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      11-03-2012, 10:46 AM   #1
bulldog x6
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Cobb N55 Tune

Here is a quick review of my experience with the Cobb flash tune for the N55 powered x5/x6 platforms (35i versions). Feel free to message Rob@Cobb (Rob@cobbtuning.com) or PM me if you want more detailed feedback beyond this review.

Background:
I had the Cobb flash on my 335i (full bolt ons) and was very impressed with the tune's drivability and power. The ease of clearing codes and built in downpipe fix, as well as the logging abilities was impressive. Most importantly, I found the car's response (vs. piggyback tunes) was much better with the Cobb tune. There was no delay or lag between the time you went WOT and boost kicking in, throwing you to the back of the seat.

Fast forward to today:
335 is long gone, traded for an x6. Realistically, I should have got the 50i or the x6 M but other priorities in life called for a more modest 35i decision. I was keen on extracting the maximum amount of power from the N55; it was adequate from the factory, but you could really feel the weight of the vehicle.

The previous tune and alternatives:
I initially had the JB3 Stage 1 tune on the truck. Great tune - worked perfectly as advertised. A decent amount of user adjustment made this a good tune, for a stage 1 truck (tune only). Once I installed the downpipe, I found that I needed a bit more than a stage 1 tune (DP fix, better tuning, more precise A/F control with the downpipe). The JB3 is a perfect tune for those that want a simple install and are happy with a stage 1 experience - as I said, tough to beat for the price. Unfortunately, N55 Stage 2 is not available on the E7X platform (it is for the F10 and E9X however) and Im not sure if it will be ever released (I guess it depends on demand). The only other option was a bespoke flash tune, but that would require the ECU to be removed to be bench flashed and I am not aware of local vendors that offered this service, meaning the ECU would have to be shipped to be flashed/re-flashed in case of an issue, upgrade or dealer visit. Its actually not that big of a deal but having zero time for this, I decided that I would need a simpler, ODB flash tune solution.

The solution for me: Cobb
http://blogs.cobbtuning.com/2012/12/...35i-and-335xi/
Cobb released their flash tune for the N55 in December for the 335 and 135 platforms. I immediately got in touch with Rob to see if they would support development on the E7X. To make a long story short, I picked up an Accessport from Mike@N54tuning, read the ECU file and sent it to Cobb. I had an email within 24 hours saying that they had firmware for me to test. I loaded up the firmware (super easy install process, more on that below) and went for a drive. Another benefit is that the AP can read and clear codes. So if you are on the road and ever get a check engine light or some other error, you can simply plug in the AP and make note of the error and/or clear the code. Finally, the AP is can be uninstalled in 15-20 mins again, and can re-write your original ECU file back to the truck so it is invisible to the dealer. Always uninstall your tune before going in for service!

The Install:
Note **I would advise messaging or emailing Rob@Cobb to coordinate BEFORE you get the AP as the x5/x6 is not officially supported yet. You can reach Rob at: Rob@cobbtuning.com **
Super easy - if you can use an ipod, you can use this tune. Time is about 15-20 minutes and is literally, plug an play. No need to go under the hood at all for those folks who are uncomfortable with that.
Cobb has done an install video for the N54 based tune. The install is basically the same.


Here are a couple of other notes/pointers to help you along:
1) Install AP Manager 2.0 if you haven't done so already. Once the software is installed, go ahead and load it up. You can find AP manager here:
http://www.cobbtuning.com/AccessPORT...rt-s/40200.htm

2) Plug in your AccessPORT. If you have Windows XP, make sure you click on the "Found new hardware" prompt to install the driver for the AccessPORT. If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 the driver will be installed automatically.

3) Click on Options in the upper left corner and check the box for "Check for beta firmware." This step is critical.


4) Click on Updates in the upper left corner and click on the "Begin firmware update" button in the upper right corner. The firmware update should only take a few minutes. There may not be an update available; thats fine, its better practice to check anyways. If you did update, and when the update is done, eject your AccessPORT and close down AP Manager.

5) Plug the AP into the ODB connector (the connection is below the steering wheel, above the pedals in the trim, on the drivers side, to the right of the hood latch - google if you cant find the location but its pretty easy) and read your ECU. Select the install option and you will find that your ECU is probably not supported, so it will prompt you to read the file - follow the prompts.

