Mercedes M279 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Mercedes M279 engine!"

Our aim here is to examine the options for your M279 tuning and point out the ultimate upgrades.

Mercedes M279 are awesome to work on and with the optimum tuning tuning mods like ECU maps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will dramatically improve your driving pleasure.

History, Power & Specs of the M279 Engine

M279  twin-turbocharged V12 engine

M279 E60 LA

  • 390 kW 530 PS 523 hp @ 4,900–5,300 rpm 830 Nm 612lbft @ 1,900–4,000 rpm
  • 450 kW 612 PS 603 hp @ 4,300–5,600 rpm 1,000 Nm 738lbft @ 2,300–4,300 rpm
  • 463 kW 630 PS 621 hp @ 4,800–5,400 rpm 1,000 Nm 738lbft @ 2,300–4,300 rpm

M279 E60 LA 390 kW version
2014–present S600L V222
2015–2017 Maybach S600 X222
2016–2018 Maybach S600 Pullman VV222
M279 E60 LA 450 kW version
2012–2015 G65 AMG W463
M279 E60 LA 463 kW version
2012–2018 SL65 AMG R231
2014–2019 S65 AMG W222
2014–present S65 AMG C217
2014–present S65 AMG L V222
2015–2018 G65 AMG W463
2016–present S65 AMG A217
2017–present Maybach S650, S680 X222
2018–present Maybach S650 Pullman, S680 Pullman VV222

Tuning the Mercedes M279 and best M279 performance parts.

Best M279 parts

The best M279 parts on an engine are usually the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular M279 parts, they need to be cost effective.

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

Fast road camshafts usually raise the bhp and torque through the rev band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end torque but the top end will be better.

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

A Motorsport cam is not great driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

You should ideally match your bhp range to your cars usage so for a daily driver stick with a shorter duration M279 cam

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

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

A longer valve duration 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.

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

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

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

    Review your options and then acquire your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

    A remap allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your M279.

    (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 often vary depending on the upgrades you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

    Feeding more air and fuel into your M279 is vital to any tuning project.

    Air Intake manifolds flow the air from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

    Shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a large change to fuel engine efficiency on the M279.

    On popular production engines intake are ripe for performance upgrades, although some makers provide reasonably good intake.

    Larger M279 valves, doing some M279 port enlargement and head flowing will also lift bhp and torque, and importantly will afford you a better bhp and torque increase on other tuning mods.

    M279 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 M279

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

    If the engine is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are going to net you a larger power gain and you'll see that turbocharged engines use more solid components.

    However engines will have power limits.We recommend you find these limits and upgrade to better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

    We see many guys spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the M279 only to see the whole thing go up in smoke on it's first outing after it's been completed.

    Bigger upgraded turbo units will usually experience low end lag, and small turbo units spool up much more quickly but don't have the peak end torque gains.

    Thankfully the selection of turbos is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbos, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

    Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and flow these at differently angled vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

    It is common that there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the M279 when a lot more air is being fed into the engine.

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

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

    Fuelling

    When you raise the bhp you will need to ramp up to the fuel system.

    More bhp needs more fuel. Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

    The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine require 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.M279 Performance Exhausts

    You only need to uprate your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

    On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust 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 increase the flow of gases through the engine.

    But if the exhaust is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

    Typically exhaust restrictions are traced to the filters installed, so adding a freer flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

    Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M279

    The M279 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 M279, 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 M279 engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss M279 tuning options in more detail with our M279 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mercedes tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

    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 M279 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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