Volvo XC90 Tuning

"Thanks for reading our Volvo XC90 tuning tips."

The large SUV crossover from Volvo, has met with great critical acclaim, and is very well build and well engineered.

The XC90 is a good project car to execute. Take your time and research XC90 tuning to spare yourself making the usual common mistakes we often .

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 bhp out of the top end.

With our recommended mods you can change your XC90 into a hot hatch, beating bigger engined cars on the track.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine tuning mods.

The following modified modifications are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get started.

  • 2.5 L B5254T2 turbocharged I5
  • 2.9 L B6294T twin-turbocharged I6
  • 3.2 L B6324S SI6 I6
  • 4.4 L B8444S V8
  • 2.4 L D5244T4 turbodiesel I5
  • 2.4 L D5244T5 turbodiesel I5

Getting the best uprated modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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

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

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

Peak power is nice in motorsport but for a daily driven car you need a long torque band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give a brief overview 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 part.A fast road cam is generally one of the best NASP power modifications you can do from a single upgrade to your engine.

It improves 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 competition cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Frequently power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after performance parts are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to upgrade the injectors on your engine.

If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Common faults and complaints

The software seems to be glitchy and people are still reporting issues with it, particularly the navigation.

Many owners, particularly those on bigger wheels report excessive road noise and vibrations. Switching to smaller alloys and specifying a different tyre goes some way to correct this problem.

Electrical problems and issues seem quite significant on the 2016 model year.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small if any power gain obtained by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

For most XC90 engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can find this will reduce the exhaust flow 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.

Getting a professionally polished and ported head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. Your clutch can fail as the power goes up if it starts to fail and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 43%. Fit a competition clutch to avoid power leak through the transmission. The best mods we would do for your XC90 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

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

We've also come across some owners toying with twincharging conversions and making some seriously high power hikes.

Adding forced induction will see massive power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. It is usually cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to install a turbo. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it more challenging to map.

Superchargers, however will give a boost which is correlating to engine speed so is simpler. Adding forced induction will generally require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many people first priority in your XC90 tuning project.

Adding some negative camber at the front wheels and around 1 to 1.7 degrees of toe out, will usually enhance your XC90 in handling and cornering.

We suggest that you fit motorsport suspension and lower the car by 23mm - 35 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they will help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tyres - ideally with a directional tread pattern tyre. The downside to large rims on your XC90 is that you're changing your final drive ratio so this will have a negative effect on performance and acceleration.

With this in mind try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases we do not recommend going bigger than 18 inches.

There is a more updated version of this Volvo XC90 Tuning article on

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss XC90 options in more detail with our XC90 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Volvo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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