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AZBMW Forums › General Forums › General Discussion › Review: New supercharger system - ESS M54/52 VT1
Review: New supercharger system - ESS M54/52 VT1
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Joined: Jan 31, 2006
Posts: 1854

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:35 pm
Post subject: Review: New supercharger system - ESS M54/52 VT1

ESS Product: M54/52 VT1

Install Car: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP Sedan 6MT with 104700 miles on the odometer (At time of this review I am at 108600 miles)
Mods at time of install: UUC TSE3 Exhaust (full), Gruppe M intake, ESS Software, OEM Short Shift Kit

Pre Install Dyno: 190HP / 192TQ
Post Install Dyno: 290HP / 235TQ
Supercharger Improvement: 100HP

Current Boost Pressure: 7 -8 PSI

Costs: $4,295.00


Install Timeframe: 3-4 hours with general mechanical ability. If you can change your oil and/or perform normal maintenance on your car this shouldn't be an issue to install.
ECU update: For the ZHP model, the ECU needs to be sent to ESS to have them update. For non-ZHP models, then this can be performed without removing the ECU.

Drivability Review:
The ZHP powertrain by itself is already a very potent engine with the OEM changes made with the package. It has a very nice powerline curve of acceleration, torque and all around driveability. When you do want to drive it in a spirited way though, it responds nicely and when you are in the correct powerband/gear it responds very nicely.

All that being said, this new supercharger system from ESS completely changes the dynamic of the car. I am a previous owner of a 2002 E46 M3 SMG and one of the things that I definitely missed when getting rid of it was the raw unbridled power when I would drive it. Now with this kit installed, I can happily say, that thought NO LONGER lingers in my mind. If the ZHP had a smooth curve of acceleration and torque, this kit completely SNAPS that curve into an almost linear line of power. The acceleration is rapid, immediate and noticeable as it moves the needle quickly up the gauges. When accelerating in the 3-5K RPM range, I have to be very aware of what is in front of me as it will accelerate like crazy!

However, I have also noticed that it is also a very mild experience when driving around in a conservative manner. In fact, with normal day to day driving, it is hardly noticeable when I am driving around in the upper gears, like 5th and 6th gear or just accelerating behind some traffic or other cars at stop lights. I would go so far as to say that it feels as if nothing has changed on the car. But the beauty of it is, if I want to get around someone or accelerate to get on the freeway, the engine completely changes and wakes up like nobody's business. It is almost as if a switch is turned on and you get pushed firmly back into your seat with nothing more than playing with the throttle.

I'll try to give an example here of gear by gear driving to hopefully make some sense.

1st gear:
10-35% throttle - Mild and very enjoyable, as if I don't have the kit on at all
40-60% throttle - Lively and very quickly moving ground beneath you. No tire chirp yet
60% and up - Tires squealing, people looking at you, better be dropping into 2nd gear at this point because your gonna redline it in half a heart beat

2nd gear:
10-35% throttle - Again mild and enjoyable
40-60% throttle - It is moving and we are in the 3-5K powerband quick and we are flying down the road at this point. The engine feels alive and ready to go
60% and up - Since we had to jump out of 1st so fast, we only dropped the RPM's a tiny bit and are still well within the power band we want, so 3rd gear is less than 2 seconds away and you better make sure nothing is in front of you.

3rd gear:
10-35% throttle - Feels good, moving along at a nice pace. Cops give you a nod as you pass by them.
40-60% throttle - Now we are going, better hope we are on a deserted highway or already on the freeway from that on ramp because we are in the zone and the engine is primed for take off any second. The cops give you a stern look of disapproval as you are well at or just above the highway speed limit at this point
60% and up - Forget it, speed limits and other cars behind you aren't a concern, we are flying and hitting the redline like Mike Tyson. Better shift, because you only lived in 3rd gear for about 3 seconds before you have to remove your foot from the throttle or change gears NOW

4th and 5th gear:
10-35% throttle - Same as 3rd, we are cruising like a Sunday afternoon, feels smooth and easy
40-60% throttle - Hanging out just shy of the powerband but moving quickly down the road, a lot faster than is probably prudent. Feathering the throttle at this point puts the engine into the power band and the kit pushes the engine into the next level.
60% and up - Only done this once so far getting onto an open freeway late at night..................probably wont' do it again. I went from 1st gear to 5th gear faster than I have ever shifted and was just shy of 3 digits on the speedo by the time i was fully merged onto the freeway. Yea if you are still asking the kit for this much in 5th gear then you better have a lot of open road, because we are in triple digit territory and climbing. Hope you got some good tires!

6th gear:
10-35% throttle - Gotta love those Sunday afternoon drives
40-60% throttle - Need to get by that semi or slow driver in the fast lane, no problem, feather that throttle a little and don't even worry about down shifting.
60% and up - Honestly, I don't even know. Call me a teenage girl if you want, because I can't even.......

This kit is a very good looking kit and ESS has put together one of the cleanest looking vortech kits I have seen so far. The fabricated bracket that bolts up where the airbox usually is at, is incredible to look at. I honestly wish they had made one that stands out more as it is a very sweet looking bracket. The vortech looks absolutely huge in the engine bay as well. I don't know of the different vortech kits out there and the sizes and models, but i'll be honest this thing looks like a monster and I freaking LOVE IT.

Yes, I'll be honest here, there is some noise. There is the notorious "Vortech tick", however I really only hear it and notice it when the car and kit is cold. Once the kit and car do warm up then it seems to go away for the most part. There is a sucking sound that comes from the open cone filter but really I have NO problem hearing that sound. My exhaust seems to put out more sound than the kit does. I also don't have any hood padding on the car either, I don't remember what happened to it but if I ever did get some of that and put it on, then I probably wouldn't hear the kit at all.

Dyno Sheet:

Dyno Testing Vid:

Here are some pictures of the kit and the kit installed in the car:

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Joined: Mar 13, 2012
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:57 pm
Post subject: Re: Review: New supercharger system - ESS M54/52 VT1

I always wished i had one of these kits when i had my 330ci, that or the twin screw kit. With the m54 there is really no other power to be had, so for the money i think that is the way to go for power.

2002 330CI
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