Mercedes M264 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Mercedes M264 engine!"

This pages aim is look into M264 tuning and point out the best mods that work. Mercedes M264 are awesome to work on and with the best enhancements like ECU maps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will really maximise your driving pleasure.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

M264 E15 DEH LA

  • (184 PS; 181 hp) at 5,800–6,100 rpm 280Nm (207lbft) at 3,000–4,000 rpm
  • (158 PS; 156 hp) at 5,600–6,000 rpm250Nm (184lbft)at 2,800–4,000 rpm

M264 E20DEH LA

  • (197 PS; 194 hp) at 5,800–6,100 rpm 320Nm (236lbft) at 1,650–4,000 rpm
  • (258 PS; 255 hp) at 5,800–6,100 rpm 370Nm (273lbft) at 1,800–4,000 rpm
  • (299 PS; 295 hp) at 5,800–6,100 rpm 400Nm (295lbft)at 3,000–4,000 rpm

Tuning the Mercedes M264 and best M264 performance parts.

Best M264 parts

When talking about the best modifications for your M264 engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best value for money.

Do camshaft upgrades work on the M264? Sadly you cannot swap in “fast road “ cams in these engines or those found in BMW late model 4 cylinders.

No one makes them, and if they did then the designer would need factory information on how they are phased to work with modern heads.

For a car used daily, really you should, ideally aim to optimize your engines power to your driving style

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

The map and fuelling also will say much on the torque gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the torque 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 M264

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives. Make sure you use a specialist who understands the M264 engine.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence. Porting heads is a factory only exercise. Late model four valves heads are scientifically designed and fiddling with them may make them worse than stock

M264 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Intake manifolds, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/ intake manifold, high flow cats, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

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

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

The M264 power trains are great to work on and we note that there are quite a few choices of upgrades and performance parts out there.

ECU flashing helps release the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your M264.

(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 figures achieved usually differs on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is vital to any tuning task to shove more fuel and air into your M264

Air Intake manifolds carry the air from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

Design and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a big improvement to fuel mixing and power on the M264.

On popular production engines intake are needing an upgrade, although some car makers provide reasonably good intake.

Fitting big valve kits, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also improve performance, & importantly will give you an improved performance increase on other upgrades.

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 M264

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

If an engine is turbo charged parts are going to make more power and turbocharged engines are made using uprated components.

However most engines have limits

Research these restrictions and upgrade to stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

There are many guys spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M264 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the engine block catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's been completed.

Bigger capacity turbochargers tend to suffer low end lag, and smaller turbochargers spool up more quickly but won't have the high rpm engines power gains.

We are pleased that the choice of turbo units is always improving and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and flow these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the M264 when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

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

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


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should uprate the fuelling when you start exceeding 20% of a power increase.Most tuners we speak with say to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and affords 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

5 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 273cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 409cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 545cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 818cc/min 600hp

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 568cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 853cc/min 600hp

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 should look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a restriction.  Areas to focus on typically on the M264 are down pipes with hi flow cats, and some work on the mufflers

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is ok 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 equal out 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 your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be located the catalyst installed, so adding a better flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal. (Note though that in some areas replacement of a working cat is not permitted.)

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M264

The M264 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 M264, 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 M264 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M264 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which upgrades 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 M264 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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