Best upgrades for the BMW F30

"Find the best mods for your F30 in our tuning guide"

BMW F30 is one of the three compact executive cars of the sixth-generation vehicles.

So as many of our forum members have asked about the F30 and tips on how to modify one, we've created this article to go over what we feel are the primary areas that make for improvement and tuning success on this car.

This vehicle set new benchmarks in terms of elegance, comfort, and sporting prowess. The powerful exterior styling represents a conscientious development of this masterpiece, extending from outer looks to interior niceties.

The production was started in 2011 and the vehicle came to market as a 2012 model. BMW produced many models of F30 with various engine options available, after which the vehicle was subjected to a facelift in 2015.

The post LCI models – F30 LCIs – were produced till its successor (BMW 3-series G20) was released in 2019.

After the facelift, the engines were modified from naturally aspirated 6 or 4--cylinder engines to turbocharged 4-cylinder or 3-cylinder engines, where tuning starts to get interesting.

For the first time, this 3-cylinder engine was introduced in the vehicles of BMW 3-series.

Other revised features include electronic stability control, front suspension mounts, shock absorbers, LED headlights, and tail lights. Bluetooth audio streaming, Rev-matching for manual transmission, and GPS-based gear selection for automatic transmission, all were added as standard equipment.

BMW F30 model engine specs

Turbocharged engines were introduced across the range along with a plug-in hybrid version.

We are expanding this guide into some engine specific tuning guides, so if you have any tips or suggestions to pass on please let us know in the comments section below.

Diesel

Post-facelift models

  • 340xi Steptronic (2015-2018) automatic transmission with 8 gears
  • B58B30 3-L Inline-six twin-power turbo with AWD setup | 326 hp and 332 lb-ft
  • 340xi (2015-2018) manual transmission with 6 gears
  • B58B30 3-L Inline-six twin-power turbo with AWD setup | 326 hp and 332 lb-ft
  • 335d xDrive Steptronic (2015-2018) automatic transmission with 8 gears
  • N57D30 3-L Inline-six twin-power turbo with AWD setup | 313 hp and 464 lb-ft

Pre-facelift models

ActiveHybrid 3 Steptronic sedan (2012-2015)

N55B30 3-L Inline-six twin-power turbo with RWD setup 0.675 kWh batteries offering 2.5 miles range

Total System Power and Torque: 340 hp and 450 lb-ft

  • 335xi sedan (2012-2015) automatic transmission with 6 gears
  • N55B30 3.0 L twin-power turbo engine with AWD layout | 306 hp and 295 lb-ft
  • 335xi sedan (2012-2015) manual transmission with 6 gears
  • N55B30 3.0 L twin-power turbo engine with AWD layout | 306 hp and 295 lb-ft

Best BMW F30 Mods.

You can turn your BMW into an outclass vehicle, thanks to these upgrades. The top upgrades are as follows:

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

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

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best 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:  Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

Peak power is all well and good but for a drivable and fun car you need a wide torque band and perhaps extending the rev range.

Remapping the F30

Remaps are the way to go, no other mod gives so much power for such a simple mod and modest outlay.

Custom maps on a rolling road are best for heavily modified cars, and enable you to fully extract the power from each mod.

The ECU does a lot of work, sensing air temperature, engine speed, engine load, and even has control over turbo/wastegate management and fuel delivery rates, allowing for precise control of the engine's ignition timing. This means that with a remap you can extract the greatest power from the engine at any rev range.

You now have a lot of control over how much fuel and power your automobile gets thanks to new generational advances in turbo chargers and injectors. Previously, manufacturers were primarily concerned about complying with emissions rules.

This has resulted in a new level of engine development and engine technology and creates a veritable playground for F30 tuners.

So what can ECU remapping assist with?

Allows the manufacturer to make minor modifications to the economy at speeds such as 30mph, 56mph, and 70mph, where most automobiles spend a significant amount of time on the road.

In the 2016 cheat software scandal, some manufacturers even wrote code that can recognize when it's time to run ultra-low fuel air mixtures and meet emissions standards.

When the throttle is wide open, you can now advance the timing for greater power or slow it down for better fuel efficiency when you're travelling at a steady speed.

