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      05-18-2009, 09:30 PM   #1
frankzlin79
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Active Autowerke Signature Exhaust - E92 M3 - Review with Pictures (Update w/ Videos)

After weeks of researching on this forum and watching all the YouTube video clips of Remus Sport, UUC Corsa, Eisenmann Sport, Riss Racing, and Active Autowerke Signature, I finally made a decision and went with AA Signature. Omar gave me a good deal and extremely fast shipping. I ordered from Omar on a Thursday evening around 6 pm Florida time, and I received the 64 lbs. package on Tuesday around 7 pm in Texas.

The package comes shrink wrapped in two pieces: (R - Driver Side) and (L - Passenger Side)


Another picture of the (R) and (L) sides.


The left, right, and center bracket, still bubble wrapped. Not pictured is a CD-ROM containing a Word and PDF of the instructions. The PDF can also be downloaded from Active's website.


Oh no! Looks like a dent in my new exhaust. I e-mailed Omar and he assured me that this is normal. This is actually a crease purposely made into the exhaust by Active because of a clearance issue. I can confirm that the crease is normal because I saw another member who was selling his AA and it had the same crease in the same area. When I watched the installation of my exhaust, I noticed plenty of room for the exhaust in that area. In other words, for my car, a crease in the piping was not necessary. Oh well.


Passenger side muffler with tips attached.


Passenger side muffler with tips detached.


Another shot of the tips. Notice the adjustment screws.


Installed Rear View.


Installed Side View. I adjusted the tips so that they were near flush with the bumper, similar to the stock setup. However, you gotta extend the tips out just a couple of millimeters to show off that Active Autowerke logo etched on the top of the tips.


Installed Top View.


Installed Rear View 2.


3/4 View. **********s.com clear reflectors.


Front View - **********s.com matte black kidney grills.


Side View - **********s.com matte black fender grill.


Installation:
The AA Signature was installed in Houston, TX by ///M Power at Richmond and Dunvale. The shop did not need to read the installation instructions. He just eyed up the stock exhaust and the AA exhaust and knew what to do. Pretty impressive considering this was his first 2008+ M3, but defintely not the first M car he's worked on. The install did have one hiccup. The AA bracket has a slot where you tighten a nut to get the muffler to hang at the correct height. For my car, even at the highest adjustment setting, the muffler was still about 1" lower than the passenger side. So my shop unbolted the AA bracket (left the muffler still hanging onto the mid-section pipe and hanger) and took a grinder and expanded the length of the slot on the bracket. He bolted the AA bracket back to the car and was able to increase the height of the driver-side muffler. Now both mufflers appear to be at equal height, however, my the NCC of the driver side is higher than the NCC of the passenger side (see pic).

Review:
When the car was first started, I was thinking, "whoaa..this is about 2x louder than I thought it would sound!" I was looking for an exhaust that was only slightly louder than stock. This thing is waaaay louder than stock at idle. I don't have a sound pressure meter with me (but will soon), but it is unmistakably louder than stock.

When I began driving, I noticed that the interior noise was very loud. Loud enough to be annoying to rear seat passengers. I thought that AA advertises this thing to be one of the quietest exhausts on the market? (This is partly true at high rpms...more on this later). At 3000 rpms or less, the exhaust is extremely loud. People next to me at stop lights definitely know there is an after-market exhaust on the car. As you accelerate and increase rpms, the loudness becomes less pronounced. At about 60-80 mph (>3000 rpms), the exhaust miraculously becomes barely noticeable. You can hear the smooth hum of the exhaust, but it is only slightly louder than stock at these high speds and high rpms.

When you floor the car, the exhaust is not that loud either, but sounds like a deeper F1 tone. Very nice.

When you begin to slow down for a stop sign, the loudness returns. At these lower speeds, I have to increase the volume of my bluetooth for the speaker phone and my stereo a couple of notches to hear.

My overall thoughts is that it is a very nice system. The tone is very smooth, mellow, and has a warm and deep hum. I personally think that it is a little on the loud side at the lower rpms and speeds. (it is loud enough to easily set off car alarms in a parking garage) The people at the shop all grinned and said it was the perfect sound and perfect volume. In terms of performance, I feel the car is much more responsive. Not quite the feeling of having the Power button on, but probably half of that effect. Despite my personal opinion that the exhaust is too loud at low speeds, I am still very happy with my purchase. I'm starting to get use to the sound now and enjoy it. Hopefully after a couple of hundred more miles, the exhaust will quiet down.

