BMW Z3 Tuning

"Thank you for reading our BMW Z3 tuning guide."

The Z3 is a brilliant project car to carry out. If you do your planning then you can create an awesome Z3 but don't be fooled there are lots of sports mods out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Here we review and look at Z3 tuning and point out the premier modifications for your car. BMW Z3 are awesome to work on and with a few sensible sports upgrades like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will dramatically maximise your driving fun.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for DIY mechanics first priority in your Z3 tuning project.

Good suspension tweaks that greatly enhance handling for the Z3 include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering. It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads..

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 26mm - 40 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with motorsport suspension.

Don't just look at the peak power figures, you need to see the whole torque curve when determining if a mod is right for you Z3.

Enjoy your Z3 to the full with our great tuning articles - do the right mods in the right order.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Engine Tuning.

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

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

Stage 1 mods: Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust, Remap, Suspension upgrade (drop 26mm - 40 mm.), Panel air filter.

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

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

You should keep as much low end torque as you can and aim to get a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power spike.

The point of our articles is to give a brief overview of modifying upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your customized car project, the best sport kits and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road camshaft is one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

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

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to increase the fuelling.

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your BMW project after fitting other tuning parts. Upgrading the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Z3's uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.  Contrary to popular belief there is often very little power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

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 Z3 engines you should just fit a high performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts balance the flow of gases through the engine. But if your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up losing 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. A good triple plate fast road uprated clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never cut corners or ask a standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our opinion for your Z3 are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

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 big power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

We've also come across some owners experimenting with twincharged conversions and making some seriously high power hikes.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains. Superchargers are usually easier to add than turbos. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost builds exponentially with engine speed.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is correlating to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could perhaps fit water injection to reduce the risk of knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

As alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they can 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. Large Z3 alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio.

With this in mind aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases without going over 18 inches.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Z3 options in more detail with our Z3 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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2 Responses to “Z3 Tuning”

  1. Damon says:

    Great article, I have a 97 z3 and I love that car!. going to do some improvements and your site is just what I have been looking for. Sent 30 for you. Thanks



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