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      12-22-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
jeremyr4
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My Impressions - OEM Exhaust Mod (M3 Convertible)

I am posting this mostly for people like me who are considering the OEM Exhaust Mod (non-perforated), as I thought it might be helpful. I have a 2013 M3 convertible and my previous 3 cars were non-modified E46 M3 convertibles. I really like the E46 M3 convertible's sound levels, in that I found the soft top allowed for a good amount of noise to enter the cabin. So when I get my E93 M3 Convertible, the biggest let down for me was how quiet the car was (you'll see that I posted several times about this). After listening to a few catback exhausts in-person (thanks to those who helped me out!), I decided to go with the OEM Exhaust Mod (non-perforated), mostly because it seemed to achieve the same results as most other exhausts at a fraction of the price. Importantly, I also liked the way it sounded (it sounds slightly different than most other exhausts IMO, at least on the outside).

Here's a quick summary of my thoughts. Please keep in mind that my primary goal was to have MORE cabin noise with the roof and windows up below 3k RPMs, as I found the car too quiet in city driving with the roof up:

ē Most important huge plus: It changed the character o the car completely, which was my most major disappointment with the M3 convertible. I felt like the E93 M3 Convertible was MUCH more disconnected from the roof and didn't satisfy me, as an enthusiast, during city driving that doesn't involve putting my foot all of the way down on the gas. This absolutely took care of that problem - it's like I'm driving a whole new car that is MUCH more fun to drive. I can now understand why many others have said this is the way the car should have come. I agree with that comment for the coupe but not necessarily for the convertible, at least when the roof's down (see my comments below on this).
ē Roof Up City Driving: Accomplished exactly what I had hoped in terms of extra noise in the cabin with the roof up, although it's a slight notch louder than I would have chosen, as it can still be heard while driving with the music/radio quite loud. On a scale of 1 to 10, if a stock car is 1 and a very loud car is 10 then this is probably a 6 in my best guess. It reminds me of the stock exhaust on an E64 M6 Convertible but 1 notch louder. Itís 1 notch louder than I would choose (optimally) but overall Iím pretty happy with it with the roof up.
ē Roof Up Highway: There is definitely some drone at 2100 + 3000 RPMs, and a very slight amount through most of the band when giving gas. If I did a lot of highway driving then I wouldnít be able to handle it and I would switch back. But thankfully I donít!
ē Roof Down City Driving: Itís definitely loud Ė louder than I anticipated Ė but itís not so loud that I canít have a conversation with someone at normal volume. But if I was able to choose then I would tone it down with the roof down. It might actually be too loud for my liking but I have only driven it once with the roof down so far so I'm not sure. Interestingly, coupe owners don't have to consider this so I can see why so many coupe owners like this mod, as I suspect some would find it far too loud if they had convertibles (at least with the roof down). I'm still reserving my final judgment for this category until next Spring, as that's when my roof will be down quite a lot (in Los Angeles).
ē General noise for others near the car: Iím still trying to assess this. Thus far 2 friends have told me it doesnít sound obnoxious, which is my major concern, but Iím still evaluating this. Ultimately Iíll probably have someone drive the car for me so I can hear it myself as it drives away. I'm very conservative so this is an important item for me. Still assessing this to be certain but so far it doesn't seem that bad... But I staying away from the loud upshifts in DCT 4-5 for now, as I suspect they might be loud on the outside!
ē Steering Wheel Vibration: Very minor steering wheel vibration when stopped. Not enough to annoy me but itís definitely there. It's clearly from the exhaust resonation.

I hope this feedback is helpful as it relates to your future conversations with others who are considering it. Overall I am happy with it so far, as it has made the car MUCH more fun to drive. I still need to get it used to it, especially with the roof down and as it relates to causing noise for others, but itís definitely a whole new experience, which I am happy about. I'm still going to take some more time to assess whether I will keep it due to the possible excessive noise with the roof down.

I hope some people find this helpful! A BIG thanks again to everyone who helped me out during this process!

Jeremy
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      12-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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Any videos?

