Project E46 M3: Part 7 – Magnaflow vs Corsa Cat-Back Exhausts!

Project E46 M3 seems to live on MKC’s dyno.  I have owned it 1.5 years and it’s already seen 164 pulls.  Five of our seven featured articles include dyno testing, too.  BMW built a great motor that, now with our AEM Infinity EMS, runs perfect.

Project E46 M3: Part 7 – Magnaflow vs Corsa Cat-back Exhaust Systems

Which one would you take?

by Pablo Mazlumian


In Part 2, we installed a Corsa RSC cat-back exhaust and were pleased with not only the dyno result, but also the new exotic tune that wailed like a trained singer at wide-open throttle, with no drone.

In Part 3, the Fabspeed/VAC cat-less headers released significant horsepower, but at the price of increased noise—lots of it—due to the cat-delete.  The show went from a Bocelli concerto to a head-bashing Slayer concert.  The aggressive rasp that started around 3000 RPM made the combo not very desirable for civilized cruising, but we'll admit it did sound good at WOT.

We could have installed catalytic converter-equipped headers from VAC and be fine, but there was  a significant cost increase, and a possible handful of ponies tucked away as well.  So, we decided to try another cat-back exhaust system by calling our friends at BimmerWorld, who pointed us to Magnaflow.

Before we get into our discussion, let’s be clear in pointing out that we feel both the Corsa and Magnaflow exhausts are quality systems.  Personally, I’ve tested Corsa cat-back exhausts on five different M3s, and all with favorable results.

Like-wise, I’ve tested Magnaflow systems several times in the past, including on a Mini Cooper S and Audi RS4—both of which yielded positive results over stock.  I’ve also used Magnaflow mufflers on some of my previously-owned cars, including a 338whp Porsche 951 as well as a 550whp E36 BMW M3 turbo.  Currently, I’ve got a custom 3.5-in exhaust on Project Supra that uses a Magnaflow muffler as well.

(Be sure to check out our comparison video on page 6!)


We ordered our Magnaflow exhaust system through BimmerWorld.  When a box like this arrives to your doorstep, it’s better than Christmas.


Magnaflow packages their exhaust systems well.  The company is also good about protecting the tips, which were heavily Styrofoam-packed as pointed out here.

Unlike our Corsa system, which connected to the stock Section 1 coming off of the headers, the Magnaflow systems replaces Sections 1 through 3.  What attracted us to this particular exhaust was the large center resonator, given our pursuit for greater civility while cruising.




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