Oh, sure, people will point to ESS-Tuning 'records' on the E9X M3 platform. Are they a product of ability or simply volume bolstered by drag strip conditions on the east coast in the winter?
The truth is ESS-Tuning does not have the ability to match their claims. For a bolt on option that works, they are great. When they move outside of that narrow sphere, bad things happen.
MYSTERY SOLVED: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ESS TUNING SUPERCHARGED RDSPORT STROKER M3? BLOWN MOTOR / S65 ENGINE FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
ESS TUNING THREATENS BIMMERBOOST WITH LEGAL ACTION OVER REVEALING ISSUES WITH THE SUPERCHARGED RDSPORT STROKER MOTOR
ESS-TUNING PROBLEMS WITH F82 M4 F80 M3 S55 TURBO KIT TUNING AND HARDWARE, FORUM CENSORSHIP, AND THE DANGERS OF BEING AN ESS GUINEA PIG
AMS PERFORMANCE DROPS ESS-TUNING IN LIEU OF THEIR OWN TUNING SOLUTION FOR THEIR ALPHA 9 F10 M5 / F13 M6 S63TU TURBO UPGRADE PACKAGE
ESS-TUNING ACCUSES EVOLVE OF USING ESS TUNES, POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS TUNING, AND BIMMERBOOST OF GENERATING PROPAGANDA FOR EVOLVE
ESS-TUNING SERVICE AND ALPHA-N E60 M5 S85 V10 TUNING ISSUES - THIRD PARTY ACCOUNT OF SWITCH TO EVOLVE ALPHA-N S85 TUNING
When ESS attempts to tread outside of a bolt on supercharger kit for the M3 (centrifugals being the EASIEST superchargers to tune) they usually fail. Especially when it comes to custom projects. When BimmerBoost highlighted this in some of the articles you see above, ESS threatened BimmerBoost with legal action.
Nothing ever came of their threat because everything you see above is true. If a tuner is so insecure over their perception of being good maybe they really aren't as good as they want people to think?
G-Power at least deserves credit for attempting high performance builds. Out of all the tuners on this list, they build the strongest BMW's so props for that.
The problem? Let's say you want a twin supercharged S85 V10 like the one pictured above. It will run you $40k+ for the supercharger kit before an engine build for their highest stage. Once you go to their SKIII system you are looking at $57k plus labor. You can buy an E60 M5 today for almost half that. Not to mention, bolt on a Vortech blower for a fraction of the price and have more power. Just look at their $25k Mono SKII system.
G-Power is a tuner for people with too much money to care. They will build you a reasonably fast car but it will cost you more than the car is worth. They also never backup their claims with 1/4 mile runs or wheel output dynos.
We did get a crank dyno for their recent claim of a 1001 horsepower twin supercharged S85 V10 system but it is not a raw graph. When they start showing what they are making at the wheels we will start taking them seriously.
G-Power does hold the BMW top speed record. This is impressive although it is primarily a product of being able to use the autobahn to set it so nobody elsewhere in the world has challenged them.
If you have more money than sense, feel free to check them out. Don't be surprised when you get smoked by a cheaper option though.
3. AC Schnitzer
Another BMW tuner that made it's name in the days before forums and in the days before the turbo era. At one time, (think E36/E46) they built some very cool BMW's. These days they pretty much just do body kits although they have been setting some course records in Germany.
Their 'tuning' amounts to re-branding springs and suspensions components as their own. They add in a rebranded piggyback for some more horsepower and then go run a lap on courses they have in their backyard for a record. It is not as if US tuners are going to fly a car to Germany to top it so they are safe.
When it comes to powerful aftermarket BMW's they are nowhere to be found. No 1/4 mile records, no dyno records, no 1/2 mile records, and no acceleration records of any kind.
They play it safe making big margins on body pieces people in Russia and the Middle East overpay for. They are overrated.
Hamann is basically like AC Schnitzer except without any records of any sort. Another company that used to do hardcore tuning such as stroker motors that is now reduced to selling wheels and body kits.
Not that they care, they have the Hamann name and whore it out as much as they can. This name brand approach is popular overseas but when is the last time you saw someone in the United States drooling over a Hamann built car? If someone drools over Hamann anything, they suffer from mental retardation.
They have no impressive engine tuning whatsoever. They are completely all show and no go. Just look at their M2 tuning program. Body pieces and teal wheels which will slow the car down. Wow, how impressive. You can literally outperform their vehicle with a stock M2 and a tune from basically any US tuner.
These guys have been coasting on their name for decades.
It pains BimmerBoost to have Dinan as number one but it is exactly where Dinan should be. It is not that Dinan is bad or produces bad parts. It is just that they are overpriced and underperform.
Just look at this:
DINAN'S WEAK BMW TURBO ERA TUNING - COMPARING F85 X5M 1/4 MILE RESULTS WITH DINANTRONICS STAGE I S63TU PIGGYBACK TO ACM ECU FLASH TUNING
WHY BOTHER WITH DINAN AGAIN? PRECISION TUNING PUSHES THE 2013 F01 ALPINA B7 N63TU OVER 600 HORSEPOWER AT THE WHEELS
Yet another BMW switching from Dinan 'Dinantronics' to a proper ECU flash tune - F13 M6 Gran Coupe S63TU picks up huge gains with Eurocharged vs. Dinan tuning
DINAN STAGE I DINANTRONICS F80/F82 M3/M4 S55 TUNE DYNOJET DYNO RESULTS - +~20 WHEEL HORSEPOWER
In the BMW performance community, if you run Dinan, you're a joke. What's the point? To overpay for parts to be slower than those with cheaper parts? Dinan can not even flash tune modern BMW's.
This is why Dinan suddenly embraced piggybacks after criticizing them. This led to Dinan responding to BimmerBoost's criticism of their public flip-flop.
There are some who will point to Dinan in motorsport and sure, they do some great things there. However, street BMW's are not race cars. The BMW race cars have unlocked ECU's. Dinan does not have that same luxury with the street cars and it shows as the new TriCore ECU's proved too difficult for them.
Also, what ever happened to that S63TU turbo upgrade promised from Dinan almost three years ago? Nothing happened. Dinan simply was not able to deliver and if it does come to market it will likely be a rebranded upgrade from another tuner much like their N55 turbo upgrade.
Dinan is without question the most overrated tuner in the BMW aftermarket today. If you are one of those people saying, 'What about the warranty?' you are probably their target market.
If you want a fast BMW, you simply don't choose Dinan.