BMW M5 Tuning

"Tuning guide to the best BMW M5 modifications."

We provide a guide to M5 tuning and show the ultimate mods that work. BMW M5s great bases for a tuning project and with the right motorsport parts you can greatly increase your driving enjoyment.

The M5 is a good tuning project to try. If you do your research then you can create an awesome M5 but don't be fooled there are lots of parts out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Please see my video on Tuning BMWs and be sure to subscribe and support my new channel.

Tuning tips and articles

M5 Engine Tuning.

Turning our attention to the M5's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

M5 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling mods you can find!

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.

The M5 came with the following engines

  • E28 M5 3.5 L M88/3 I6 282 hp & the 3.5 L S38 I6 256hp (North America only)
  • E34 M5 3.5–3.6 L S38 I6 311 hp
  • E39 M5 4.9 L S62 V8 394 hp
  • E60 M5 5.0 L S85 V10 500 hp
  • F10 M5 4.4 L  S63B44TÜ V8 turbo  553 hp
  • F90 M5 4.4 L S63 V8 turbo 591 bhp (Competition model had 617 hp)

The following parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get started.

Getting the correct grade of tuning upgrades for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your M5

  1. Flywheel lightening - a lighter flywheel will improve the engines rev changes. In some cases flywheel lightening is not beneficial for all M5 engines.
  2. Braking Mods - Stopping your M5 needs to be listed in your priority list.
  3. Engine Tunes - A Remapped M5 ECU offers the most power for your investment, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  4. Intake Upgrades and Exhaust - Please be warned on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most applications, but they enable you to lift power after other upgrades by lessening the restrictive flow.
  5. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - A New Turbo is the most significant way to increase air supply, this means you are able to burn more fuel and make power gains. It is one of the most expensive modifications but provides the best gains.
  6. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but should always be installed by someone competent and tracking one down can be a challenge but you might have a local firm to regrind a stock cam .
  7. M5 Suspension - Upgrading your suspension dramatically improves M5 handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  8. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting

M5 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 22mm - 39 mm.), Lighter flywheel.

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

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

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

In this article we shall give your 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.One of the most cost effective mechanical tuning mods you can do to your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

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

Frequently power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after mods are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues. Improved injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

If you are increasing your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

M5 Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many M5 owners uprate the handling of their cars with performance suspension parts as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you M5 usually benefitting your drive.

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 28 - 36 Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the M5.Adjusting the M5's handling is often the first step in modifying it.

When it comes to modding your M5, one of the most often cited reasons is to better its handling. However, we continue to come across the same mistakes.

Look out for adjustable coilovers which allow you to set a ride hight and this allows you to setup your cars handling.

One of the most popular reasons for tweaking your M5 suspension is to improve its cornering. However, we see the same errors regularly repeated again and over.

Improvements to the bushings

What factors should you consider when setting up and selecting your bushes if your M5 is also used as a daily driver?

The suspension components of the M5 may be fixed to the car's chassis through bushes, which are rotatable rubber mounts. These rubber ones will wear out over time.

By replacing new OEM rubber bushings, you may greatly improve your vehicle's performance.

Because polyurethane bushings are stiffer, the ride may be rougher, but the bushings will last longer and maintain the car's handling over a longer time.

Increased vibration and play may also speed up the decay in other suspension parts.

A new set of poly bushes should help to lessen the excessive play associated with rubber bushes.

M5 Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits will only help to increase performance if the cars air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most low power 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.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for M5 engines you should just fit a high performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts can help balance the flow of air through the engine. But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of your flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Head work including a gas flow (ported and polished) and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. In nearly all cases of M5 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this needs an upgrade - read our article on clutches for more information. The best mods in our experience for your M5 are a tune/remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Turbo engines are just pleading to be Upgraded. You will see massive power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and massive modifications for your money.Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are often harder to add than a supercharger. It is difficult to map fuelling with a turbo as the boost increases exponentially with engine speed.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a soft compound tire. The drawback to large alloys on your M5 is that you're altering your final drive ratio so this will have a negative effect on acceleration.

Due to this fact endeavour to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases without going above 18 inches.

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 M5 options in more detail with our M5 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.

If you've enjoyed this page we would be very grateful if you could share a link to it on your favourite forums or on your social media profiles, it helps us keep going.

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

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning
Tips for B58 Tuning

Popular articles

Diesel tuning
ECU Remapping
Double Clutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Performance Chips
Modded Car insurance
Track day insurance
Diesel Remaps
MPG calc
Cleaning your DPF
Tuning Stages

Engine Cooling

Guide to Essential Engine Cooling Mods

Gearbox Remapping

Gearbox Remapping

Engine Covers

Engine covers – carbon fibre, plastic and painted

Carbon Vents

Air vents – bonnet and carbon body vents.


How car catalysts work and what they do.

2008 Car News

Review of the 2008 car related news stories

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG