BMW N63 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the BMW N63 engine!"

The BMW N63 makes a really good project engine and with carefully chosen modified parts, tuning mods like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will dramatically increase your driving enjoyment.

For all 5, 6, 7, 8-series, X5, X6, and X7 vehicles, including M versions, it would eventually take over as the main powertrain. There are two turbochargers located in the cylinder head, one on each side. The exhaust and turbochargers are known as the "hot vee" because of how hot they are.

This pages aim is detail the best approach to N63 tuning and point out the premier mods that work.

History, Power & Specs of the N63 Engine

The turbo units were placed inside the V of the engine, which can get quite hot, hence the addition of a secondary cooling pump in 2012.

It used direct injection which was a first for BMW V8's and this enables the engine to run higher compression with a turbocharger.

World firsts usually aquire teething problems and the N63 was not without it's faults, but overall is a very good engine, and fantastic for a project.

N63B40A

300 kW (402 bhp) @5,500 rpm 600Nm 443 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm 2012-2015
330 kW (443 bhp) @5,500 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm

N63B44O0

402 bhp @5,500-6,400 rpm 600Nm 443 lbft) @1,750-4,500 rpm 2008-2013

N63B44O1 N63TU

This engine came with valvetronic revised turbos and forged con rods and crank with revisions to the fuel system and new valve stem seals.

444 bhp @5,500-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @2,000-4,500 rpm 2013-2016

N63B44O2

444 bhp) @5,500-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,800-4,500 rpm 2016–present

N63B44M3

In 2016 we saw higher pressure injectors and larger capacity twin scroll turbos and a new intake manifold design.

456 bhp) @5,250-6,000 rpm 650Nm 479 lbft) @1,500-4,750 rpm 2018–present

N63B44T3

In 2016 we saw higher pressure injectors and larger capacity twin scroll turbos and a new intake manifold design.

523 bhp @5,500-6,000 rpm 750Nm 553 lbft) @1,800-4,600 rpm 2018–present

Tuning the BMW N63 and best N63 performance parts.

Best N63 mods

When talking about the best greatest for your N63 engine, we are going to focus on the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large bhp gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

Fast road cams commonly raise the bhp through the rev range, you might lose a little low end power but the high end rpm power will improve.

Race cams, raise the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport camshaft won't do well if driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your engines power to your cars usage so for a car driven daily stick with a fast road N63 camshaft

Some N63 engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations than others.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have a large bearing on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

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Best mods for your N63

  1. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and tracking one down may be hard but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  2. Turbo upgrades - A New Turbo is the most dramatic method to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make power gains. Although one of the most complex upgrades it offers big gains.
  3. Remaps - A remap gives the most advantage for the money, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  4. Intake and Exhaust Upgrades - NB: on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by freeing up a restriction.
  5. Lighter flywheels - a lower weight flywheel will improve the engines free revving nature. But not always suitable for all N63 engines.
  6. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.

N63 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Intake manifolds, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

The N63 power plant make great tuning projects and thanks to their popularity there is an increase of mods and performance parts out there.

A remap helps unlock the full potential of all the upgrades you've fitted to your N63.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but your mileage may differs on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Feeding more air and fuel into each cylinder is the main goal to any car tuning project.

Intake manifold flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake can make a big difference to fuel mixing and power on the N63.

I usually find air intake manifolds are begging for a performance upgrade, although a few manufacturers provide decently flowing air intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also boost performance, and significantly will give you a greater performance increase on other tuning mods.

N63 Turbo Upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your N63

In order to get the most out of a turbocharger, you need to increase the amount of air entering the engine.

With a turbo, your engine will produce more power, and we've found that turbocharged engines are built with more durable components.

Forged components are better able to handle the increased power of a forged engine since every engine has weak areas.

There are a lot of people who spend a lot of money on turbo enhancements for the N63, only to witness the vehicle break a rod on its first excursion.

While larger turbochargers often have a bottom-end lag, smaller turbochargers may spool up considerably more rapidly but lack the performance improvements at higher rpms (peak torque).

The variety of turbochargers on the market is always expanding thanks to new technology, and we are now seeing more and more variable vane turbochargers, which allow the vane angle to be adjusted in response to speed in order to reduce lag and improve top-end power.

The exhaust gases from dual scroll turbochargers are split into two channels and fed into the turbo by different-sized vanes. They also enhance the engine's scavenging ability.

During high-intensity driving, it's not uncommon for the air flow sensor AFM/MAP to reach a limit.

Four-bar pressure sensors can handle a significant increase in power, but the OEM air sensor can only handle considerably lower levels of increase in power.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large torque gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling Upgrades on the N63

Don't overlook the need to uprate the fuel delivery when you are increasing the torque - it makes the car more thirsty. It is important to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a little spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

N63 Exhaust Upgrades

You may need to increase your exhaust if your exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still fine even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts equal out the flow of gases through the engine.

But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of your flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the N63

The later N63 engines are generally reliable as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained and you keep an eye out for the weakspots.

As this was a new design, there were quite a few teething problems on early engines and the engine generally runs quite hot which is never a good thing long term, and BMW addressed this with some cooling additions over the model revisions.

Regular oil changes are vital on the N63, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

Timing chains were prone to stretch leading to a recall in 2014, where BMW also addressed injector issues, airflow sensors and the crankcase ventilation lines.

If you get a rough idle then be sure to check the timing chain, as this is an early symptom of problems and should not be ignored.

The N63 does seem to destroy batteries, this is more down to the efficient Dynamics module than the engine.

High oil consumption has also been noted, this is usually down to valve stem failure seal issues and the fact the turbo sits inside the V of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your N63 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in with our worldwide members, Or read our 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 tuning mods 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 N63 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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