Renault R9M Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Renault R9M engine!"

Renault needed a smaller more efficient engine to replace the 1.9DCi and this 1.6 R9M was devised.

It offered good fuel economy, decent power levels and good reliability.

The Renault R9M are awesome to work on and with the optimum motorsport tuning mods like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will definitely enhance your driving fun.

In this article we review R9M tuning and highlight the optimum upgrades.

History, Power & Specs of the R9M Engine

  • 130 PS (96kW 128hp) @4000rpm 320 Nm (236 lbft) @1750rpm
  • 136 PS (100kW 134hp) @4000rpm 330 Nm (243 lbft) @1750rpm
  • 160 PS (118kW 158hp) @4000rpm 380 Nm (280 lbft) @1750rpm
  • 180 PS (132kW 178hp) @4000rpm 400 Nm (295 lbft) @1750rpm

It was fitted to quite a few popular Renault, Nissan and Mercedes models.

R9M 130ps

  • 2011 - Renault Scenic
  • 2011 - Nissan Qashqai
  • 2012 - Renault Megane
  • 2013 - Renault Fluence
  • 2014 - Mercedes Vito
  • 2014 - Mercedes C Class
  • 2015 - Renault Kadjar
  • 2016 - Renault Talisman

R9M 160PS (this is a twin turbo unit)

  • 2011- Renault Captur Concept Car
  • 2015- Renault Espace
  • 2015- Renault Talisman

Tuning the Renault R9M and best R9M performance parts.

Best R9M tuning mods

The best R9M parts on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the best value for money.

We won't be swayed by popular R9M parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your R9M cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the power band accordingly.

Fast road camshafts usually bump the torque through the rev range, you may lose a little bottom end bhp but the higher rpm power will improve.

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

A Competition cam won't do well if in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your cars usage so for a road car stick with a mild fast road R9M cam

Some R9M engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations than others.

The ecu map and fuelling also have an effect on the torque gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake durations 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.

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 mods for your R9M

  1. Tunes - A tune/remap provides the most power compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Intake and Exhaust Upgrades - Note that on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  3. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Although one of the most costly upgrades it offers big gains.
  4. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.

R9M Tuning Stages

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

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

Review your options and then buy your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

A remap helps unlock the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your R9M.

(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 but the outcome usually vary depending on the tuning parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the whole point to any engine tuning job to pull fuel and air into the R9M engine

Intake flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and rate of flow of the Plenum can make a big change to fuel engine efficiency on the R9M.

It's not uncommon that manifolds are improved through performance upgrades, although a few manufacturers provide well optimised headers.

Increasing the R9M valve size, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also increase bhp, and more importantly will allow you to get increasing the bhp increase on other parts.

R9M Turbo upgrades

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.

When a car is fitted with a turbocharger tuning mods are giving better power gains and you will discover turbocharged engines are made using many forged and stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some only just able to handle stock powerIt is important to find these limitations and upgrade to better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

We see many guys spending a loads on turbo upgrades on the R9M only to have the engine go up in smoke soon after it's completed.

Big turbo units commonly suffer no power at low rpm, and low capacity turbo units spool up much more quickly but won't have the high rpm torque gains.

In the last 10 years the selection of turbo units is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, permitting 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 gases into two channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the R9M when a lot more air is being pulled into the engine.

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

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


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to pay attention to the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a bhp and torque increase.We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account 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.

R9M Performance Exhausts

You only need to upgrade your exhaust if the existing exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the 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.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can buy you'll slow up 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.

Usual exhaust restrictions can be traced to the emissions filters 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.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the R9M

The R9M 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 R9M, 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 R9M engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss R9M tuning options in more detail with our R9M 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.

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 modifications 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 R9M tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning

Popular articles

Diesel Tuning
ECU Remaps
double clutching
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Tuning Chips
Modified car insurance
Track day insurance cover
Diesel Remaps
MPG calculator
Clean your DPF
Horizon 5 tuning

Exhaust Wraps

Ceramic exhaust coatings and exhaust wrap

Automotive Engines

Automotive engines

Chrome Paint

Custom car Chrome paint effect

Styling Themes

Choosing a theme for your car styling project.

Oil Change

How to do a DIY oil change on your car.

Cool Car Photographs

Cool car photographs

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG