Mercedes M111 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Mercedes M111 engine!"

The Mercedes M111 engine is a series of interesting four-cylinder engines. It was introduced in the early 1990s and was used in various Mercedes-Benz models until the early 2000s.

The EVO version released in 2000 represented a major leap forward, primarily to meet emissions regulations.

The Mercedes M111 provide a fun base for your project and with the right enhancements like remapping, turbo kits and camshafts you will substantially increase your driving pleasure.

While the M111 engine is not a high-performance engine by today's standards, it provided sufficient power for the vehicles it was installed in. The supercharged versions, in particular, offered a noticeable boost in performance.

We are often asked about this great little engine and which mods & upgrades work best on it, so let's discuss this in this article.

It is my intention to give an overview of which modifications work well and if people want more details or parts let me know in the comments and I'll add to this article for you.

Please let me have your feedback and suggestions on this, at the time or writing there were few mods available for this engine, other than people doing custom work on them, thankfully this is opening up and there is a growing market of parts for the M111.

Let us review M111 tuning and provide tips on the optimum modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

M111.920 M111.921

  • 1.8 L (1,799 cc) 16v 90 kW (122 PS; 121 hp)


1993-2000 C180 (W202)


  • 2.0 L (1,998 cc) 16v 100 kW (136 PS; 134 hp) 190 Nm (140 lbft) of torque.


1992-1995 E200 (W124)
1997-2002 CLK200 (C208)
1993-2000 C200 (W202)


  • (136 PS; 134 hp) 190 Nm (140 lbft)


1995-2000 E200 (W210)
1993-2000 C200 (W202)


  • 141 kW (192 PS; 189 hp) and 270 Nm (199 lbft).


1996-2000 SLK200 Kompressor (R170)


  • 2.0 L (1,998 cc) 16-v supercharger  141 kW (192 PS; 189 hp) 270 Nm (199 lbft)




  • 100 kW (136 PS; 134 hp) and 190 Nm (140 lbft)


1996-2000 SLK200 (R170)


  • 137 kW (186 PS; 184 hp) and 270 Nm (199 lbft).


1997-2002 E200 Kompressor (W210)


  • EVO engine (M 111 E 20 EVO)  129 hp (96 kW; 131 PS), 140 lbft (190 Nm).


2000-2002 Mercedes-Benz C Class C180 (W203)
1996-2003 V200/Vito 113


  • 120 kW (163 PS; 161 hp)


2000-2002 Mercedes-Benz C Class (W 203) Kompressor
2001 Mercedes-Benz SportCoupe (CL203) Kompressor
2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK-200K (R170) kompressor


  • This is a 2.0L Kompressor 120 kW (163 PS; 161 hp)  230 Nm (170 lbft) @ 2500 rpm.


2000-2002 E200K


  • 120 kW (163 PS; 161 hp) 230 Nm (170 lbft).


2000-2004 SLK200 Kompressor (R170)

M111.960 / M111.961

  • 2.2 L (2,199 cc) 16v 110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp)  210 Nm (155 lbft) of torque.


1992-1995 E220
1994 - 1996 Mercedes-Benz W202 C220

M111.970 and M111.974

  • 2.3 L (2,295 cc) 16-v engine  110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp)  220 Nm (162 lbft)


1995-1997 E230
1997-1998 C230
1996-2003 V230/Vito 114
1993-2003 Ssangyong Musso 4 cylinder.
1993-2003 Ssangyong Korando 4 cylinder.
2005-2014 Ssangyong Kyron 4 cylinder.


  • 142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) and 280 Nm (207 lbft).


1996-2000 SLK230 Kompressor (R170)


  • 142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp).


1999 E200 Kompressor
1997-2002 CLK230 Kompressor (C208)
1999-2002 C230 Kompressor (W202)
1998-2004 SLK230 Kompressor
W210 E200 Kompressor 1997 to 1999 186 hp (139 kW; 189 PS). 1999
W210 E200 Kompressor 193 hp (144 kW; 196 PS).


