BMW X5 Tuning

"Thank you for reading this BMW X5 tuning guide."

The X5 as a good sized SUV is a very good project car to carry out modifications on and tune up. The key to X5 tuning is doing it right - a lot of money can be wasted if you do it wrong.

Remember the 'off road' intentions of it's design, and don't try to slam it really low with a really high RPM torque band setup engine and you'll be fine.

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums
  • First generation (E53; 1999–2006) The original was launched and developed with Land Rover so shares some of the Land Rovers systems. 2004 saw a minor facelift of this version.
  • Second generation (E70; 2006–2013) We saw iDrive added, and a X5M tuned version was launched
  • Third generation (F15; 2013–2018) Still used the E70 chassis and engines were revised, including a hybrid option
  • Fourth generation (G05; 2019–present) all models are X drive

The X5 is a good project car to play with. Think carefully and research X5 tuning to avoid making the usual costly mistakes we typically see.

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 power out of the top end.

Keep your car looking standard but take off the badges for the ultimate sleeper!

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 mods.

These are the performance parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.

Getting the right tuning upgrades for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport mods just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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

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

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

Peak power is good on competition cars but for a drivable and fun car you need a long power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best performance parts for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.A fast road camshaft is widely accepted as one of the best NASP power mods you can do mechanically to your engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up 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 competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

Using higher octane fuel is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your BMW project after fitting other motorsport kits. Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned X5s uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Air induction kits will only help to increase power if your cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NONE OF A LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Derestricting the air flow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find 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 actually rob you of power.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

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. In nearly all cases of X5 tuning your clutch will start to fail and this should be improved - read our guide on clutches for more information. The best mods that we recommend for your X5 are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

Remaps offer big power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NASP engines the benefits are doubtful. However a chipped ECU on a NASP engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

We've also seen some tuners experimenting with twincharging applications and making some impressively high power hikes.

The most phenomenal power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is generally easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to bolt on a turbo. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

Superchargers will give a boost which is directly proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Adding forced induction will usually require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many X5 owners uprate the handling of their cars with sports suspension kits as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Adding slight negative camber at the front and around 1 to 1.7 degrees of toe out, will often improve your X5 in handling and cornering.

Drop the car by as much as 26mm - 35 mm and fit sports stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brake cooling and are generally less heavy than steel ones. Get a good track legal slick tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your X5. Please note that although they can look cool on the X5 big alloy wheels 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.

Although some people have installed larger rims without issues we would stick to a 18 or 19 inch rim size as the maximum.

There is a more updated version of this X5 Tuning article on TorqueCars.com.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss X5 options in more detail with our X5 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.

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 do love seeing our visitors car projects and which mods work best for them, this site is very much a community effort, and we remind our visitors of our non profit non commercial approach to running this site. All of your comments are used to improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually revised, tweaked and updated.

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article




Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).