M5 Project

From tunertricks.com February 19, 2008. We got the opportunity to do a little upgrade to one of our long-time customer’s cars last week and are definitely pleased with the results! The customer wanted to change up the system he previously had installed in his E39 M5, which consisted of two AudioBahn 10″ woofers in a sealed enclosure and an Elemental Designs monoblock for power. The main goal was to dress up the trunk and to greatly increase the emphasis and definition of the bass response while eliminating the rattles the previous setup was creating.

To accomplish this, we began by removing the old enclosure and trim panel and designed a bandpass enclosure to replace the existing setup that houses one AlumaPro 12″ woofer and ports through the OEM armrest location. The advantage of a bandpass enclosure in this particular application is that all the energy output from the enclosure is directed through the port and into the cabin of the vehicle, virtually eliminating any possibility of rattles in the trunk or rear deck area, while providing dramatic sub-bass output.

Once completed, this enclosure was firmly mounted to the rear firewall of the M5 and the process of trimming it out began. The amplifier was sanded down, primed and painted silver (it was originally black) to match the theme of the installation, while the manufacturer’s badge was ground, sanded, primed and painted a metallic grey to allow an OEM “M” badge to be mounted in place of the manufacturer’s name and to match the accent paint color found on the outside of the vehicle. A simple trim panel was created to blend the enclosure into the rear wall of the trunk with brushed aluminum and painted acrylic inserts to accent the amplifier.

The OEM carpeted floor panel was completely recreated from scratch using MDF, brushed aluminum, painted aluminum and stainless steel hardware of the customer’s own design to tie into the interior and exterior modifications already in place. The rear portion of the floor still hinges upward to allow access to the M5’s battery, which is located in the trunk floor.

Next, the OEM rear seat armrest was replaced with a one-off port grille constructed from MDF, Rage Gold body filler, black Ultrasuede, painted acrylic and heavy-gauge metal mesh. This allows all the bass energy to enter the car while protecting the enclosure and port from debris, and adds a nice custom touch to the rear seat area without being overwhelming.

As a final touch, the OEM ashtray was replaced with a spec.dock to allow the owner access to all the music on his iPod Nano in the most integrated manner possible. All in all, the job took about a week to complete, and the customer is getting a lot of praise, while really enjoying the new enclosure - which is able to completely eclipse the sub-bass response (using one 12″ woofer) that the customer was getting before from two 10″ woofers. Thanks for checking it out, and please come back for more, as always…

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