Now I've just spent a couple of hours poking around under the bonnet of my M5, and to be honest I don't really see how a set of headers *could* look dramatically different from another set of headers. Yes, the standard ones are a bit less elegant and clearly don't flow the gas as well (I'm guessing as a result of volume build constraints) but even they have sufficient in common with the SS and VM headers. They *have to* because they start and end in the same place and go through the same gap.
the standard ones are double skinned to keep the noise down/thermal insulation, and are the smae ones used on the 540....
Yellowgixxer is spot on with that example. Let's not forget that the primary objective for these two companies is obtaining the most performance from a set of replacement headers. They're both trying to achieve the same goal, but having to work with space constraints and other limiting variables have led to similar designs for both of their products.
Also, keep in mind that a company with this particular goal is not going to change the appearance of its product just for the heck of it, especially if it results in a performance decrease. The VM headers are not exactly the same as the SS headers, so there must be a legitimate reason for the differences you see, no matter how slight they are.
Some might say that the differences were put there just for that fact: to make the product look physically different. However, the most effective comparison between these two sets of headers will be a measure of what they were designed for: performance. I know there's a lot of variance and confounding variables when it comes to dyno testing, but if we see that the VM headers put down consistently more power when they're released, then there might be something to those little differences after all.
My car is the LHD 'development' car, and since I experienced Kumaran's on Thursday, as soon as Mr van Manen gets back from a well earned holiday, I shall be hounding him relentlessly, don't worry! As Kumaran has mentioned, the headers are almost identical for both LHD & RHD, so God willing, it shouldn't be too long now.
There is only a limited amount of space in a M5 engine bay so it goes without saying that unless the headers are equal length units, then of course any set of headers, no matter who makes them, are going to look similar.
I dont believe a patent would apply to an exhaust design as in this case if you asked 5 different manufacturers to design these headers from scratch then I bet you would get 5 similar looking exhausts with only minor differences but differences none the less.
There is a difference between looking similar and looking identical. The VM ones do look similar but there are several areas which are different so they are not identical.
BMW E39 M5 - 2001 Le Mans Blue
Evolve equal length headers
Evolve high flow 100-cell cats
Evolve centre H pipes
Evolve GT rear exhausts with burnt titanium tips
Evolve AlphaN tune
AP Racing Brakes
Bilstein PSS9 coilovers
Uprated front and rear sway bars
Dinan strut brace
19" LM Reps
Mk 4 DVD sat nav
Wait till I write my full report on these headers !! I had them fitted on Wednesday afternoon before Thursday morning Nurburgring Trip. Then had to go to Athens last Thursday.
I know my car intimately, and NOW it pulls ridiculously hard compared to when I had stock headers, especially from about 3K RPM.
Any members who want to do some discrete dragging on deserted roads please let me know, as I really want to see how these gains pan out in realish world situations. I would suggest it pulls much harder than an M5 with stock headers ! Much harder !
I have had absolutely no time to document anything yet (I will borrow/buy/steal a HD Video Camera this week). This is what it sounded like when Tiago drove my car out of his drive way in the morning, recorded on my blackberry......(Please max the volume and you will hear a lovely offbeat thrum that makes driving my car around at low throttle/low revs such a special delight now)
Van Manen Headers with Stock Resonators and Stock Back Boxes (Tiago is a meticulous and careful driver and will never rev a car that is cold)
Proper videos to come shortly, sorry about this rubbish video, as it does not do these headers any justice whatsoever
PS : I am actually quite flattered by SS's interest/fear of this product, and I am glad they have actually NOW realised how the symmetry of Bank 1 and Bank 2 are what sets these headers apart from any other, and SS are now looking very stupid for making uneducated accusations.... As I said previously if these guys wanted to copy the SS set it would have been done in 3 working days. The headers on my car took a very long time to develop/test/redesign/test/redesign/test/redesign....and voila we have them now and they are lovely and my m5 really flies now !