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    • Power under the curve - Comparing the Active Autowerke Level II and ESS VT2-625 + VT2-650 E9X M3 S65 V8 supercharger kits and HP/TQ curves

      All centrifugal superchargers for the BMW S65 V8 do not produce the same powerbands. For example one kit with a certain supercharger compressor map may have much stronger mid-range punch and another may have a much stronger top end. It is this aspect that sparked a large debate after a video was posted of BimmerBoost members akh23456 and LostMarine comparing their Active Autowerke and ESS M3 supercharger kits respectively.


      Fanboys and vendors from all sides came out stating their cases and why their system must better than the other. BimmerBoost will not be choosing favorites in this battle but wishes to expand on the topic. It is with this that BimmerBoost member @flipm3 (third party with no affiliation with any of the E9X M3 supercharger producers) posted the comparison below of dyno chart overlays of the Active Autowerke Level 2 system and ESS VT2-625 and VT2-650 E9X M3 S65 V8 supercharger kits. The graphs clearly show one compressor used has more mid-range and area under the curve and the other has much more top end. These kits are similar yet have different approaches making for different curves. BimmerBoost will explore doing a similar comparison to this with all the kits although readers should keep in mind that paper results are not the same thing as real world.




      Since this seems to be the master thread of comparing the AA Stage 2 with Meth versus a plethora of ESS kits, I figured I would share some of the DynoJet data that I have been looking at in WinPEP7. I asked Andrew@activeautowerke if he could send me a DynoJet DRF file of an average and standard AA Stage 2 with Meth. He kindly replied with an attached file and clarified that it was a normal AA Stage 2 with Meth complemented by a 100% catless exhaust system. My assumption is that it's running 93 Octane fuel considering the dyno was conducted in Florida, from my understanding. It must be noted that the DRF file that I received was actually of an older Stage 2 running the HKS GTS5550. It is proposed that the present and newer HKS GTS5555 may hold power better at the top end.

      Now having a hold of a single DRF file of the AA kit, I decided to look at the vast amount of data on the large online dyno database publicly accessible to download DRF files from various E9X M3s.

      There has been a hot debate on the difference between the AA Stage 2 and a multitude of ESS kits. Me, trying to stand a neutral ground and currently no where near being in the market for a supercharger, I decided to simply just compare dyno results. This is only that. Comparing solely dyno graphs. I am noticing a large trend on various message forums of people focussing on max values. What some may or may not understand is that, max values tell only a very short part of the story. What people often forget is to observe the shape of the curve or the area under the curve. Although not always 100% indicative, this could very well help predict how car will perform on the street and track.

      What I decided to do was choose a handful of different ESS VT2 kits that would look like a good match to compare with the AA Stage 2 with Meth. I based this solely off personal judgement. To be fair, I chose what I thought to be the "best" run for each respective ESS kit. To me "best" means which had, not necessarily the highest max value, but what had the strongest curve and looked to provide the most power throughout the power band.

      Please Note: The following dynos are property of Active Autowerke, ESS Tuning, respective owners of the vehicles, and the publicly available S65 dyno database. My intention is not to prove that one kit is better than the other, but solely to entice people to take the time to really study dyno graphs. Although dyno graphs are not the end-all be-all, it can very well depict how a car performs. Of course there are endless variables that play into role, but I choose not to get into that right now. So as I always say, take all these dyno graphs with a grain of salt and even skepticism. Also please note that all of these dynos were conducted on different DynoJets and in some cases, different States. This alone provides a potentially influential confounding variable.

      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs Lalit@ACM ESS VT2-625
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      CONDITIONS


      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs DLSJ5 ESS VT2-625 (95 Octane)
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      CONDITIONS


      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs Sal@ACM ESS VT2-650
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      CONDITIONS


      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs m33 ESS VT2-650
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      CONDITIONS


      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs m33 ESS VT2-650 w/ Meth
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      CONDITIONS