Nice write up
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      12-22-2012, 07:18 PM   #3
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Nice....verry nice...write up...
Here is a link VVV to the post of my oem. exhaust mod. with pics and video(same mod. as jeremyr4 )
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthr...1#post13125366

Last edited by ///M Power-Belgium; 12-22-2012 at 07:23 PM.
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      12-22-2012, 11:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the nice write up feedback! Sorry but I don't have any videos, at least not for now. Still using an old school Windows Mobile non-touchscreen phone with horrible camera + video! But at least there are many videos out there for people to see, given that this is a common mod.

Thanks to M Power Belgium for posting his video link!

BTW, it's worth noting again how great this mod is for coupes. It's pretty much perfect - not too loud with the roof always up! I think convertible owners have to seriously consider the sound with the roof down, as it might be ok or it might be too loud. This mod is a no-brainer for coupes but not necessarily for convertibles...
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      12-23-2012, 11:11 PM   #5
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Great write-up, thanks. I have a new E93 that I've been contemplating doing this on and not sure if I should actually do it or not. The highway drone scares me a bit, I must say. Otherwise sounds like something that would be perfect. Keep us posted on your thoughts and impressions.

BTW did you get this done locally and how much did the shop charge you?
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      12-23-2012, 11:19 PM   #6
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Great post, my oem mod is being shipped as we speak and I'm looking forward to installing it on my e93 as soon as I can! I'll try to post a before/after vid.
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      12-23-2012, 11:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTO898 View Post
Great write-up, thanks. I have a new E93 that I've been contemplating doing this on and not sure if I should actually do it or not. The highway drone scares me a bit, I must say. Otherwise sounds like something that would be perfect. Keep us posted on your thoughts and impressions.

BTW did you get this done locally and how much did the shop charge you?

I would VERY STRONGLY recommend that you find someone locally to give you a test drive in their modded car. Be sure to try it roof up, windows down, and then roof down, and I would recommend that you drive the car, if possible, so you can hear the difference depending on the throttling modulation. I'm suggesting this specifically because I rode as a passenger and it clearly turns out that I drive more aggressively than the other person, as my car is much louder on throttle than the sample that I heard in-person (probably because I put my foot down more than they do!).

It's been only several days so far and I'm very pleased. The car sounds pretty much perfect with the roof up (maybe 1 notch too loud but it's ok). Windows down is quite good as well, but roof down is still an adjustment for someone conservative like me. I'm guessing roof down is either love or hate for each person, as some will love the constant noise and others will find it to be too much.

Overall thus far I'm very pleased, as it has completely changed the character of the car and has changed my opinion from ("This car is too quiet, not exciting enough at lower RPMs in city driving, and is disappointing compared to the E46 M3 Convertible" to "This car is a lot of fun and is always engaging"). It's actually pretty amazing how much of a difference this 1 mod makes, especially for the price. I can now see why people keep saying that it's the best mod they have done, regardless of the price.

As for the price, I paid more than a lot others - $350. Part of the reason is West Los Angeles pricing. The other part is I used an exotic shop because I knew the owner and trusted his work. I think most people are getting the mod done at a muffler shop, which is typically cheaper and frankly a good idea. The shop I used is literally a 5 minute walk from my place so the convenience alone was worth the extra $$$.

Good luck. Feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss, as I'm happy to help. But the best way, by far, to make a decision about this is to hear it in-person - it's critical. The sound becomes more exotic, which I absolutely love, but it might not be for everyone...
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      12-23-2012, 11:43 PM   #8
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Quick update for everyone. I spent a little time with the roof down today and here's some more feedback/thoughts:

- I am a pretty conservative guy so I have to say that driving with the roof down in DCT S-4 or 5 (with the blip downshifts) can be very loud in city driving in terms of attracting attention. Some people clearly won't care but it might be too much for others. For someone conservative like me, I can already see that it will completely depend on my mood. If I'm in the mood for a fun drive and there aren't that many people around then S-4 or 5 will be great. But there will clearly be some times where I will keep it in S-3 to avoid the throttle blips, especially with the roof down, due to the loud noise.
- The best way I can describe how this mod has changed the roof-down experience is that I now feel like I'm driving a Ferrari in terms of sound levels, at least that's how it sounds to me as the driver when the roof down. While I have already validated (with my wife and others) that the sound others hear is now as loud as the driver would think, it's quite loud for the driver with the roof down. So if you're considering this mod then be sure to take a drive in a car that already has the mod so you'll know what to expect, as it's not for everyone.
- I'm starting to think that the roof down experience is a love it or hate it situation, meaning everyone will clearly fall into 1 of these 2 camps. If you want a lot of noise all of the time (and I mean really, really good noise!) then this is absolutely for you. But if you want a lot noise only some or a little of the time when you're driving with the roof down then this might wear on you. I mostly fall into the former camp so this will probably be a good fit for me. But it's definitely not for everyone.
- It's worth noting that it's no longer possible for me to listen to the radio, even loudly, with the roof down without hearing too much of the car. The noise is loud enough that it cannot be ignored. So if you're type of person who wants to only hear a really great song, as opposed to that song + the car, with the roof down then this might not be for you.

