BMW 318iS, Auto

The 318is came to us dressed up as a M3 and sporting a Powerchip, Remus exhaust system and K&N cotton filter. Typically BMW, it's an excellent package straight out of the box for the dollars you pay. Being a BMW built to a price however, the 318is lacks power and is today one of the most popular consumers of chip technology.

THE CHIP

The Chip is designed to increase the rev limit, allow the engine to run smoother, smooth-out the idle and most importantly, get rid of the flat spots which seem to be inherent in the 318iS

engine at around the 3500rpm and 5200rpm marks. It achieves the admirably! The Chip adds 12kw to the engine output along with much crisper throttle response and increased acceleration in the crucial 3000-to-6000rpm bracket. Gone too, are those annoying flat spots! Cost: 650.00 for the Chip.

THE TEST

Our program of back-to-back testing showed significant gains against the clock. The car got off the line quickly and smoothly with the new Chip and gear changes were quick and precise.

The manual change points occurred higher in the rev range (by about 250rpm) with the Powerchip fitted and this showed up in the times. The rev limit increased by 500rpm.

However the change down/acceleration times in the overtaking brackets improved significantly when the Powerchip was fitted - stripping a second-plus off the 60-100km/h time and two seconds-plus off that all-important 80-120km/h bracket.

What is significant though, is that the total package - chip, exhaust and air filter - gave marked improvements in ALL ranges and a huge improvement in engine smoothness.

BMW 318iS, Auto
Std Powerchip
0-100km/h (Sport/Drive) 12.44 11.42
S 1/4 (Sport/Drive) 18.60 18.20
60-100km/h (Sport/Drive) 6.31 5.15
60-100km/h (Man 2) 6.34 5.30
80-120km/h (Sport/Drive) 8.11 6.04

HOLDEN VL COMMODORE, 6-Cyl., auto

The VL Commodore is arguably one of the most popular Commodores built - traditional (3.0-litre) straight six (something the market understood) and a good, reliable slugger which 'does the business'. Forget the turbo version, it frightened buyers away in droves.

The big question is, what to do when you want to update; add a little spark; refresh the performance? You don't want to get rid of the car, it's too good - and besides, you like it.

Well, forget the workshop and the performance tuner - invest instead a

mere $490.00 in a new chip and an alternative, free breathing filter.

THE CHIP

The standard VL Powerchip is a 10-15 minute changeover using an exchange ECU. Because the VL's standard chip is soldered in place, its simpler to provide a replacement unit pre-programmed and ready to slip into place. All you need to do is locate the original ECU, remove it, replace it and return the standard 'blackbox' to Powerchip. Job done!

Minimum improvement in power -

10 percent; similarly in torque and a lot more responsiveness from the old straight six. Not only that but the engine runs smoother.

THE TEST

This is what it's all about - measuring, in-gear, tramp-your-foot-and-go figures. The car lunches better, it has noticeably more mid-range power and response and it revs freely to a new, extended upper rev limit.

Simply? Plant it and go - harder, smoother, easier!

HOLDEN VL COMMODORE, 6-cyl., auto
Std Powerchip
60-100km/h (Drive/Power) 5.95 4.95
80-120km/h (Drive/Power) 7.91 6.18
Power (@ 5200rpm) 114kW 125kW
Torque (@ 3600rpm) 247Nm 263Nm
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