Dinan Dinantronics Sport Performance Tuner - $299

 From the beginning of production, the Mercedes C450 has been looked at as an AMG wannabe by Mercedes enthusiasts. An affordable way to get those beautiful 3 letters that we all dream about. However, now that the car has been on the market for over a year now, people are starting to realize the brilliance that this vehicle possesses.  Right off the lot, the C450 performs beautifully but as it draws more attention, it also draws in the aftermarket performance shops as well. As you can see from my previous review on the ESS tune, the possibilities are endless. And just when we thought that all the bolt-on options had already been thought of, something very strange occurred. One of the most respected and sought after BMW performance companies decided to throw its hat in the ring! 

Enter Dinan Performance, a company out of Morgan Hill, California.  Founded in 1979, Dinan is well established as North America’s premiere BMW tuner. Dinan develops, manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of high-performance products and systems, distributed through a nationwide network of Authorized Dinan Performance Centers. Recently, Dinan has further expanded its offerings to include other European marques such as Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche.

The Product & Install

The Dinantronics Sport Performance Tuner is a very simple and easy to install piggyback boost control system. Its simple design allows for extremely easy installation by way of a one wire connection to the pressure sensor located on the intake charge pipe. The controller has Bluetooth capabilities that allow the driver to control the boost pressure from inside the vehicle. One thing to note is that this can be installed on top of a stock ECU or a flashed ECU. We will go more into sitting on top of flashed ecu’s later on…

 

The App

The app itself (Dinan D-Sport on the iTunes app store) is a little bit clunky and could use a refresh, however, it does work. When you first load the app it will ask what device you want to connect to and you will connect to your dinantronics system once available.  Then it will load a screen with a large boost gauge and 5 buttons below, valet, stock, sport, sport+ and race. These options determine the amount of boost you want the controller to make. the amounts are as follows: 

1.     Valet: -6.2psi

2.     Stock: 0psi

3.     Sport: 2psi

4.     Sport+: 3psi

5.     Race: 4psi

 

As I stated previously, the app is pretty bad. Most of the time you never know what the controller is set to or when changing modes not sure if the unit is registering. The app has a lot of potential but for now, I give it a 2 out of 10

Ordering

The unit can be purchased directly off of the Dinan website for a whopping $299! YES!@ Only $299. 

https://www.dinancars.com/product/d440-0035-dinantronics-sport-performance-tuner-for-mb-30l-turbo-engines/?series=&mid=/

Initial Impressions

Similar to the OE tune, the burble that we have come to know and love from the c450 was not as prevalent when the unit is set to sport+ or Race mode. However, if you run the unit stock, the burble does present itself once again. But do you really need a burble when you have a tremendous amount of additional horsepower lurking at all 4 wheels?

The Numbers

I need to preface this by stating that the Dinan Unit sat on top of my current ESS Tune so these number will vary based on what tune you run or if you are stock.

That being said, the already installed ESS Tune put out 400.72 foot pounds of torque at the wheel and 344.15 peak horsepower.

With the new unit in race mode we were able to make 433.98 foot pounds of torque and attain a max horsepower of 372.97. 

 

Words of Caution

One thing that we know about our cars is that the ECU is very finicky and will go into survival or limp mode any time that it feels that something is wrong. This has happened to me twice now. It will also turn on the check engine light. Due to my ECU being already flashed and then piggybacking the Dinan unit, if I run the car in race mode for too long then the car will go into limp mode. I believe that this is due to the computer sensing to much boost and cutting the power in order to not harm the engine. So, if you want to avoid this but still get great gains on a daily basis then run the unit in Sport+. And if a meathead in a vette pulls up next to you at a light and gives you the eye, swap it over to Race. You should have no problems if running in race for short periods of time. I have experimented and found that I was able to run in race mode for days at a time without going into limp mode. If you do, shut off the engine, wait 5 minutes, turn the car to aux mode (do not start the engine) switch the dinan controller to stock and then start. It should fix the problem. If you have a check engine light, it will go off in a day or two.

Final Thoughts

This unit is incredible, especially stacked on top of a already flashed ECU. And for the price! It is a no brainer. Hopefully they can work the kinks out within the mobile app and really round the entire product out. I am definitely looking forward to what else Dinan does in the future for the Mercedes vehicles.

AMR Performance Review

When Mercedes announced the C450 to the general public, people didn't know what to think. Sure, some of us had heard rumors that Mercedes was going to introduce a more aggressive C class but could the car actually perform. It turns out that answer was a fanominal yes. Stock the car runs amazing, but it didn't take long for tunning shops to get down and dirty with the ECU and take this impressive V6 to an entirely new level. Over the last year we reviewed many tunes for the C450. Some of those piggy backs and some flashes, but amazingly they keep getting better and now we think we have found one that may hold the crown for the foreseeable future.

