BMW 5 series Tuning

"Tuning guide to the most effective BMW 5 series modifications."

The 5 series is a good project car to play with. Take your time and research 5 series tuning to spare yourself making the usual common mistakes we often get told about.

We examine 5 series tuning and report on the best modifications. BMW 5 seriess provide a fun base for your project and with carefully chosen tuning enhancements you can really maximise your driving opportunities.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

 

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power and torque at the top end.

Spending a little bit of money on the right engine and handling mods will transform your car into a credible track car.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Tuning modifications.

 

First generation (E12 1972–1981)

  • 1.8-2.0 L M10 I4
  • 2.0-3.5 L M20/M30/M90 I6

Second generation (E28 1981–1988)

Petrol:

  • 1.8 L M10 I4
  • 2.0-3.5 L M20/M30/M88/S38 I6

Diesel:

  • 2.4 L M21 I6

Third generation (E34 1988–1996)

Petrol:

  • 1.8 L M40/M43 I4
  • 2.0-3.8 L M20/M50/M30/wI6
  • 3.0-4.0 L M60 V8

Diesel (turbocharged):

  • 2.4-2.5 L M21/M51 I6

Fourth generation (E39 1995–2003)

Petrol:

Diesel (turbocharged) :

Fifth generation (E60/E61 2003–2010)

  • 2.0 L N46 I4
  • 2.2–3.0 L M54 I6
  • 2.5–3.0 L N52 I6
  • 2.5–3.0 L N53 I6
  • 3.0 L Twin turbocharged N54 I6
  • 4.0–4.8 L N62 V8
  • 5.0 L S85 V10

Diesel:

  • 2.0 L turbodiesel M47/N47 I4
  • 2.5–3.0 L turbodiesel M57 I6

Sixth generation (F10/F11/F07/F18 2010–2016)

Petrol

  • 2.0 L turbocharged N20 I4
  • 2.5 L N52 I6
  • 3.0 L N52 I6
  • 3.0 L N53 I6
  • 3.0 L turbocharged N55 I6
  • 4.4 L twin-turbocharged N63 V8

Diesel:

  • 2.0 L turbocharged N47/B47 I4
  • 3.0 L turbocharged N57 I6

Seventh generation (G30/G31/G38 2016–present)

Petrol:

  • 1.6-2.0 L B48 turbocharged I4
  • 2.0 L B48 turbocharged i4 PHEV
  • 3.0 L B58 twin-turbocharged I6
  • 4.4 L N63 twin-turbocharged V8
  • 4.4 L S63 twin-turbocharged V8

Diesel:

  • 2.0 L B47 turbodiesel I4
  • 3.0 L B57 turbodiesel I6

The following modified mods are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get started.

Getting the right motorsport upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport mods just won't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Stage 1 modifications: Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Remap, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel.

Stage 2 modifications: Power/Sport clutch, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injector.

Stage 3 modifications: Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam, Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Sports gearbox.

You need to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance part.A fast road cam will be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do from a single upgrade to your engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust durations and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sport cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after tuning modifications are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues.Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Contrary to popular belief there is often a small power gain obtained by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for 5 series engines you should settle for a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts can help equal out the flow of gases through the engine. But if your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Getting a professionally ported and polished head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. A good heavy duty fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or think that your standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our opinion for your 5 series are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

NASP engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give impressive power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine. The most impressive power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are usually easier to add than turbos. It is difficult to map fuelling with a turbo as the boost increases exponentially with rpm.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for DIY mechanics first priority in your 5 series tuning project.

Good suspension tweaks that dramatically benefit handling for the 5 series include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe out on the front wheels.

We suggest that you fit motorsport suspension and lower the car by 30mm - 38 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Get a good directional tread pattern tyre to improve your handling and help improve traction on your 5 series. The drawback to large alloys on your 5 series is that you alter your effective final drive ratio so this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration.

Due to this fact try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases avoid going over 18 inches.

There is a more updated version of this BMW 5 series Tuning article on TorqueCars.com.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss 5 series options in more detail with our 5 series owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased BMW tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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