Project E39 M5: Part 2 – Installing and Testing the Corsa Performance Exhaust
by Martin Gonzales
After ensuring we could stop our newly acquired fun-machine in a previous installment of Project BMW E39 M5, it was now time to let some ponies loose! Our goal; produce more power while maintaining the “quite refined” feel of our performance sedan. It’s no secret the S62 power plant in the BMW E39 M5 was extremely muffled and restricted from the factory. With a price tag rivaling a large down payment on a house, those who could afford a new E39 M5 back in the day were more interested in impressing their power lunch buddies with the M badge rather than with the rumbling performance notes the S62 could belt out. So in the name of sales numbers BMW, like any other manufacturer, put a muzzle on the ol’ girl leaving the performance enthusiast longing for more. But seriously though, what’s the point of having a 400hp engine if you can’t hear and enjoy it?!
A quick internet search for “E39 M5 exhaust” will yield you plenty of exhaust options with prices ranging from $1,100 to more than I could sell my G20 race car for! You'll even find numerous useful video sound clips and even more useful forum opinions…heavy sarcasm. So how does one make a decision? Well, I based mine on the experience we had with our very own BMW Project E36 323is. I truly enjoy the exhaust note of its Corsa Performance exhaust, but most of all I love being able to cruise on the freeway and have a conversation with the person sitting next to me without having to yell at them. That’s exactly what I wanted for the M5! But could a “quiet” performance exhaust yield the significant power gains we were after? We would just have to bite the bullet and see.