Just found out about the new Forum...so I would think this post would be good for this forum. I wrote this review a couple months back. This is for the GruppeM Ram Charger (Carbon Fiber) for a STOCK E46 323Ci:
I purchased the GruppeM from Renn-Sport. Great service and very speedy! (thanks sam!) though it was the longest wait ever, UPS ground, 7 days! I got the Carbon Fiber instead of the Carbon Kevlar for two reasons: 1) the kevlar would have taken an additional 4-6 weeks for delivery and 2) the kevlar has yellow and green in it; though the weaves look outstanding, the green and yellow doesn't fit my engine's motif.
On a late winter night, Mr. UPS came at the end of the day! Opened the box and my first reaction was "wow, sooo soo beautiful" The carbon fiber sparkles under the light. Soon the wrapping was opened and once you feel it, you will notice its build quality: perfection.
Scrambling upstairs to my room where my computer is, i pull up the installation instructions from renn-sport. Install instructions Quite simply the easiest thing ive done for a long time. In a matter of minutes, the assembly was done, ready to go on the car.
My friend/roomate wanted to help install the baby. So we went out and opened the hood. Again following renn-sport's instructions: two 10mm bolts off, unclip the MAF, disconnect the kidney air conduit and voila, the OEM airbox was out.
One problem I had was the location and removal of the headlight vent. Since the instructions were for the 330, I presumed the vent did not come in the 323 since I could not find it. So I continued on.
Popped the GruppeM in, connect the MAF, tightened a few screws, done! The mounting bracket was not used here since 1) the instructions says it was not needed and 2) once you install it, you can see its very secured without the bracket. It was one of the easiest things I've ever done to my car! mind you it was late at night and it was coooold.
There was a short period after the install, where we just admired the engine bay. Ok on to the engine start!! YAY
Started the car; very normal. No difference. Friend told me to rev, so I did. Our faces smiled. The sound is amazing! Theres no words to describe it. ROAR with a hint of HISSING. The intake has changed my car's image, to an average sounding car to a roaring beast. You just cant get enough of the sound (atleast I cant get enough of it).
The sound is generally normal under 3000RPMs, at this range, all you hear is a very very faint hissing sound. Almost non-existant. Pass 3000RPMs, the thing screams.
Performance wise: you can actually feel the difference, it may be different for other models, say the 330, but in the 323, you can really feel the difference. I believe it's the throttle response time; the response time has shortened.
I've heard the design on the intake is second to none. The specially designed shape of the carbon fiber heat shield forces air into the chamber where air is focused to one point which enters the engine. The kidney air inlet channel (which used to be the source of the air for the stock airbox) is now a cooler for the heat shield; the opening of the kidney air conduit is directly next to the GruppeM intake. Excellent design IMO
Retail for the GruppeM intake is somewhere around $700. Renn-Sport had a special for these little babies..around $470.
I would definatly recommend this to anyone who wants the best of the best. I must say for an intake, it is pricey, but to me, just the phenomenal sound this thing produces is worth every penny, not forgetting the look and on par if not superior performance. UPDATE
After a couple months of use...you cant get tired of the sound! The weather was starting to warm up so I tried gunning it with the windows down...there was alot more hissing than I expected. But after 3500RPMs, the 'roar' totally takes over the hiss.
Sound in the engine bay vs sound from within the cabin is 100% different. THe engine bay sounds more like an electronic air type contraption with a nice intake growl. Inside the cabin (inside the car while in motion) is a totally different sound. It seriously sounds like a roaring beast.
I was driving with my brother (i in my car and he in his M roadster) We were side by side moving and we both gunned it. He swears my intake was audible (at a good volume too) from within his car...which to me is pretty impressive.
Performance wise...ive eaten Celica GTS with ease, and raced a 2000 328i 5spd w/ a bad start and was like 1/4 car lengths behind. Highway performance was much better. Example: 70mph in 5th gear around 2900RPMs, downshift to 3rd gear to about 5000RPMs and you are off...actually pulls a bit
usually it doesnt with the stock airbox and the sound...oh the sound
Here are sound samples: (NOTE: this is from the engine bay, not in the car)