I'll try to post videos if I can figure out how to do that.

UPDATE: Videos are up on post # 28 and 29.

Last edited by frankzlin79; 07-30-2009 at 12:48 AM.
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      05-18-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
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The interior loudness minimizes after you break in the exhaust but the tone of the exhaust is very nice. I added xpipe with HFC's and the exhaust is so much more noticeable and louder. Same beautiful tone but much louder. Interior noise increases as well but minimizes after break it as well. Definitely sounds more F1'ish with an xpipe. It just screams at WOT
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      05-18-2009, 09:48 PM   #3
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Where is that dent at? What part of the exhaust? Can't tell from the pix.
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      05-18-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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The dent, or what Omar calls a "crease" is on the (R) piece, which is the driver side piece (i.e. the left side if you are standing behind the car).

Look near the top of the picture.




Here is a picture of a forum member (Todd) who is selling his AA Signature. http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=261581

Notice that his crease is in the same location as mine. (If I'm not mistaken, this exhaust is still for sale, btw). In this picture, you can also see the AA bracket. Notice the slots on the side. My shop had to grind the slot so that the muffler could be hung at a higher location.
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      05-18-2009, 10:10 PM   #5
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mine had the same dent as yours. Its cool
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      05-18-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manny212 View Post
The interior loudness minimizes after you break in the exhaust but the tone of the exhaust is very nice. I added xpipe with HFC's and the exhaust is so much more noticeable and louder. Same beautiful tone but much louder. Interior noise increases as well but minimizes after break it as well. Definitely sounds more F1'ish with an xpipe. It just screams at WOT
How many miles did it take for you to notice the loudness to decrease, when you had only the rear section installed?
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      05-18-2009, 10:24 PM   #7
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Your review is spot-on with my experience. The volume is actually a tiny bit too loud for my taste at low RPMs but, is great after warm up and at mid-high RPMs. Never the less, I think it is one of the better compromises out there (not too quiet, not too loud). I also agree with your assessment of the power gain. It's actually just a bit more responsiveness, not really power.

I am still trying to get the installation perfect. Yours actually looks really good. On my exhaust, the right side (passenger) hangs a bit lower and the right side points out to the right a bit more than the left. Very subtle but drives the anal-retentiver freak in me crazy. Outside of that...great system! Congrats!!!
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      05-18-2009, 10:32 PM   #8
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Well my install wasn't perfect. My driver side muffler is slightly slanted. As in the dual pipes are not completely level with each other. It's not really noticeable unless you look really carefully.

If you look at my rear view pic, you can see the noise cancellation canisters. Notice how the driver side canister is raised higher than the passenger side canister. The reason for this was because my driver side bracket had to be grinded to raise the muffler. But I'd rather have level looking mufflers versus level looking NCCs if I had a choice!
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      05-18-2009, 10:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzlin79 View Post
How many miles did it take for you to notice the loudness to decrease, when you had only the rear section installed?
A few hundred miles I would say. I remember picking the car up after installation of just the rear section and i though it was pretty loud down low but then it wasn't too bad. But I would say to definitely look into an xpipe if you can deal the with low end noise. Sounds crazy.
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      05-18-2009, 11:16 PM   #10
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No way! No X-pipe for me. I think it's already too loud with only the rear section. I would love the performance gain of an X-pipe, but really don't want it any louder.
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      05-18-2009, 11:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzlin79 View Post
No way! No X-pipe for me. I think it's already too loud with only the rear section. I would love the performance gain of an X-pipe, but really don't want it any louder.
lol i understand. Whenever i step on the gas people are turning heads like WTF car is that. But i did get many compliments on just the AA exhaust before the xpipe. It's definitely a quality piece.
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      05-19-2009, 07:05 AM   #12
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nice review and pretty well spot on...if the exhaust is a little too loud for you I would do the AA tune which signifacantly quiets the car at start-up (since it removes the programming of the rough idle) and at speed, etc. The extra sound at the lower end of the RPM's is of course from the exhaust being opened up but since I have the x-pipe is more pronounced...coming from a FI'd car and several other M's I don't mind it at all since I don't keep it at low speed very long! I also find that if you wind the car out and leave it at the higher RPM's that you lose the low bass boomy sound that you are experiencing. All in all, if you want it quieter and don't mind a little more bump in performance then get the tune...it really does help.

