BMW 8 series Tuning

"Thanks for reading our BMW 8 series tuning guide."

The 8 series is a good project car to have. The key to 8 series tuning is choosing the right mods - a lot of money can be wasted if you do it wrong.

A little of the history of the 8 series, a fantastic looking grand tourer, designed to be a drivers car.

As a 2 door coupe it looks stunning, and the choice of engines make this a car be driven. There are rumours of an M8 version which we can't wait to see.

First generation (E31; 1990–1999)

  • 4.0 L M60B40 V8
  • 4.4 L M62B44 V8
  • 5.0 L M70B50 V12
  • 5.4 L M73B54 V12
  • 5.6 L S70B56 V12

Second generation (G14/G15/G16; 2018–present)

Petrol- turbocharged:
3.0 L B58 I6
4.4 L N63 / S63 V8
Diesel- turbocharged:
3.0 L B57 I6

Here we review and look at 8 series tuning and summarise the best upgrades. BMW 8 series are good project cars and with carefully picked mods like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will noticeably maximize your driving experience.

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Tuning tips and articles

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many 8 series owners uprate the handling of their cars with uprated suspension kits as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you 8 series usually improving your drive.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 23mm - 37 mm. and fit modified stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Fitting meatier brake discs and better quality pads will make for sharper enhanced braking.

Bear in mind that race pads can grind and will need to be really hot before they are effective.

On a road car the brakes are only used rarely, therefore won't be all that effective so source brake pads which work well in daily use.

Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

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

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Power mods.

These are the motorsport modifications are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get started.

Getting the best uprated mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 37 mm.), Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Remap.

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

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

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.

The point of our advice is to give a limited introduction of car tuning performance parts and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best motorsport kits and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest power gains for your money as far as a single motorsport upgrades goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

The exhaust & intake flow play a huge role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU to fully release the power gain.

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

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

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up.  Please note that WE DO NOT FIND IMPROVEMENTS WITH INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car extensively and are finding that the standard air intake has become a limitation.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a performance panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Sports exhausts can help increase the flow of air through the engine. But if your exhaust pipe is too large, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Getting the head flowed (ported and polished) will further help more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a professional with a flow bench. A good multi plate fast road sports clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or assume a standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our experience for your 8 series are a remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Remaps offer phenomenal power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a flashed ecu on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

We've also come across some owners toying with twin charging applications and making some seriously high power hikes.

Adding forced induction will see significant power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are usually harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in exponential proportion to th engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Adding forced induction will nearly always require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include reducing your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tyres when you can buy soft compound performance tires.Large 8 series alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Although some people have with bigger wheels we would stick to a 19 inch rim size as the maximum.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss 8 series options in more detail with our 8 series 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.

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

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which 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 articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

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