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      12-26-2011, 12:14 AM   #1
Maxx2
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xDrive 50i - ESS DirectFlash vs Dinan Stg1

I realize this topic has been discussed many times and I've searched countless threads, but have two cars with these two tunes ever lined up in the real world to validate the numbers correspond to real world performance differences?

On the DINAN website the stg1 shows a max HP gain of +96hp @ 6500rpm and a max Torque gain of +103lb-ft @ 2500rpm. It then shows peak HP of 495 @ 5000rpm and peak Torque of 573lb-ft @ 3500rpm. Considering the factory ratings of 400hp and 440lb-ft, I can understand the 495hp peak which is close enough to the +96hp rating, but how does the torque jump to 573lb-ft from 440lb-ft with a +103lb-ft increase? Anyone have a before and after dyno on the same day?

As far as the ESS DirectFlash is concerned, the website quotes +40-50whp (+47-59hp using RWHP/0.85) in the product description but then shows +102hp (408 to 510) and +120NM (600 to 720) (+88lb-ft) at the bottom of the page. What is the real HP increase? Is it the 47-59hp or the 102hp shown at the bottom of the page? The torque only has one number shown so I would assume it is accurate at +120NM (+88lb-ft). Anyone have a before and after dyno on the same day?

If we disregard the "numbers" for a minute, there is the obvious difference in how these tunes are installed and removed. The ESS DirectFlash has the clear advantage here as it can be installed/removed in the comfort of your own home. That is a BIG plus when deciding between these two. The fact that the DINAN tune cannot be removed when going in for service is imo a major drawback. Some people may have a SA they can trust and count on, but many of us do not. Many enjoy the peace of mind the DINAN warranty offers and some actually believe that it works in tandem with the original BMW warranty, but the fact is your BMW warranty WILL BE VOIDED if they have a reason to blame the DINAN software, and we all know that they will always find a way to blame something on the software. I have never dealt with DINAN warranties, but I would not want to experiment with it while my car is sitting at a BMW dealership with some sort of problem. Oh, and good luck with the Magnuson-Moss act... the headaches trying to get BMW to pick up the tab on something which may or may not have been caused by something you should not have been tampering with in the first place. No thank you.

The price of the two is also a significant deciding factor. The DINAN at $2999 is exactly double the price of the ESS DirectFlash with the current offers (MSRP $1695). That is quite a big difference and definitely something to factor in. The old saying, "You get what you pay for," doesn't necessarily apply here as ESS's reputation is top notch and the product they are offering also appears to be very well developed and high quality. DINAN prices aren't always the most competitive for some reason...

To summarize; I am taking delivery of a new 2012 X5 xDrive50i this week and want to have one of these two on order before taking delivery... I have spent a considerable amount of time behind the wheel of an X5M and am looking for something "comparable" power wise when all is said and done... It will never be an "M" but I would like to get the power much closer!

Would really appreciate any input!

Thanks.

Last edited by Maxx2; 12-26-2011 at 12:50 AM.
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      12-26-2011, 02:18 PM   #2
Jess///M
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First of all - Congratulations on your taking delivery of a 2012 X5 xDrive50i this week!

I must admit that I had many similar concerns about the claims, quality, cost and warranty about these aftermarket performance upgrades for my '12 X6M. Both ESS and Dinan made fairly bold claims which were difficult for me to truly verify empirically or from online or other investigation. So I decided to accept instead that there would be a noticeable subjective difference in the driveability (not a real word) of my X6, which was what I really wanted (I don't race or track my car as it's my DD). Both have excellent reputations and reviews from many customers, so I thought quality would not be an issue. The INITIAL cost differences were significant, though.

Warranty was the most important factor for me and subsequently, DOWNSTREAM costs. There's a lot of potential risk when modifying these vehicles and companies are quick to distance themselves from support or liability when folks make changes to their products.

You state that "Many enjoy the peace of mind the DINAN warranty offers and some actually believe that it works in tandem with the original BMW warranty, but the fact is your BMW warranty WILL BE VOIDED if they have a reason to blame the DINAN software, and we all know that they will always find a way to blame something on the software. I have never dealt with DINAN warranties, but I would not want to experiment with it while my car is sitting at a BMW dealership with some sort of problem."

My understanding of how the Dinan warranty works is that if the dealership determines that a particular fault or failure is attributable to the Dinan product, Dinan covers it during the BMW base warranty period. I don't think ESS or anyone else does that. I understand that Dinan's personnel work directly with BMW on technical and administrative levels regarding warranty claims on their products. I don't think that anyone else does that. I don't think that BMW will void the BMW warranty at all if you have Dinan software or parts. Rather, I think you would run into problems if you have aftermarket parts (which "may potentially harm the vehicle") that NOBODY covers. Also, the idea of having to uninstall or undo anything so that I wouldn't have problems at a dealership for normal service and updates did not appeal to me AT ALL.

