Tuning the BMW F36

"Thank you for reading our guide to the F36"

The BMW F36 was the 5 door lift back version of the 4 Series which was launched in 2014. and remained in production for two periods 2014 to 2018 & 2018 to 2021. The coupe was given the F32 designation and the cabriolet the F33 designation

For more information on buying one, see our F36 buyers guide.

Interestingly the BMW F36 built in the 2018 to 2021 period was considerably slower than those of the 2014 to 2018 time period - a nod to emissions regulations and the need for improved fuel economy, but you can, with the right mods lift the performance of both generations significantly.

That’s why most of our members and car enthusiasts prefer the previous versions of the cars over the newer ones.

As many of our site visitors have emailed us about the F36 and recommendations on how to modify one, so we've put together this guide to take you through what we feel are the main modifications that make for improvement and tuning success on this car.

The F36 is a brilliant car modification project to try. If you do your homework then you can create an awesome F36 but don't be fooled there are lots of parts out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

 

Tuning tips and articles
Let’s discuss them in detail to see the different models offered by the German automaker during these times. If you click the engine codes below it will take you to our engine-specific tuning guides, and we really appreciate your feedback and suggestions to help us improve these further.

F36 Gasolene Engines

  • 418i 2016– B38A15M0
    1.5 L turbocharged I3
    100kw (134hp) @4,400–6,000rpm 220 Nm (162lbft) @1,250–4,300rpm
  • 420i 2014–2016 N20B20
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    135kw (181hp) @5,000–6,250rpm 270 Nm (199lbft) @1,250–4,500rpm
    2016– B48B20A
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    135kw (181hp) @5,000–6,500rpm 270 Nm (199lbft) @1,350–4,600rpm
  • 428i 2013–2016 N20B20
    2.0 L turbo i4
    180kw (241hp) @5,000–6,000rpm 350 Nm (258lbft) @1,250–4,800rpm
  • 430i 2016– B48B20B
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    185kw (248hp) @5,250–6,500rpm 350 Nm (258lbft) @1,450–4,800rpm
  • 435i 2013–2016 N55B30M0 (twin scroll turbo)
    3.0 L turbocharged I6
    225kw (302hp) @5,800–6,500rpm 400 Nm (295lbft) @1,200–5,000rpm
  • 440i 2016– B58B30M0
    3.0 L turbocharged I6
    240kw (322hp) @5,500–6,500rpm 450 Nm (332lbft) @1,380–5,000rpm
  • M4 2013– S55B30T0
    3.0 L twin-turbocharged I6
    317kw (425hp) @5,600–7,300rpm 550 Nm (406lbft) @1,800–5,500rpm
  • M4 Comp 2016–
    331kw (444hp) @7,000rpm
  • M4 CS 2017–
    338kw (453hp) @6,250–7,000rpm 600 Nm (443lbft) @4,000–5,380rpm
  • M4 GTS 2016–
    368kw (493hp) @6,250rpm 600 Nm (443lbft) @4,000–5,000rpm

F36 Diesel engines

  • 418d 2014–2015 N47D20
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    105kw (141hp) @4,000rpm 300 Nm (221lbft) @1,750–3,000rpm
    2015– B47D20
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    110kw (148hp) @4,000rpm 320 Nm (236lbft) @1,500–3,000rpm
  • 420d 2013–2015 N47D20
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    135kw (181hp) @4,000rpm 380 Nm (280lbft) @1,750–2,750rpm
    2015– B47D20
    2.0 L turbocharged i4
    140kw (188hp) @4,000rpm 400 Nm (295lbft) @1,750–2,500rpm
  • 425d 2014–2016 N47D20O1
    2.0 L twin-turbocharged i4
    160kw (215hp) @4,400rpm 450 Nm (332lbft) @1,500–2,500rpm
    2016– B47D20O1
    2.0 L twin-turbocharged i4
    165kw (221hp) @4,400rpm 450 Nm (332lbft) @1,500–3,000rpm
  • 430d 2014– N57D30O1
    3.0 L turbocharged I6
    190kw (255hp) @4,000rpm 560 Nm (413lbft) @2,000–2,750rpm
  • 435d xDrive 2014– N57D30T1
    3.0 L twin-turbocharged I6
    230kw (308hp) @4,400rpm 630 Nm (465lbft) @1,500–2,500rpm

F36 2014 to 2018

During these years, the F36 ranged in power from 143 hp to 313 hp for the diesel variants.

