Tuning the BMW N47

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the BMW N47 engine!"

Our aim here is to review and look at N47 tuning and summarise the optimum modifications for your car. BMW N47 offer good returns when tuned and with the best tuning parts like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly enhance your driving enjoyment.

The greatest N47 mods on an engine are typically the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular N47 mods, they need to be cost effective.

Significant gains on the N47 can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the power band and power output.

NB: Fast road cams tend to push up the power through the rpm range, you could drop a little low down bhp but the higher rpm power will be higher.

Motorsport cams, push up the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a typical daily driver must carefully try to match your bhp range to your usage of the car.

I'd be amazed if you have ever thought a N47 Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas.

Each engine responds better to mild camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

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

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the power 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 N47 Tuning Mods & Upgrades

  1. Mods that Remove a Restriction

    A restricted intake or exhaust will have an impact on your car's 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.

N47 Stages of Tuning

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

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

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

The N47 engine blocks make great tuning projects and we're happy to report there are increasing numbers of parts and performance parts out there.

Remaps helps fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your N47.

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 often rely on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any engine modification job to feed more air and fuel into your N47

Intake manifold carry the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Air Intake manifolds can make a big effect on to fuel delivery on the N47.

Most intake headers are crying out for aftermarket parts, although some manufacturers provide well optimised intake headers.

Adding a N47 larger valve kit, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase performance, and as an added benefit will afford you an improved performance increase on other mods.

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 N47

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

If the engine has forced induction mods are simpler to install and you'll see that turbo engines will have many forged and stronger components.

However every engines have limits

It is important to find these restrictions and upgrade to forged components to survive the power.

There are many car owners spending a a stack of money on turbocharger upgrades on the N47 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the N47 throw a rod just after it's completed.

Bigger capacity turbo chargers often experience a bottom end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the top end torque gains.

In recent times the world of turbo chargers is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and push these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the N47 when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped bhp at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large power gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

When you lift the bhp and torque you will need to pay attention to to the fuelling.

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

The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides you some spare capacity should the engine need 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 increase your exhaust if the existing exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is fine 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 widest exhaust you can source this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts 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 are traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

History of the Engine

  • N47D16
  • 94 hp @4,000 rpm 173 lbft @1500 - 2750 rpm 2013
  • 114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1500 - 2750 rpm 2012
  • N47D20
  • 114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1750 rpm
  • 141 hp @4,000 rpm 221 lbft @ 3000 rpm
  • 161 hp @4,000 rpm 251 lbft @ 2000 rpm
  • 174 hp @4,000 rpm 258 lbft @ 3000 rpm
  • 181 hp @4,000 rpm 280 lbft @ 2750 rpm
  • 201 hp @4,400 rpm 295 lbft @ 2000 rpm
  • 215 hp @4,400 rpm 332 lbft @ 2500 rpm

The engines were fitted in the following models

114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1500 - 2750 rpm 2012

  • E81 E87 116d E90 316d

41 hp @4,000 rpm 221 lbft @ 3000 rpm

  • E81, E82, E87 and E88 118d
  • E90 and E91 318d
  • F20 118d
  • F30 and F31 318d
  • 2009-2015 BMW E84 sDrive18d and xDrive18d
  • 2010–present MINI Countryman Cooper SD (R60)
  • 2010–present MINI Cooper SD (R56)
  • 2010–present MINI Cabrio Cooper SD (R57)
  • 2010–2015 MINI Coupe Cooper SD (R58)
  • 2012–2015 MINI Roadster Cooper SD (R59)
  • 2013–present MINI Paceman Cooper SD (R61)
  • 2014–2015 F22 218d
  • X3 xDrive18d

161 hp @4,000 rpm 251 lbft @ 2000 rpm

  • E90 BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

174 hp @4,000 rpm 258 lbft @ 3000 rpm

  • E81/E82/E87/E88 120d
  • E90/E91/E92/E93 320d
  • 5 Series E60 and E61 520d
  • E84 X1 X1 sDrive20d, X1 xDrive20d and E83 X3 xDrive20d.
  • 2014–2015 F22 220d

There was also a twin turbo version :
201 hp @4,400 rpm 295 lbft @ 2000 rpm

  • E87 123d
  • E84 X1 xDrive 23d
  • 2014–2015 F22 225d

Tuning the BMW N47 and best N47 performance parts.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the N47

The N47 engines are generally alright as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

The N47 engine family is prone to excessive timing chain wear and premature failure

Turbo wastegate springs would often fail causing it to stick open. The hoses are also in need of attention as these seem to be quite fragile.

Regular oil changes are vital on the N47, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

For more information on Tuning your N47 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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 tuning 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 N47 guides and tips are kept up to date.

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