  • Power 143 kW (194 PS; 192 hp).


2002 C230 Kompressor


  • 145 kW (197 PS; 194 hp) and 280 Nm (207 lbft).


2000-2004 SLK230 Kompressor (R170)


  • Power 105 kW (143 PS; 141 hp).


1995-2006 Sprinter 214 / 314 / 414
1996-2001 Volkswagen LT 2.3
1996-1998 Ssangyong Musso 2.3

Tuning the Mercedes M111 and best M111 performance parts.

Best M111 upgrades

The greatest M111 upgrades on an engine are usually the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular M111 upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

M111 Performance Camshafts.

Altering your M111 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the power band accordingly.

Mercedes did some work on the cams if you compare the exhaust cams from the EVO version with the previous one you'll note that lift was reduced by around 1.35mm. They also played with the phasing a little on the exhaust, with valves opening at slightly different points in each cylinder.

I guess this would enhance the flow velocity at the start and end of the exhaust phase due to a greater restriction but this improved scavenging.

Rennsport offers a high-performance camshaft kit designed to improve top end power and extend the capabilities of Mercedes M111 Kompressor engines.

These camshafts are engineered to provide a significant increase in the mid to high rpm range, delivering enhanced performance without the need for additional components.

Available in Stage 1 or Stage 2 configurations, the Rennsport camshaft kit allows users to tailor their upgrades based on preferences.

The Stage 1 option maintains smooth idling and retains a substantial amount of low-end torque. In contrast, the Stage 2 variant, while idling slightly rougher, offers even more top-end power at the expense of some lower rpm performance.

The kit achieves a notable increase in lift and duration, maximizing horsepower without the need for upgraded valve springs, ensuring a straightforward bolt-in installation.

To optimize the setup, adjustments to fuel and ignition configurations are recommended, although gains can still be realized without these modifications.

To enhance durability and reduce friction in the drivetrain, Rennsport recommends replacing all components that come into contact with the camshaft. Additionally, an optional low-friction coating is available, improving surface hardness and further enhancing drivetrain efficiency.

Fast road cams commonly bump the bhp and torque through the rpm band, you may lose a little low end bhp but higher rpm power will be better.

I'd be amazed if you find a M111 Race cam is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

The ECU mapping and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the power gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations can alter the power 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.

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 M111

  1. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  2. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to raise the intake air supply, which permits you to utilize more fuel and make higher power. Although one of the most costly modifications it does provide the largest gains.
  3. Fast road Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but they must be fitted by someone familiar with setting them up on your car and tracking one down can be a challenge but there is usually a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  4. Tunes - A tune/remap gives the most power compared to your outlay, replacement ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  5. Air Intake and high flowing exhausts - Be aware on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they enable you to enhance power after other modifications by removing the restriction.
  6. Lighter flywheels - a reduced weight flywheel will noticeably improve the engines rev changes. Not not a great upgrade for all M111 engines.

M111 Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Review your options and then buy your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

Remaps helps to establish the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your M111.

(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 the end result will depend much on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the whole point to any engine performance tuning task to feed more fuel and air into your M111

Intake manifolds flow the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

The size of bore and shape and flow rate of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial effect on to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the M111.

Commonly we find the plenum chambers are needing aftermarket tuning parts, although some OEM provide well optimised plenum chambers.

Adding a M111 larger valve kit, carrying out port work and head flowing will also improve torque, and significantly will make space for a better torque increase on other mods.

M111 Turbo & Supercharger 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 M111

We are often asked if you can fit the supercharger to a non supercharged model, typically people want to know if you can you swap the m111.955 c200 compressor on to a m111.951.

The engines look the same externally so it would seem logical to bolt on the Kompressor and make more power.

The differences are more than just the compressor and this is possible to do, but when you look at the time and cost of parts to support this it is usually cheaper to do an engine swap. A swap is pretty much a bolt in upgrade as the mounts etc are the same AFAIK.