The gasoline vehicles had power in the range of 184 hp to 306 hp.

The 435d xDrive 8AT was the performance version of the car’s diesel variant. This model had a straight-six engine with a displacement of 2993cm3.

The car had 465 lbft torque at 1500 to 2500 RPM and carried an impressive 0 to 60 mph time of 4.8 seconds. It was limited to a top speed of 155 mph.

The 435i xDrive 8AT also had a straight-six engine with a displacement of 2979cm3.

It had a torque of 295 lbft and thus the 0 to 60 mph time was 5 seconds.

F36 2018 to 2021

The diesel cars ranged in power from 150 hp to 258 horsepower whereas the gasoline ones had power ranging between 184 hp and 252 hp.

Similar to the previous generation, the base variant gasoline vehicle had a higher horsepower whereas the top tier diesel variant carried more power.

Best F36 Modifications

The BMW F36 has been loved by car enthusiasts ever since its launch and many people around the world have upgraded their cars not only with cosmetic modifications but also performance ones. Here we are focused only on the performance mods.

This list of the stages and modified modifications are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get going.

Getting the best modified parts for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

The best mods in our experience for your F36 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

F36 Power mods.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your F36. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your F36

  1. Tunes - A remap ensures the most power compared to your outlay, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. F36 Handling Mods (suspension) - Replacing worn bushings and shocks radically improves your F36 handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  3. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most dramatic method to increase your intakes air supply, allowing you to use more fuel and make higher power. Typically one of the most complex upgrades but provides the best gains.
  4. Braking Mods - Stopping your F36 should be high on your agenda.
  5. Intake Upgrades and Exhaust - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help release power after other mods by lessening the restriction.
  6. Lighter flywheels - a lighter flwheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. But not always stuitable for all F36 engines.
  7. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  8. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

F36 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 30mm - 43 mm.), Alloy wheels, Remap, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Lighter flywheel.

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

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

You need to keep as much low end power as possible and aim to achieve a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power spike.

In this article, we shall give you a good starting base to the best mods for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.

F36 Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for car enthusiasts first priority in your F36 tuning project.

Good suspension tweaks that greatly improve handling for the F36 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.

Drop the car by as much as 21mm - 43 mm. and fit modified stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

NOTE: BMWs fitted with the Electronic Damper Controls (EDC) are likely to generate error messages when coilovers are installed.

However, Eibach Pro-Tronic Electronic Suspension Module gets rid of this issue and thus eases the process of installing an aftermarket coilover kit.

The Eibach Pro Street S Coilover Kit for F32 can be used for lowering your F36

Improvements to the bushings

What factors should you consider when setting up and selecting your bushes if your F36 is also used as a daily driver?

Bushes, which are rubber mounts, allow the F36's suspension components to be connected with the car's chassis. The rubber ones will wear out as they wear out.

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

Because the polyurethane bushes are firmer, the ride may be a bit bumpier, but they will last longer and maintain the handling.

Increased vibration and play may also speed up the stress in other suspension components.

A new set of polyeyurothane bushes may be able to lessen 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 areas You may be able to have custom poly bushings created to suit your needs.

Brake upgrade options

StopTech Sport Big Brake Kit is quite popular, but there are many other options out there that work equally as well.

If you are looking for a braking kit for your F32, the StopTech Sports Big Brake Kit is a great option because you can  choose from the drilled or slotted discs.

For dramatically improved stopping put better high friction brake pads and match this with better brake discs.

A fast road camshaft proves to be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine. But these can be hard to track down, and the more powerful variants already have a "sporty" cam profile.

You might find a local specialist who can offer you a cam regrind on the stock cam to lift the profile and put the power band where you need it. Generally speaking, the diesels don't respond very well to cams, but the petrol versions do sparkle with the right cam setup.

