Evolve Tuning ECU Upgrade

Test 2


Peak Power: 305.5 whp @ 8000 rpm
Peak Torque: 238.2 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Max Power Gain: 13.9 whp @ 7600 rpm
Max Torque Gain: 9.1 lb-ft @ 8000 rpm
35-95 MPH Dyno Acceleration: 4.83 sec.
7500-8000 RPM Air/Fuel Ratio: 13.2:1-12.5:1
Parts: Evolve Tuning OBD2 port loader, memory card
Installation Time: 1 hour
MSRP: $800


Compromise-free, easy to install, no need to send ECU



Test Notes

Evolve Tuning spent countless hours massaging ignition timing, fuel maps and Vanos system for an optimal street tune. Various tuners typically overinflate their software upgrade claims, but our result was on par with Evolve’s flywheel horsepower claim of “around 15 hp.”

The installation process is simple. Using Evolve’s supplied tool, the customer takes a read, emails the file and Evolve emails a tweaked file back to upload in seconds.

Evolve also offers advanced files for cars with additional modifications. We tested the basic tune, which also included a 100 rpm rev increase, top speed governor removed and “Sport” default (clicking the Sport Mode button now turns it off instead).

In conjunction with our fluids test in Test 1, our peak gains were now 18 whp and 11.5 lb-ft at 8000 rpm.

GruppeM Intake

Are two identical M3s really the same?

To answer this, we found two nearly identical M3s to test against each other. Prior to testing, I drove them both. I’ll admit—one car felt just a wee bit stronger than the other. I even gave mention to the owner (of the faster one, of course), but I still wasn’t positive.

Several factors can make two cars feel different, including the amount and quality of fuel, type of fluids in the drivetrain, tires, etc. To limit these variables, we gave both cars fresh parts and fluids. The two M3s ended up with identical:

1) Transmission (six-speed SMG)
2) Liqui Moly motor oil (10w-60) with LM Engine Flush and LM Motor Protect
3) Amount and type of fuel from the same fuel station (Chevron 91)
4) Differential fluid (Redline 75w-90)
5) Transmission fluid (Redline MTL)
6) Spark plugs (NGK DCPR8EIX)
7) Stock Mahle air filters for baseline testing
8) Wheels (one got VMR V710, the other V718, both have identical weights)
9) Tires (Continental ExtremeContact DW)
10) We even chose the same color

The only difference between the two cars is that one is an ’03 with 24K miles and no sunroof, making it roughly 40 pounds lighter (we’ll call this “Car 1”), while the other is an ’04 with 80K miles (let’s call it “Car 2”). Car 2 is the one we used for the dyno tests. However, with less weight and fewer miles, most would hypothesize Car 1 has the upper hand.

Unfortunately, this test did not go smoothly. According to EAS, these cars require being put into a “dyno mode” to test properly, otherwise the motor starts to cut out at 6000 rpm. Dyno mode can only be activated by a scanner tool like the Autologic unit EAS uses.

Car 1 did not like dyno mode. Even worse, we couldn’t tell because it was still ripping up to 8000 rpm. Our only telltale sign was low power and an unusually rich fuel mixture after 5000 rpm (mid 11’s air/fuel ratio while Car 2 was between 12.8 and 13.1). We checked Car 1 for vacuum leaks and found nothing.

On the dyno, Car 1 started with 257.4 whp and 211.9 lb-ft of torque, which then jumped to 264.5 whp and 215.5 lb-ft with the new plugs and fluids—similar, even slightly better gains than what we saw with Car 2. Still, Car 1 was down over 30 whp overall to Car 2!

With the Evolve Tuning software in, the power improved to 271.5 whp and 214.2 lb-ft of torque. Not quite as much as Car 2 gained.

Then, out of nowhere, run 40 registered 292 whp and 231 lb-ft, but surprisingly the air/fuel ratio still dove after 5000 rpm. No one could explain why, and we never hit 290 whp the rest of the day, even after 60 runs.

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