BMW X1 Tuning

"Tuning guide to the most effective BMW X1 (E84) modifications."

The X1 is a good project car to carry out, the crossover SUV lends itself nicely to tuning.

The relatively compact size of the X1 and chassis design adds up to make it a fun car to drive, and tune.

With the right mods your X1 can be transformed into a stunning project. But don't waste money, do your homework before applying upgrades and mods.

Our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade explain the pros and cons so you don't waste your money.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many X1 owners uprate the handling of their cars with sports suspension modifications as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 1 to 2 degrees on the front, and add a little negative camber then cornering will often improve, depending on your wheel size and tyre choice.

We would go to a maximum drop of 27mm - 36 mm on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more torque out of the top end.

Following our tips for tuning your X1 you will end up with a practical sporty car that will show up bigger cars.

The best power gains come from the turbo engines which are crying out for a remap. Even the NASP 3.0 N52B30  can be tuned, and will give another 20% of power with a fast road cam, revised intake and exhaust and timing tweaks.

Engine Tuning.

All engines felt quite lively and produced a decent amount of power but all can be improved with a remap, fast road cam and if you have the N52B30  adding a forced induction (turbo) upgrade will give phenomenal power gains. Tuning the X1 is only really limited by your budget.

Petrol engine  options included

  • N20B16 1.6 L turbo 143 hp
  • N46B20 2.0 L I4 148hp
  • N20B20  2.0 L I4 turbo 181hp
  • N52B30  3.0 L I6 215hp & 255hp
  • N20B20  2.0 L I4 turbo 241hp
  • N55B30  3.0 L I6 turbo 300hp

Diesel options were

  • N47D20 2.0 L I4 turbo 201hp
  • N47D20 2.0 L I4 twin-turbo 215 hp

Remaps on turbo engines usually yield another 20-30% power increase, fast road cams on the NASP engines will provide around 15% more power whereas a remap on the NASP engine only nets an increase of around 7%.

Typically the following mods are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

Getting the right sports mods for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Stage 1 mods: Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Alloy wheels, Panel air filter, Lighter flywheel, Remap.

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

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

Your targets when modding your car should be a flat and wide torque output. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole point of our articles is to give a limited introduction of modding upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your customized car project, the best uprated mods and all aspects of modding cars.

Fast road cams offer one of the biggest bhp gains for your money as far as a bolt on motorsport modifications goes on a NASP engine.

The exhaust & intake flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic.

You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU to fully realise your gains.

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

Most power losses, and erratic idling after modified upgrades are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues.Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

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

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

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

Induction kits only help to increase performance if the air intake is restricted!

Adding an induction kit to most engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL but on the X1 the intake can be improved giving a nice boost throughout the RPM range.

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.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a performance panel filter should suffice for most applications.

TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

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

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional polishing and ported.

These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. In nearly all cases of X1 tuning your clutch will start to suffer and this needs an upgrade - read our guide onclutches for more information.

The best mods in our opinion for your X1 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just asking to be Reprogrammed. You will see impressive power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and impressive modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners toying with twincharging applications and making some very high power hikes.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains.

It is usually cheaper to add a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. Turbos increase power in exponential proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice directly proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are generally lighter than the steel ones. We can't go into too much detail here about tires but they are how the car puts the power down on the road so are a critical choice.

directional tread pattern tires work well on X1, and make a big difference over budget tires.

The downside to large alloy wheels on your X1 is that you alter your effective final drive ratio so this will have a detrimental effect on performance.

Due to this fact we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 19 inches, although we know some of our members have installed larger rims with no problems.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss X1 options in more detail with our X1 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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