The BMW E92 M3 is a 414hp high-strung performance platform that carries the M3 name well. It was the first V8 and final naturally-aspirated version of the M3 ever developed and it has certainly aged well since it debuted in 2007. The snappy nature of the E92 M3 thanks to its high-revving V8 and its incredible chassis balance make it relevant as a performance platform even a decade later. However, it can always stand to gain some power. We’re going to show you how. This is our list of the best upgrades to add power and performance to your BMW E92 M3.
The factory air intake, like nearly all intakes found in passenger vehicles, is a blend of comfort and performance. It flows as well as it can without creating too much induction noise that BMW customers would dislike. If you’re interested in more power, though, then you probably would rather have both an improvement to your M3’s performance as well as a tasty intake noise when you hit the throttle. For an 8hp increase without breaking the bank, we suggest aFe Power’s Magnum Force Stage-2 Pro 5R Cold Air Intake System. At 785 CFM of airflow, it shows a dramatic improvement over the stock intake, which flows at 530 CFM. Paired with the ECS Tuning Air Scoops, you can deliver much more air to your S65 for a noticeable increase in power and cleaner engine bay packaging.
HP Counter: +8hp
The alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and A/C compressor are all driven accessories, which means some power produced by the engine is diverted to run them. Turner Motorsport Power Pulleys underdrive those accessories and prevent some of that power loss. Your accessories will still function properly, but won’t rob as much power. These pulleys allow you to pick up between 10 to 14hp at the wheels, which makes them an easy upgrade for a noticeable increase to your engine’s power.
HP Counter +10-14hp
Improving the flow rate and scavenging in your M3’s exhaust is critical for making better power and a more enjoyable engine sound. The headers, downpipes, catalytic converters, x-pipe, and muffler sections of the E92 M3 are all points of restriction, since BMW didn’t want to alienate customers who prefer a quieter ride. For those of us looking to maximize the performance of our BMW, though, that exhaust leaves something to be desired. When it comes to upgrading, there are quite a few ways you can do this.
First, an upgraded x-pipe and cat-back will offer significant improvements at an agreeable price point. The Active Autowerke X-Pipe offers 12whp and decreases the weight of that section by 15 pounds. For a cat-back pairing, the Milltek Sport options are the least expensive. However, for a system that includes the X-Pipe and cat-back, Supersprint Race Cat-Back systems give you a complete kit at a reasonable price.
For a full system, though, you can’t go wrong with American Racing Headers’ selection. These kits are pricey but include upgraded manifolds, 100 cell count catalytic converters, an upgraded X-Pipe, and high-flowing mufflers. This option ensures all the exhaust parts will fit since they were designed together by ARH. It is the most expensive but offers the most benefits.
HP Counter: +12-40hp (depending on selections)
Lastly, upgrading the engine software to take full advantage of all these upgrades and more is the best way to get the most out of your E92 M3. The Turner Motorsport Stage 2 software is designed to add several key benefits. First, it is designed to specifically use 91 and 93 octane fuel, while the stock tune would allow for lower grade fuel for passive drivers. With the higher octane tune, the rev limit can be raised to 8,600RPM (for 93 octane). 6-speed manual M3s receive launch control, which allows you to hold the throttle to the floor and dump the clutch for a launch that is handled by the computers. It holds the RPM at 3,500 for you, which makes for the most precise and consistent launches. The software also eliminates the top speed governor, defaults your M3 into M Dynamic Mode for better steering and throttle feel, and optimizes fuel and timing maps for the best performance possible, especially with modified vehicles.
Total HP Count: between 30 and 62hp, depending on your choices
With up to 62 more horsepower available from these mods, you stand to put your M3 above the 450hp mark while also ditching the top speed governor, increasing the redline, adding launch control, improving the steering and throttle feel, and giving your M3 a hearty boost in driving enjoyment. You’ll hear your intake and exhaust make all the right noises while feeling a real difference in the driver’s seat. The S65 is already a great engine. This list will make it even better. For some other ideas to improve your M3, check out our last article on how to upgrade the handling and visual appearance for a complete package.