Ultimately, I chose Dinan for the warranty and a couple of other reasons. Dinan was having a 15% discount across all of their products at the time and there were other mods I was also considering (exhaust, suspension) which reduced the total initial cost. Not sure where you're located, but I had all installations (software, exhaust, suspension) performed by a BMW dealer which is also a Dinan retailer (BMW Encinitas, California), who did a superb job, BTW.

I have to say that I am very satisfied with all of the mods. The car looks, sounds, handles and performs fantastically! Even though it was great before, the difference is more than noticeable and worth the extra initial cost (with a little peace of mind). I would recommend the Dinan software over others and getting the installation done by a BMW Service Center.
Again-- Congratulations!
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      12-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #3
Maxx2
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Jess///M,

You make some very valid points!

I am very skeptical on the claims of both tunes and am hoping to see some actual side by side comparisons.

Thanks for the input!
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      12-26-2011, 11:42 PM   #4
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Great! Let us know what you find out and which product you choose.
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      12-28-2011, 12:47 AM   #5
Maxx2
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Anyone??

There are no real world experiences to share??

Btw, I was just looking at the Dinan website and noticed they already offer a stage 2 of their software for the F10 550 (http://www.dinancars.com/shop/D903-4...0i.aspx#page=1)

Although the gain is minimal (+6hp and +7lb-ft) over stage 1, it appears they changed how the power is delivered to be stronger down low especially in the the first few gears. From the website,

"Our team was able to make Stage 2 much faster by improving turbo response across the power-band. This tuning is especially noticeable in the first two gears, now catapulting the car off the line. Tuned for a smooth power-band to put down predictable and even power in all gears and throttle positions. This smoothness improves the quality of the shifting and the overall drivability."

Hopefully they continue pushing development on the N63 engine and something like this will be available for the X5/6 50i soon...
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      01-12-2012, 02:42 AM   #6
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If you're near LA, there's a shop called Gintani / OE Tuning. Im going to give them a shot to tune my x5m. If things dont work out, Im going with ESS
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      01-14-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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here is something
x6 50i Dinan D900-44TX ECU
523BHP
820N/M
amazing?
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      01-14-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk6532 View Post
here is something
x6 50i Dinan D900-44TX ECU
523BHP
820N/M
amazing?
Yes, that is amazing. Where are those numbers from? They aren't from the Dinan website.

I read on one of the F10 550 message boards that the stg2 software significantly improves the low end drivability and makes a bigger difference than the +6hp would suggest. I've also read somewhere that the stg2 for the X5/X6 is currently in work.

Update on my car:
The CA at a local dealership was playing games and leading me on and never actually got the car I wanted from another dealer... I have now ordered from a different dealer and am waiting for it to go into production...
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      01-15-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
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Another factor to keep in mind is the Dinan tune is designed to keep the parameters at "safe" levels to help with reliability. Because in theory they will have to cover a repair cost if BMW attributes the failure to something Dinan related. In reality what that means is their tune isn't going to be peaked to what can be produced by the powertrain, it will be something less. So it is likely that other tunes out there will actually make the vehicle perform better than Dinan's. (faster 0-60 and 1/4 mile times). But the reason it is like that is to keep from over stressing parts that could fail and put the owner and their vehicle at the service department.

As far as warranty coverage is concerned it is pretty common for the car maker to use an opportunity to deny a warranty claim when anything aftermarket is there that could have affected it, especially ECM tunes. ANY car company out there will void powertrain warranty if a tune other than ones sanctioned by them are discovered as being in the vehicle. That makes perfect sense because a bad tune or one that pushes things to their limits can cause failures that normally should not have occurred and ANY vehicle manufacturer isn't going to want to pay for other people's/company's changes.

So an owner (potential owner) has the choices of leaving things stock, or only utilizing the tunes and improvements offered by BMW in order to ensure full warranty coverage without question (in theory). Secondly you can go the route of choosing to use Dinan and their improvements and if something goes wrong then those two have to work out the details of who's paying for it.

On a side note here this would probably work best if the work and tune flashing is done by a Dinan authorized BMW dealership. They would have a relationship with each other already in cases of warranty related items and a dealership who has sold you modifications for your vehicle and installed them shouldn't be the one saying "sorry there's no warranty coverage for our work"
Any owner who has had to deal with warranty issues several times has probably learned that a lot of this has to do with the dealerships themselves. Whether an owner has a pleasant ownership experience or a real pain in the azz headache of one comes down to how their local dealership functions and treats their customers. It can vary greatly between the various dealerships and with the internet today it's not hard to look through forums and online ratings to get an idea of what's what. Also calling Dinan and asking them which dealerships they have good working relationships with could be very helpful down the road. Then if a situation did occur and both are pointing fingers about who's responsible, in a worst case scenario you really are still going to be filing against the dealership to ultimately solve it one way or another, they sold it to you and installed it.