Overall I suspect this will be a really good for me with the roof down, as I take very short trips daily and I'm a pretty aggressive driver, so really experiencing the car + sound is a good thing for me. But it's definitely not for everyone!

I hope this is helpful...
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      12-24-2012, 01:33 AM   #9
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Great write up!

Are you planning on removing the primary cats and a tune of some sort?

How would that impact upon the noise levels? Ie would you say there is room to manouvre without sounding like a cheap loud exhaust

I'm thinking as an alternative, to remove the pre cats and leave the back box OEM
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      12-24-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KudosM3 View Post
Great write up!

Are you planning on removing the primary cats and a tune of some sort?

How would that impact upon the noise levels? Ie would you say there is room to manouvre without sounding like a cheap loud exhaust

I'm thinking as an alternative, to remove the pre cats and leave the back box OEM

I definitely have no plans to do anything else right now. To put things in perspective, while I owned 3 E46 M3 Convertibles in the past, this is the first time I have ever modified a car. So I'm pretty conservative compared to many people on these boards.

Unfortunately I have never heard a cat delete so it's hard for me to give you feedback on it. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful...
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      12-24-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTO898 View Post
Great write-up, thanks. I have a new E93 that I've been contemplating doing this on and not sure if I should actually do it or not. The highway drone scares me a bit, I must say.
Trust me there is absolutely zero drone with the OEM mod. OP is the only person I heard of to report any drone with this mod. It sound probably 90% the same inside the cabin with only an increase in volume when you really get on it. Cruising on the highway it will sound the same as stock, no drone at all. The real increase in volume is on the outside of the car.

Thats the beauty of this mod. Outside it is much louder than stock and sounds aggressive but inside it sounds almost exactly the same.
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      12-24-2012, 03:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorfast View Post
Trust me there is absolutely zero drone with the OEM mod. OP is the only person I heard of to report any drone with this mod. It sound probably 90% the same inside the cabin with only an increase in volume when you really get on it. Cruising on the highway it will sound the same as stock, no drone at all. The real increase in volume is on the outside of the car.

Thats the beauty of this mod. Outside it is much louder than stock and sounds aggressive but inside it sounds almost exactly the same.
There is a small amount of drone around 2000 rpm. U just have to listen for it. Op- great write up. This is why the forum was created.
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      12-24-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriskm3 View Post
There is a small amount of drone around 2000 rpm. U just have to listen for it. Op- great write up. This is why the forum was created.

Thanks very much. I fully agree - a lot of the board members have been a great help to me and I sincerely appreciate it, so I'm hoping this thread will help others.

And I agree - there is a small amount of drone at around 2100 RPMs and then at 3000 RPMs. The issue I have on the highway is at 3000, which happens to be match my typical cruising speed on the highway (roughly 80 MPH). The drone I hear at 3000 is louder than 2100...

I'm guessing some people hear drone and other don't, both due to their hearing and perhaps how the job was done and everything was repacked...
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      12-25-2012, 01:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyr4
Quote:
Originally Posted by KudosM3 View Post
Great write up!

Are you planning on removing the primary cats and a tune of some sort?

How would that impact upon the noise levels? Ie would you say there is room to manouvre without sounding like a cheap loud exhaust

I'm thinking as an alternative, to remove the pre cats and leave the back box OEM

I definitely have no plans to do anything else right now. To put things in perspective, while I owned 3 E46 M3 Convertibles in the past, this is the first time I have ever modified a car. So I'm pretty conservative compared to many people on these boards.

