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BMW Aftermarket Exhaust – Is it worth it?

Different types of aftermarket exhaust systems and choosing the right one for your BMW

Make your downshifts roar!

Many non-car enthusiasts claim that aftermarket exhaust systems ruin the OEM feel, sound, and look of a car. They may also argue you’ll end up sounding like a lawn mower with no real performance benefits. This is why they will continue to drive a boring stock car to work for the rest of their life. A real car enthusiast looks for ways to enjoy their morning commute and weekend cruises with the squad. They understand their car’s true potential, unlocking the inner beast that is tamed by the stock exhaust. An aftermarket exhaust does not just make a car louder, it brings life and personality to it. Making downshifts roar and bringing a smile to your face.

We’ll break down the 6 options you have:

  1. Muffler Delete
  2. Resonator Delete
  3. Catless / Highflow Downpipe
  4. Axleback Exhaust
  5. Catback Exhaust
  6. Full Exhaust

Several brands offer exhaust systems, but they each have their own uniquely designed tone. The price ranges from $300 to $6,000+, purchasing the right exhaust can be a daunting task, but we’ve compiled a list to help you understand which one is right for you and your BMW.

1. Muffler Delete

The cheapest and loudest way to get some sound out of your car is by removing the muffler. Any muffler/welding shop can do this for around $100-$400, depending on the size of the steel tubes and exhaust tips.

2. Resonator Delete

If you’re not looking to wake up your whole neighborhood each morning, a resonator delete might be the option for you. A resonator minimizes some frequencies before it gets to the muffler. You’ll get some deeper tones with not too much volume.

3. Catless or High Flow Downpipe

If you elect to keep your stock muffler and resonator but want some burbles/backfire, you’ll want to go with a catless or high flow downpipe. Your stock catalytic converter cleans up your vehicle’s emissions, but it creates a lot of backpressures. Most BMW engines are turbocharged, thus giving them excellent tuning potential. Click here for a full breakdown on catless downpipes.

4. Axleback Exhaust

An axle-back exhaust is a system that is behind the rear axle of your car. That means that you’ll keep your stock resonator and downpipe but only change out the muffler. Some high-end axleback exhaust systems come with a valved option that allows you to open and close a valve that bypasses the whole muffler for an increase in sound.

5. Catback Exhaust

A catback exhaust system replaces everything after your catalytic converter. Removing the resonator and muffler. Most often, these catback exhaust systems have bigger steel tubes for increased airflow and sound. Some catback exhaust systems also come with a valve control option, giving you more control over the loudness.

6. Full Exhaust

A full exhaust system will replace your downpipe, resonator, and muffler. Usually, these exhaust systems are the most expensive options. The downpipe could be a high flow or catless. It could also come with custom resonators to make the tones/frequencies more unique and a valved muffler that opens and closes with the press of a button. Allowing you to choose when you want to be loud and when you want to be silent.


The beauty of being a BMW car enthusiast is being able to see different builds and creativity. From decked-out turbocharged 4 bangers to naturally aspirated V8s, there is a car in the BMW lineup for everybody to enjoy. If you’re having trouble deciding which BMW aftermarket exhaust system is for you, go with the one with makes you smile when you hear an exhaust video.

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