Mercedes M260 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Mercedes M260 engine!"

TorqueCars will outline options for your M260 tuning and provide tips on the optimum mods that work. Mercedes M260 great bases for a tuning project and with carefully picked motorsport upgrades like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably increase your driving pleasure.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

The main differences between these engines lie in the ECU mapping, the larger powered 225kw engine has a different turbo as well along with a few other revisions.

M260 E20 DE LA

  • 225 kW (306 PS; 302 hp) at 5800-6100 rpm 400 Nm (295 lbft) at 3000–4000 rpm
  • 140 kW (190 PS; 188 hp) at 5500 rpm 300 Nm (221 lbft) at 1800–4000 rpm
  • 165 kW (224 PS; 221 hp) at 5500 rpm 350 Nm (258 lbft) at 1800–4000 rpm

The M260 was fitted to the following cars

  • GLB 250 4MATIC
  • GLB 35 AMG 4MATIC
  • A220 4MATIC
  • A250
  • A250 4MATIC
  • A35 AMG 4MATIC

Tuning the Mercedes M260 and best M260 performance parts.

Best M260 parts

The optimum M260 parts on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular M260 parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your M260 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the engines power accordingly.

Fast road camshafts normally increase the bhp and torque through the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little low down torque but the top end will be better.

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

A Competition camshaft is not great on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

You should ideally optimize your power band to your driving style so for a road car stick with a mild fast road M260 camshaft

Each engine responds better to different cam durations so view each engine as unique.

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

A longer valve duration can alter the bhp 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.

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Best Engine 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:
Panel air filters, Intake manifolds, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, drilled & smoothed airbox.

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

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

 

The M260 units are fantastic to work on and we're finding that there is an increase of upgrades and performance parts out there.

 

ECU flashing will help release the full potential of all the parts you've done to your M260.

(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 your results usually depend much on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Forcing more air and fuel into the M260 engine is vital to any tuning job.

The intake plenum take the air from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable improvement to fuel engine efficiency on the M260.

Most intake manifolds are begging for aftermarket tuning parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, getting port matching and head flowing will also improve power, & importantly will give you raising the power increase on other tuning mods.

Turbo 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 M260

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.

If a car has a turbocharger mods are relatively easy and turbocharged engines are made using more solid components.

However most engines have weakspots

See where you'll find these restrictions and upgrade to stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

It's not unheard of mechanics spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the M260 only to see the car explode on it's first outing after it's used in anger.

Larger turbochargers often experience low end lag, and little turbochargers spool up really quickly but won't have the high rpm power band gains.

Thankfully the range of turbo chargers is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the M260 when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

When you increase the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

 

More power needs more fuel. It is important to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and allows a bit of 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

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

Exhaust

Only look to increase your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still fine 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 generally help improve air flow from the engine but do not go too wide or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be located the catalyst installed, so adding a faster flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M260

The M260 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 M260, 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 M260 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M260 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 M260 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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2 Responses to “M260 Tuning”

  1. Lucian says:

    Hi there, I own CLA 220 (118 140 kw petrol engine M260)and my question is, if the ecu of engine it have an options to lock/unlock the power to be like cla 250 (165 kw) . the engines i think is exactly the same. (Pls excuse my english)

  2. TorqueCars says:

    From what I can make out the main differences between these engines does lie in the ECU mapping, the higher powered 225kw engine has a different turbo as well along with a few other revisions but is still essentially the same engine block.

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