05-11-2015, 08:46 PM
The BoostAddict Automotive Performance Network sees a lot of tuning from a variety of sources. Yes, some tuners are better than others. Yes, some tuners live primarily off their image and name, not their ability. Our goal is to inform the people of the choices they have and hopefully they spend their hard earned money wisely.
The choices below BoostAddict believes are some of the industries most overrated tuners and that there are better options out there in the aftermarket especially for the money. That said, these 'tuners' somehow remain very popular (although a few eventually reached their inevitable demise). You may agree or disagree and that is the beauty of discussion and opinion.
This one hurts a bit to say as Dinan has done great things in the BMW world. However, this company has quickly gone in the BMW turbo era from one of the most sought after BMW tuners to the most overrated.
BMW's have changed. Dinan has not been able to keep up with this change effectively. Just look at their 'Dinantronics' tune for the S55 turbo motor in the F80 M3 and F82 M4. Gains of 20 wheel horsepower for $2499. Are there better options out there? Yes. For less money? Yes. From multiple sources? Yes. That are not piggyback tuned? Yes.
This piggyback point really highlights how Dinan has fallen behind. Piggyback tuning indeed dominates the BMW turbo market but Dinan is priced higher than basically every other tuning box option out there. Not to mention Dinan came off as hypocrites when they talked down on piggyback tuning only to do it themselves. The reasons given are nonsense as the actuality of why they went to piggyback tuning is they did not have access to the F-Series BMW ECU's to develop a proper flash tune. With the ECU's now cracked Dinan might as well take their box off the market. Too little and way too late.
That might be why Dinan himself saw the writing on the wall and cashed out leaving his own company.
What is Gemballa good for other than adding 'Lambo' doors to your 911? Not much. Well, they are good at living off the Gemballa name and providing overpriced body kits and wheels.
The company originally was founded by Uwe Gemballa who was murdered in 2010 and this murder remains unsolved. Something bad went down in South Africa. The company went into a freefall after this and the rights to the name were purchased by those who wanted to continue to exploit the Gemballa name.
Gemballa back in 2001 actually did some hardcore tuning and challenged for Nurburgring records with their cars. Since then they have become a status symbol for people with more money than brains. If you want a body kit and wheels, go ahead and check them out. If you want serious Porsche tuning go elsewhere.
This is yet another German tuner offering more style than substance. Does Techart have some nice upgrades? Kind of, they offer overpriced bolt on packages consisting of exhaust systems and ECU tunes. The majority of the stuff they offer is said to come from various other German sources.
Their primary source of revenue is bodykits and wheels. They offer suspension modules, exhaust tips, spoilers, things of that sort. Yes, these parts generally look good. If you consider serious tuning of Porsches body kits, lowering kits, and wheels, then Techart may just be for you.
There is also the infamous story of how in 2007 Techart supposedly somehow ended up with some Porsche development motors for upcoming models that were stolen from a Porsche facility. Porsche brought a lawsuit against them and some people ended up in jail. How good does Techart look now?
7. ECU Tuning Group
This is by far the least recognizable name on this list thus far and it should stay that way. This is the tuner that advertises by claiming to be the world's number 1 tuner. If you have to tell people you are number 1 you probably aren't number 1.
This 'Group' has undergone several name changes. It originally was known as Singh Autosport and owned by a man named Jags Gill. Feel free to decide for yourself if this sounds like something the 'Number 1 ECU tuner' in the world would be up to: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/local-news/feds-seek-forfeiture-of-package
"A FedEx package passing through Memphis from England two years ago raised the curiosity of security agents who noticed the sender had spent more than $400 to ship stereo speakers he valued at $281.
Now federal prosecutors in Memphis, suspecting a money-smuggling operation, have filed a forfeiture petition seeking to seize the $274,912 in dollars and British pounds they found hidden inside the two Sony speakers.
The money and speakers sent from a "Mr. J. Gill" of Middlesex, England, was headed for Singh Autosport, a company in Fremont, Calif., that does not exist, according to state business records there.
Also, although the contents were marked as "Sony accoustic speakers Ebay buyer," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and eBay investigators determined that no one had purchased the speakers through the online shopping Web site.
A man identifying himself as "Jags Gill" began calling for the package, but could not provide serial numbers for the speakers. He later provided model numbers and dimensions for the speaker.
Meanwhile, a month later in November 2006, authorities in Louisville, Ky., seized $231,891 in British pounds hidden in a table top at the UPS International Air Hub.
The money was connected to a "Jaspal Gill" in London and is the object of a separate forfeiture action."
Perhaps they mean number one in money laundering? Either way, there are better options out there than somebody that is just reselling tunes from European sources anyway.
6. Horsepower Freaks
This one is technically dead. For those that know the story though this tuner went from being one of the biggest tuning names on the BMW forums to a story of a has-been that was completely mismanaged.
At one point HPF dominated the BMW forum scene and was involved with BimmerBoost as far back as 2010. Having a giant like HPF on BimmerBoost elevated us and Chris Bergemann the owner always treated me personally with respect. HPF had all the E46 M3 horsepower records and was the king of the S54 platform.
