All you need to know about X5 Tuning

"My BMW X5 tuning guide."

We really liked the X5, it has a great array of engine options that are suited to the chassis.

Sharing much with the Land Rover underpinnings, BMW have added their magic touch to create a drivers car. It offers great interior space and practicality.

For those looking to do some X5 tuning there are many options out there, so we will look at your options and see how to get the maximum performance from your X5.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums
  • 1st generation (E53; 99–06) all new X5 model came into fruition, thanks to a collaboration with Land Rover. There was a facelift in 2004 which was more of a freshen up.
  • 2nd generation (E70; 06–13) BMW's iDrive system was installed and we see the first M sport tuned version appear.
  • 3rd generation (F15; 13–18) Based on the capable E70 chassis but with revised engine options, including a hybrid.
  • 4th generation (G05; 19–present) all X5 models now boast X drive, along with a great new design, better engines and revised interior.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many tuners first priority in your X5 tuning project.

Bear in mind the X5 was created for ground clearance, so don't slam it to the ground, although it should be quite possible to find better suspension components.

If you set the toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees on the front, and add slight negative camber then cornering will substantially improve.

Drop the car only by as much as 30mm - 40 mm and fit sport rated stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Top end bhp should be your overall aim with a nice fat wide peak torque band.

X5 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine mods and handling upgrades you can find!

NASP engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power when you tune them, even with head work and fast road cam you'll see around 20% more power. The turbos on the other hand offer 30% more power with just a remap, then things get really interesting with turbo upgrades and internal engine work.

Engine tuning mods.

Typically these parts are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get going.

Getting the best sports mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

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Best mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

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

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

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

You need to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a long power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best upgrades for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance mod.One of the biggest mechanical uprated mods you can do on your NASP 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. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sport cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

If you find you have flat spots and surges after your tuning upgrades you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Bigger 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.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Contrary to popular belief there is generally very little power gain obtained by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you boost the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Derestricting the air feed into the engine is a primary goal of performance tuning so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and often rob you of power.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 2 to 2.5 inches for best results.

gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools In nearly all cases of X5 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this needs to be uprated - read our article on clutches for more information.

The best mods we would do for your X5 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

NASP engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give large power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

We've also seen some tuners toying with twin charging conversions and making some seriously high power figures.

The most significant power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is often simpler to add a supercharger than it is to bolt on a turbo. Turbos give boost in exponential proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include lowering your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tires) for your car, a good directional tread pattern tire can really enhance your cars handling. The downside to large alloy wheels on your X5 is that you alter your effective final drive ratio so this will have a detrimental effect on performance and acceleration.

Due to this endeavour to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases without going larger than 19 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 X5 options in more detail with our X5 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.

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