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      01-15-2018, 10:36 AM   #1
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OEM Mod vs Borla ATAK vs Borla S-Type

I’ve run with a 2-pipe mod (welded) for 3 years. Been very happy with this but was looking for a little bit more volume as well as improve the sound quality. The OEM has a very good while “simple” sound to my ears from a frequency stand point. It increases the OEM sound nicely but doesn’t add any tones if you get me.

For starter Borla’s customer service is top notch. Really nice and completely engaged all the way. Their European distributor (SPORTWAGENWERK-BORLA Europe) is amazing, customer care and communication model like nobody else. Should you be in Europe looking for Borla shipment, I’d say look no further.

Borla ATAK
All stainless, fair finish. Some welding mounts wasn’t perfect and alignment between pipes wasn’t in place. Borla took action and compensated for this. Cold start is louder than OEM Mod, no escape with a “race level” system and I personally enjoy the S65 cold start. Once cold start is over the sound is very nice, adding lower tones makes a more rich sound than OEM. Between 3-5rpm it has a glorious note with a nice howl the OEM is missing. After 5k the engine sound takes over (from cabin), which in my book should be the case or would be too loud. ATAK is significantly louder than my 2 pipe mod. Cruising down town is a pleasure for both driver and pedestrians (I like to hope), while on the high way in the long run I find it a tad busy.

Borla S-Type
Due to mentioned imperfection I got the chance to try also the S-Type which Borla nicely sent me. Fitment perfect this time. Cold start louder than ATAK. Massive bassy/low frequency noise. Once warm the bass continue to be significant up to 2.5k RPM. I believe this is due to Helmholtz chamber is missing while ATAK have it. Coming above 2.5k the bass goes away as expected, to leave a more muted sound. A bit naively I was hoping to keep the nice song of the ATAK but with slightly less volume. This is not the case, the tone is suppressed while the volume is fairly low.

Summary
The OEM Mod versus the money stand as the best, gives you plenty for close to nothing. Borla ATAK without doubt step the sound up both in volume and quality, it is simply a beautiful song coming out.
I’ll continue to get used to the increased volume. Meanwhile I keep my OEM mod as back up for the yearly inspection and should the ATAK go too harsh on my ears…

EDIT 24th April:
So after some time with the Borla's I have now gone back to my modded OEM. As indicated above although the ATAK produced a very nice tone it was simply too loud for me in the long run, particularly during high way drive. Can't help thinking its nice to be back to the OEM mod for now but I probably try another exhaust out another time.

Last edited by Helmsman; 04-24-2018 at 09:43 AM.
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      01-16-2018, 07:18 PM   #2
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Great comparison Helmsman! Are you catless (oem x-pipe)?

I've been eyeing the ATAK for a couple years.. I have the AA sig x-pipe (catless) and was worried about volume. Maybe ill just pull the trigger..

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      01-16-2018, 09:44 PM   #3
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is there any drone on the borla atak? thanks for the comparison!
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      01-16-2018, 10:09 PM   #4
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I have had the borla atak for months now and the only drone I have ever noticed is when I am in 6th gear in my 6mt and at about 71-74mph. It's fairly slight drone and I can live with it for sure. That is a common speed I am at on the highway so I do hear it sometimes but if I change my mph even 1mph above or below it's 100% gone.

So to sum it up, overall no drone except a slight amount at a very certain rpm and gear. This exhaust suits a daily driver very well. Cold start is fairly loud but can be tuned out.

Last edited by eatsleepboost; 01-17-2018 at 08:13 AM.
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      01-16-2018, 11:19 PM   #5
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Love the sound of this pipe but hate the tips
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      01-17-2018, 02:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdamore View Post
Great comparison Helmsman! Are you catless (oem x-pipe)?

I've been eyeing the ATAK for a couple years.. I have the AA sig x-pipe (catless) and was worried about volume. Maybe ill just pull the trigger..

Nope catless, all original except for the muffler.
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      01-17-2018, 02:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shimmy23 View Post
Love the sound of this pipe but hate the tips
Tend to agree they are not great. Thinking about doing something about them, we'll see.
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      01-17-2018, 03:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman View Post
Tend to agree they are not great. Thinking about doing something about them, we'll see.
Speaking of which, do you have a picture? I ask because I bought my E90 with Borla already installed. I have always disliked the look of the tips and have always thought that they stick out beyond the bumper too far. I'm curious if the previous owner got an early example when they only offered the E92 and "made" them fit, or if this is just what the E90 system looks like.

I've considered, pretty much since the day I picked the car up, to hack off Borla's tips and replace with something more E39 M5-esque. Borla's are too rounded off. I like the straight cut off the MPE for example. Style aside, mine appear to stick out too far.

Dat sound doe
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      01-17-2018, 03:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Speaking of which, do you have a picture? I ask because I bought my E90 with Borla already installed. I have always disliked the look of the tips and have always thought that they stick out beyond the bumper too far. I'm curious if the previous owner got an early example when they only offered the E92 and "made" them fit, or if this is just what the E90 system looks like.

