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ESS Tuning
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      11-02-2013, 02:56 AM   #1
electric puha
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BPM Stage II Tune + DCT upgrade with Dyno Results

Caveat: I have no affiliation to BPM Sport, or any of the below mentioned vendors. At no time during the course of our telephone conversations, personal visits and/or email correspondence did any of the vendors ask me to write a review on any internet forum, blog or otherwise. I write this solely at my own volition and without prompting from any outside party.

Note: I'm not interested in other people's agendas, pettiness, ill-informed opinions, etc, so if you're an Evolve/ESS/etc fan boy/girl, please don't bother commenting in this thread, unless it is constructive. Thank you. The alternative; just write your own review, with dyno to back it up.

Introduction: I don't do thing by halves nor do I cut corners in an attempt to save a dollar. This also applies to getting my cars serviced. My 528i gets the same treatment as the M3, as does the wife's Toyota Corolla. I'd rather spend a bit more getting regular servicing than wait until the next 'scheduled' service. I specifically wanted more torque so decided on the primary cat removal. Given the opportunity to extract a few more ponies and also eliminate the CEL for emissions, I elected for a tune as well.

Vehicle: 2009 BMW E90 M3 with EDC and DCT, ex UK running on 98 octane with 19" wheels at 2.4 bar

Primary Cat Removal: As is widely known, the primary cats restrict the exhaust flow and limit power to some degree. The removal can increase both HP and torque. In line with my principles, I had the primary cats removed by one of the best exhaust fabricators in Wellington, Jason Gestro (Advanced Vehicle Servicing). The cost (~US$220), including fitment, was unbelievably cheap when compared to what the "specialists", e.g. Evolve, Macht Schnell, Turner, et al charge ~US$400 (plus fitment). My pipes are welded rather than using a clamp setup, which may be prone to leaks and fitment issues. Although I initially wanted to get a baseline for the stock WHP prior to primary cat removal, this wasn't possible due to a misunderstanding solely caused by myself. Ce la vie. Upon start up, there was an immediate difference in exhaust sound (and note). Personally, I think it sounded chunky and almost USA V8-like. Not for me. There was, however, a very noticeable difference in the torque from 2500rpm+ when I ventured onto the road. There was/is a very slight increase in the 'drone' around 2000rpm but, this was there when the exhaust was still stock. I did not and still have not noticed any smell.

Air filter: I chose aFe Stage II filter setup solely based on the HP numbers, rightly or wrongly, on the website. This was a very easy installation. To be honest, I've noticed no difference, other than a little more "roar". Worth it? Probably not, but without dyno evidence, the jury is out. I was blinded by the numbers, which really aren't achievable on the road. The track is a slightly different story.

Tune: I got a BPM Stage II tune (servotronic upgrade included) plus the DCT upgrade as part of a group buy (July/August). This included: cold start removal, Stage II cat delete and RPM increased to 8500. Obviously, as I own a Euro car, there was no need for me to go with the Euro upgrade. I went the BPM route due to feedback on the forums and from the conversations I had with Mike Benvo. Another factor was the time zone difference and Mike's ability to “make it work”. Other posters rave about Mike's service and I concur, he is outstanding. I also vouch for the strength of the tune. Nothing is too much trouble.

We organised a day and time for the tune and DCT upgrade Mike was very accommodating in helping me realise this. The tune was very straightforward and took about 45 minutes from start to finish, after a couple of hiccups with my home internet connection. Like the cat removal, there was a noticeable difference in exhaust sound and note. Gone was the harsh sound given there was no need to warm the cats. It sounded more refined. Did the exhaust sound smoother and very close to stock? Tick. Cat delete working as expected? Tick. (A Supersprint Sport rear exhaust with X-pipe is next in line, in the New Year.) Once warmed up, I headed for the motorway. Did I hit the rpm limit increase? Yes. Tick. Does the steering get 'heavier', specifically in M Mode? Yes. Tick. The much overrated 'butt dyno' told me the car was faster and had more torque, but I wasn't convinced, ergo, I needed to arrange a dyno session. The DCT shifting is now lightening quick, crisp and so much smoother than stock, regardless of mode. The downshifts across the entire rev range are smoother, with that great blip. Gone is the jerkiness (up and downshifts) I previously experienced in M Mode at high revs (5500+ rpm). My passengers don't need the neck braces anymore. I can't pass comment on the D Mode as I've never used it.

A note on the Servotronic upgrade. In M mode, the steering becomes appreciably heavier. It makes the steering more direct and you get more road feedback. This reminds me of my karting days, not too mention a short stint in single seaters. I love the feedback I get as it makes me more connected to the road and, in turn, the car itself.

