BMW M5 Tuning

"Tuning guide to the most effective BMW M5 modifications."

The M5 is a good car modification project to play with. If you do your homework then you can create an awesome M5 but don't be fooled there are lots of motorsport inspired mods out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

We examine M5 tuning and highlight the optimum upgrades. BMW M5s make a good tuning project and with a few sensible sports modifications you can really increase your driving fun.

Tuning tips and articles

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


Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more torque out of the top end.

Enjoy your M5 to the limit with our dependable modification pointers - do the right mods in the right order.

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.

Engine Tuning.

These are the uprated modifications are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you start.

Getting the best modified upgrades for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 competition upgrades just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

The M5 came with the following engines

  • E28 M5 3.5 L M88/3 I6 282 hp & the 3.5 L S38 I6 256hp (North America only)
  • E34 M5 3.5–3.6 L S38 I6 311 hp
  • E39 M5 4.9 L S62 V8 394 hp
  • E60 M5 5.0 L S85 V10 500 hp
  • F10 M5 4.4 L  S63B44TÜ V8 turbo  553 hp
  • F90 M5 4.4 L S63 V8 turbo 591 bhp (Competition model had 617 hp)

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

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

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

Your goal when modding your car should be a nice flat torque output. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The point of our tips is to give a brief overview of car tuning mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your car tuning project, the best performance kits and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road camshaft often proves to be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust durations and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a motor sports profile 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.

Frequently power losses, and erratic idling after kits are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues.Uprating 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.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Contrary to popular belief there is usually a small if any power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you boost the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and usually rob you of power on most cars.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can get this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional flowed (porting and polishing). These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. Your clutch can slip as you increase the power if it starts to complain and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit a performance clutch to avoid power loss through the transmission. The best mods in our experience for your M5 are a remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Turbo engines are just crying out to be remapped. You will see big power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and big modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners toying with twin charging applications and making some very high power hikes.

Adding forced induction will see large power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are usually easier to add than a turbo. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many M5 owners uprate the handling of their cars with coilover suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to degrees on the front, and add some negative camber then cornering will often improve.

We would go to a maximum drop of 23mm - 38 mm on most models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are lighter they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks. Get a good soft compound tyre to improve your handling and help improve traction on your M5. Please note although they can look cool on the M5 big alloys will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

With this in mind we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

There is a more updated version of this BMW M5 Tuning article on

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss M5 options in more detail with our M5 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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