My “to do” list has had a lightweight catback exhaust on it for quite a while now and it’s finally time to check it off. After researching many different catback options on performance parts websites, Ebay, and forums, I saw that there was a huge difference in price between the top line and budget level. However, it wasn’t clear what the differences are in the actual products. Stainless steel construction all looked to be similar across the various manufacturers and obviously sound quality is a pretty subjective thing. So I figured why not give one of the budget brands a shot. After clicking “Buy It Now” on Ebay, I had a Manzo brand E36 catback exhaust on order.
From what I could tell, and confirmed by the packaging when it arrived, Manzo is a brand owned by Megan Racing. I’ve been impressed with the value and quality of my Megan Racing braces so I was assuming this catback would offer similar value. Out of the box, I could tell that I was probably right. The picture above shows the full stainless steel catback exhaust that I received compared with my stock E36 catback. The difference in appearance is obvious but what you don’t see is the weight difference:
- Stock E36 catback weight = 35 lbs
- Manzo E36 catback weight = 23 lbs
A 12 lb weight difference at the very rear of my BMW is a sizeable amount.
The Manzo muffler design appears to be a flow through perforated tube surrounded by chambers with backing material. Should be a great flowing design.
Another added benefit of the Manzo exhaust is that the exhaust tubes running to the muffler are both 2.33″ OD while the stock exhaust tubes are only 1.89″ OD. That’s an increase in flow area of more than 50%! Should help my Vortech supercharged engine breath better.
All the welds on the Manzo exhaust look very nice too.
The exhaust tips are both 3″ in diameter which is maybe a little large for me but it’ll be fine.
Installation was very simple and everything aligned perfectly. The flanges bolted right up to the pipes coming out of the catalytic converter.
The bars welded on the sides of the muffler also lined up great with the stock hangers. I bought new hangers as my old ones were rusted pretty bad. Check yours out!
You can see in the picture above that the exhaust tips protrude from the rear bumper more than stock. Probably more than I like but it’s passable.
I was really glad to see that the muffler was very well centered in the rear valence. It was pretty equal distance from both sides so no fear of melting plastic. The strange thing though with the muffler design is that one tip is slightly higher than the other. If you look really close in the picture you can see the offset. It’s pretty small but is noticeable. I definitely don’t care though.
So now you probably want to know how it sounds, right? Well, like I said, it’s a very subjective thing to each person. I can tell you that it’s definitely a much lower bass sound at idle. It’s definitely a good bit louder at idle too but not overly so.
However, once I accelerate hard I still can’t really hear my exhaust between all the other car noises due to my non-existent interior and complete lack of sound deadening. That’s how loud the inside of my car is already. No joke, I have to wear earplugs or noise isolating earbuds when driving to racing events or my ears are ringing when I get there!
As you can probably see from reading this post, I’m definitely a fan of the Manzo catback exhaust. It provides a really good value, solid engineering, good materials, excellent fit and sounds decent enough to me! Time to go racing!