Renault M4R Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Renault M4R engine!"

Our aim here is to examine M4R tuning and show the optimum modifications for your car. Renault M4R have loads of potential and with carefully chosen performance mods like remapping, turbo improvements and camshafts you will definitely maximise your driving experience.

Devised as a collaborative project between Nissan and Renault we have a great little engine capable of handling quite a bit of power in standard form. Let's look at upgrades and options for this engine to help you release a little more power.

History, Power & Specs of the M4R Engine

A Nissan collaboration where this is badged MR20DE it found it's way into many Nissan and Renault versions, and came in a few power figures depending on the application.

  • 131 hp
  • 135 hp
  • 138 hp

It was fitted to the following models between 2005 and 2020

  • 2006–present Renault Clio
  • 2007–present Renault Laguna
  • 2008–present Renault Safrane
  • 2008–2016 Renault Mégane(III)
  • 2009–present Renault Scénic
  • 2005–present Renault Samsung SM5
  • 2009–present Renault Fluence
  • 2009–present Renault Samsung SM3
  • 2009–present Renault Latitude

Tuning the Renault M4R and best M4R performance parts.

Best M4R tuning mods

The top M4R modifications on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular M4R modifications, they need to be cost effective.

Significant gains on the M4R can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

Fast road cams usually boost the bhp and torque through the rpm band, you may lose a little bottom end torque but the high end rpm power will improve.

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

On a car driven daily must carefully try to match your bhp range to your typical driving style.

I'd be surprised if you have found a M4R Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when 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.

Some M4R engines respond better to mild camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll get.

Longer valve durations 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 mods for your M4R

  1. Remaps - M4R engine tuning/remapping provides the biggest gains for the money, aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but they must be fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Air Induction and Exhaust Upgrades - Please 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. Forced induction upgrades - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades it offers big gains.
  5. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting

M4R Tuning Stages

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

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

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

The M4R power trains respond well to upgrades and we're happy to report there are quite a few choices of modifications and tuning parts around.

Mapping should help to unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your M4R.

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

It is the aim to any car tuning project to push air and fuel into each cylinder

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

Design and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable difference to fuel mixing and power on the M4R.

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are in desperate need of performance upgrades, although some makers provide reasonably well designed air intake manifolds.

Big valve conversions on the M4R, doing some M4R port enlargement and head flowing will also improve power, and more importantly will permit an improved power increase on other mods.

M4R 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 M4R

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

If your car is fitted with a turbo upgrades are going to make more power and you'll see that turbocharged engines are made with uprated components.

However you will find engines have weakspots.We recommend you find these restrictions and install more solid crank and pistons to utilize the power.

There are many people spending a loads of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M4R only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine throw a rod when it's used in anger.

Big turbochargers commonly experience low end lag, and smaller turbochargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the top end engines power gains.

In recent times the selection of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the M4R when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

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


Don't omit to uprate the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Don't forget to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% when specifying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and allows a little 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.

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

M4R Performance Exhausts

You should look to replace your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is still good 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 can help balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions can be located the emissions filters installed, so adding a faster 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 M4R

The M4R 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 M4R, 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 M4R engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss M4R tuning options in more detail with our M4R owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Renault tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which tuning parts 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 M4R tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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