Mercedes M272 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Mercedes M272 engine!"

The Mercedes M272 are awesome to work on and with carefully picked motorsport tuning mods like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably improve your driving fun.

This pages aim is outline options for your M272 tuning and point out the best modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

M272 E25 2.5 L

(150 kW; 201 bhp) at 6100 rpm with 245 Nm (181 lbft) at 2900-5500 rpm.

Applications:

  • 2005–2007 W203 C230
  • 2005–2009 W211 E230
  • 2007–2009 W204 C230 (C250 in 2010)
  • 2008–2011 CLC230
  • 2010–2012 Viano
  • 2010–2011 Vito

M272 E30 3.0 L

(170 kW; 228 bhp) at 6000 rpm with 300 Nm (221 lbft) at 2500-5000 rpm.

Applications:

  • 2004–2010 SLK280
  • 2005–2010 W219 CLS280
  • 2005–2010 C209 CLK280
  • 2005–2007 W203 C280
  • 2005–2009 R230 SL280
  • 2005–2009 W211 E280
  • 2005–2013 Vito
  • 2006–present R280
  • 2007–2013 W221 S280
  • 2007–2009 W204 C280 / C280 4MATIC
  • 2008-2012 GLK300
  • 2009–2011 W204 C300 / C300 4MATIC (C300 2012 USA)
  • 2009–2011 W212 E300
  • 2013–2015 Viano (Chinese market; known as the M272 939)
  • 2013–2015 Vito (Chinese market; known as the M272 939)

M272 E35 3.5 L

  • (200 kW; 268 bhp) at 6000 rpm with 350 Nm (258 lbft)  at 3500 rpm.
  • (215 kW; 288 bhp) and 365 Nm (269 lbft)
  • (225 kW; 302 bhp) at 6500 rpm and 360 Nm (266 lbft)  at 4900 rpm from 2008

Applications:

  • 2004–2011 SLK350
  • 2004–2010 W209 CLS350
  • 2005–2010 C209 CLK350
  • 2005–2007 W203 C350
  • 2005–2013 W221 S350
  • 2005–2014 Viano (known as the M272 978 in China)
  • 2005–2012 R230 SL350
  • 2005–2009 E350 / E350 4MATIC
  • 2006–2017 R350
  • 2006–2011 (W164) ML350
  • 2006–2013 Sprinter
  • 2007–2011 C350 / C350 4Matic
  • 2008–2011 CLC350
  • 2009–2011 E350 / E350 4MATIC
  • 2011–2015 C350 BlueEfficiency / C350 4MATIC BlueEfficiency

Tuning the Mercedes M272 and best M272 performance parts.

Best M272 parts

Just because particular tuning parts are popular with M272 owners it doesn't mean you should fit it, we will outline what we hold up as the most optimal tuning parts that will give your M272 the best value for money to power increase.

 

Altering your M272 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams normally bump the power over the rpm range, you could sacrifice a little bottom end torque but high end rpm power will be better.

Race cams, bump the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Competition camshaft will just annoy you whilst in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your engines power to your usage of the car so for a daily driver stick with a mild fast road M272 camshaft

Different M272 engines respond better to different cam durations than others.

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the power gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake 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 subscribe and support our new channel.

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

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

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

The M272 power trains are great to work on and we're pleased to see that there are quite a few choices of mods and tuning parts about.

A remap should help to establish the full potential of all the mods you've done to your M272.

(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 mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any engine modification project to pull fuel and air into the M272 engine

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

The bore size, shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a big difference to fuel delivery on the M272.

I usually find intake manifold are improved through a performance upgrade, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

Larger M272 valves, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also boost bhp and torque, this will make space for increasing the bhp and torque increase on other parts.

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 M272

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

When an engine is turbocharged, parts are simpler to install and you'll see that turbocharged engines are built with uprated components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only just able to handle stock power

Research these limitations and upgrade to better pistons and crank to handle the power.

It's not unheard of mechanics spending a loads on turbo upgrades on the M272 only to have the motor throw a rod on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Large capacity turbochargers tend to experience no power at low rpm, and small turbochargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the high rpm bhp gains.

In the last 10 years the range of turbo units is always developing and we now see variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

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

It is common that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the M272 when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large torque gains, although harder to install. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't miss you'll need to ramp up the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. It makes sense to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when buying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives 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.

Exhaust

You only need to boost your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Please dont run with the biggest exhaust you can buy you'll reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Typically exhaust restrictions are in the emissions filters installed, so adding a freer flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M272

The M272 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.

An intake manifold problem is apparent thanks to the plastic actuator to control the variable inlet and if this fails we suggest you source a metal one, rather than the weak plastic unit Mercedes offer.

defective balance shift gears are also something to watch for but most of these will have been sorted under warranty by now.

Regular oil changes are vital on the M272, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

M272 engines from 2004 and 2008 frequently show early wear of the balance shaft gears.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your M272 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M272 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 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 M272 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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