Enter AMR Performance a company out of Danbury, Connecticut with a racing mindset drilled into the very core of their business. What gives AMR an edge over the competition is actually really simple. They have more time with the car. That's because they actually own one and this means that instead of just remapping the ECU, they are able to tweak variables and test them over and over again until they get the best results.

Over the last couple of months we had many people ask us if we were going to review the tune that AMR put out. The answer was always yes and now that we have had the tune to test with we are finally able to give a lot of you exactly what you have been waiting for. 

Ordering

AMR offers two options for getting your ECU flashed. The first and more common is the Ship in method. With this option you are shipping the ECU to them, they will flash the ECU, and then Overnight the ECU back to you. If you are close to Danbury and want to take your car in you have the Flash and Dyno tune option. Here you will not only have the ECU flashed, but you will also get your car dyno'd and leave with the dyno sheet. 

For those of you that are worried about removing the ECU it couldn't be easier on the C450. The ECU is located on the top of the engine right under the plastic decorative plate. Simply pull up on the decorative plate which is held together by suction snaps and you have access to the ECU. There are two harnesses that connect to the ECU. The one on the right has a lever mechanism that needs to be pulled to the left and the one on the left is more of a pin type design simply grab it and pull directly to the left to release the harnesses and then pull straight up the ecu is held in place by four of the same type of suction cups as the decorative plate the whole process should take about 2 minutes. It is worth noting that before you remove the ECU you should pop the hood and wait 5 minutes. This will keep the engine from throwing a check engine light when you reinstall. If you do get a check engine light don't panic you can clear the code with an odb2 reader and if you don't have one your nearest autozone does and will gladly clear the code for you.

Initial Impressions

When we reviewed the tune from OE Tuning one thing we noted was that the burble that we have come to know and love from the c450 was not as prevalent. After some time with the tune we actually forgot about the burble and just enjoyed the enormous amount of extra horsepower that came with the car. Well The Burble Is Back! and man is it a great sound. Until now we were not able to really hear the burble through the Miesterchaft exhaust system the first time I heard it my heart started racing and my eyes lit up. Overall the shifts are smoother the car feels more responsive and the powerband feels more consistent.

It's also important to note the number of safety measures that these guys take when coding these ECUs. For instance, under a certain engine temperature the turbos are dialed back just a hair. This is because the

The Numbers

I need to preference this by stating that the Stock dyno run as well as the OE dyno run were both done with the temperature in the upper 60s the temperature on the dyno run for the AMR tune was a very hot 93.7 degrees. The other thing to note is that the stock and OE tune did not have the Miesterchaft exhaust on.

That being said the car put out 386 foot pounds of torque at the wheel and 316.5 peak horsepower. This was done again in 4th gear. 

Edit: To be completely clear this is AMRs standard stage 1 flash. They did not know about any other modifications to the car and did not account for them when tuning the ECU. 

For anyone interested in the AFR the graph is below

This is the one most people probably want to see. In red we have AMR, green is OE, and pink is Stock. As you can see even with a 30 degree increase in temperature AMR still was able to out perform OE. This is not to surprising since AMR posted their dyno numbers on their site a month or so ago, but, it's always nice to see the numbers first hand. 

Overall Impressions

When people started asking about the AMR tune I was hesitant. I really really liked the numbers that the OE tune put out and it was hard for me to part with it. However the more and more I talked with Rob and the rest of the staff at AMR the more I realized that these guys aren't just another tuning company who quickly threw a tune together and waited for the cash to come in. These guys knew what they were doing and it shows. They have already put out one revision to the system which is more than any other competitor on the market and they are actively working on more. 

So is it worth it? Well every time I get my hands on a new tune my answer always seems to be yes. I tend to think it's because I only want to review the best and some of the competition who's numbers don't match up refuse to allow us to review their tune. No matter the reason the numbers don't lie. If you asked me I would say this is the tune to run. 

More To Come

AMR is actively working on a Stage 2 tune for the C450. For those of you that are interested we will be reviewing the stage 2 once the system is released. We have some downpipes on the way for review and  can't wait to see what else AMR has up there sleeves. 

 

Meisterchaft Exhaust System Part 2 Videos

I would like to start off by saying I get compliments everywhere i go at the sound of the car. The exhaust is amazing and thanks to the AMR tune the burbles are back and sound better than ever. I am a little upset with the audio of these videos. I have a friend of mine coming into town in the next week or so with some professional video equipment to get better quality audio. The Videos really don't do the car justice. I have a dyno set for tomorrow and will get some more videos then and post it.

Also in terms of pricing the way my car comes out to $4146. 00 This includes the mid pipe and valve controlled exhaust. 

The Video Above is the Miesterchaft Exhaust with the valves closed. The Video was taken with the car in sports + using a gopro hero 4 with the frame enclosure.

The Video Above is the Miesterchaft Exhaust with the valves closed. The Video was taken with the car in sports + using a iPhone 6s Plus.

The Video Above is the Miesterchaft Exhaust with the valves Open. The Video was taken with the car in sports + using a gopro hero 4 with the frame enclosure. This was done with the windows up.

The Video Above is the Miesterchaft Exhaust with the valves Open. The Video was taken with the car in sports + using a gopro hero 4 with the frame enclosure. This run i did with the windows down.

This is the Dash Cam footage of the Exhaust with the Valves open. I found that this one offered slightly better audio then the go pros did.

The Video Above is the Miesterchaft Exhaust with the valves closed. The Video was taken with the car in sports + using a iPhone 6s Plus.

For people that are interested to hear normal driving with the valves open the video on the left is just that. I spent a short amount of time in sports + then switched to eco.

AWE Track Review

I was unsatisfied with the OEM exhaust due to lack of sound under any type of acceleration. It just didn’t sound sporty enough for me.  I decided to get the AWE Track Edition Exhaust after listening to a few sound clips on AWE website.

The time from fabrication to delivery took around 3 months. 
 

Unboxing

The system came in a heavily reinforced box.  Below is the system unboxed at the performance shop. 

Each piece was labeled so that you know what goes where based on the install guide.

Install

I didn’t have the tools or garage space to do this install myself so I had a local performance shop do it. It was done in 2 hour shop time ($200) and had no fitment issues whatsoever.  Most of the difficulty due to install came was when the technician was aligning the pipes under the strut brace. See below for an installed picture

 

The Track Edition differs from the Touring Exhaust in that there are two straight pipes which replace the resonators in the rear section.

Below is a side by side comparison of the OEM exhaust to the Track Edition Exhaust. As you can see the system is a true dual pipe system compared to the OEM exhaust. 

Original Exhaust

Original Exhaust

AWE Track Edition

AWE Track Edition

Driving Review

This exhaust is superb from craftsmanship to performance.  Like any aftermarket exhaust for an automatic vehicle, there is drone when cruising at 1800-2200rpms. It’s especially noticeable on the highway at those rpms.  I rarely drive in that rpm range as I mostly drive in Sport+ mode though.    

This exhaust screams when pushed.  Under hard acceleration from 3000 to redline, it is very aggressive.  The sound is noticeable inside the car as well as outside the car. I can say, however, it was more noticeable when I had the radio off.  My girlfriend said “the car sounds much better now”.  If you are a car enthusiast and you love to hear your car under hard driving, then this exhaust is for you.  

Apart from sound, the exhaust has improved the breathability of the car.  AWE claims max gains of 7hp and 13ft-lbs of torque to the crank.  I have yet to dyno, but I can state that there is less hesitation from the midrange (excess of 3,500 rpm) through redline compared to OEM exhaust.  The car also pulls harder compared to the OEM Exhaust

AWE Touring Review

Let me start this review off by giving you a little bit of background story. Before purchasing the AWE Touring Exhaust System, I did a muffler delete on the stock exhaust and was running that setup for about 3 months.  I really loved the sound of the system but only about 20-30% of the time. The other times it was a little bit too loud and the drone was pretty apparent on the freeway, so I decided to give AWE a shot and decided to go with the touring system. 

Josh over at AWE worked with Seth to get everything set up for us. He was really great during the ordering and production process when we kept bugging him asking where the exhaust was and when it would be delivered. Probably the only downside to this review is the time it took from order to delivery. Order was placed April 12th and we did not take delivery until June 17th. So, if you are looking for a quick turnaround on a system, you may want to reach out to them prior to ordering to make sure it will fit your timeline. 

 
Unboxing

The system came in a nicely packaged box with tons of Styrofoam to help protect the product. Each item packaged nicely and carefully to protect them.

Each piece was labeled so that you know what goes where based on the install guide.

Each piece was labeled so that you know what goes where based on the install guide.

Install

 

I didn’t have the tools or garage space to do this install myself so I had a local mufflershop do it. It was done in 1 hour shop time ($90) and had no fitment issues whatsoever. It came with a digital instruction manual that was downloaded by scanning a QR code.

 

Even pros read the directions.

 

Driving Review

 

As I stated before I came from the OEM exhaust but had removed the mufflers.  With the mufflers deleted, low rpm driving had a bit of a drone to it especially when cruising right around 1800-2000 rpms. With this system there is literally no drone so cruising in comfort mode is about the same interior sound as it was stock. But you throw that baby in Sport+ and listen to it in WOT….WOW! The entire system roars to iife and makes the most incredible sound! The snaps and the crackles are even emphasized with the AWE system. Happening more often and more intense.   I was actually quite surprised how quiet the daily driving is now b/c I was expecting the drone to be similar to the OEM setup I had.