BMW Performance: N54 Engine Tune for the 1 & 3 Series

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It has been made official: BMW Performance will be offering a performance upgrade for the N54 twin turbo six! The engine software and components that gave the new 740i an increase in horsepower and torque will essentially now be available as a dealer installed option for 135i and 335i models.

The BMW Performance Power Kit consists of both software and hardware components including additional water cooling. The kit will be installed and covered under warranty by BMW. In European terms this gives the engine 20 more horsepower (326 from 306) and 50 more Newton meters (450 from 400). In the US that should figure to somewhere in the 321 hp and 336 ft/lbs neighborhood. The performance increase is noted as .2 of a second from a standstill to .5 seconds faster in the passing range.

Official US information has not been released but we have heard for some months that this was in the works and that we could expect something at dealers this summer. We will update you as we hear more so as always stay tuned!

Thanks for the tip Larry!

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  • Mark Mayer

    Sounds great but why limited to N54 in 1 and 3 series? My decision to purchase a 535 Touring was based in large part on the N54 twin turbo six and I suspect other 5 series owners would be interested in this upgrade.

    Are there specific engineering reasons why the 535 is excluded?


  • Mark,

    At this time there is no mention for the 5 Series or the X6. I suspect volume of sales and testing is the main reason but we are working on finding out more US specific info and if additional options will be available. I do not see this kit as being “cheap” so pricing is anyone’s guess.

  • Noe

    This is ridiculous. 326bhp? There are dynos that show the the N54 already makes 320bhp (versus 280-290 range whp). BMW is just going to rip their customers off with this one. I would rather get an aftermarket mod that doesn’t throw codes and pushes 50whp for 1/2 the cost and uninstall for dealer visits.

  • Lou

    20hp? I’d love to purchase whatever hardware BMW designed for this upgrade, but if their software is only going to pump out an extra 20hp, I’ll let someone else tune it. What a waste.

  • Noe and Lou,

    While we agree 20 HP is not all that much compared to other tunes BMW is backing the tune with a warranty and it will not adversely impact engine life. I would also imagine that this upgrade is underrated as the N54 normally is. The variation in engines and elevations is what creates all these different horsepower numbers.

    If you recall a few years ago when Mazda released the new rotary engine in the RX8 they had rated and it was not producing that number, that was a big deal. BMW underrating is in the customers best interest since they always get more than is stated…

    When we get some seat time with this tune, we will let you know what we think as numbers are not always the full story.

    There also must be a large enough gap between the ///M3 and the 335 performance to keep the ///M where it should be. Having driven 335s and the ///M3 extensively now, I can say that no amount of power is going to make a 335 perform like the ///M though it is a great car. BUT from a normal buyers perspective and the marketing department’s view: If the hp numbers and all that are so close why would anyone by the ///M? That is more than likely why only “20”hp increase.


  • Sagar

    This will be a nice way for BMW to profit some more.

    After buying all the BMW Performance crap and getting it installed on my 335i, I would end up spending more than the MSRP of an M3 and still be slower and have no LSD.

    No thanks, I’ll take the M3 even with it’s torque-less fuel guzzling engine and high insurance costs.

  • Barry

    What is .5sec in passing?? I wish they were more specific. I have a strong feeling this will propel the 1/3series to 60mph in the mid 4’s now.

  • Barry

    Very well said Michael. People dont seem to get that. Thats why the 335i had 30hp less than the E46. They were both on sale at the same time. Those ”in the know” also said the M3 is suppose to get a slight hp bump in the not to distant future. It was also said it would only be available in competition package at some point. We’ll see.

  • Sagar- You have me laughing here! I would agree with most of your criticism…. if you have driven the ///M3 at high RPM you will quickly realize it does not need all that torque and it was designed with a purpose, I rather have the high end screaming than the AMG low end torque that does nothing but spin the tires; there is a point where more torque is not beneficial, unless the gearing (ie diesel) is for economy. As for the MPG; I get 20 on avg. and 8 when I just want to be in the 6-8K rpm range 🙂

    Insurance is actually less on my ///M3 sedan than my E60 Sport Wagon; go figure!


  • Sagar

    Thanks Michael, I love providing us bimmernuts with some humor.

    I have never driven the new M3 and figured after being addicted to my 335’s low end torque, I would find the M3’s torque character anemic as most of my driving isn’t on the track/revving high.

    But your claims of cheap insurance, adequate torque, and decent fuel consumption help further my notion that I’d never get any of the BMW Performance stuff and I would definitely swing over to an M3.

  • Pingback: BMW Performance ofrecerá un kit de potenciación para el motor N54 | Motor Spain()

  • Damien

    I am kicking myself for not waiting for a year older car… I have a 330i… Man I want to get a 335!

    A lot of people are mentioning the aftermarket upgrade that provides more for cheaper. I think the key word here is WARRANTY!

  • Vitaly

    wow! super news!

  • Dave

    You guys can’t compare actual current hp numbers to future advertised hp. It’s safe to say both are understated by roughly the same amount.

    I wouldn’t pay more than $500 for an extra 20hp but it’s great to have options. It appears BMW is tired of losing so much profit to Dinan and others. My 135i is very fun with Dinan stage 2 software.

    Now that wer’re talking about options.. I’m still waiting for the limited slip differential option for non-M cars. BMW is so busy handicapping their regular cars to protect the M3 they didn’t notice most other manufacturers offer one as an option on nearly every model. For example, you can get LSD on an Infiniti G37 Journey by selecting the $1,850 sport package option. Not that I would buy a G37 but you get the idea.