Why choose BSR?
It´s great that you are interested in upgrading your car! You've probably searched the net for "chip tuning" and found several companies that seem to offer good products for your car. Some claim they are the market leader or even best in the world. Some promise fantastic power & remarkable reductions in fuel use and some offer products that are very cheap. In the middle of all this you stand wondering what product is best for you. This is why we'd like to explain why you should choose BSR over other tuning companies... as a bonus you'll learn lots of useful stuff about tuning.
After reading about how to test for & present power increases in a scientific way, you will probably know more about this than a number of BSR´s competitors. Lastly, we'll expose a company that is advertising ridiculously exaggerated power figures.
Firstly we want to highlight some things we think are important and that demonstrate the professional way in which we work. These things are an absolute minimum requirement in order to guarantee top quality products.
- BSR develops all software in-house with professional equipment
- BSR measures power & torque, before and after tuning
- BSR measures acceleration times, before and after tuning
- BSR publishes power charts/dyno sheets
Serious engine optimisation Many people have the misconception that in a car´s chip, there are a few electronic tuning regulators that can be adjusted up or down by people with computer skills. That the car is easily and optimally tuned and that the outcome of tuning will always be the same, no matter who does it. But, alas in reality this is not how it works (see example below under the heading "BSR exposes faked power figures"). Just as with any other product, tuning software is the result of work. Work that can be done badly or done well, depending on who performs it and how. Naturally, the technical skills of a company are reflected in the quality of their product and in order to produce good tuning software, you need to work carefully, systematically and perform repeated power measurements. You must have professional equipment and most importantly, the people you employ must have edge-cutting expertise. It would be impossible to fine-tune and optimise our software as we do today, if we hadn´t had the best equipment, along with many years of experience.
This two dimensional graph shows only a smallfraction of the calibration area on a Saab 9-3 2.8T V6.
Publishing real numbers rather than made-up power figures
When you consider buying something expensive, you want to know what you're going to get. We understand that, and present you with all the relevant numbers to show you what you are buying. The majority of tuning companies however, are not able to show customers even the most basic information. Surprisingly, many tuning companies selling 'engine optimisation' advertise made-up power figures. They have not tested power output or acceleration simply because they lack the required equipment and competence. Measuring power output is a science in itself and power figures are entirely worthless if they are not based in reality and reproducible. When measuring engine power output, there are a lot of parameters that influence the result, meaning results can easily be distorted. This is why we work against a real reference framework that is as close to reality as it gets. At BSR, we do this in two important steps: real power measurements and real acceleration tests.1) Real power measurement
An critical advantage with BSR is that we have the equipment and skills to measure power output properly. Many of our competitors lack the equipment and others have the equipment and fail to accurately measure power because the process is not done correctly. This is why we'd like to explain what we think is the best way to measure and present power figures. BSR's presentation of it's products power increases is as close as possible to reality. We always measure the stock power output under the exact same conditions used when measuring the tuned power. That's why our BSR measured stock power figures, are not exactly the same as those presented by the car's manufacturer. We simply show in a bold and open way, the exact figures we get from the measurement procedure we use. This presentation of power figures is very raw, but it is also the only sensible way.
You can´t compare apples with oranges
Why is the stock power important, when it is the power after tuning you are interested in? Because this is the only way to determine the real difference in power! Only by measuring the stock power and tuned power by the same standards (same conditions & equipment) and then comparing them can you can determine the real difference. You can´t compare apples with oranges. i.e. You can´t compare stock numbers from the manufacturer with numbers from a tuning company (measured with different equipment, under different conditions) and expect the difference to represent the true power increase. Power figures accurately measured directly before and after tuning are meaningful. A single power figure, no matter how accurate, is of very little value.
The accuracy of power figures is something that is argued about a lot. This is because you can measure power in different ways, (at the wheels or at the flywheel) under different conditions (low air temperature or air pressure vs high) using different equipment (e.g roller, chassis or engine dyno) and estimate the transmission/drive-train losses differently. This is why it´s so important for tuning companies to show their own measurements of stock power. Without measuring stock power yourself, you have no baseline to work from. Measuring stock power allows you to evaluate the percentage power increase, even if your raw measurements are quite different from factory figures.