Then things quickly started to change. HPF started getting behind on paying its advertising tab to BimmerBoost and one would assume others. HPF still owes BimmerBoost $300 but it just goes to show you how bad things were if HPF could not pay that tiny tab.
Chris Bergemann at HPF began to focus on young girls instead of building cars and running his business. He became about image and cheap promotion. There were reports of blown motors circulating as well as people leaving the company. There was a rumor of an employee stealing tons of money in parts and who knows what else.
The company shut down with pretty much a whimper as Chris emptied out what he could from the HPF facility. He eventually sold the rights to the name to VividRacing who of course had no problem picking what they could off the bones.
HPF is a tale of a spectacular failure and how forum image and fanboys can make you think you're a rockstar and the best in the business. Perception and reality are often very different things and that is true here.
5. RDSport / Racing Dynamics
Back in the early BMW E46 days these guys had a following. That has since evaporated because they have done nothing of any merit. Their own website does not even feature the new BMW turbo 3-Series cars including the M3 and instead talks about yachting more than it does tuning.
The company was founded in California by Federico Pavoncelli. Sometime in 2003 following a trademark issue Racing Dynamics became RDSport creating confusion as to what parts were the real deal and which parts were knock offs.
The last thing they did of any merit was an S65 V8 stroker motor for the E92 M3 years ago but this gained little traction and RDsport was never able to tune it properly. BimmerBoost knows of an early RDSport stroker that received custom tuning and made substantially more power than on the default RDSport tune. Due to the owner being a complete asshat the tuner gave him back the stock RDSport tune and that owner does not even know this to this day.
Regardless, RDSport's BMW tuning influence has evaporated and the company might as well not even exist.
This may be the ultimate example of style over substance. Mansory is all about the name and really not much else. How they manage to stay in business in frankly baffling. This network certainly can not explain it.
Do they have nice body kits? Sure. For $38k+? Who is buying this stuff? Well, people in the Middle East mostly who think the Mansory name means something. It doesn't.
The recipe is rather simple. Do some carbon fiber body kit, call it limited edition, and then get people to line up and pay for it.
They claim to have high performance options for everything out there but you never see anything from them. For example, claims of 800+ horsepower twin turbo Huracans yet not a single dyno or 1/4 mile run is available.
It is just one of those companies that will tell you they can twin turbocharge your Lamborghini and before you know it you're banging your head against the wall and wondering why you did not go to Underground Racing or Heffner for serious performance that actually exists.
Another tale of failure. This network has considerable experience with Evosport and was at one point threatened with legal action by them. Why? Because BenzBoost brought it to the attention of the Mercedes-AMG tuning world that Evosport was in debt and not delivering parts. As Evosport essentially started MBWorld this information was hidden from their user base with people being banned and posts on the topic were deleted. They could not do the same on BenzBoost.
Evosport tried to solicit customers for money and BenzBoost happened to acquire proof. Suffice it to say there was no lawsuit and BenzBoost is still standing while Evosport has shut its doors.
If a tuner starts asking you for more and more money and is not delivering, that is a red flag. Trying to punish websites for promoting awareness so nobody is taken advantage of is a pretty bad way to conduct business. That is why they are no longer in business.
2. ASR Engineering
ASR Engineering is yet another tuner that doesn't deserve the free press it's getting here but people need to be aware of what they have done. The owner, Abid, may actually have no heart or soul. There are BimmerBoost members he still owes thousands of dollars to that he has failed to pay back for not delivering parts. That's known as stealing.
We are just scratching the surface. ASR was allowed to take advantage of people on a certain BMW M5 board by the administrator (Gustav). Unlike that board, BimmerBoost threw ASR the hell out of here right away.
So what happened? ASR would go on the mentioned M5 forum and claim big numbers by simply putting a nitrous kit on an E60 M5. The membership was blown away by this 'amazing' tuning for some reason. ASR then announced they wanted to build a twin turbo V10 and suddenly everyone started commenting on how awesome that would be and how ASR would dominate the BMW world with their M5's.
Well, tuning a nitrous kit and a custom twin turbo S85 V10 are two very different things requiring two very different skill levels. You should not trust ASR to tune your radio let alone a car. Take a look at the state of one of the M5's sent in to ASR engineering was in when its owner finally was able to get it back. This happened to not one but two E60 M5's. Fortunately the owners could take the loss and move on but ASR and Abid did not even have the decency to put the cars back to stock. That is because many parts were missing (probably sold).
Abid is trying once again to weasel his way into the BMW scene and find some people to take advantage of. Do not let him take advantage of you.
1. Hennessey Performance
The tale of Hennessey's history is so long and such an epic clusterfuck that we do not know where to begin. It can only be said that Hennessey deserves his own article to detail just what a freaking mess he created and then tried to sweep up.
If you want overpriced tuning and to satiate Hennessey's ego then maybe Hennessey is for you. Want a $300k Cadillac CTS-V with 1000 wheel horsepower? Despite the fact there are CTS-V's putting out more power for a fraction of this from other Domestic tuners building superior LSA's and LS9's? Want a stretched Lotus Elise with a turbo V8 for a million dollars? Call up Hennessey.
We will delve into the history of selling parts off customer cars, lawsuits, and Hennessey threatening to fight people on forums (seriously) later this week.