What's the deal with OEM maps? When a manufacturer creates a timing map, they provide a lot of room for error to account for factors such as differing fuel emission requirements in different regions of the world and variable temperatures.

When a manufacturer creates a timing map, they provide a lot of room for things like terrible weather, minor flaws, and poor conditions to occur. Because some countries have various goals for CO2, HC, and NOx emissions, the one-size-fits-all strategy must usually be modified.

When consumers buy automobiles, they don't want them to break down, have parts fail prematurely, or earn a poor reputation for being expensive, so manufacturers provide plenty of space for error.

It's difficult to keep all of the automobiles on the road running properly because different countries use different types of fuel and have varied weather. There are also a variety of vehicles that leave the assembly line.

Some engines produce 20bhp less than they should, while others produce 20bhp more than they should, depending on how well the parts are manufactured and assembled.

This means they don't have to go through a separate process for each car in order to create a unique timing map. Instead, they employ a one-size-fits-all approach.

Choose a specialist with knowledge of BMW for best results, the generic "we remap everything" companies are often just franchises and you'll typically just get an off-the-shelf generic improved map, but the car will have more potential waiting to be unlocked.

A rolling road dyno setup is the best way to build a map for your F30.

To achieve a total power output above 400 horsepower, your car only needs a tune and basic bolts-on. Get a BMS Stage-one tune in it or other decent remap depending who is around in your area. Then doing Airflow, fuelling, and exhaust upgrades will remove the potential restriction on your engine and set you up for these decent power gains.

Replace the old coil packs and sparkplugs with new ones to regain lost power and make sure it has been serviced and the engine's compression and your clutch are in good condition. A slipping clutch will rob you of the power gains you've invested in.

F30 Exhaust and intake mods

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

Please note that WE DO NOT FIND IMPROVEMENTS WITH INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car with over 30 percent more power and are finding that the standard air intake has become a restriction.

If you do fit an induction kit make sure it has a cold air feed and is not pulling in warm air from the engine bay.

Derestricting the air flow into the engine is a primary goal of performance tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean.

Quite a few of our members recommend the MST cold air intake, to let your car breathe better with a much cooler sound, but we feel these induction kit mods are more sound than substance when it comes to power gains.

Put an intercooler to soak heat from the engine so it can provide an extra output of up to 30 horsepower depending on the other mods you've done.

Front mounted intercoolers work best, but finding a location to fit them, and mounting them is often a challenge. It may require modification to the front bumper/fender.

Getting a professionally flowed (ported and polished) head with larger valves can fully release the engine's power. In nearly all cases of F30 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this should be improved - read our guide on clutches for more information. The best mods that we recommend for your F30 are remapping, sports camshafts, and induction improvements.

Replace the plastic charge pipe with an Aluminum charge pipe to avoid any problems, the plastic ones were prone to fail.

F30 Exhaust upgrades

We need to mention the F30 exhaust system, which is a stand out problem for most owners.

The F30 OEM system is known for being a damp squip in terms of sound and performance and even plays artificial sound through your speakers, something that implies BMW weren't happy and rushed out a quick fix!

This is why custom part designers are coming up with countless options on tuning the noise, free flow and look of your exhaust system so depending on where you live you'll find all manner of quality upgrades.

Let’s start with the exhaust manifold. Having a custom free flow exhaust header means the air can escape in the fastest most efficient way. Allowing the engine to run optimally, with increased performance.

This can be an expensive and time-consuming mod, but if done correctly can add at the very least tens of horsepower to your build and makes the car sound amazing.

Catalytic converters can be restrictive too, with the requirement of fitting your car with one of these, many companies are engineering free flowing cats that allow for optimum escaping of the exhaust gasses. (Make sure that removal or modification of your catalyst is legal in your region, there are many states and countries where this could lead to citations or confiscation of your car.)

Our members seem to like the Exhaust range offered by Remus for BMW F30’s who offer a setup for your whole exhaust system, or you can pick and choose from a range of back sections (more to improve the sound than the performance).

These systems are loud enough to be noticed, but not damaging to your ears or affecting your sanity on a long drive.

Exhaust tips are also a great way to spruce up the look of the rear of your BMW and with a carbon fibre splitter it finishes the look off to an extreme standard.