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

When an engine has a supercharger already fitted parts are simpler to install and we find turbocharged engines are made with many forged and stronger components.

However you'll find engines will need better parts at higher power limits

Research these restrictions and install higher quality crank and pistons to survive the power.

We've seen tuners spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M111 only to experience the car explode when it's been enthusiastically driven.

Big upgraded turbochargers often suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbochargers spool up more quickly but won't have the top end torque gains.

Thanks to new tech the range of turbos is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbos, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

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

It is common that there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the M111 when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped bhp at a much lower level.

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

Supercharger Overdrive Pulley.

If you have the supercharged version it is worth looking into the realms of overdrive pulleys, these change the gearing that drives the compressor effectively making it rotate faster and increasing the supply of air to the engine.

Overdrive pulleys may require a new longer belt, but in most cases the standard belts can cope with the adjustment at either end of pulley size.

Depending on how extreme you go the fuel system may require an upgrade as well, or you risk running lean.

M111 Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to uprate the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a torque increase.It is important to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add 20% when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides you 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.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 682cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 1022cc/min 600hp

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 625cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 937cc/min 600hp


You only need to upgrade your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is still good 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 can help increase the flow of gases through the engine.

But if the exhaust is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Common exhaust restrictions are traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal.

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

M111 Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

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

Air induction kits are only beneficial to boost performance if your air intake is struggling!

Adding an induction kit to most small engines will see NONE OF A LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. 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.

Derestricting the air feed into the engine is the primary part of performance tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not do much to increase power and usually rob you of power.

Sports exhausts increase the flow of gases through the engine. But if your exhaust pipe is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the exhaust flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Getting a professionally gas flowed head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. In nearly all cases of M111 tuning your clutch will start to fail and this needs an upgrade - read our guide on clutches for more information. The best mods in our opinion for your M111 are a tune/remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M111

The M111 engine is generally regarded as reliable. It has been known for its durability and longevity when properly maintained.

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.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes and other routine services, is crucial for ensuring the engine's reliability.

Common Issues: Like any engine, the M111 is not without its common issues. For example, some early versions experienced problems with the wiring harness, and the head gasket could be a point of concern in certain models. However, these issues are well-documented, and many can be addressed through proper maintenance and, if necessary, repairs.

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 M111, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

The M111 can leak oil past the head gasket.

The fuel pressure sensor frequently failed on early engines and there was also an issue with those early air flow meters.

If the crankshaft sensor gets hot it will refuse to work until the engine cools down.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your M111 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M111 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased 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 modifications 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 M111 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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6 Responses to “M111 Tuning”

  1. Gary K says:

    Great article. But I didn’t see anything on Cold air intakes for the M111. It would be nice to know more about that.

  2. san says:

    i have c180 w203. m111.951 engine. i want to add kompressor on it so is it capable for that. i have some info that m111.955 c200 kompressor has same engine and added kompressor. so is it worth to add kompressor or not

  3. TorqueCars says:

    The engines look the same externally so it would seem logical to bolt on the Kompressor and make more power.

    The differences are more than just the Supercharger unit (compression ratio, ECU, Fuel etc…) and this is possible to do, but when you look at the time and cost of parts to support this it is usually cheaper to do an engine swap. A swap is pretty much a bolt in upgrade as the mounts etc are the same AFAIK. I’d be really interested to hear your comments on this as you are not alone in asking this question.

  4. David Blundell says:

    very informative.
    I guess I have to lose my old W202 C200 from 96 and buy a better version.

  5. Josh says:

    Do you know of any companies that are tuning the ECU’s, also where is the go to supplier for overdrive pulleys? -1999 C230 Kompressor

  6. Fre says:

    nice Article
    i had M111.960 at my dad’s E220. I planning to use lightweight crank pulley. but i found it only for M111.983 R170 with SC. is it compatible with M111.960 ? thank’s for responses

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