With the dyno session in mind, I informed Mike about what I was planning, including my need to use data logging software and that I needed to flash the car back to stock, asking him how I was to go about it. I explained to Mike that my intention was to do a few runs on the dyno to establish a base, ensuring the car was warmed up sufficiently, reinstall the Stage II tune and then another few runs with the tune. To my mind, this would prove (or disprove) the output numbers of the tune combined with the primary cat removal and air filter. What I didn't expect nor did I ask for, or even intimate, was for Mike to offer to custom tune my car whilst in situ on the dyno. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. Like the initial tune, a day and time was agreed. Mike sent me the details about flashing back and I duly reverted the tune back to stock. It's a very simple process. This was done prior to my drive up to Auckland to allow the ECU to adapt. No different to what I do to my 528i, when I've had it tweaked. Adaptation, in a word.

Dyno venue: Hi Velocity, Auckland, New Zealand.
Dyno: Dyno Dymanics. Air temp, humidity, etc were taken within the dyno room (~8m x 5m)
Dyno Master: Gavin Bellars. New Zealand's premier dyno tuner for BMWs and race cars
4th gear; DME software 240E; 98 octane

I chose Gavin Bellars, Hi Velocity, due to his standing in the car racing community in New Zealand and his extensive knowledge of BMW tuning, not to mention racing his own E30 M3. Choosing to travel to Auckland, rather than a local shop in Wellington involved a drive of about 670 km (420 mi). A small price to pay as I got to enjoy a long drive in the M3 and had a good excuse to stay at The Langham, Auckland for a couple of nights.

Three base runs were performed at ~1020hrs. Remember, this was only with the primary cats removed and yielded a reasonably satisfying 362.8 WHP. I phoned Mike to let him know we were ready. Between Mike and Gavin, Bavarian Technic (BT) software for the data logging was installed on my laptop. With the BT cable installed into the OBD outlet the ECU was checked and then a few runs were performed. The initial run was in the mid-370's, increasing with each run as the fluid temps, etc got warmer. Mike then installed the new Stage II tune, based on the data logged. More runs were made and the car was fine tuned again. The next few runs yielded repeatable numbers of 383.6 WHP and an increase of ~20 lb/ft of torque across the range, realising a peak of ~345 lb/ft and ~340 lb/ft at 5250 rpm. It's worth noting IMO that there were 18 runs in total, rather than the usual 6 or so. At the end of the day, the figure is probably closer to 380 WHP given the dyno room temperature. Mike and Gavin were very patient and satisfied with “the numbers”. Gavin mentioned Mike was very easy to deal with, unlike some other tuners he's dealt with.

This chart details the WHP and the torque. The red line is the base run sans tune and the blue line is with the Stage II tune, complete with custom tuning. Note the RPM limit was increased to 8600 rpm from 8500 rpm. The likelihood of me hitting it is remote but, it's available. There's nothing too dramatic about them other than easy, consistent results. Yes, I could have put up more runs but, it's going to get messy pretty quick with 18 runs.

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The AFR chart with corresponding HP:

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Post-fine tuning/dyno impressions: the sound was similar to the standard Stage II tune and there was a slightly increased exhaust note/sound at idle and after 3500 rpm. Very pleasant. Driving back to Wellington, the car exhibited smoother power delivery and without doubt the increased torque was ever present, particularly when overtaking and easing out of the hairpins going up through the Desert Road. I spent a fair bit of the 7.5 hr journey in M Mode and gave both the DCT and Servotronic upgrades a good work out. The steering feedback is excellent, particularly on the switchbacks. Gear changing is not only crisper but, smoother and faster. A lot like the PDK on the new Porsche GT3. Given a MT loses about a car length, in a drag race, I'm super glad I went with the DCT. 3 shifts, 3 car lengths. Round a track for 15-20 laps. Hmmm, no brainer. Interestingly, I used less petrol on the return trip. I guess this was mostly due to the fact that the car didn't have a tune on the way up. Unfortunately, I didn't think to use the onboard computer to track this.

Without the tune and DCT upgrade, the M3 drives pretty well. You could happily drive it without making any modifications whatsoever, although the gear changes are a little clunky for my liking. Much better than the E60 M5 admittedly. Steering feedback is there but, it's not fantastic.

With the tune and DCT upgrade, the M3 comes alive, particularly in M Mode and at higher RPM, together with speeds in excess of 60 mph. As I've already mentioned, the gear changes are crisper; the HP and torque are more apparent. Tramping on the go pedal from 2000 rpm, regardless of the gear elicits an immediate response. You have more feedback through the wheel. As other posters have mentioned, the BPM Stage II tune and DCT upgrade has taken the M3 to the next level. It's been converted to a damn good street/track car.

All in all a very positive experience, not to mention a great result for a NA E90 M3. I fully intend to re-dyno the car after the Supersprint exhaust and an X-pipe are installed. Mike has again generously offered his services. There may be further ponies on the table? Regardless, at least it'll sound good and I'll have a final WHP result. That said, NA 400 WHP would be nice to hit, if safe.

