Mercedes M276 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Mercedes M276 engine!"

The Mercedes M276 are fantastic to work on and with a few sensible sports upgrades like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will greatly maximize your driving experience.

TorqueCars will look into M276 tuning and point out the best modifications.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

M276  DE 35 3.5

  • (292 PS; 288 hp) at 6400 rpm with 365 Nm (269 lbft) at 3000–5100 rpm
  • (306 PS; 302 hp) at 6500 rpm with 370 Nm (273 lbft)  at 3500–5250 rpm
  • (251 PS; 248 hp ) and 251 lbft (340 Nm)

Fitted to...

  • 2010–2013 W221 S 350
  • 2011–2016 W212 E 300 BlueEFFICIENCY
  • 2011–2016 W212 E 300 4MATIC
  • 2011–2014 W218 CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY
  • 2011–2014 W204 C 350 / C 350 4MATIC
  • 2011–2014 W204 C 350 BlueEFFICIENCY / C 350 BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC
  • 2012–2014 W204 C 300 4MATIC (US/Canada)
  • 2012–2016 W212 E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY / E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC
  • 2012–2016 W212 E 400 HYBRID
  • 2012–2015 W166 ML 350 BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC
  • 2012–2015 X204 GLK 350 4MATIC BlueEfficiency
  • 2013–2015 X204 GLK 350
  • 2013–2017 W222 S 400 HYBRID


M276  DE 30 LA 3.0

  • (329 hp; 333 PS) at 5,250–6,000rpm and 480 Nm (354 lbft) at 1,600–4,000rpm
  • 2015–2016 362 hp (270 kW; 367 PS) and 384 lbft (521 Nm)

Fitted to...

  • 2013–2016 W212 E 400 BiTurbo
  • 2014–2020 W222 S 320 (China)
  • 2014–2019 X166 GL 450 / GLS 450
  • 2014–2017 W222 S 500 PLUG–IN HYBRID
  • 2014–2017 W218 CLS 400
  • 2015–2019 W166 AMG GLE 43 4MATIC
  • 2015–present W205 C 400 4MATIC
  • 2015–present X253 AMG GLC 43 4MATIC
  • 2015–2017 W205 C 450 AMG 4MATIC
  • 2015–2017 W166 ML 400 / GLE 400 4MATIC
  • 2016–2017 W166 GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC
  • 2016–2018 W166 GLE 500 e / GLE 550 e (US) 4MATIC
  • 2016–present W205 AMG C 43 4MATIC
  • 2016–2018 W213 E 400 4MATIC
  • 2016–2018 W213 AMG E 43 4MATIC
  • 2018–2020 W222 S 560 e
  • 2019–2020 W213 E 450 4MATIC

M276  DE 35 LA

Fitted to...

  • 2013–2017 W222 S 400
  • 2015–2017 W222 Maybach S 400 4MATIC

Tuning the Mercedes M276 and best M276 performance parts.

Best M276 parts

The top M276 mods on an engine are usually the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular M276 mods, they need to be cost effective.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large bhp gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road camshafts tend to boost the performance over the rpm band, you might lose a little low down bhp but the higher rpm power will be better.

Competition camshafts, boost the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport cam 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 engines power to your cars usage so for a daily driver stick with a fast road M276 cam

Each engine responds better to more aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also have an effect on the power gains you'll get.

Longer 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 Engine Mods for your car

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

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

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

Carefully think through your options and then find your modifications and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing will help release the full potential of all the parts you've done to your M276.

(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 mileage often differs on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is vital to any engine tuning job to feed fuel and air into your M276

Air Intake manifolds take the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders.

The shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable improvement to fuel mixing and power on the M276.

It's not uncommon that manifolds are crying out for aftermarket parts, although a few car makers provide well optimised headers.

Increasing the M276 valve size, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise performance, and as an added benefit will give you a greater 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 M276

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

If an engine is turbo charged tuning mods are going to net you a larger power gain and you'll see that turbo charged engines are made using many forged and stronger components.

However you'll find engines have limits

See where you'll find these limitations and install more solid crank and pistons to handle the power.

There are many people spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M276 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the engine catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Bigger turbo chargers often suffer no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up really quickly but won't have the peak end torque gains.

We are pleased that the range of turbo units is always evolving and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the M276 when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

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

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


Don't overlook the need to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your injector capacity.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and provides 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.


You only need to replace your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

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

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can source this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around 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..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M276

The M276 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 M276, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

Keep a close eye on the timing chains, and problems will initially manifest as a rattle on start up. If ignored you could suffer from chain failure or stretching and result in a more expensive engine rebuild. This problem has been addressed by Mercedes with a fresh design of tensioner.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your M276 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M276 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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