Alfa Romeo V6 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning and performance parts on the Alfa Romeo V6 engine!"

We love the sound of this V6 and I would say it is the best sounding engine I've ever heard. I can see why there is such a following of this legendary block

This pages aim is outline options for your V6 tuning and highlight the best mods that work. Alfa Romeo V6 are popular engines and with the ultimate motorsport upgrades like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably maximise your driving enjoyment.

We consider V6 tuning and show the optimum modifications. Alfa Romeo V6 are good project engines and has been used in many kit car projects and track day cars.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

The V6 was made between 1979 and 2005 designed by Guiseppe Busso and came to be known as the Busso V6.

We see Sodium filled valves used back in 1993 when the DOHC Alfa 164 was released.

12V, two valve per cylinder versions

2.0 L 121.8 cu in (1,996 cc) 134 & 130hp Carb fed

  • 1983–1986 Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 2.0 V6
  • 1984–1987 Alfa Romeo 90 2.0 V6

2.0 L 121.8 cu in (1,996 cc) 207hp turbocharged

  • 1991–1992 Alfa Romeo 164 V6 Turbo
  • 1992–1997 Alfa Romeo 164 Super V6 TB
  • 1994–2000 Alfa Romeo GTV 2.0 V6 TB
  • 1998–2000 Alfa Romeo Spider 2.0 V6 TB
  • 1996–2000 Alfa Romeo 166 Super V6 TB

2.5 L 152.1 cu in (2,492 cc) 156 hp with six carbs
2.5 L 152.1 cu in (2,492 cc)  164 hp with Fuel injection Bosch

  • 1979–1986 Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
  • 1980–1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV6 2.5)
  • 1984–1987 Alfa Romeo 90
  • 1985–1991 Alfa Romeo 75/Milano
  • 1992–1997 Alfa Romeo 155
  • 1985–1996 Fiat Croma
  • 1987–1989 Rayton Fissore Magnum V6

2.8 L Gleich 169.9 cu in (2,784 cc) 188 hp (a Gleich tuned conversion of the 2.5)

  • 1982 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV6 2.8 Gleich

3.0 L SA (Autodelta) 180.6 cu in (2,959 cc) 174 hp

  • 1984–1985 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV6 3.0 SA

3.0 L 180.6 cu in (2,959 cc)
189 hp
181 hp Catalyst
207 hp Zagato version

  • 1987–1991 Alfa Romeo 75/Milano
  • 1988–1997 Alfa Romeo 164
  • 1989–1991 Alfa Romeo SZ
  • 1992–1994 Alfa Romeo RZ
  • 1992–1994 Lancia Thema
  • 1993–2000 Alfa Romeo Spider

24V four valves per cylinder

2.5 (2,492 cc)  24V 187 - 189hp

  • 1996–2005 Alfa Romeo 156
  • 1996–2007 Alfa Romeo 166

3.2 (3,179 cc) 24V 247 hp or Lancia 227hp

  • 2002–2005 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
  • 2002–2005 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
  • 2002–2004 Alfa Romeo GTV
  • 2002–2004 Alfa Romeo Spider
  • 2003–2007 Alfa Romeo 166
  • 2003–2010 Alfa Romeo GT
  • 2003–2009 Lancia Thesis

Tuning the Alfa Romeo V6 and best V6 performance parts.

Best V6 mods

When talking about the best top for your V6 engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best value for money.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large engines power gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road cams normally boost the bhp and torque throughout the rev band, you may sacrifice a little low end bhp but your higher rpm power will be higher.

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

For a daily driver must carefully try to match your torque band to your driving style.

I'd never find a V6 Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

Different V6 engines respond better to different cam durations than others.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also will say much on the bhp gains you'll hit.

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.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, drilled & smoothed airbox.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit.

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

The V6 units respond well to mods and we're happy to report there is a lot of parts and performance parts out there.

Mapping helps unlock the full potential of all the tuning parts you've fitted to your V6.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but figures achieved usually depend much on the tuning parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Feeding more fuel and air into the V6 engine is the whole point to any tuning project.

Air Intake manifolds flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Shape and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a noticeable change to fuel atomisation on the V6.

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are in dire need of performance upgrades, although a few car makers provide well optimised air intake manifolds.

Increasing the V6 valve size, carrying out port work and head flowing will also boost bhp and torque, and importantly will give you an improved 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 V6 and we would strongly caution against this, there are other ways to tune this lovely engine.

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.

We see many people spending a loads of money on turbocharger upgrades on the V6 only to have the engine block explode when it's finished.

Large upgraded turbo units commonly experience no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up much more quickly but won't have the peak rpm bhp gains.

It is common that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on these engines when a lot 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 was restricting torque at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should look at the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp increase.It makes sense to over specify your injector capacity.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and affords 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

You only need to to replace your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

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

Sports exhausts can help equal out the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the filters installed, so adding a faster flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the V6

The V6 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the V6, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your V6 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our worldwide members, or read our tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which upgrades work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these V6 articles which are continually updated.

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