Tuning the BMW N63

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the BMW N63 engine!"

The BMW N63 make awesome project engines and with the ultimate parts like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will greatly increase your driving fun.

In this article we provide a guide to N63 tuning and highlight the greatest modifications.

When talking about the best top for your N63 engine, we are going to focus on the tuning mods that give the best value for money.

Altering your N63 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts normally push up the power over the rev band, you may lose a little low end bhp but top end will be higher.

Competition camshafts, push up the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport camshaft will just annoy you whilst in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your bhp range to your typical driving style so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road N63 camshaft

Some N63 engines respond better to different camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have an effect 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.

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

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

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

The N63 power plant respond well to mods and thanks to their popularity there is a growing number of modifications and performance parts about.

Mapping will help to establish the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your N63.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome usually vary depending on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more fuel and air into your N63 is the aim to any car tuning task.

Headers take the air from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Structure and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial effect on to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the N63.

Most headers are improved through an upgrade, although some car makers provide fairly well optimized headers.

Big valve conversions on the N63, getting port work and head flowing will also improve bhp and torque, and as an added benefit will make space for raising the bhp and 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 N63

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

If the engine has a turbocharger tuning parts are going to make more power and most turbocharged engines already contain more solid components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some only able to handle stock power

Discover these limitations and install higher quality components to cope with the power.

There are many people spending a a stack of money on turbocharger upgrades on the N63 only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine literally blow up soon after it's finished.

Larger capacity turbos will usually suffer low end lag, and low capacity turbos spool up much more quickly but do not have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the selection of turbos is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbos, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the N63 when loads 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 sapped performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling when you start exceeding 20% of a power increase.We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and gives a little 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 may need to boost your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

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

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can source you'll 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 can be traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a better flowing sports alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the N63

The later N63 engines are generally reliable as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained and you keep an eye out for the weakspots.

As this was a new design, there were quite a few teething problems on early engines and the engine generally runs quite hot which is never a good thing long term, and BMW addressed this with some cooling additions over the model revisions.

Regular oil changes are vital on the N63, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

Timing chains were prone to stretch leading to a recall in 2014, where BMW also addressed injector issues, airflow sensors and the crankcase ventilation lines.

If you get a rough idle then be sure to check the timing chain, as this is an early symptom of problems and should not be ignored.

The N63 does seem to destroy batteries, this is more down to the efficient Dynamics module than the engine.

High oil consumption has also been noted, this is usually down to valve stem failure seal issues.

For more information on Tuning your N63 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our N63 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

The turbo was placed inside the V of the engine, which can get quite hot, hence the addition of a secondary cooling pump in 2012.

It used direct injection which was a first for BMW V8's and this enables the engine to run higher compression with a turbocharger.

N63B40A

300 kW (402 bhp) @5,500 rpm 600Nm 443 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm 2012-2015
330 kW (443 bhp) @5,500 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm

N63B44O0

402 bhp @5,500-6,400 rpm 600Nm 443 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm 2008-2013

N63B44O1 N63TU

This engine came with valvetronic revised turbos and forged con rods and crank with revisions to the fuel system and new valve stem seals.

444 bhp @5,500-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @2,000-4,500 rpm 2013-2016

N63B44O2

444 bhp) @5,500-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,800-4,500 rpm 2016–present

N63B44M3

In 2016 we saw higher pressure injectors and larger capacity twin scroll turbos and a new intake manifold design.

456 bhp) @5,250-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,500-4,750 rpm 2018–present

N63B44T3

In 2016 we saw higher pressure injectors and larger capacity twin scroll turbos and a new intake manifold design.

523 bhp @5,500-6,000 rpm 750Nm 553 lbft) @1,800-4,600 rpm 2018–present

For more information on Tuning your N63 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in with our worldwide members, Or read 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 N63 guides and tips are kept up to date.

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