      Again, this post is simply to provoke discussion, as well as, raise the awareness that there is more than simply max values. I hope that many of us, being hardcore automotive enthusiasts, will take the initiative to make it a habit to study dyno graphs with a bit more thought. In addition, for anyone in the market at buying anything related to your car, I encourage you to take the time to do the research, to contact respective tuners, current clients, all simply to gather as much data, information, and opinions as you can. Ultimately, it's you who chooses what you put on your car. ESS Tuning, Active Autowerke, VF-Engineering, G-Power, Gintani, and Evolve Automotive all make amazing supercharger kits. In the end, regardless what route people take, I don't think anyone will complain with the monstrous power that they add to their car. I have much respect for all these companies simply because it is a very cut throat industry, but their passion for automotive tuning prevails and they keep improving upon themselves and their products. To all the tuners and companies out there, keep at it because competition is what pushes you to better your product and service. Now a days, I don't even think there are "bad" options anymore since everyone will have many pros that may very well out way, some of their own cons.

      I forgot to add another comparison which I think is very relevant!


      AA Stage 2 w/ Meth vs DLSJ5 ESS VT2-625 w/ Meth
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      CONDITIONS



      One thing that I purposely did not bring up was boost levels. The biggest reason being that I didn't see all the logs within the embedded DRF data. It must be noted and appreciated that all of these cars are making more or less power at different levels of boost. I'll be the firs to admit that I am fairly new to really digging into the engineering of Forced Induction. So my level of understanding of overall kit efficiency, boost efficiency, size of pulleys, intercooler design, etc is still fairly new to me. Instead of trying to prove a point with evidence that I am not 100% comfortable with, I chose not to bring in that variable. Although it is very important!

      These comparisons are solely just comparing curves. Simple as that. How they play into role during a road coarse or straight line race, I don't know. How they play into role in the 1/4 mile or from a rolling race at varying speeds, not sure about that either. This is just to provide a visual aid in the difference between a handful of kits.

      There is no doubt that the ESS and Vortech V3si have AMAZING power up top. It holds a very steep slope of power increase nearly until the very end of redline. On the other hand, the HKS GTS5550 seems to have a very nice foothold in the midrange. Once again...pros and cons. The consumer should do their research and pick what meets their demands the most.

      I hope you all enjoy the visual aids I posted. Again, this is still a very short page in the book of comparison.


      This article was originally published in forum thread: AA level II and ESS VT2-625/VT2-650 dyno comparisons started by flipm3 View original post
      Comments 87 Comments
      1. M&M's Avatar
        M&M -
        I know the chargers are different, & the plugs, cooling, etc so I'm sure the tuning is different. But another reason the ESS may be making more high rpm power is that they seem to be running almost a full point leaner up top. Some people may ask is ESS to lean or Active too rich. Well I think it depends entirely on the kit, the cooling & especially the timing targets. If you running hotter & more timing you may well have to run richer to be safer. Please note I don't know as I don't have data on the Active kit & that may not be the case. but I know the ESS kits are not lean as there are many running around the world targeting those AFR's with no issues on that front.

        Have any of the AA guys tried targeting a leaner AFR & seeing the difference on the dyno? If you have meth for cooling, should be safe to try it on a dyno. If you can sneak some hp up top, then the ESS kit would have no advantage anywhere.
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Yes we have ran leaner Afr's and experienced hp gains as a result. We will not run those Afr's on a customers car as we do not see it safe in our opinion.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M&M Click here to enlarge
        Area under the curve is a misleading phrase. For performanct, you need to look at area under the curve in the racing powerband. Which in a DCT is 7000-8300rpm. Look at the area under the curve there.
        Your statement is a bit misleading as well though. What type of performance? Straightline? Well, depending at what speed you start at you will likely want a bit more than just 7000-8300:

        BMW M3 DCT
        Gear / Ratio / Max Speed / RPM drop on upshift
        1st 4.780 44
        2nd 2.933 71 5200
        3rd 2.153 97 6200
        4th 1.678 124 6500
        5th 1.390 150 6900
        6th 1.203 173 7300
        7th 1.000 208 7000
        Final Ratio 3.154
        Redline 8400


        The M3 rev drop on a gear change is at under 7000 rpm until you get into 6th gear so 7000-8000 is a pretty narrow window which usually people will be lower than that, especially when accelerating from speeds under 150 mph.

