BMW Tuning
BMW Tuning

BMW tuning made easy: The best tips and tricks for optimizing your vehicle

Tuning & Motorsports
May 2, 2023 15 min read

Tuning is the keyword for personalisation, performance enhancement and facelift for vehicles. BMW tuning is about optimising the vehicle regarding engine performance, handling and design. This can be done by using different tuning parts such as exhaust systems, special suspension systems or aerodynamic parts. We give you a brief overview of the almost limitless possibilities of BMW tuning.

Let’s start, these are the topics at a glance:

Lowering: BMW tuning with sport suspensions and coilover suspensions

No doubt, the BMW brand is known for its high-performance vehicles, which impress with their outstanding driving dynamics and precise handling ex works. Still there is potential for further optimising the driving experience also in terms of suspension tuning The BMW OE suspensions generally offer a good compromise between ride comfort and handling. Air suspensions in particular are often trimmed for comfort. However, the OE suspensions can reach their limits when driving in a sporty manner or under increased load. A sport suspension usually has a tighter damper setting and includes shorter sports springs and matching shock absorbers, which improve driving dynamics and handling. The BILSTEIN B12 sport suspension kit, for example, belongs in this category.

BMW Tuning
BMW Tuning
BMW Tuning

A coilover suspension is a further development of an ordinary sport suspension, offering stepless lowering. The height of the vehicle can be individually adjusted within predefined limits. This allows the handling to be adjusted even more precisely to personal preferences and requirements. BILSTEIN B16 and BILSTEIN EVO T1 are two coilover suspensions with especially high performance.

Both the sport suspension and the coilover suspension provide for a better look and feel. The BMW rests better on the road and tends to roll less in bends. This increases driving safety and driving pleasure when driving in a sporty style, and the lowering also makes the BMW more attractive.

Rim & tyre tuning

Rims and tyres play a decisive role in the appearance and performance of a vehicle. They are not only essential for safety and handling, but also contribute significantly to the appearance. The tyres are the interface between the vehicle and the road and therefore have a direct influence on handling, acceleration, stopping power and cornering grip. Tuning of rims and tyres can not only improve the aesthetic aspects of a BMW, but also its performance and handling. There are a variety of rim types that can be considered for BMW tuning.

  • Light alloy rims, also known as aluminium rims, are lighter than steel rims and offer better handling characteristics. Light alloy rims improve the acceleration, the breaking performance and reduce the vehicle’s unsprung mass.
  • Forged rims are made from one piece of aluminium and offer high strength with low weight.
  • Multi-piece rims consist of several components that are bolted together. These rims offer a high degree of customisation options and are often available in exclusive designs.

In addition to the appropriate diameter and rim width, attention must be paid to the correct offset and bolt circle.

BMW Tuning

When choosing the tyre size and width, make sure that the new tyres fit the vehicle and the individual requirements. Larger and wider tyres, especially in combination with a good BMW sports suspension, can offer better road holding and improved handling.

Wider wheel track with spacers?

Spacers are round metal discs that are mounted between the wheel hub and the rim. They increase the distance between the rim and the vehicle body, resulting in a wider track width. This can bring advantages both in terms of vehicle appearance as well as driving dynamics. A wider wheel track gives the BMW a sportier and more aggressive appearance. The wheels stick out further from the body of the car and fill the wheel arches better, making the BMW look more consistent and attractive. Widening the track width also increases driving stability, which can lead to better road holding and higher cornering speeds.

BMW Tuning

BMW tuning with exhaust and exhaust-gas system

Some like it quiet, while for others a distinctive sound is simply part of a sporty vehicle. With BMW exhaust system tuning, both are possible. By tuning the exhaust and waste gas system, the vehicle’s sound can be modified and adjusted to personal preferences. High-quality sports exhaust systems not only offer a more powerful and roaring sound. They also underline the sporty identity of the vehicle. An optimised exhaust system can increase the performance of the BMW by improving the exhaust flow and reducing the back pressure. This results in better “breathing” of the engine, which in turn allows for increased performance and torque. This increase in performance can noticeably improve both handling and acceleration.

BMW Tuning
BMW Tuning

The look of the exhaust system contributes significantly to the vehicle’s overall impression. Sports exhaust systems and individual tailpipes can give the BMW a sportier look. The tailpipes are the visible sign of a high-quality exhaust system. They can be made of different materials such as stainless steel, titanium or carbon and come in different shapes and designs. Customised tailpipes give the vehicle a unique and unmistakable character and perfectly complete the tuning. When modifying the exhaust system, also pay attention to the permissibility and only install exhaust systems with a TÜV certificate or type approval.

BMW Tuning

Sports seats,  wheels and more: how to pimp the interior

No matter if BMW, Audi, VW or Opel. A vehicle’s interior is the place where we, as drivers, spend most of our time. It is therefore important that we feel comfortable in this environment and that it meets our personal needs and preferences.

