for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW and Porsche. Their expertise includes Pectel, Motec and other stand-alone management systems. Off-the-shelf calibration is available for some vehicles, and programs can even be emailed.

Further DC Performance tuning solutions can be found at

Modifications To Date
Part Supplier Issue
carbon dash & door trim BMW Performance 10/10
black kidney grilles BMW Performance 10/10
carbon mirrors BMW Performance 10/10
carbon kidney grilles Turner Motorsport 10/10
carbon hood vents Turner Motorsport 10/10
carbon side vents Turner Motorsport 10/10
wheel spacers Turner Motorsport 10/10
longer wheel bolts Turner Motorsport 10/10
Gran Turismo brake kit Brembo 11/10
carbon door trims BMW Performance 12/10
carbon front splitters BMW Performance 12/10
carbon trunk spoiler BMW Performance 12/10
Sport springs H&R 1/11
19" F14 wheels Forgestar 1/11
ContiSportContact 3 Continental Tires 1/11
TPMS sensors BMW 1/11
cat-back exhaust aFe 3/11
cold-air intake aFe 3/11
cold-air intake GruppeM 4/11
cat-back exhaust GruppeM 4/11
ECU software GIAC 5/11
carbon fiber trunk Vorsteiner 8/11
carbon fiber front splitter Vorsteiner 8/11
roof wrap Wraptivo 8/11
coilovers H&R 8/11
EDC emulation module Macht Schnell 9/11
cat-back exhaust BMW Performance 10/11


BMW Performance
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BMW M Performance
By Greg Emmerson
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