Tuning the BMW M57

"Comprehensive guide to tuning and performance parts on the BMW M57 engine!"

The BMW M57 provide a fun base for your project and with the right tuning mods like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really maximise your driving pleasure.

Here we review and look at M57 tuning and outline the best modifications.

Just because particular upgrades are popular with M57 owners it doesn't mean its worth having, we shall focus upgrades that will give your M57 the best power gain for you money.

Significant gains on the M57 can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

NB: Fast road camshafts usually increase the bhp through the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little low end torque but higher rpm power will be lifted.

Race camshafts, increase the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a typical daily driver you need to match your bhp range to your preferences.

I'd be shocked if you have found a M57 Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Different M57 engines respond better to different camshaft durations than others.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll get.

Altering valve durations can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

 

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Guide to the Best M57 Tuning Mods & Upgrades

  1. Mods that Remove a Restriction

    If the intake or exhaust are restricted in any way this will have an impact on your cars performance, so use an induction kit/filter upgrade and better flowing exhaust whenever your tuning creates a flow restriction.

  2. Fit Stronger Parts

    Tuned cars will show up weaknesses, typically in the turbochargers, clutch and internal engine components. Whilst most engines can cope with mild tuning mods, TorqueCars recommend that you upgrade the internal components before these weak spots manifest themselves.

  3. ECU Tunes & Remapping

    While some cars can be easily remapped, others may require piggyback ECU's or aftermarket ECU's but this is the most vital step of your tuning project as it fully releases the power from all of your mods and upgrades. Expect 10-20% on NASP engines and 30-40% on turbocharged units.

  4. More Power Needs More Fuel & Air

    Every tuning project will aim to increase the air supply, but fuel supply is just as vital and will need to match the air the engine can utilise. Fuel to Air ratio is vital so upgrade the fuel pump & injectors. Also you can look to perform head mods (flowing and porting), bigger valves, fast road cams and forced induction upgrades to improve fuel.

Stages of Tune

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

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

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

Stage 1 modifications: Panel air filters, Intake headers, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust manifold, Fast road camshaft, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Stage 2 modifications: Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, induction kit, high flow fuel injectors, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Fast road cam.

Stage 3 modifications: Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Carefully think through your options and then find your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

ECU flashing helps unlock the full potential of all the tuning mods you've fitted to your M57.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the end result will rely on the tuning mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Feeding air and fuel into each cylinder is the aim to any engine performance tuning job.

Intake carry the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a big difference to to fuel engine efficiency on the M57.

On popular production engines intake headers are ripe for aftermarket parts, although a few car makers provide fairly well optimized intake headers.

Big valve conversions on the M57, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost torque, and significantly will give you a greater torque increase on other upgrades.

Turbo upgrades

NASP engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your M57

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes excellent power gains.

If your car is turbocharged, tuning mods are going to make more power and you'll see that turbo engines will have better components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

See where you'll find these restrictions and install higher quality crank and pistons to utilize the power.

We've seen drivers spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M57 only to see the motor literally blow up on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Bigger turbo units will usually suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbo units spool up much more quickly but won't have the top end bhp gains.

We are pleased that the choice of turbo units is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the M57 when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more complex to configure. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

When you improve the performance you will need to pay attention to to the fuel system.

More performance needs more fuel. Don't forget to be generous with your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides you some spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Exhaust upgrades and mods

You only need to to boost your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Note that with the largest exhaust you can source you'll 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.

Usual exhaust restrictions can be located the emissions filters installed, so adding a freer flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the M57

The M57 engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the M57, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

For more information on Tuning your M57 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M57 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

History of the Engine

M57 straight-6 diesel engine based on M51 and came as a 2.5 2.9 and 3.0

M57D25

2000–2003

M57D25TÜ

2003–2007

  • BMW E60/E61 525d

M57D30

  • Range Rover L322
  • E39 as 530d
  • E46 as 330d/330xd
  • E38 as 730d
  • E53 as X5 3.0d
  • E39 as 530d
  • E38 as 730d

M57D30TÜ

  • E46 as 330d/330Cd/330xd
  • E83 as X3 3.0d
  • E53 as X5 3.0d
  •  E60/E61 as 530d/530xd
  •  E65/E66 as 730d
  •  E83 as X3 3.0d
  • E60/E61 as 535d

M57D30TÜ2

  • E90/E91 as 325d
  •  E60/E61 as 525d
  • E65/E66 as 730d
  •  E90/E91 as 330d/330xd
  •  E60/E61 as 530d/530xd
  • E60/E61 as 530d
  •  E70 as X5 xDrive30d
  •  E71 as X6 xDrive30d

M57D30TÜTOP

  • E60/E61 as 535d
  •  E63/E64 as 635d
  •  E70 as X5 3.0sd
  •  E71 as X6 xDrive35d
  •  E83 as X3 3.0sd
  •  E90/E91/E92/E93 as 335d

 

We need your help improving this article, so please send us your feedback in the comments box below and pass on any tips, points or facts we have wrong or have not covered.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which mods were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our M57 guides and tips are kept up to date.

 

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