Those who frequently like to put their BMW’s pedal to the metal on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife will certainly fit sports seats. Sports seats are specially designed to provide the driver and front passenger with optimum support and comfort during sporty driving. They have pronounced side bolsters that support the body during fast cornering or hard braking manoeuvres, thus providing a safe driving experience.

BILSTEIN B16 Gewindefahrwerk als Produkt zur Tieferlegung

In addition to sports seats, there are many other BMW tuning measures for the interior. Sports steering wheels are usually smaller and have a better grip than conventional steering wheels. They are also often made of high-quality materials such as leather, Alcantara or carbon and are available in various designs and colours to enhance the appearance of your BMW’s interior. Gear knobs and pedals are other elements that can enhance the interior of your BMW both visually and functionally. Racing style gear knobs made of aluminium, carbon or leather offer a better feel and can add some feel to your gear changes. Pedals with a race look, mostly made of stainless steel or aluminium, provide better slip resistance and thus increase control over the vehicle.

BMW facelift

A facelift for your BMW offers the possibility to design the vehicle according to your own preferences and to give it an individual character. The spectrum ranges from subtle changes to eye-catching modifications. But make sure that the parts used have a TÜV certificate or a type approval to guarantee the road safety and legality of the modification.

Front and rear skirts with a motor sports look give your vehicle a dynamic appearance. Spoilers are another facelift component that influence the appearance.

BMW Tuning

BMW body kits are usually matching complete packages that contain various parts such as bumpers, spoilers, side skirts and fender flare extensions. They enable a comprehensive facelift for the BMW and can be designed to be subtle or eye-catching, depending on taste.

Various options are available when selecting the materials for such cosmetic changes: GRP, ABS or even carbon. GRP (glass-fibre reinforced plastic) is a lightweight yet stable material that is often used in the production of tuning parts. ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a high-quality plastic that is characterised by its shock resistance and durability. Carbon is an extremely lightweight and stable material that is often used in motor sports. From racing to the road, such stuff as motorsport dreams are made of. Carbon gives tuning parts a noble and sporty look.

Performance enhancement: How to get more hp out of your BMW

Anything else? Enhancing the performance of a BMW can significantly improve the driving experience and make for even more dynamic and sporty driving.

Replacing the standard air filter with a sports air filter can contribute to a certain but limited increase in engine performance. Sports air filters allow for better air supply to the engine and thus ensure optimised combustion.

Another starting point for increased performance is to replace the standard exhaust manifold with a sports manifold. Sports manifolds are designed to optimise exhaust flow and reduce backpressure. The engine can “breathe” better and generate more power. This can lead to a noticeable increase in performance, especially in combination with a sports exhaust system.

BMW Tuning

Except for chip tuning, classic engine tuning for a BMW is a more complex issue. It is about replacing engine parts such as camshafts, pistons or connecting rods with performance-optimised components, adjusting the intercooler to lower the intake air temperature and thus increase the performance of the turbocharger, or optimising the engine components, e.g. by polishing and adjusting the intake and exhaust ducts to improve the air flow. When tuning the engine, it is also important to always pay attention to the quality of the parts used and the professional execution of the work, so as not to impair the engine’s durability and reliability. The permissibility of the modification should also be ensured, of course.

BMW chip tuning

Chip tuning is a method to increase the performance of a modern BMW by improving the exhaust flow and reducing the back pressure. More precisely, chip tuning refers to the modification of the engine control system to optimise the vehicle’s power and torque. This involves changing the factory-set control parameters, such as injection quantity, ignition timing and boost pressure. Chip tuning can be implemented in many modern BMW models that have an electronic engine control unit. BMW tuning boxes are external control units that connect to the existing engine control unit and adjust the engine parameters in real time. This is an easily and quickly implemented option to increase the performance of a BMW.

The installation of a tuning box usually requires no specialist knowledge and can be carried out by the vehicle owner. Tuning boxes have the advantage of being easily removed, if necessary, without leaving any traces of the modification on the vehicle. Mapping aims at a targeted change in the software of the engine control unit to adjust the engine parameters individually to the driver’s needs. This can result in higher performance and improved responsiveness. However, mapping requires specialist knowledge and should be carried out by an experienced chip tuning specialist. Unlike using a tuning box, the changes made with mapping are usually permanent and can only be reversed by re-installing the original software.

Chip tuning can lead to a noticeable increase in the performance of the BMW and significantly improve the driving experience. On the other hand, risks are involved with this method. Improper adjustment of the engine control system can lead to engine damage, increased wear or problems with the exhaust system. It is therefore important to pay attention to the quality of the tuning solution used and the provider’s competence.

We expressly recommend to pay attention to the quality, to TÜV certificates or type approval when improving your vehicle according to your personal ideas by the BMW tuning.

BMW 1 Series tuning

In 2004, BMW launched a new model series of compact cars with the BMW 1 Series. Unlike the rivals in this segment, such as the VW Golf or Opel Astra, this sporty rear-wheel drive made its way into the compact class. This made the BMW 1 Series quickly a popular tuning car.

