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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There isn't much info on this catback, let alone, much of any pictures anyone has taken. Especially after my aFe catback fiasco last year, I REALLY didn't want to end up with a sub-par quality catback again. If you're interested in the issues, click here for the post.

Since removing the aFe axleback back in April, I was really missing having a catback. It sounded deeper, car was louder, the drone made driving the car more engaging and the pops really made people duck for cover because it now truly sounded like gunshots. Found someone on Reddit, of all places, that had this catback so I asked him some questions. He told me the drone was better than stock with the valve closed and he can listen to his podcasts while driving. Then I saw his video of just a cold start with this exhaust and made me start to really consider the Borla ATAK. And today's the day I finally get it in.

Firstly, Borla uses their own foam to pack this catback into a slim box. I mention this because what I got from the other company was a jam packed big box full of piping with those thick brown paper wrappings stuffed in it. Because of how the box got tossed around, the resonator got damaged along with a few holes around the box. So to me, receiving the Borla made it feel like they care about their own products and they want you to receive a product the same way it left the factory.
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Laid everything out on top of the box and immediately went around with a magnet. Everything is pretty much 100% stainless as most of catback, the magnet would either not stick or have a weak magnetic attraction. Yes, even the flange and welds are stainless.
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Here's a pic of what the "polyphonic harmonizer" looks like inside. It's 4 solid pipes in there with no perforations on any of those pipings.
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The valve on this is a quality piece. There is some splatter on the inside flapper from factory (which it's whatever since it'll be covered in soot) but for the most part, it's pretty solid. It's also a slip fit end so if you ever want to try servicing it (like blasting the soot away with solvents), then you can actually do that quite easily. It's also a fully closed off valve so all the exhaust gases and drone will go through the muffler!
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Muffler section is also a quality piece, even though it looks pretty rough on the inside. I first thought this was going to be a chambered muffler but it's straight through! If from what the guy said about the drone being better than stock ends up true, I'll be shocked. Still hard to believe a dinky muffler like this can have no drone but I'll find that out for myself when I get it installed.
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It also came with the same instructions you can download from their website wrapped in a plastic bag. The 4 clamps are also inside of a bubble wrap sleeve and they give you 2 Borla decals (one white and one black). The only thing you DON'T GET in this kit is a 2 bolt gasket for connecting to the downpipe. For the price, I'd imagine getting a gasket tossed in but nope. Even aFe provides a few gaskets. But I'm not going to make it a big deal since gaskets are relatively cheap to buy. I'm at the 10 image limit so no pics of the extras.

Overall, WAY happier with the quality of the Borla compared to the aFe. Prices on both are even similar with the Borla costing just a bit more but in my opinion, it's worth paying the slight extra cost as the quality between the 2 is night and day.

Anyways, I hope this helps some of you guys' out that were considering a Borla as this thread would've been something I would've liked to read up on before making a big purchase.
 

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Hey ! Was wondering how loud the borla is in N mode and the quality of the pops. Borlas video didn’t impress me all that much. Thanks.
It's quite throaty and deeper in tonal qualities and a bit louder, especially with an aftermarket downpipe.

Borla did static test from as far away as 10+ feet and you can see how far the camera was positioned, in the moving tests. I suspect this was more for CARB and state governments then consumers. They didn't do any in car testing and this is where you notice the difference, especially without the ESG.

It's an excellent exhaust without any droning and produces a wonderful sound, especially compared to the OEM exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The catback went on pretty much next day after posting this thread so this'll be my review of it after living with it for a week.

Firstly, installation. Ran into a few issues with only one of them, I have to take it in to an exhaust shop to get it fixed.
1st issue I ran into was the flange bolt holes. The flange would not slide onto the downpipe with ease as the bolt holes were a tiny bit too narrow for the studs. I got a large drill bit, a drill and reamed the holes wider to fit on the stock downpipe. Thankfully, it's a stainless steel flange so it was easier to ream it wider.
2nd issue, the passenger side tip sticks out more than the drivers side. I tried pushing and pulling around on the slipfit connections but the right side tip sticks out way too far for me to get it even enough. Looking at Borla's stock pics, the tips are supposed to sit flush with the bumper. Left side does sit flush but that right side, it just wouldn't. I was going to email Borla about it and see if they can send me a new right side tip that'll work. Buuut I like how far the right side sticks out and I'm just going to get the left side extended out. Reminds of how the aFe sat and I really loved how the aFe looked. For now, this is the best I can do with adjustments before the piping ends up falling out of the slipfit ends.
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As for the sound, WOW! It's loud but it sounds incredibly good. Like this is louder than the aFe catback by a good margin. It has this really deep, hollow sound in the low end and just screams in the high end. When coming home from work one day, I did a pull next to a sound barrier on the freeway and at above 6kRPM, you can hear multiple exhaust notes coming out back! Like it's the same exhaust note, multiplied and played in harmony. Yeah, I can definitely say this is one of the best catbacks I have ever heard on ANY 4 cylinder turbo car. I used to be a huge fan of Magnaflow for 4 cylinder cars but this ATAK?! It takes the cake for me.

Any drone? None! Or at least, none that I could detect. With the aFe, there was a constant drone between 2500 and 3k and it was pretty loud humming sound. That humming would make it so the lyrics to the songs would end up muffled and hard to hear. I would have to crank the volume to over 30 to zone it out. With the ATAK, I don't think I ever had to turn the volume past 25 to hear the lyrics. And this is from a catback that's louder than the aFe.

As for cons? When just driving around in normal, it's still pretty loud. The small muffler in the back does an amazing job with noise suppression (being that it's pretty small) but sadly, it's not quiet enough for me. Especially when I sometimes travel 3+ hours away for an autox event, I just want to listen to my tunes while driving without hearing and feeling the sound of exhaust vibrating the entire car. Yes, even in normal, it still vibrates the car. In N, it's even more vibration. The vibration does add to the driving engagement (especially in N) but there are times where I just want to cruise in peace. Researched on some resonators and bought the Vibrant 17950. From the reviews I've read, cold starts, idling and cruising, the noise level should be about 5-10 dB lower but with it being a straight through design, it should still scream up top. Exactly what I want out of a resonator.

Overall, I'm in love with the sound this makes. I mostly drive in normal mode all the time but since last week, it's been hard to NOT press that N button. I don't think any video will do this catback any justice as I don't think any microphone can truly capture the sound this makes. Not even Borla themselves can get a proper recording of this catback. At $1200, it's worth every single penny. From quality to sound, I highly suggest this catback over the aFe. Heck, I'll suggest this catback over a resonator/muffler delete. Do you want an N that is louder and sounds better? Get the Borla ATAK.
 

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Check the alignment of the silencer hangers, you might have to bend one a small amount. If it or they need adjusting, just use a large rubber mallet. I've never had an exhaust except for the GT500 Ford Motorsport unit, that came out of the box correct. Seem to happen more with a single unit with dual outlets then a individual dual outlet.

I understand about the Magnaflow but they still haven't produced an exhaust for the VN and it's been more than a year and a half since they started advertising it on their website.
 

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Researched on some resonators and bought the Vibrant 17950. From the reviews I've read, cold starts, idling and cruising, the noise level should be about 5-10 dB lower but with it being a straight through design, it should still scream up top. Exactly what I want out of a resonator.
hey Piro, did you ever end up installing a resonator? Did "normal" driving get quieter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hey Piro, did you ever end up installing a resonator? Did "normal" driving get quieter?
Not yet. I've been trying to get ready for the new upcoming autox season so most of my finances have been going into parts right now. Sometime in the middle of spring, I'll be able to bring the car to a muffler shop to get it done.
 
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