BMW S63 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the BMW S63 engine!"

Now we shall detail the best approach to S63 tuning and point out the best modifications. BMW S63 are good project engines and with the ultimate modified modifications like remaps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will positively maximise your driving fun.

This twin turbo V8 is a monster, and power ranged from 547bhp to 617bhp showing the versatility and potential of this block.

Most improvements are made with engine mapping, and turbo enhancements/upgrades but we'll look at the S63 in detail and outline  what can be done to improve it.

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History, Power & Specs of the S63 Engine


408 kW (555 PS; 547 bhp) at 6,000 rpm 680 Nm (502 lbft) at 1,500-5,650 rpm 2010-2013

  • 2010–2013 E70 X5 M
  • 2010–2013 E71 X6 M
  • 2011–2014 Wiesman GT MF5


412 kW (560 PS; 553 bhp) at 6,000-7,000 rpm 680 Nm (502 lbft) at 1,500-5,750 rpm 2011–2018

  • 2011–2017 F10 M5
  • 2012–2018 F12/13 M6
  • 2013–2018 F06 M6 Gran Coupe


423 kW (575 PS; 567 bhp) at 6,000-6,500 rpm 750 Nm (553 lbft) at 2,200-5,000 rpm 2015–2018

  • 2015–2019 F85 X5 M
  • 2015–2019 F86 X6 M


441 kW (600 PS; 591 bhp) at 5,600-6,700 rpm 750 Nm (553 lbft) at 1,800-5,600 rpm 2018–present

  • 2018–present F90 M5
  • 2019–present F91/92/93 M8
  • 2020-present F95 X5 M
  • 2020-present F96 X6 M


460 kW (625 PS; 617 bhp) at 5,600-6,700 rpm 750 Nm (553 lbft) at 1,800-5,600 rpm 2019–present

  • 2018–present F90 M5 Competition
  • 2019–present F91/92/93 M8 Competition
  • 2020-present F95 X5 M Competition
  • 2020-present F96 X6 M Competition
  • Tuning the BMW S63 and best S63 performance parts.

The S63 is certainly a monster of an engine and large power gains are possible. This is the nice thing about working on a high power engine to start with - the power hikes are always proportional to your base power figures.

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 S63

  1. Engine Tunes - S63 engine tuning/remapping gives the biggest gains for your outlay, aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  3. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they are doing and tracking one down can be a challenge but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.
  4. Intake Upgrades and Exhaust Upgrades - Please note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER on most cars, but they can help lift power after other mods by freeing up a restriction.
  5. Turbo upgrades - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to improve intake air supply, allowing you to use more fuel and make higher power. Typically one of the most challenging mods you'll see massive gains.
  6. Flywheel lightening - a lower weight flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. But not always suitable for all S63 engines.

S63 Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Review your options and then acquire your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid expensive mistakes.

S63 air intake upgrades

Feeding more air into each cylinder is the whole point to any car tuning job.

The Intake manifold carries the air from the intake filter and allows it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase, if there is too much turbulence or restrictions it can impact on your car's performance.

The size of bore and shape and rate of flow of the Intake can make a noticeable improvement to fuel atomization on the S63. Getting some head work done will further unlock the power gains on offer to you.

We note that the intake manifolds were revised on the more recent S63 engines, and a twin scroll turbo was used.

Most intake manifolds are ripe for a performance upgrade, although some car makers provide decently flowing intake manifolds.

Big valve conversions on the S63, doing a bit of port matching and head flowing will also lift bhp, and as an added benefit will raise the potential for an improved bhp increase on other parts.

S63 Performance Exhausts

Only look to upgrade your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually creating a restriction. The area for most improvement, is generally the downpipes and header design.

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

Please don't run with the biggest exhaust you can source this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Common exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a better flowing sports alternative is the answer.

This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to its higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal (NB: in some areas you can't replace a catalyst unless it is faulty.)

The alternative decat, test pipe, or catless exhaust should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars.

Best S63 mods

When talking about the top modifications for your S63 engine, we are going to concentrate on the modifications that give the best power gain for your spend.

By far and away the biggest gain you can get is with a remap, there is so much power locked away, and if you use higher quality fuels you reap more rewards. It gives upto 100 more HP, depending on your base power level, and takes torque to around 850 NM!

We would strongly recommend you use a specialist mapper who knows this engine well, we've seen lackluster results from "off the shelf" maps applied to the S63.

Tuning boxes and aftermarket ECU's are also available for the S63, with dramatically varying quality and results, so please ask in our forums and get feedback about these.

Ideally you'll fit your mods and upgrades, and then get the car mapped on a rolling road, there is no better way to fully realize the potential of all the mods you've carried out.

S63 camshaft upgrades

Altering your S63 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly. Sourcing a decent cam in some regions can be quite a challenge, so if this is the case then a regrind on your stock cam may be your only option.

A regrind will allow you to set the duration precisely and using a Vernier pulley you can fine tune your cam timing to put the power band exactly where you need it.

Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit, and it can affect the idling of the car and driving in slow traffic!

Fast road camshafts tend to increase the bhp through the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little bottom end power but your top end will be lifted.

Race camshafts, increase the top end band but as a result, the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a typical daily driver you need to optimize your bhp range to the usage of your car. We cannot stress enough that peak power figures are meaningless. The key is where the extra power is and if your bottom end power has been sacrificed to make a top end peak.

S63 Turbo upgrades

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes major power gains.

Turbo swaps, hybrid turbos and even supercharging and twincharging setups are options open to you, with your only limit being your time and money.

However engines will have power limits even the S63. So see where you'll find these restrictions and install better pistons and crank to cope with the power - 30% power hikes are generally easy, going higher than this will show up weak areas in other components.

We've seen tuners spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the S63 only to see the engine block catastrophically fail when it's first rolling road session.

Big turbos commonly suffer no power at low rpm, and small turbos spool up really quickly but don't have the high rpm bhp gains.

Thanks to progress the world of turbo units is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and flow these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the S63 when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp at a much lower level.

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

S63 Fuelling Mods

When you boost the torque you will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the torque 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.

More torque needs more fuel.

It makes sense to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and gives some 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.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the S63

The S63 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the S63, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your S63 engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss S63 tuning options in more detail with our S63 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased BMW tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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