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      12-15-2020, 08:56 PM   #1
kangzta
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Drives: 2009 E90 M3
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: CA

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BPM tune review: STAGE 1 + DCT

Hello fellow M3 owners. Just creating ANOTHER review thread to showcase just how good and satisfying the BPM tunes were for me. In my case particularly, since I have a somewhat older car (2009) with dated software, it really really improved my car's behavior in so many ways. I'm so happy that i'm actually mad, because I waited almost 3 years to do this and lived with the car's (especially the DCT's) little quirks the whole time and didn't need to be.

Anyways for context, my car is a 2009 e90 M3 and basically stock. Only engine modifications are an AFE drop in filter and a Supersprint axle back exhaust. Super basic.

I had no issues with the car in general, the e9x M3's are great cars for sure. If there was anything left to be desired for me, it's basically just related to drivability: the 3-2 DCT downshift being clunky coming to a stop, slow R engagement, general random slugishness in shifting (ESPECIALLY in automatic shifting mode), etc. Obviously, we've all become accustomed to how our cars feel and things that they do, and we drive them accordingly. I was hoping that these tunes (based off of the many reviews that I was able to find when comparing tuners) would be able to "pep" the car up a bit, but mostly BALANCE it out with cleaner throttle profiles and fixing the bad habits (like DCT clunky stuffs)

First and foremost, the tune is definitely helping the car to make more power. I know that this statement holds very little weight, but you KNOW when a car has changed for better or for worse, when it's the car you drive every day. You can tell when something's changed, and HOLY CRAP does the engine feel different. From start up, to cold start idle, city driving, to redline pulls, the car just feels smoother all around and in every way. Smoother in terms of vibration, smoother in terms of rev-ability, smoother in EVERY way.
And in terms of how the power feels, I am breaking traction at speeds and in gears that I normally dont, and finding the car just generally having a MUCH easier time going through the rev range. I honestly wasn't expecting to really be gaining much power if any from the tune (particularly because I was still staying stage 1 with the stock cats), just given how high strung our cars are from factory and being naturally aspirated, but it definitely feels really good all around and more powerful (the extra low end grunt is really convenient). Even when you're not loading the engine, you can tell it's just running smoother and feels more "connected."
In regards to the engine tune, the standout feature for me is the revised throttle profiles. I always wished our throttle was just more responsive across the board, while being more aggressive when I want it to be like in power-mode, but also even LESS aggressive when in normal settings, which it is all of those things now. But most importantly is that the engine and throttle are now so much more linear, in all modes/settings. I hated using sport + before for my M mode, because the throttle would be so twitchy that it was a nuisance during cornering situations, but now it's truly linear in feeling which gives the car some much needed predictability when you're trying to run in aggressive power settings and do some tracking/canyon running.

Personally though, especially because this is also my DD, the DCT improvements are what really really keep impressing me. The DCT is a great transmission but has a few weird tendencies that you notice especially if you daily drive the car (like weird shifting behaviors and lag).
The tune COMPLETELY changed the way this transmission feels, night and day difference. In automatic shifting mode, the transmission is SO much more responsive AND also smoother than it was before, both off the line and in terms of shifting. Not to say that DCT was rough by any means, but it had it's moments where it'd be a bit SMG'esque. Now though, it comes off a stop and shifts through gears SO smoothly, that if i was blind and deaf riding in the car i'd think it was a CVT or something lol. And in aggressive manual modes, this thing is so crisp and fast now (especially downshifting). And the increased shift aggressiveness in higher modes is honestly pretty great. It's so engaging and shifts so hard lol, the car almost feels like it lunges forward now at every upshift.

I am so used to doing little things to get around characteristics of our car that I didn't like, such as going into manual mode (when in auto) just to downshift gears at certain times to AVOID clunking when coming to a stop, or NOT even using the throttle setting in "power mode" when canyon driving or tracking just because the throttle response was so freaking touchy and NOT linear that it became almost dangerous fast situations... NO MORE.
I debated with myself personally for years about whether a tune was worth it or not on our cars, being that they're NA and high-strung as it is. But, i'm so glad that I did. These kinds of modifications to cars can sometimes be more about just cleaning up the package then just boosting metrics. I know that in the stage 1 configuration I am in, the peak power gains are minimal (but still there), but the overall "clean up" that it did like dialing in of the throttle profiles and elimination of poor behaviors REALLY are what make this tune so great as a package.
GENUINELY, for all you DCT guys out there, if I had to do just one tune and not both, i'd choose the transmission tune. It's literally almost as smooth as a torque converter tranny now, but even more crazy when in higher settings, it's great. I can't get enough of it, it feels like the tranny really listens to you now if that makes sense.
And also if you were like me, hesitating on the tune because you can't decide if you wanna go catless or not, just do what makes you comfortable and get the tune anyways even if it means tuning at stage 1. With stage 2 you'll make great power, it's much faster (i've had the chance to drive a couple stage 2 M3's) but even with stage 1 you're getting enough to really feel it and enjoy driving the car again, with all the drivability and response improvements too.

Two thumbs up, 5 stars, 10/10. I have nothing but great things to say about BPM as a company and Mike as the owner, they have great products and customer service was great. Definitely give them a look if you've ever considered tuning the engine or DCT!
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