It maximizes the intake and exhaust durations and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally, you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. We'd also caution you not to go with a motorsports profile cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

So, if you're interested, you can make the following modifications to your BMW F36 to significantly improve its performance.

F36 Intake Upgrades

When a car gets more air and fuel, it produces more power and thus anyone looking to increase their F36’s performance must consider the intake modifications.

Air induction kits will only help to boost performance if your air intake is struggling!

Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound sporty but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not really increase power and actually rob you of power.

While the OEM part is adequate for most applications, when you require more power from your vehicle, the need for an upgraded intake system grows manifold.

The design of a dedicated system having a smooth contour ensures unobstructed airflow.

Major advantages of using such parts include enhanced airflow, increased turbo responses, and reduced turbo lag issues.

Several options exist in the market that are more durable as compared to the stock parts. The 5 ply silicone upper and lower air intake pipes from Turner are one such example.

Some other intake modification options for your BMW F36 include:

  • Cold Side Charge Pipes;
  • Silicone/ Aluminum Turbo Inlet Hose Kits;
  • Intercoolers.

F36  Exhaust Upgrades

It is common to upgrade the exhaust for better sound. However, another major reason why many car enthusiasts like to modify their exhaust systems is to improve performance.

The high-quality parts available in the market not only increase the horsepower and torque but also reduce the overall weight.

For example, the Armytrix exhaust system increases the peak power of your car by 13hp, the torque by 16Nm and reduces the overall weight by 5.4kg.

Many such systems are available on the market, and you can even select the mode that affects the overall sound of your exhaust. For example, the Armytrix version includes Smart Mode, Neighbor Mode, and Beast Mode.

The Eisenmann Performance Exhaust with 2x Tailpipes is a sure-shot way of giving your vehicle a bold look.

You can choose from the Sport (+5DB) or Race (+9DB) options depending upon your choice.

Or perhaps you would prefer a package of parts, and there are quite a few around, most will comprise of an intercooler, downpipe kit, and map, but please note that removal of the catalysts or even replacement with a sporty alternative is not legal in many areas or countries.

Wagner Tuning F-Series EVO1 N20 Competition Package

Although this package costs £1425, still the performance it provides is remarkable. So, if you are looking for a power and torque increase, this is the package you should install in your F32. But note that cat removal is not legal in most areas, but a performance catalyst option works virtually as well as a catless header.

F36 ECU Remapping

The ECU of your F36 can be remapped with a method known as chip tuning. It is also sometimes referred to as flashing.

In this process, the stock ECU of the F36 is recalibrated to optimize the performance of the vehicle. You can't beat a custom remap setup on a rolling road, especially if you've done other mods. It brings out the potential power from all of your mods.

Many remapping companies offer general off the shelf maps, which work quite well and for the cost they offer the single biggest power upgrade on your turbocharged engine.

Mosselman offers cutting edge technology in 2 stages and we mention it because it is quite popular, although we've not tested or tried it ourselves.

  • Stage 1 is the basic upgrade in which the vehicle gains 81 hp and 130 Nm of torque.
  • Stage 2 allows an increase of 96 hp and 155 Nm torque.

So, if you get both stages, your car's performance will increase by more than 177 hp and torque will increase by 285 Nm, which will have a substantial impact on acceleration.

Worth Noting

It is worth noting that after the upgrades, you will be required to use only premium quality fuel 98 Oct for EU and 93 Oct for the US.

Besides this, you must also keep in mind that ECU Remapping will void BMW’s warranty.

Perfect Tuning Is Vital

Perfect tuning is vital for getting the best results. It can be a time-consuming and laborious process at times, but to obtain great figures, all details must be carefully considered.

The spark advance, fuelling and air mix maps are critical to safely increasing  your cars power. A good remap shows the potential on the F36 platform, with the diesel variants getting significantly more power and better economy!!

Flat Spots Can Be Agitating

If any step goes wrong, it can lead to flat spots which can cause an frustrating annoying driver experience even after spending thousands of dollars on upgrades.

Using an accurate dynamometer is a great way to see the performance difference after the upgrades have been performed, it can also show up weak areas and help you diagnose mapping issues or other tuning problems.