I've considered, pretty much since the day I picked the car up, to hack off Borla's tips and replace with something more E39 M5-esque. Borla's are too rounded off. I like the straight cut off the MPE for example. Style aside, mine appear to stick out too far.

Dat sound doe
Right on! Have you tried to adjust? I've pushed mine as far in as possible and still the pipes are sticking out too far. Double checked with Borla it was the E90 rather then E92 shipped (11803 vs 11802 if I rem correctly) which they confirmed. Still putting on the S-type the fit and length was perfect. When they are hidden the way they should I think they are alright. Coming out too far = uggly. Also plan to have them cut off and get some polished single wall on, would be good. So far however haven't managed to find a shop who want the job. Keep searching!

Yes, sound is great. People claiming its too low must have an ear issue though, working mine to get aligned with the roar...
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      01-17-2018, 04:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman View Post
Right on! Have you tried to adjust? I've pushed mine as far in as possible and still the pipes are sticking out too far. Double checked with Borla it was the E90 rather then E92 shipped (11803 vs 11802 if I rem correctly) which they confirmed. Still putting on the S-type the fit and length was perfect. When they are hidden the way they should I think they are alright. Coming out too far = uggly. Also plan to have them cut off and get some polished single wall on, would be good. So far however haven't managed to find a shop who want the job. Keep searching!

Yes, sound is great. People claiming its too low must have an ear issue though, working mine to get aligned with the roar...
I have not tried to adjust anything in all honesty. I feel as if I'm a live-to-work instead of a work-to-live guy here as of late

My E90 is currently at the shop getting rod bearings, shifter, motor mounts, blah blah done. Otherwise I'd run out and snap a picture real quick to compare to what you have. Single wall is the ideal look for this car!

Wait edit... As soon as I typed that out I forgot that I had a picture of it in the garage from last summer. Best I got for now.
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      01-17-2018, 06:47 PM   #11
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Spazzy, if they are cold yours seems worse and I bet there are possibilities to adjust. That is a 5min job assuming you have a pkace to lift her. I'll try to post a pic from here tomorrow. Nity!

Edit: Pics attached. First two of the ATAK, I probably managed to get them a tad more in than these pics.
Last pic is of the S-Type which clearly fits much better although still possible to adjust further in.
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Last edited by Helmsman; 01-18-2018 at 06:38 AM.
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      01-18-2018, 10:23 PM   #12
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ATAK is perfect. I need to post an in depth review of the 5 different exhaust systems I've used over the last 18 months. ( Im picky, not rich.)
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      01-19-2018, 05:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ham_sammich View Post
ATAK is perfect. I need to post an in depth review of the 5 different exhaust systems I've used over the last 18 months. ( Im picky, not rich.)
Please do Ham, that would be an interesting read! And what about your pipe length? (Coupe or Sedan?)
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      01-19-2018, 08:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ham_sammich View Post
ATAK is perfect. I need to post an in depth review of the 5 different exhaust systems I've used over the last 18 months. ( Im picky, not rich.)
Please do Ham, that would be an interesting read! And what about your pipe length? (Coupe or Sedan?)
sedan. I'll write something up this weekend. it will be lengthy
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      01-20-2018, 08:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman View Post
Spazzy, if they are cold yours seems worse and I bet there are possibilities to adjust. That is a 5min job assuming you have a pkace to lift her. I'll try to post a pic from here tomorrow. Nity!

Edit: Pics attached. First two of the ATAK, I probably managed to get them a tad more in than these pics.
Last pic is of the S-Type which clearly fits much better although still possible to adjust further in.
Sheesh, yeah yours are quite a bit further in than mine. I'd like to bring them in about 20mm.

My car is at the shop for the weekend getting various things done so I can't take a look. I'm assuming that there are just hose clamps of sorts holding the tips in place and then you can move them axially as desired?
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      01-20-2018, 10:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Sheesh, yeah yours are quite a bit further in than mine. I'd like to bring them in about 20mm.

My car is at the shop for the weekend getting various things done so I can't take a look. I'm assuming that there are just hose clamps of sorts holding the tips in place and then you can move them axially as desired?
The S-type on last pic for sure is but again my ATAK which is on is not far behind your. Yep, one clamp per side, very easy soon as you have access.
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      01-20-2018, 11:06 AM   #17
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Good review Helmsman.

I know what you mean by lack of tone. Now you have a more full bodied sound. Enjoy.
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      04-24-2018, 09:45 AM   #18
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Edited in the OP.
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      05-04-2018, 01:16 PM   #19
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The Borla ATAK Axleback wouldnt have an issue passing smog would it?
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      05-04-2018, 06:26 PM   #20
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The Borla ATAK Axleback wouldnt have an issue passing smog would it?
Nope, only back box so nothing to do with smog. Sound if measured might be another story.
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