Best F30 handling mods

Handling modifications are often a priority for the F30.

Good suspension tweaks that usually improve handling for the F30 include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe (set out to improve cornering or in for better stability) on the front wheels.

We suggest that you fit performance suspension and lower the car by 27mm - 39 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with a performance suspension.

Improvements to the F30 suspension setup is very much possible, especially if you get a set of adjustable shocks. H&R, Eibach, Vogtland, and Koni all make some really good options, but as with any upgrades and mods you should avoid cheap poorly made options, which always prove to be a false economy.

Significant benefits can be had by minor drops, so you don’t have to go to extremely low and hard suspensions setups for sharper cornering.

Adding meatier brake discs and better high friction brake pads can make for dramatically improved braking.

Bear in mind that motorsport friction pads can be noisier and will have to be hot before they start to work.

F30 series power mods

Known as the sixth generation of 3 Series, the later models introduced the B58 engine. Having only a single mounted turbo, the 3.0L petrol offers around 330 horsepower from the factory, which feels plenty lively and responsive, but we've come to learn that you can never have enough power.

So although this is an already impressive figure, the B58 is capable of so much more.

With most notably the limiting factor being the single turbocharger. Therefore, the go-to upgrade would be a beefier turbo and an exhaust that can expel those hot gasses.

There are many options around so we would recommend you decide where in the powerband you want the peak power to be and build your upgrade plan around that.

Although a twin turbo setup can be implemented there really is little need when there are so many quality turbo designs around. Twin Scroll entry, faster spool up and a more impressive top end all make improvements to your driving experience.

Cosmetic mods for the F30

Carbon fiber parts are popular and they do look really good, especially on a black, white or grey F30. Rear spoilers set the F30 off nicely and thankfully there are quite a few choices around so whatever your tastes are TorqueCars are sure you’ll find something to suit you.

Many upgrades and mods on the F30 are nods towards the M3 styling, with Wings, wheels and spoilers proving to be popular upgrades.

Popular Carbon fiber upgrades

  • Rear Carbon-fiber spoiler (3M adhesive)
  • Carbon-fiber mirror caps
  • Carbon-fiber front lips
  • Carbon-fiber kidney grilles

Most kits and parts use carbon fiber embellishments and have an M3 feel, although there is a wide selection of looks and style available. We are more of a tuning and power site than styling so we won't dwell too much here, but you can check out our car styling section for inspiration.

F30 alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloy wheels include reducing your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow.

The runflats really spoil a nice ride, and we would recommend you avoid the larger wheels, even the 18's can feel quite crashy and cumbersome, compared to 17's but you can get some light 18's which should help fill that compromise between looks and performance.

The bridge-stone run-flat tires typically start to wear out after one year and you need to replace them so ask around for better options in our forums.

Get a good track legal slick tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your F30 in the dry. The drawback to large rims on your F30 is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration.

Because of this try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases without going above 17 inches.

Avant Garde wheels are quite stylish and set the F30 off nicely. Ditch the run flats and get something that fills the arches a little better, but don’t go with heavy wheels and after speaking with quite a few F30 owners we note that the preference is to avoid larger alloy wheel sizes, with users stating tram lining and reduced steering feel, but one could argue this also is in part to the different tire sizes used.

Some users prefer the passive suspension options to the active when the 18's were fitted, but personally, we prefer the way the car handles on 17's.

Alloy wheels are a matter of personal taste and thankfully there are plenty of after market options that work well, and more importantly, look stunning on the F30.

F30 common problems, issues, and weak points

  • The power steering of the F30 doesn’t feel as exciting as E90.
  • It may also suffer oil leaks from oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gaskets.
  • Some models may face electricity issues.
  • Pre-LCI models suffered problems with timing chains, which were fixed after the facelift.
  • Drive chain malfunction may occur and you need to repair your car’s axle and differential.
  • Sometimes brakes give squeaky sound, you need to replace brake pads.
  • The transmission seal may leak out and you might end up replacing the whole transmission.
  • The oil filter housing gasket may leak out and need repair.
  • The coolant line may burst sometimes and spread the coolant all over

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss F30 options in more detail with our F30 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. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually updated.

 

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