The ESS and others are cheaper, comes with a tuner, and I'm betting gets a higher performance from the vehicle. The questions are how much more stress is being put on the powertrain and will you be able to reflash before giving it to the dealership for service. 90% of the time you probably will, but if the vehicle just dies/fails on you and has to be towed to the dealership for service you may not get that opportunity. Although rare they do happen and once again are chronicled in the internet forums. I won't even get into the discussion about the dealership's ability to detect if an ECM has been flashed multiple times due a handheld tuner. There's lots of claims both ways and really that's just an owner's choice to potentially deal with or not.
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      01-15-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CIWS View Post
I won't even get into the discussion about the dealership's ability to detect if an ECM has been flashed multiple times due a handheld tuner. There's lots of claims both ways and really that's just an owner's choice to potentially deal with or not.
I asked this question to a couple of BMW dealers in my area who emphatically stated YES, they can absolutely detect when any software event has occurred. I do not know to what extent their technicians can identify modifications, but out-of-cycle and otherwise unplanned changes are easily read. Although software can be installed and completely removed, those actions are recorded and are visible to the dealerships. I went with the Dinan upgrades because of the warranty. Other companies would have me install or uninstall their products on my own which they make it quite easy to do. But when (if) something goes wrong -- then I'm on really my own. Liability for damage, excessive wear, or failure of other vehicle components is a realistic potential cost burden that these companies do not want to bear. That's not good enough -- for me.

Of course, I think many of the products out there are pretty good quality and the risk of using them without a matching BMW warranty is reasonable for some folks.
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      01-19-2012, 11:50 AM   #11
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I have to completely agree with what CIWS has to say.
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      02-13-2012, 09:27 PM   #12
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Finally received my new car and am now ready to move on an upgrade...

Any updates/news out there regarding tunes for the N63?

Leaning heavily towards the ESS, but like the numbers posted by Dinan. Has anyone ever compared these two side by side?

Thanks!!
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      05-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #13
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Hey did you ever get ur tune? If you did which did you go with? I thinking about Dinan stage 2 for my X5 50i. Thanks
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      10-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #14
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anyone know the whp for the dinan tune?
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      10-22-2012, 01:52 AM   #15
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Dinah Stage 2 for 50i

I had the Dinan Stage 2 installed on my X6 50i this summer along with the BMW perf kit and new wheels. Anyway, the Stage 2 is completely amazing. Much better power delivery, virtually no turbo or other lag. It compares very favourably with the X6M I test drove around the same time.
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      11-02-2012, 08:17 PM   #16
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I'm stacking my paper for the Dinan. Still looking for more favorable real world data from users. Don't laugh, but anyone know the fuel efficiency in day-to-day mpg after this mod.
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      11-05-2012, 12:24 AM   #17
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Although it's counter intuitive, I think there has been no effect on my mpg. I was getting about 12.5 in town before the mod and that's what I have now (for X6M).
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      11-08-2012, 12:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOLO X6
I'm stacking my paper for the Dinan. Still looking for more favorable real world data from users. Don't laugh, but anyone know the fuel efficiency in day-to-day mpg after this mod.
I have had no negative impact on fuel economy. Virtually unchanged after Stage 1 and no real change after Stage 2. I imagine that if you drive your car very hard, then your mileage will suffer, which may be tempting with Stage 2 installed!
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      11-08-2012, 10:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOLO X6 View Post
I'm stacking my paper for the Dinan. Still looking for more favorable real world data from users. Don't laugh, but anyone know the fuel efficiency in day-to-day mpg after this mod.
Most tunes including ours should actually help your day to day MPG. This is assuming you drive the same...
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      11-08-2012, 10:58 AM   #20
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I had the Dinan Stage2 flash done at Circle BMW in NJ. I am very happy with the tune. I considered a few tunes with ESS and Dinan being the 2 finalists. I chose Dinan ONLY because of the comfort of the BMW dealer also being the Dinan dealer. If there is a warranty issue, I can bring it back to Circle BMW and let them figure out how to deal with the warranty issue. I have a Circle BMW invoice selling me the Dinan tune.

That said, there is a $1000 plus convenience premium. That is not insignificant to many people.

I work in IT, I am sure that BMW stores parameters for all key systems. They can only store a limited set of data, so you may be able t return to the stock tune and drive the truck for a few days. I would still expect that they would store the max and min values for most data.
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      11-21-2012, 03:53 AM   #21
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2012 BMW X6 50i  [0.00]
Stage 4 ordered

Just ordered the Dinan inter coolers for my 2012 X6 50i. Also getting the free low exhaust and stage 4 software. Intercoolers don't ship for a couple weeks. Has anyone else done stage 4?
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      02-06-2013, 06:55 PM   #22
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X6 50i, ESS TUNE RESULTS.

my stock car ran 0-60 in 5.2 sec and 1/4 in 13.6.
with ess tune 0-60 in 4.4 sec and 1/4 mile in 12.9.
my 0 to 60 ft was 1.88 sec.
with these numbers i think the car does have atleast 60-80 more whp so their claim of adding around 100hp crank is true.
they can give you an updated more powerful map if you have dps installed.
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