What Is Changed During ECU Remapping Your F36?

During ECU Remapping different aspects of the vehicle are altered by adjusting the car’s software that controls the cars fuel, air and ignition timing which increases the overall performance. To read more about this read our article on remapping .

The parameters that are changed while ECU remapping your BMW F36 include ignition, turbo pressure, and fuel injection system.

Tuning modules/boxes and piggyback ECU's

These are a postal power upgrade, and are easy to fit and install, beware not all are quality units, many being sold will do more harm than good. There are some good quality options out there for the F36.

These are the most popular among our members and F36 owners.

F36 Sprint Booster V3

Like other BMW models, the Sprint Booster V3 works great for the BMW F36 as well. It is a great part considering its relatively low price.

However, the component is different for manual and automatic versions of the car so getting the correct item is vital.

F36 Advantages Of This Plug & Play Product

The plug and play nature of the spring booster shows instant results by reprogramming the acceleration signals to your stock ECU.

An added advantage of using a component of this sort is that it does not void the warranty of your car.

F36 Thor OBD II

The Thor OBD II Wi-Fi Dongle is another great option that can be used for tuning all BMW F Series models.

TDi Tuning Car Tuning Boxes

Going for the TDi Tuning car tuning boxes is another excellent option if you want to increase the power and torque of your vehicle by up to 40%.

Remus Powerizer Tuning Module

The Remus Powerizer tuning module can easily increase the power and torque of your vehicle by at least 20 units.

For example, the module for the 420i raises the power from 184 BHP to 214 BHP.

AC Schnitzer Tuning Module

The AC Schnitzer, like the Remus Powerizer, significantly improves the performance of your vehicle.

F36 Fueling Upgrades

This brings us to our next upgrade which is regarding fuelling. Fuel is the lifeline of any engine without which it starves to death.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to increase the fuelling.

Using higher octane fuel is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your BMW project after fitting other sports upgrades.

Upgraded injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

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.

When an F36 is remapped for increased performance, it will require more fuel, which is where fuelling upgrades come in.

Precision Raceworks offers the F Series High-Performance Fuel Pump Stage 2 which can support a system up to 675 hp.

A multiport injection kit is another great performance upgrade in this regard.

F36 Suspension & Handling Upgrades

Many F36 owners uprate the handling of their cars with modified suspension parts as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car. A strut brace will help realign the suspension struts, which tend to bow with age, and this affects the cars rigidity and the suspension geometry.

Putting some negative camber at the front wheels and a degree or two of toe adjustment (in for better stability or out to improve cornering), will dramatically improve your F36 in handling and cornering. This is a balancing act and best carried out by a suspension specialist.

We would go to a maximum drop of 30mm - 43 mm, on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

The suspension upgrades can lower your car and reduce the body roll. With several options available in the market from brands including KW, Eibach, H&R, AC Schnitzer and BC Racing you can choose from the following suspension modification options for your F36:

  • Lowering Springs
  • Anti-Roll Bar
  • Cup Suspensions Kit
  • Coilover Kits

A note about F36 brake upgrades

Adding meatier brake discs and better performance pads should make for greatly improved braking.

Note that some performance friction pads can grind and will need to be really hot before they bite.

On your regular commute to work the brakes are occasionally used, therefore will not stop you as well so select pads which work well in daily use.

Common Problems Of The F36

Like any other vehicle in the market, there are some commonly known problems with the BMW F36 as well. One of which is the steering rack issue.

The problem can be observed mostly when the wheels are turned while the engine is off. The knocking sound is very irritating and instantly raises eyebrows that something is just not right.

Another indicator of this problem is the knocking sound emerging from the front suspension.

F36 Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling.

Get a good track legal slick tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your F36. We'd like to point out although they can look cool on the F36 big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio it also adds unsprung weight.

Due to this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have with bigger wheels with no problems and this is purely subjective but bear in mind that many owners have regretted fitting 19's and some even rate the feel and response on 17's.

Most of the honest feedback we get states a preference for 17's and 18's in terms of handling characteristics, so although larger wheels look nice, they don't necessarily improve the handling in everyday driving.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss F36 options in more detail with our F36 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.

Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...


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