Project E36 M3 (Silver): Part 3 – Uncorking the M3 with the help of a Borla Cat-Back Sport Exhaust

Project E36 M3: Part 3 - Borla Exhaust

We were fortunate enough to produce significant naturally aspirated power gains during the testing of our S52 vs. M50 Manifold and the Turner Motorsport Stage 2 & 3 packages for the BMW E36 M3 without breaking the bank, but the list of ways to further increase power with bolt-ons has shrunk considerably.

The US-Spec E36 M3 is arguably the most mundane variant of the M3 and we have made a lot of progress to inch ours closer to its 321hp European counterpart.  While we gained a lot of power and some audible character by freeing up the intake of our S52 motor, the stock muffler mutes the exhaust note to a level more suitable for a 7-series than an M3.

To free up both power and sound we installed a Borla Cat-Back Sport Exhaust (Part 3) which was designed specifically for the S52 and the E36 M3.  Borla did not just use a standard off the shelf muffler, but rather tailored the design to suit the needs of the M3’s inline-6 to extract the most power possible with a refined sound.  We went with Borla due to their reputation for producing industry leading products and because their E36 M3 cat-back is more aggressive than stock without droning or screaming ‘look at me’, which is exactly what we are looking for in this daily driver.


Borla MufflerWith over 30 years of experience, Borla is a world-leader in the design and manufacture of stainless steel performance exhaust systems.   The Borla cat-back is one of the most popular options for the E36 M3 due to its refined, deep burbling tone and subdued, yet sporty volume.
Bola Exhaust TipsLike all Borla exhaust components, our cat-back Sport Exhaust is made entirely from 304 stainless steel.  This prevents the muffler from deteriorating from the inside out.  Borla guarantees every muffler they make with an impressive  Million-Mile-Warranty which we think is really cool.  Borla’s exhaust technology provides an increase in horsepower and torque as well as improved gas mileage at cruising speeds.
Borla PartsEverything is included from the mufflers, mandrel-bent tubes, flanges to the muffler, clamps, and dual round 76mm angle cut and rolled tips.  Model-specific step-by-step instructions are included as well as a few Borla stickers and a hat!  The Borla exhaust system incorporates a straight-through, less-restrictive muffler design that keeps the exhaust gas velocity high for optimum performance.

Borla has found that for street use, large diameter pipes take energy out of the exhaust by slowing down the exhaust flow and by cooling off the gasses.  Furthermore, big pipes increase the low frequency range which increases the unwanted drone.  Borla exhaust systems are designed for less restriction and keeping the velocity and frequency high to both reduce drone and improve sound quality.

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