The Ultimate Driving Machine

"An overview of the BMW Range"

German engineering at its best. BMW have a 50/50 weight distribution philosophy to ensure that each car that leaves the production line has well balanced handling. Generally built for cruising on the autobahns most models have good performance and levels of comfort.

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The addition of the M series badge indicates a thoroughbred well tuned and sorted car. Even old M series cars perform well against modern cars.

The Alpina badge is reserved for the best of the best - ridiculous levels of performance and comfort. Sadly BMW are becoming very mainstream and are perceived by many as a status symbol which is certainly not the case of the base models and lower engine sizes 1.6 - 1.8 and were produced for small time managers and hairdressers.

BMW the ultimate driving machine? - definitely with a few modifications!

When buying a BMW look for big engines, the M or Alpina Badge and you will not be disappointed. The cars are very heavy due to the nature of the interior comforts so putting the car on a diet will actually improve handling a lot.

The 330d is one of the best diesel engines currently available propelling a 3 series to 60 in 7.8 seconds! All cars are solid and would offer high levels of protection to the occupants in the event of a crash. The 1 series was BMW's stab at capturing the A3 and Golf markets and BMW have done a reasonable job. All models in the BMW range are Rear Wheel Drive and as a result have a tendency to over steer. Recent innovations include a completely customizable engine and gearbox set up which takes a bit of setting up but does mean that the car can be tuned to individual driver preference. The BMW grill and shape is distinctive so even debadging the car will not stop it looking like a BMW. Servicing can be expensive on most models especially if you go to the main dealer - but many independent specialists are springing up and are able to service the car to a high standard.  The 5 series introduced in 97 represents a major revision and is a real drivers car.

Tuning - the BMW engines are all very strong and tunable capable of handling much more power than is provided as standard although the M's are very highly tuned they do show the potential for improvement on the other models. Most cars are electronically speed limited - and I would rather see the power available throughout the gears than capped so fitting a low ratio gearbox will unleash some of this lost power but trade off some of the economy.

Induction kits and sports exhaust help with breathing and unleash a few ponies at the higher rev ranges. A great number of remap options are available and the Turbo Diesel models respond particularly well to a new ECU program offering lots more power and torque with a minimum loss of economy. Weight reduction can produce significant results providing you are willing to sacrifice ride 'comforts'.

BMW Engine Tuning.

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For NA (naturally aspirated) engines please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your BMW. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your BMW

  1. Air Intake and Performance Exhausts - Please be warned on their own these mods will NOT ADD PERFORMANCE for most setups, but they permit you to enhance power after other modifications by minimizing the restriction.
  2. Brake Upgrades - Stopping your BMW needs to be listed in your priority list.
  3. Fast road cams are significant power adders, but TorqueCars recommend they be installed by someone qualified to set them up properly and it can sometimes be hard to find one but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock cam .
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - A New Turbo is the most dramatic method to increase air supply, this means you are able to use more fuel and make higher power. Although one of the most challenging mods it offers big gains.
  5. ECU Tunes - A remap provides the biggest gains compared to your outlay, replacement ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  6. BMW Suspension Upgrades - Upgrading your suspension radically improves your BMW handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  7. Low mass flywheel - a lighter flywheel will significantly improve the engines rev changes. But not always a great mod for all BMW engines.
  8. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.

BMW Tuning Stages

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

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

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

BMW Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for DIY mechanics first priority in your BMW tuning project.

We suggest that you fit modified suspension and lower the car by 25 - 42 Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the BMW.Adjusting the BMW's handling is often the first step in modding it.

When it comes to modifying your BMW, one of the most often aims and objectives is to improve its handling. However, we often come across the same mistakes.

We would choose a set of Adjustable Coilovers that provide an opportunity for you to adjust your ride height to adjust your handling to suit your needs

Is there anything I should bear in mind while deciding on suspension settings for my BMW?

Uprated Bushes

Bushing improvements are needed so what's involved?

Bushes, which are rubber mounts, allow the BMW's suspension components to be fixed to the car's chassis. The rubber ones will deteriorate with time.

Replacement OEM rubber bushings may have a major impact on the performance of your vehicle.

It's probable that the ride may be a touch rougher because of the stronger polyurethane bushes but they'll last longer and maintain tighter handling.

Worn bushes may also accelerate the decay of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

A new set of polyeyurothane bushes may be able to mitigate the excessive play that comes with rubber bushes.

Some poly bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their local stores Often, custom BMW polyeyurothane bushes may be manufactured to your requirements.

Many people believe that a 50mm lower BMW suspension kit from a franchised component shop would be optimal. However, this is not the case - suspension design and setup is quite complex.

Claims are often made that all BMW models and years may be able to utilise the same suspension kits sold by vendors.

For a vast variety of vehicles, a 'generic one set for all models' approach is obviously incorrect.

How low should you go on the BMW?

According to TorqueCars research and testing, the maximum amount of suspension drop for most road vehicles is 25 - 42 millimetres, whereas cars that are factory fitted with lowered springs have a maximum suspension drop of 17 millimetres.

Tolerances may be greatly reduced by altering the diameter of the wheels. Lowering a vehicle, even with 17-inch wheels and stock suspension, can create several issues.

Stability may be improved by lowering the BMW, but the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. It is critical to use the right shocks when employing lower springs.

We found that most BMW factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe (set some toe out to improve cornering or use toe in for better stability) and you only need around degrees, and a bit of negative camber will usually enhance your cornering and handling.

For radically improved stopping fit better high performance brake pads and match this with bigger discs.

We should point out that motorsport friction pads will be noisy and will have to be hot before they bite.

On a road car the brakes are occasionally used and will not stop you as well so choose pads which don't need to be really hot.

Power Mods and Upgrades

Our aim in BMW engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

Enjoy your BMW to the full with our top performance tuning pointers - do the right mods in the right order.

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.

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

The whole aim of our guides is to give a brief overview of tuning performance parts and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your tuning project, the best modified mods and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road camshaft usually works out as one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

The exhaust & intake valve durations play a huge factor in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car challenging to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

Don't forget to ramp up 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 detonation or premature ignition on your BMW project after fitting other sports modifications. Bigger injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned BMW's uprated injectors.

BMW Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up.  Contrary to popular belief there is often a small if any power gain achieved by fitting an induction kit, they only work well and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

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.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust 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.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional gas flowing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. When you heavily modify your BMW you will see that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutch. The best mods we recommend for your BMW are a remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Turbo engines are just asking to be Reprogrammed. You will see massive power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and massive modifications for your money.Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. Turbos are often harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

Superchargers however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Alternatively you could add water injection to minimise knock.

BMW 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 directional tread pattern performance tires.The drawback to large rims on your BMW is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio and this will have a negative effect on performance.

Due to this aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases not going larger than 16 inches.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss BMW options in more detail with our BMW 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 to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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One Response to “Power BMW Tuning for BHP and performance mods”

  1. Mandeep says:

    hey, I was wondering on starting a project on a 1976 2002 ti. Any advice

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