In between times, my brother and I will be hiring Manfield racetrack. This will be data logged with the AIM Solo. My intention is to also publish this information, more for fun than anything.
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      11-02-2013, 04:50 AM   #2
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Nice review, solid numbers! I have the BPM stage 1 and plan on doing the primary deletes and stage 2 soon!
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      11-02-2013, 04:58 AM   #3
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Great read, gonna get this tune.....but in the mean time
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      11-02-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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Solid Astroturfing my man

Only 2 pulls? So we can assume that these are the highest of each runs and not a highest tune vs lowest non-tuned run?
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      11-02-2013, 07:56 AM   #5
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Very nice dyno numbers...
I would love the test pipes too in comb. with my BPM tune,but here in Belgium i will not pass the yearly car inspection,damn f@cking country
BTW....no need to say that Mike-Benvo and the BPM tune are the best !
Why i know this ?
I can feel it too.....
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      11-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #6
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Good job both op and mike.
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      11-02-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SickeM3 View Post
Solid Astroturfing my man

Only 2 pulls? So we can assume that these are the highest of each runs and not a highest tune vs lowest non-tuned run?
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      11-02-2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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Awesome results! Great to see more dyno data for the BPM Tune.

I apologize if I misunderstood your explanation, but just wanted to confirm.

362.8whp = 100% stock tune
Mid-370s = BPM Stage 2 Standard Tune??
383.6whp = BPM Stage 2 Dyno Tune??

Enjoy the new found power!
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      11-02-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipm3 View Post
Awesome results! Great to see more dyno data for the BPM Tune.

I apologize if I misunderstood your explanation, but just wanted to confirm.

362.8whp = 100% stock tune
Mid-370s = BPM Stage 2 Standard Tune??
383.6whp = BPM Stage 2 Dyno Tune??

Enjoy the new found power!
Good question.

In any event, thanks for posting this, OP. Glad to see you are enjoying your M and the BPM tune. I am enjoying the BPM stuff on my M as well. Please do update this thread when you make exhaust changes.
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      11-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
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great review! I just received my dinan xpipe and am having Mike tune my car next week once I get it installed! I can't wait. I'd be more than happy with 380wheel
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      11-02-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
electric puha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipm3 View Post
Awesome results! Great to see more dyno data for the BPM Tune.

I apologize if I misunderstood your explanation, but just wanted to confirm.

362.8whp = 100% stock tune
Mid-370s = BPM Stage 2 Standard Tune??
383.6whp = BPM Stage 2 Dyno Tune??

Enjoy the new found power!
You are correct. 362whp was only the stock 'tune' with the 240E software
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      11-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #12
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Lol right
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      11-02-2013, 08:07 PM   #13
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Cool! I'm logging real world runs with the Bavarian Technic tool and sending the files to Mike, where he has made some tweaks to maximize power based on my mods and 91 octane. Will post some datalogs once I do runs with his modified Dev tune, but its a pretty cool feature in being able to modify tunes for specific vehicles. One conclusion I've come to is that this engine is VERY sensitive to temperature and pressure/altitude with 91 octane. BT logs the actual moment/torque as well as timing, knock events, lambda, VANOS position, throttle, etc, Nice to see more people doing this.
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      11-02-2013, 09:27 PM   #14
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      11-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FogCityM3 View Post
Cool! I'm logging real world runs with the Bavarian Technic tool and sending the files to Mike, where he has made some tweaks to maximize power based on my mods and 91 octane. Will post some datalogs once I do runs with his modified Dev tune, but its a pretty cool feature in being able to modify tunes for specific vehicles. One conclusion I've come to is that this engine is VERY sensitive to temperature and pressure/altitude with 91 octane. BT logs the actual moment/torque as well as timing, knock events, lambda, VANOS position, throttle, etc, Nice to see more people doing this.
I agree, it is good to see more people logging data, regardless of the tuning provider. The community can only benefit from better data.
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      11-02-2013, 10:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electric puha View Post
I agree, it is good to see more people logging data, regardless of the tuning provider. The community can only benefit from better data.
Absolutely!
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      11-02-2013, 11:48 PM   #17
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I have the BPM stage 1 and love it!!!!
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      11-03-2013, 02:11 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electric puha View Post
I agree, it is good to see more people logging data, regardless of the tuning provider. The community can only benefit from better data.
We've been data logging and posting all the data logs from our dyno sessions for more than two years now. Do you plan to post all of your BT Tool dyno logs for the community to benefit?

Awesome results BTW. Enjoy in good health.

Last edited by regular guy; 11-03-2013 at 02:28 AM.
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      11-03-2013, 10:01 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regular guy View Post
We've been data logging and posting all the data logs from our dyno sessions for more than two years now. Do you plan to post all of your BT Tool dyno logs for the community to benefit?

Awesome results BTW. Enjoy in good health.
Links?
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      11-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #20
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Looks good! Not sure the hostility between tunes, but results are results. Servotune is very much worth it alone, I wish tuners offered this as a separate option in the future.
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      11-03-2013, 01:08 PM   #21
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I'm running the stage 2 dev tune with macht schnell test pipes, Fabspeed X pipe and AA drop in filter. Nice to know the tune is putting out good power officially confirmed by dyno
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      11-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #22
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Mike tuned my car last night too with DEV tune ,but need to wait to test it until tomorrow because for the moment is here a heavy storm and rain !
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