Here's an example: A tuning company measures - knowingly or unknowingly – power output in a way that produces exaggerated power figures - perhaps by misjudging transmission losses. The result is a fantastic power figure, but also stock power that is high compared with the manufacturer's figures. This is not a problem as long as ALL the numbers are presented, because the percentage increase between the high stock power and the high tuned power will still be the same. However, if the company uses the manufacturer's low stock power figure rather than their own, then it will look as if the power increase is much bigger than it really is. In this instance, figures from different measurement types have been compared with the intension of fooling customers. You can´t take a power figure measured one way and compare it to a figure measured another way... you can´t compare apples and oranges.
When a tuning company doesn't present basic information about their tuning kits, such as measured power output before and after tuning, acceleration times before and after tuning, power charts before and after tuning etc, then you should take their figures with a grain of salt. When tuned power figures are presented along with the manufacturer's stock figures, this is a good indicator that no power measurement has been done at all i.e. that the figures are made-up. Either this, or that measurement has been done but not published in its entirety, because this would expose a much smaller power gain. It is a similar story with power charts. When you measure power, you get a power chart or graph (dyno sheet). This is very handy and shows how the power and torque develop in the entire rpm range, not just at one peak point. When a tuning company doesn´t present dyno sheets, ask them why.
2) Real acceleration tests
The next thing we do to transparently demonstrate power increases is acceleration testing. Power increases we measure are always cross checked for a corresponding increase in acceleration. Again, we present figures both before and after tuning. To measure acceleration only after tuning is useless, since acceleration is affected by factors such as wheel size, tyre compound, weather and road conditions, weight of extra equipment/options etc. By measuring the percentage increase between the stock and tuned settings, you can check to see whether the power increase is real. When measuring acceleration, we do a minimum of three runs at each speed interval then take an average. Since the gearing differs so much between cars we measure three standard speed intervals with a particular focus on overtaking situations. Generally the interval 80-120km/h on 3rd gear reflects the engine´s character on higher rpms, 80-140km/h on 4th gear the power (and torque) on lower rpms and 100-150km/h on 4th gear the power on higher rpms.
Acceleration times are highly affected by factors such as weather/road conditions, weight of equipment, so it it best not concentrate too much on the numbers, but more the percentage difference. e.g. We could have measured all times with a caravan in tow. The acceleration wouldn´t be fantastic, but the percentage improvement would be the same as without the van. This is why we present only the percentage improvement in situations where we have measured acceleration on another car type with the same power train.
In summery, we believe that the only serious way of verifying the size of a power increase, is to combine real power measurement with real acceleration tests. BSR is unique in the tuning business with this kind of dedication, but we recon it is impossible to perform good work if you neglect these basics. Of course this exhaustive, time-consuming methodology costs money, but it gives every BSR customer a much better, carefully tested and optimised end product.
Which products are good and which are... not so good?
Before you buy a product you want to know that it'll fulfil your expectations. We strongly recommend you to test drive a BSR tuning kit, then you'll know exactly what you'll get. But it is not always possible to arrange a BSR demo, and maybe you are looking at tuning kits from different companies and are wondering which one is the best. Searching the web you'll notice a lot of people on forums that present themselves as experts, who in reality know very little about how the engine control systems work. Also, some recommendations given on forums are not as impartial as they may seem, but instead come from companies selling the product being recommended. There are numerous companies that are not serious tuners and even some that set out to cheat customers. This is nothing new in the automotive industry, but it is sometimes difficult to see through the unrealistic promises of sensationally improved power or radically reduced fuel consumption. There are however, checks that you can do that don´t require any technical skill. You just need to investigate how skilled the company is and how it develops it's products. We have gathered some examples of flawed products below. We don´t like to talk about competitors in negative terms and we certainly don´t want to tar everyone with the same brush. But you should be aware that not all products on the market are as good as you would hope.
BSR exposes faked power figures
- Companies without edge-cutting expertise
Strange as it seems, many companies selling power upgrades, don´t have equipment for measuring power or acceleration, their power figures are fabricated. Some test drive and try to estimate acceleration, some check competitor's figures and adjust theirs accordingly. If a company only provides stock power as measured by the manufacturer, combined with their own tuning figures, there is a good risk that no power measurement has been done and that their tuned figures are literally 'fantastic'.
- Diesel boxes and petrol boxes
There are a raft of companies that buy “one size fits all” diesel boxes from third partys, add their own sticker and market them claiming that they are good for your car. Please, read up about these boxes before you buy (read more here). We understand that there is a market for low price products for some vehicles, but fitting a plug-in-box in a car under 15 years old we can´t understand. These boxes deceive the control system of the car so that important functions stop workinge.g. No torque reduction when changing gears (a function which protects gearboxes from damage), ESP system does not reduce engine power enough in critical situations, diagnostic/service functions are miscalculated, onboard computers miscalculate fuel consumption and so on. Advanced modern technology? Not at all, it's out-of-date, unsophisticated and filled with compromise.
