I got my Active Autowerke last friday thanks to prompt shipping from Kenny@jlevisw (thanks!). I decided to do the install myself after reading about how easy it was from another forum member's post. Well, the install turned disastrous because the fitment wasn't quite ideal. I followed the CD instructions very closely yet by the time I had to bolt up the rear bracket, it didn't line up properly with the rearmost mouting points on the each exhaust piece. Either this was a manufacturing defect or the exhaust mouting brackets may have been damaged during shipping. Confused with the poor fit, I examined the exhaust more closely and discovered that the mounting brackets on the exhaust themselves looked more angled and bent on the driver's side exhaust than the passenger's side, and overall, just about every one of them looked bent. It just didn't seem right (see pic below).
Either way, I wasn't going to send it back as I was determined to make it fit one way or another before the weekend was done. With some crude tools and a butane torch in hand, I managed to bend some of the brackets to what looked straight to my eyes and attempted the install again, this time with better results. The exhaust finally mated to the rear mounting bracket at least enough so that I could thread the bolts through. However, even after several adjustments and tweaks per install instructions, the driver's side exhaust sagged and had a tendency to rotate so that the outer of the two tips was closer to the valence and inner was about 1/4 inch lower, because the mounting bracket apparently was not quite straight enough despite my efforts to right them. Longing for perfection, I decided to remove the exhaust once more to further remedy the fitment. BIG MISTAKE. I proceeded to strip both bolts on the rear bracket since they were being overly stressed by the poor fitment to begin with, and snapped both of them inside the welded nut. A few extra hours, a cutting wheel, and a home-weld-job later, I had new nuts welded on the bracket and new bolts (from a hardware store) and decided to put it back together and leave well enough alone.... at least well enough until I can take it to my friends who run a local tuning shop to do the rest of the dirty work. In the end, the fitment was idealized and I am now a happy camper. Based on past testimonies from friends who had many of their products, I don't doubt the quality and workmanship from the folks at AA so I will chalk this up to shipping damage.
So how does it sound? I love it. I will just echo what several others have already said about this exhaust. It's not the loudest, not the quietest, but it's certainly a mean sounding exhaust in keeping with what you might expect a V8 M3 should sound like. Not American muscle, not ferrari-esque roar, but rather a refined grunt that brings an ear-to-ear smile as the revs creep up to redline. It's like stock except throatier and all the good mechanical rumblings are amplified. Like others have said before, there is a strong resonance at 2000-2100 rpms under load but so does stock and it's really not intrusive at all. This exhaust rocks!
Damage during shipping? Who knows. I'm over it.
Here's a pic of the saggy driver's side after my DIY install, before I had it remedied by my mechanic friends.
I've expressed my concerns before about the visible shiny NCC canisters and what can be done to make them more inconspicuous. So what's the first thing I did before the install?.... I painted that sucker
VHT high temp flat-black paint
I masked the rest of the exhaust with tape and trash bags, and this is the result:
What NCC canisters? I no see them
Comparing stock vs AA...
Stock on rhino ramps before the install:
Pics taken today after everything was made right. (Note the 'invisible' NCCs)
Video just added: