Best BMW E60 5-Series Exhaust?

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Want better sound and performance from your 5-Series? Check out these member tips on exhaust mods!

Aftermarket exhaust ranks at or near the top of popular mods lists, year after year. And it’s easy to see why. After all, factory exhaust systems are famously restrictive and far too quiet for most enthusiast’s tastes. For a reasonable cost and not too much hacking, you can unleash both on cars like the E60 5-Series. But with seemingly endless options available, which one is best? For that answer, we (and 5-Series member radarcontact) turned to the forums!

“I was looking at and saw that the exhaust systems for the 535i go from the downpipes to two long pieces of pipe with two individual-bank cats, then a ‘center muffler’ (resonator?). It’s shared by both banks, then off to the rear to meet two more mufflers. That’s quite a bit! Lots of weight I’m sure, but how much flow restriction is there??

I’m really kinda curious what would happen to the interior sound level if the 2nd set of cats were replaced with straight tubing and either the rear or center mufflers were deleted. Maybe just one good quality muffler at the end, nothing in between it and the motor?? For me personally, I wouldn’t mind having a little more exhaust note, but I’m paranoid about ANY kind of interior drone. I like the car quiet when I’m not stepping into the gas pedal!”


A fair question, indeed. And the 5-Series community didn’t disappoint with their thorough responses. In the case of rice_rocket88, it seems that he’s already successfully navigated this situation with his 5-Series.

“I removed the muffler and went to quad tips. The mufflers weigh a ton, and certainly put a little backpressure in compared to the new mufflers. I wasn’t necessarily concerned about performance vs. the looks. The sound level increased by maybe double the stock muffler with the secondary flap opened. Although to me, it was very quiet to begin with. I don’t have any drones or problems.”

Many, including anthracite, highly recommend the downpipes mod.

“Most people I have spoken to say that downpipes are the best mod to do and keep the secondary cats. If you remove the secondary cats, then you will want to add resonators somewhere or you’ll get a lot of drone. I agree the stock exhaust seems like a heavy design. But I guess it keeps noise down versus having a single 3-inch pipe.”


And as chea notes, these are all more economical options than aftermarket exhaust kits.

“Only a few options for bolt-on exhaust, and they are all 1k plus. I already ordered an exhaust tip and two Vibrant resonators to do a muffler delete.”

But if you want an entirely new system, perhaps it’s better to go full custom, as gsxtasee says.

“I had AR Design 3″ catless ceramic-coated DPs into twin 3″ straight-to-twin muffler setup into M5 style quads on my previous E60. But the E61 currently has the same DP and is twin 2.5″ into single muffler with stock appearing tips. Any solid exhaust shop can build the entire cat back system for a few hundred dollars instead of thousands for a German-sounding name on a sticker and a muffler.”

All of which is great advice for anyone seeking better sound (and more power) from their E60 5-Series. But we want to know what you think! Do you have any recommendations for the OP in regards to exhaust systems? Head over here and chime in, or just check out all of our member recommendations!

Join the 5Series forums now!

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