- Tuning developed from an office desk
Some companies develop their tuning kits from their office desk without having a car physically available. Obviously, it is not possible to develop good tuning products if the car isn´t there! If a company wants to develop tuning software for your car at a distance by sending different software files for you to test, please contact someone serious.
- Customized mapping for non-customized cars
We've heard about companies offering individually customised maps for unmodified cars- cars with all the stock parts from the factory. Modern cars are manufactured within very tight tolerances and without any significant variation between two engines, customised mapping for stock cars is often a hoax. Customers think that they're getting something extra special – tuning software developed just for them. But software that works well in one stock car will work equally well in any car with the same power train. Customized mapping may be valuable only where the car's hardware has been modified to the extent that a stock tune can no longer provide the appropriate air, fuel or timing signals. e.g new turbo charger, larger exhaust and downpipe, custom cams etc.
- Exaggerated power figures
Don´t believe everything you read! It is often complicated and expensive to verify the power output of your car. Some companies take advantage of this and market power figures that are highly exaggerated. They know that 95% of customers won´t check them (but we do below). Don't for a second think that all tuning companies present honest, accurate power figures. As we've shown above power output can be measured in different ways and under different circumstances, resulting in power figures that are impossible to re-create when driving. It is much easier to fabricate numbers than to develop high quality products.
We occasionally get cars that have already been tuned by another company. Out of interest we like to test how much power these tunes provide when measured according to BSR´s standards. On a couple of recent occasions we have measured power output on cars that were tuned by one particular company, we'll call them company "X"; an organisation that has quite an imagination when it comes to power figures. Our suspicions were raised as soon as we began power testing on one of our Rototest chassis dynos in Vaxjo, Sweden. They were confirmed when we ran complete acceleration tests at different speed intervals. What we found was that almost 45kw/60Hp and 56kw/75Hp respectively, are missing from X's tuning kits. Poor equipment and/or procedure can not account for errors this size, it seems that their business is based on fraud.
The BMW 325d with "290 horsepower"
The first case was a BMW 325d, a car measured in factory trim on our Rototest dyno as producing 148kw/198Hp & 410Nm. The customer's 325d used X's tuning device to change between 'Stage ECO' which was supposed to provide 175kw/235Hp & 500Nm and 'Stage 2', supposed to provide 216kw/290Hp & 600Nm. On our dyno we found that X's 'Stage ECO' provided 152kw/204Hp & 425Nm (almost no increase) and that X's Stage 2 provided just 172kw/231Hp & 470Nm, very far from the fantastic figures that probably duped someone into buying it.
BSR´s optimisation of the 325d at 186kw/249Hp & 512Nm provides significantly more power and torque than either of X's stages when power is measured by the same standards. The acceleration tests that followed confirmed that the power figures given by X are purely imaginary. If there was 290Hp in this car we would have seen it in acceleration tests, we didn´t. The reason is simply that X's power figures are flawed.
The BMW 335d with "380 horsepower"
The second case from tuner X was a BMW 335d which we have measured in factory tune at 215Kw/288Hp & 574Nm. Here, X's imagination was even more vivid as their 'Stage 2' (including downpipe without particulate filter) was supposed to provide a mighty 283kw/380Hp & 750Nm. When measured on the Rototest though, the tune provided just 228kw/306Hp & 647Nm. A full 55kw/74hp had disappear from the tune when facing a serious power test.
A BSR tuned BMW 335d puts out 242kw/324Hp & 660Nm, just as in the previous case, providing more power and torque when an equal standard is used. The icing on the cake here is that X's '380Hp' tune requires a new downpipe and hence costs almost twice as much as the BSR product.
Note; Since there was a downpipe without particulate filter fitted to this car, and the customer wanted to keep it that way, we couldn´t fairly perform a comparative acceleration test on this car.
Try a BSR tuning kit!
If you have a chance, please try a BSR tuning kit in your own car and experience yourself what it can do. You can do this free of charge at any BSR dealer. The demo tune is available for any tuning kits with a PPC unit. Of those that have tried a BSR tune, 9 out of 10 choose to buy it. We´re very happy about this and take it as a good verdict.