Unfortunately I have never heard a cat delete so it's hard for me to give you feedback on it. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful...
Thanks man, I think I will start with just the test pipes, then if need be change the rear box
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      12-28-2012, 11:55 AM   #15
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Great detailed review! I'm considering exhaust options right now and as an E93 driver one of my concerns has been what it would be like with the top down.

Where does the OEM mod fall in terms of sound between other aftermarket Race and Sport exhausts? Obviously this can be subjective, but I'm just trying to get an idea whether to go with this, a race, or sport exhaust.

I'm not too familiar with the technical pieces of installing this either. I'm leasing right now, so I'd plan to buy another already modded exhaust. Is swapping it back easy enough?
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      12-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masamune View Post
Great detailed review! I'm considering exhaust options right now and as an E93 driver one of my concerns has been what it would be like with the top down.

Where does the OEM mod fall in terms of sound between other aftermarket Race and Sport exhausts? Obviously this can be subjective, but I'm just trying to get an idea whether to go with this, a race, or sport exhaust.

I'm not too familiar with the technical pieces of installing this either. I'm leasing right now, so I'd plan to buy another already modded exhaust. Is swapping it back easy enough?

When I went for a ride in a car with this mod I only had the roof down for a couple of minutes and, more importantly, I was in the passenger seat. I would HIGHLY recommend that you drive the car, as modulating the throttle makes a big difference in terms of sound, especially between 2-3k RPMs, so you'll want to hear it with your specific driving style.

Here answers to your questions:

- Not sure exactly where it falls between Sport and Race. Part of the problem is that a lot of the Sport exhausts have different sound levels. Unfortunately I didn't listen to exhausts on any other convertibles so I can't compare. But based on feedback I have received from my wife and others who have listened to the car from the outside, I'm guessing it's more likely within the Sport side of things.
- Swapping it back is very easy, provided that you can just swap it with an OEM exhaust. My car is also leased and that is my plan if I don't buy my car out. You might also want to consider that you can't tell that anything has been done to the car at all unless you start it, so if you have a lease inspector that doesn't start the car and/or if it's a warm start then it will probably be ok...
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      12-28-2012, 11:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Trust me there is absolutely zero drone with the OEM mod. OP is the only person I heard of to report any drone with this mod. It sound probably 90% the same inside the cabin with only an increase in volume when you really get on it. Cruising on the highway it will sound the same as stock, no drone at all. The real increase in volume is on the outside of the car.

Thats the beauty of this mod. Outside it is much louder than stock and sounds aggressive but inside it sounds almost exactly the same.
I had the OEM ACM mod and it completely drones loudly as the OP stated. Unfortunately it is the absolute worst cruising at anything above 69mph on the freeway. Totally had enough. Went back to OEM rear with high flow cats and the sound not only got better but the drone completely went away.
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      12-29-2012, 10:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I had the OEM ACM mod and it completely drones loudly as the OP stated. Unfortunately it is the absolute worst cruising at anything above 69mph on the freeway. Totally had enough. Went back to OEM rear with high flow cats and the sound not only got better but the drone completely went away.
Yea that's not the same thing we are talking about here. The ACM mod is essentially straight pipes which is much louder and drones compared to the traditional oem mod (replacing two perforated pipes).
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      01-02-2013, 01:43 PM   #19
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Good Write up. Was this a DIY or did you take it someplace? I can't seem to find the link that once had the DIY. It was once taken down, then put back up. Now I can't find it again. I apparently have bad searching skills.
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      01-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #20
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Good Write up. Was this a DIY or did you take it someplace? I can't seem to find the link that once had the DIY. It was once taken down, then put back up. Now I can't find it again. I apparently have bad searching skills.

I had it done at a local shop so unfortunately I don't have a video for you. I believe someone posted a link to the DIY further back in this thread...
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      01-02-2013, 02:41 PM   #21
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Thanks for the response. I saw the link by ///M Power-Belgium but was looking for a little more detail, like size of the perforated pipe to install. Was just curious, I will continue to search!

Thanks and enjoy the new sound!
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      01-03-2013, 03:48 PM   #22
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I have a question for you all: in doing the OEM mod, has anyone added larger aftermarket tips in the process? Loving the idea of this affordable route, but would like to dress up the rear a little while I'm at it.

any recommendations?

thanks for helping a noob.
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