Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man’s M3, Part 4 – Exhaust



E36 323is exhaust
A quick view of the old OE mufflers and tips just for comparison's sake.  It's tough to argue in favor of the looks of the old muffler and tips.  The old OE setup didn't make much of a statement at all in the sound department either.
E36 Corsa exhaust
A closeup view of our Corsa's Diamond Black exhaust tips.  There's no polished stainless steel or chrome anywhere on the car, so this seemed like a more subtle approach while looking much nicer than our stock tips.
E36 Corsa exhaust
So, we've got the lighter weight we wanted as well as the great looks, but what about the sound?  This is where things can get interesting in the world of aftermarket exhausts.  Most of them have one thing in common, and that's drone.  Somewhere in the rev range you're bound to have some really annoying issues with most non-stock exhausts, but we knew from experience that wasn't going to be even a slight problem with the Corsa…
E36 Corsa exhaust
As you can see above, the Corsa exhaust for the E36 has two small resonators and two relatively small mufflers (not to mention those gorgeous tips).  It looks fantastic, but anyone who's been around aftermarket exhausts a bit will also tell you that it looks loud. 
I won't say the exhaust is quiet, because it isn't.  That's because it's not meant to be.  By no means is it obnoxious, though, and there's not even a tiny bit of drone at any time.  That's because of Corsa's RSC Technology, or “Reflective Sound Cancellation.”  Each muffler has channels designed to divert the drone-inducing low frequency waves by 180 degrees.  It's their own patented technology that they claim eliminates “unwanted frequencies that cause interior resonance and drone.”  And here's the thing… It works!
The Corsa exhaust doesn't necessarily have what we'd call a typical BMW sound, but that's not a bad thing at all.  It sounds very different, very aggressive, and very good.  It's got an authoritative rumble at start-up and idle with a serious growl at casual speeds.  In the upper revs the exhaust just screams business, yet at at highway cruising speeds you could darn near forget you don't have an OE exhaust… at least until you tip into the throttle a bit.  It's almost like there's a switch in the exhaust that turns the volume off, thanks to Corsa's sound engineering.


  1. This is really dope, but I have a question regarding the O2 sensors and wire harness.
    I know for the 323is exhaust there are only two O2 sensors. One before the cat and one after. but on the 328 exhaust theres a total of 4 because of the dual cat setup. Did you have to use the s52 wire harness for this setup? I did this exact same engine build on my 323is and im wondering if the s52 tune I have on my ecu will run properly with my standard 323is exhaust

    1. Curious to find out too about the o2 sensors. I am looking to do the same with m3/328 downpipe all the way to the muffler. Also wonder how much power gain in real world (0-60 time).

    2. I did this exhaust swap on my 323ic and now have an engine code P0133 after relocating the single pre cat sensor to one of the headers. I’m at my wits end and don’t know how to fix this issue without getting a whole new wiring harness for my car. Anyone else who’s got an idea of what to do please reply.

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