Like you, I really like this system and it is awesome to see people crane their heads to see what the hell just passed them or is coming up the road...everyone loves the sound and tone, especially the guys at BMW...they all break into permagrins!

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      05-19-2009, 07:15 AM   #13
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Everyone always talks about exhaust breaking in and quieting down... Can any body actually explain to me what physically happens inside the muffler that causes it to be quieter?

My Eisenmann has quite a few miles on it and sounds exactly the same as the day I put it on. I know many OEM mufflers are full of stuff to absorb sounds, which eventually breaks down causing them to be louder. But what's causing the AA to be quieter?

sorry to thread jack
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      05-19-2009, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J08M3 View Post
Everyone always talks about exhaust breaking in and quieting down... Can any body actually explain to me what physically happens inside the muffler that causes it to be quieter?

My Eisenmann has quite a few miles on it and sounds exactly the same as the day I put it on. I know many OEM mufflers are full of stuff to absorb sounds, which eventually breaks down causing them to be louder. But what's causing the AA to be quieter?

sorry to thread jack
I think it is down to the packing inside of the new muffler...that is what "breaks" in...the quieting of the AA exhaust (and correct me if I am wrong everyone) is that the mappings have changed the way the system works, I.E. the rough idle mapping that is utilized by BMW from factory so that the cats warm up quicker, etc, etc...I don't know the full work behind it, I just know from reading on other posts and experiencing it...I now longer have the loud, low burbling, popping first start exhaust deal anymore...she starts up and is nice and even with the RPM's and not super loud like before...it quickly gets to a nice even idle and the sound is definately lowered.

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      05-19-2009, 08:10 AM   #15
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But that's cause of your ECU tune. Not your mufflers quieting down.
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      05-19-2009, 08:19 AM   #16
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Great review Frank. This exhaust can't be louder on start up than my 06 GTO with Corsa Sport cat-back exhaust installed. On start(warm up)up it shook my garage, especially if I was backed in. Sounded great. You would of thought I had long tube headers on that thing. Then it would quiet down and smooth out after after about 45 seconds. I got used to it after a while. Didn't seem that loud to me but my neighbors said otherwise. ) Again great review. You answered every question I had and probably more.
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      05-19-2009, 12:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaximumPwr View Post
Great review Frank. This exhaust can't be louder on start up than my 06 GTO with Corsa Sport cat-back exhaust installed. On start(warm up)up it shook my garage, especially if I was backed in. Sounded great. You would of thought I had long tube headers on that thing. Then it would quiet down and smooth out after after about 45 seconds. I got used to it after a while. Didn't seem that loud to me but my neighbors said otherwise. ) Again great review. You answered every question I had and probably more.
Thank you. My review was intended to preempt questions and answer them ahead of time. (Basically, answer all the questions I personally had when I was researching this exhaust).
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      05-19-2009, 01:50 PM   #18
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The review by the OP is spot on. Also, seems like my Driver side NCC is a little higher than my Passenger side NCC, although the tips clear the bottom of the bumper equally.
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      05-29-2009, 10:34 PM   #19
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Great write up, thanks. My wife complains my stock car is loud when I pull into the garage... but, I still need one, I'll buy her ear plugs.

I just got my car fixed up from an antelope encounter in northern AZ (the hood bulge saved me, but that is another story)... an AA is next on my list.
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      05-30-2009, 02:29 PM   #20
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The AA on start-up will definitely rumble the walls of your garage.
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      07-09-2009, 09:11 PM   #21
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I just got this installed and it's fantastic. I love the loud rumble at low revs and startup. But it calms down at highway speeds so it doesn't give you a headache. I notice a slight improvement in performance. Now I just want to drive around with my windows down so I can listen to that wonderful exhaust note.
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      07-09-2009, 11:03 PM   #22
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Everyone seems happy with their AA in the end. I revved it today at idle to about 6,000 rpms, and it was looooud and mean sounding.
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