There will be a bunch of errors during the read that come up on idrive. DO NOT WORRY. THESE ARE TEMPORARY AND ARE CLEARED ONCE YOU ARE DONE. DO NOT DISCONNECT THE AP, OPEN DOORS OR MESS AROUND WITH THE CAR IN ANY WAY DURING THE READ PROCESS.


The cobb AP (access port, the hand held device) will read the file in your vehicle. You need this as not all ECU's are supported initially but no big deal, I got a response from Cobb within a day so you should be good to go within a day or two.

Flashing:
See video or follow same steps. Plug in AP and select install, confirm your DME version (ask Cobb if you are not sure) and select map. Sport is for 91 octane and aggressive is for 93+ Octane. Run the right map for the octane available in your area - running aggressive on 91 octane will be DETRIMENTAL so either fill up with higher octane or stick to the sport map. Follow the instructions on the AP. There will be a bunch of errors again and again, you can disregard them - they will go away after the tune is installed.









Initial impressions:
So at this point, I have about an hour of driving the truck with the tune. Initial feedback is excellent. There is virtually ZERO lag with this tune. I found the stock tune (and the Jb3 once you started increasing boost to +5 levels) had a lot of lag. This lag, combined with the heavy weight of the truck, made for a dissapointing driving experience in certain situations. It felt like I had to time pressing the gas pedal to not get stuck in the lag zone sometimes, ie going up a hill or going from partial throttle to full throttle for example. The Cobb tune totally removed this feeling - power was available all the time and it seems that the transmission was better at shifting. I can now drive the truck in D mode instead of DS.

Now for the power - awesome. The weight of the truck is now a less of an issue and power delivery is instantaneous. The power feels equal (just from feel) to the JB3 in default settings (around +3 PSI I think?) but the way the power is delivered is superior. Clearly, there is a trade off as the Cobb is only in stage 1 form and the JB3's boost can be upped to whatever you want (+5 PSI will put down more than the Cobb stage 1). But looking forward, Cobb should have the Stage 2 maps released before fall, so for those with heavier mods (like downpipes, intercooler - which I will soon be doing) can take advantage of those maps. Also, Cobb will have full custom tuning support once ATR works with the N55 tunes - this is the real advantage in the future for this tune!

More to come and I may throw a quick video together as well.
Thanks Cobb!

*full disclosure: I was not compensated or offered a discount in any way for this review. I simply offered to work with Cobb in helping develop a tune for the e7x platform, which I am happy they were able to do.
** The tune is still in beta (early stages) of its evolution. If you are unsure of any of these steps, do more research or contact Cobb. I have had a perfect experience with this tune so far but that is not guaranteed for everyone. While the risks appear to be minimal, they are still there with ANY type of tune so understand these and get comfortable with them. Always uninstall your tune before you take your truck in for service.

Last edited by bulldog x6; 01-20-2013 at 11:16 AM.
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      11-12-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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Too bad I'm not local or I'd be all over this. Having a Cobb flash would be fantastic - they're easily one of the best out there and I wouldn't hesitate to buy their tune if/when available for the N63.
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      01-22-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
bulldog x6
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Some additional feedback from testing over the last couple of days:

- noticed the truck's exhaust is deeper and louder. I can't say it sounds like a v8 (Ill keep dreaming) but there is a more pronounced growl. Turbo is also easier to hear now.
- power has improved a bit - I imagine due to some adaptations, not a ton more than the first day but definitely more and more refined. Still virtually lag free.
- the tune performs flawlessly in a variety of temperatures. We have had -15 to +15 C weather here in the past week. Everyone knows our cars are temperamental sometimes being turbo charged but the results with the cobb tune have been very consistent. Also, no over boost codes either, which some tunes suffer from in cold weather.
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      01-22-2013, 11:15 PM   #4
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Cobb tune

What kind of numbers(hp/torque) do they claim for the Cobb tune? I am pretty happy with my dinan stage 2 but I know there are probably better tunes out there. Have you found any companies that have any air intakes?
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