        In 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear you definitely want a fatter curve from 5000-6200 if possible and all the way to redline ideally.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by evolve Click here to enlarge
        Other forums need info like this.
        Other forums are interested in which kit they can sell and charge fees for, not technical discussions. This discussion would be getting hammered by fanboys anywhere else...
      1. M&M's Avatar
        M&M -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Well, depending at what speed you start at you will likely want a bit more than just 7000-8300:
        Yeah you right it's more like 6000-8300rpm that you need the right power for straigh-line or circuit racing (yes you redline around a circuit too).

        Starting speed, we have 2 scenario's. Standing start or rolling start. Standing you start in 1st gear, with LC around 4500rpm. Largely irrelevant as traction is going to be a problem. some of the FWD's we have some records with, we detuned the mid-range so that launch control results in less wheelspin.

        Ok rolling start, you commence the race at a specific rpm but only for that gear. Once you redline that gear & upshift, you will be at high rpm for the rest of the race. So the trick is to race as high an rpm as you can. Even if you almost buzzing the limiter. I have seen plenty of those M5board videos on the airfield & seen the M cars running boosted cars & they rolling in 2nd gear at medium rpm & as soon as the race starts the M car is toast. Like a 335 against a supercharged M3 & as soon as the race starts the M3 is like 4 cars behind & struggling to gain. Gotta approach the cones in 1st gear & stay up into the powerband.
      1. M&M's Avatar
        M&M -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Well, depending at what speed you start at you will likely want a bit more than just 7000-8300:
        Yeah you right it's more like 6000-8300rpm that you need the right power for straigh-line or circuit racing (yes you redline around a circuit too).

        Starting speed, we have 2 scenario's. Standing start or rolling start. Standing you start in 1st gear, with LC around 4500rpm. Largely irrelevant as traction is going to be a problem. some of the FWD's we have some records with, we detuned the mid-range so that launch control results in less wheelspin. But you launch, you redline 1st gear, & from that point on you at high rpm for the rest of the race.

        Ok rolling start, you commence the race at a specific rpm but only for that gear. Once you redline that gear & upshift, you will be at high rpm for the rest of the race. So the trick is to race as high an rpm as you can. Even if you almost buzzing the limiter. I have seen plenty of those M5board videos on the airfield & seen the M cars running boosted cars & they rolling in 2nd gear at medium rpm & as soon as the race starts the M car is toast. Like a 335 against a supercharged M3 & as soon as the race starts the M3 is like 4 cars behind & struggling to gain. Gotta approach the cones in 1st gear & stay up into the powerband.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M&M Click here to enlarge
        Standing you start in 1st gear, with LC around 4500rpm. Largely irrelevant as traction is going to be a problem.
        It's only irrelevant if traction is your problem but that's a problem stock as well. Good drag radials and you can do 6200 rpm launches.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M&M Click here to enlarge
        So the trick is to race as high an rpm as you can.
        Yes of course but in lower gears the RPM drop is going to be more pronounced on shifts and you can never get around this.
      1. M&M's Avatar
        M&M -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        It's only irrelevant if traction is your problem but that's a problem stock as well. Good drag radials and you can do 6200 rpm launches.
        Yes you 100% right. If you can get traction then the only time more mid-range will help is in 1st gear at the launch. You can cut a better 60ft if you have more mid-range & can use it.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M&M Click here to enlarge
        Yes you 100% right. If you can get traction then the only time more mid-range will help is in 1st gear at the launch. You can cut a better 60ft if you have more mid-range & can use it.
        Agreed except it will help in second and third as well then be mitigated the higher you go.
      1. flipm3's Avatar
        flipm3 -
        Great discussion! Sticky actually beat me to the punch of posting gear ratios on the DCT. Once again, I think I can kind of see pros/cons but these are all just assumptions and theories. I'd love to see in actuality what the difference would be racing from a roll, or maybe there really won't be much of a difference.

        One scenario:
        DCT, roll from 40mph. Would it be safe to say the race would start in 2nd gear at around 5000RPM? Seeing how most of those graphs show the AA kit having more power/torque at that area of the power curve, it could be expected that the AA car would get the jump and continue pulling hard. What I wonder is if the incredible top end of the ESS kit will be enough to real them in and take lead....

        Another scenario:
        DCT, roll from 60mph. Would it be safe to say the race would start in 2nd gear somewhere around 7500RPM? Seeing how the ESS kit has the advantage at the top end, I can see that car getting the jump and continuing to pull away. In this case, would the strong midrange and lower redline help the AA car catch up?.....

