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BMW Downpipes

What are they and why do I need them?

Downpipes and your BMW

When you buy a turbocharged vehicle, you expect high performance capacity. One of the key components in providing this performance in the exhaust system, and in particular the downpipe. Let’s say you own a 2017 BMW 3 series with an N20 or N26 engine. The factory-added downpipe will be built to offer a pleasing level of efficiency of exhaust flow, but it’s still possible to do better. If you buy a high flow catted downpipe, or even a catless downpipe, you can boost both horsepower and torque. This is especially sought after by drivers who are going to engage in either racing or off-road activities, where extra hp and pound-feet of torque can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

What exactly is a downpipe? 

As we mentioned, your BMW, whether it has an N20, N26 or N55 engine, will come with a downpipe already. On any turbocharged vehicle, the downpipe lies within your exhaust system, connecting the turbo exit to the catalytic converter. How easy it is for things to flow down this pipe has a huge impact on your car’s overall achievable horsepower and torque. A typical BMW downpipe will have two 400-cell catalytic converters within the downpipe, which are actively reducing your hp and level. Installing a new one can free up the space and allow more efficient flow.

What’s the difference between catted and catless downpipes?

The “cat” part of these terms doesn’t refer to the furry house pet, of course, but rather a catalytic converter. Since it’s the catalytic converter that’s chiefly responsible for the slowing down of your exhaust system, it is that which is they key to identifying the downpipe types. 

Catted downpipes — these are downpipes which still contain their catalytic converters, but perhaps in a reduced capacity. Where your BMW standard downpipe may have two of these installed, a catted downpipe may only contain a single one. 

Catless downpipes — these are pipes in which the catalytic converter elements has been removed completely, thus allowing the maximum efficiency, power and benefit to be enjoyed by the driver.

But do I really need one? Isn’t the factory one alright?

If you are happy with your car’s performance in its factory-build form, then that’s fine, but many want to open up the car’s potential and experience more. Apply a new high flow or catless downpipe to your BMW, and before any other action you can see an improvement of 20-25hp and 20-25lb-ft of torque. This doesn’t sound like much, but it is possible to improve that further if you include a tuning, like a BootMod3 tune, for example. More on that later.

Is it just more horsepower and torque? Are there other benefits?

First of all, we shouldn’t underestimate the value of extra horsepower and torque, especially if we are racing or planning any off-road activities. Having said that, when you couple the installation of the high flow or catless downpipe with a flash tune with BootMod3, you can see that increase go up to 80-100hp more. Now, that is a difference worth noting!

Besides power, you can also:

  • Give your car a louder, more robust exhaust sound
  • Get more power and control when off-roading or racing
  • Enjoy greater thrill and excitement when driving your car

In short, switching to one of these downpipes is an excellent way to make your car a true “performer.”

What is BootMod3? What does it have to do with downpipes?

BootMod3 represents the cutting edge in car tuning technology; helping car mod enthusiasts to ensure that their car and their upgrades are in perfect sync and working together optimally. It works via an app, which when connected to your car’s computer can help you tune the car after new components, like catless downpipes, are installed into the machine. This software is the first of its kind, and is revolutionizing car tuning in the modern age.

Is there a downside?

It’s not fair to say a “downside,” but there are certainly things to think about before you go buying and/or installing new downpipes on your BMW.

Check #1 – Does your home state allow it? Some states have bans or restrictions on these products, especially catless downpipes. They may be restricted to racing and off-road activities only, so you need to check your local and state laws.

Check #2 – The possibility of exhaust odor. Catless downpipe users will notice a fairly rank odor from the exhaust when they stand at the back of the car after driving. It’s nothing to worry about, but users should be aware. You won’t experience any smell from the driver’s or passenger seats.

Check #3 – The “Check Engine” light might come on. Since this is a new part, and your car is built to work primarily with the factory-issued downpipe. Your car’s “Check Engine” light might flash up because it views your exhaust system as suddenly rather inefficient. This can be remedied with some tune-ups and minor alterations.

As long as you are aware of these things, then you can go ahead and enjoy the performance benefits of adding this type of downpipe to your BMW. Don’t forget to do a BootMod3 tune for optimized performance!

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