BMW E87 suspension tuning

The BMW 1 Series (E87) built between 2004 and 2013 offers a lot of options for suspension tuning. BILSTEIN offers a choice of sport suspensions to give you the typical BILSTEIN driving experience. The BILSTEIN B12 sport suspension provides for easy lowering. The coilover suspension B14 lowers your BMW 1 Series E87 flexibly, stepless and individually. Moreover, you can adjust your individual suspension set-up with the coilover suspension B16: You can change the damping forces in rebound and bump with 10 distinctive clicks.

BMW F20 suspension tuning

The BMW 1 Series F20 was built from 2011 to 2016. We offer various suspension systems for the different variants. From the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit and B12 DampTronic for vehicles with electronic damper adjustment to the adjustable coilover suspension BILSTEIN B16.

BMW Tuning

BMW 3 Series tuning

The BMW 3 Series is among the most popular tuning cars ever. Whether E30, E36, E46 or E90, the 3 Series had been a popular object of (tuning) desire.

BMW E30 suspension tuning

The BMW E30 is truly a legendary BMW. More than 2.3 million cars were manufactured in the factories in Munich and Regensburg from 1982 to 1994. We offer the BILSTEIN B6 and B8 shock absorbers for improved OE replacement. The BILSTEIN B6 shock absorber scores with sports characteristics as compared to the OE shock absorbers. The BILSTEIN B8 gas pressure shock absorber is the perfect, performance-oriented addition to the distinct motor sport look of lowered vehicles. The specifically shortened high-performance dampers ensure the necessary spring pre-load of lowering and sports springs, therefore supporting a sporty and dynamic driving experience. For the E30, we also offer the popular B12 Pro-Kit sports suspension.

BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning
BMW 3er E30 Tuning

BMW E36 suspension tuning

The BMW E36 is the third 3 Series and was built from 1990 to 2000. For the B36 we offer a comprehensive range of suspension tuning. Our B12 sports suspension brings the BMW E36 closer to the road, quickly and easily. The B14 coilover suspension lowers your BMW flexibly, steplessly and individually – with residual thread and parts certificate. And with the B16 coilover suspension, you can even adjust your individual suspension setup: You can change the damping forces in rebound and bump with 10 distinctive clicks. This turns your E36 into a veritable track tool.

BMW E46 suspension tuning

The BMW E46 was built from 1998 to 2007. Whether coupé, saloon, convertible, compact or touring: We have an extensive range of suspension tuning for the E46. Our B12 sport suspension lowers your BMW quickly and easily down to the road. The B14 coilover suspension lowers your BMW flexibly, steplessly and individually – with residual thread and parts certificate. And with the B16 coilover suspension, you can even adjust your individual suspension setup: You can change the damping forces in rebound and bump with 10 distinctive clicks. Perfect for everyday driving and the racetrack.

BMW Tuning E46

BMW E90 suspension tuning

The successor to the E46 is the 3 Series produced from 2005 to 2013 with the internal codes E90 (saloon), E91 (estate), E92 (coupé) and E93 (convertible). For all variants, we offer both the B12 sports suspension and the B14 and B16 coilover suspension.

BMW G20 suspension tuning

BMW identifies the seventh generation of its 3 Series with the internal code G20 (G21: Touring). The G20 is offered since 2019. Our sport suspensions B12 Pro-Kit and B12 Sportline can lower the BMW G20 by up to 30 mm and 40 mm respectively. Furthermore, we offer the EVO S coilover suspension and the EVO SE coilover suspension for vehicles with electronic damper adjustment. With the BILSTEIN EVO T1 and T2, you can take your BMW out also on the racetrack. And with the EVO R, we even offer a classy racing suspension exclusively for use on the racetrack.


BMW 5 Series tuning

Those who like upscale saloons and estate cars go for the BMW 5 Series. BMW has been offering the 5 Series since 1972. Positioned between the 3 Series and the 7 Series, the 5 Series represents the upper middle-sized class.

BMW E39 suspension tuning

The BMW 5 Series E39 was built from 1995 to 2004. We offer a comprehensive range of suspension tuning also for the upper middle-sized class saloon. From the BILSTEIN B12 and our coilover suspension B14 to BILSTEIN B16, the one for your BMW to cut a dash on the racetrack.

BMW E60 suspension tuning

We offer a comprehensive range of suspension tuning also for BMW E60 built between 2003 and 2010. BILSTEIN B12, BILSTEIN B14 and BILSTEIN B16.

BMW M2, M3 and M4 Tuning

We also offer an exceptionally extensive range of coilovers and sports suspensions for the BMW M models. Whether BMW M2, BMW M3, BMW M4 or BMW M5 and BMW M6. Whether E30, E36 or E46: BMW drivers will find the right sports suspension for almost every M generation at BILSTEIN.

Find a dealer or workshop in your area

Find a dealer or tuning workshop in your area

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BMW Tuning

BMW tuning companies

Lightweight Performance
Zur Dornheck 6, 35764 Sinn-Fleisbach, Germany

AC Schnitzer
Neuenhofstrasse 160, D-52078 Aachen, Germany

Käßbohrerstraße 3, 88471 Laupheim, Germany

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