        Again...100% hypothetical. I would love to see this in reality. Once again, we come full circle to that both kits have their pros/cons, it's matter of weighing what's more important to the client or not. Different strokes for different folks. Click here to enlarge

        Sidenote: For what it's worth, in the tracks that I go to, I spend some good time in the 4000-6000RPM as well braking into corners and exiting, at least in my E46 M3. Powerband usage greatly depends on driving style, experience, and track layout.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by flipm3 Click here to enlarge
        Powerband usage greatly depends on driving style, experience, and track layout.
        Exactly. 7000 and up on the M3 is too narrow of a window to be realistic.
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Hopefully the two can meet up without any outside influences and get a clean safe race.

        Ive raced so many cars in my time the dyno is only half the story.

        One thing I know we will win is the best looking kit award. That is until Evolve steps in with the bling Click here to enlarge
      1. evolve's Avatar
        evolve -
        Great discussion so far.

        Was studying the GT5550 Vs 5555 compressor maps and looks like the 5555 will delivery that top end power.

        Look forward to some graphs then.

        Just a comment on the afr and ignition.
        Just because one company is running richer doesn't mean they are running more timing.
      1. Remonster's Avatar
        Remonster -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by M&M Click here to enlarge
        Area under the curve is a misleading phrase. For performanct, you need to look at area under the curve in the racing powerband. Which in a DCT is 7000-8300rpm. Look at the area under the curve there.
        This is why this comparison between the two kits is such a good one. One kit offers more power in the midrange and will feel faster in normal driving while the other kit has more power in that critical 7-8,300RPM range and will therefore be faster than the other kit in a drag race.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Remonster Click here to enlarge
        and will therefore be faster than the other kit in a drag race.
        This is a point of contention.
      1. Remonster's Avatar
        Remonster -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        This is a point of contention.
        If all else is equal, I think it's fair to assume the kit that makes more power over the entire RPM range that would be used during the race would be faster, no? If you start in a lower gear, the other kit stands a good chance depending on the length of the race.

        Now, this is assuming the power curves are actually directly comparable but without having both cars on the same dyno (and not a Dynojet) at the same time, different dyno graphs aren't as comparable as we all wish they were.

        EDIT: I guess it's been too long since we sold our E90 M3, I was reading "7-8,300" and thinking "6-8,300" which is actually a more realistic power band for a race. So you're right, it's not quite so clear cut but I still think the top-end kit is making enough extra power up top over the other kit to be the likely victor.
      1. SunocoCAM2's Avatar
        SunocoCAM2 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by akh23456 Click here to enlarge
        Great Post @flipm3 i need to hit the dyno so i can overlay the new blower graph over these ones...I am glad you understand Peak HP means nothing in our M3 its all about the power under the curve.
        Not for nothing but I would have to disagree with you ! The only time your seeing bennifit of the power under the curve is in 1st and 2nd gears and more or less 3rd, that ESS650 ( M33 ) car will eat all the cars listed in the Dyno graphs on this thread , not only is he pretty much matching the curve of the AA car but his car actually goes to redline with an additional 50whp and 10wtq that stretches to redline also now if you add a 2-6th gear run it will pretty much put 3-4 cars on its competitors.
        A good run would be the 625 ESS car with the AA car

        Great post BTW!!
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        really depends on if any dyno tricks were used to achieve these #'s to compare; tires, spraying water on heat exchanger, standard tuning or dyno only tuning ect..
      1. SunocoCAM2's Avatar
        SunocoCAM2 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Andrew@activeautowerke Click here to enlarge
        Hopefully the two can meet up without any outside influences and get a clean safe race.

        Ive raced so many cars in my time the dyno is only half the story.

        One thing I know we will win is the best looking kit award. That is until Evolve steps in with the bling Click here to enlarge
        Best looking manifolds are the ESS , AA & evolve ! The gintani one makes me puke and the VF looks like a toy and sits too far back..
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SunocoCAM2 Click here to enlarge
        Best looking manifolds are the ESS , AA & evolve ! The gintani one makes me puke and the VF looks like a toy and sits too far back..

        I used to think the same thing, until i actualy saw all the manifolds in person. Now my view has shifted, you need to see them all to appreciate it