We are in a time where throwing a performance tune may not be necessary or you may not want all of the potential problems that come with it on European cars. Depending on what you do with your car will let us help you make a decision on what you should do. Here is our take….. If you track your car or take your car to a High Performance Drivers School aka HPDE you probably don’t need any more power if you are driving a newer vehicle, especially a newer turbocharged vehicle. This will only introduce problems at the track. The car may seem fine on the street with you new tune but as soon as you get on track everything changes. Everything. We recommend you focus on three key areas for your track vehicle. Suspension, Brakes, and Tires. If you do not have a dedicated track vehicle and use your street vehicle like most drivers do and you want the vehicle to have that extra power then make sure you choose a power solution that you can defeat quite easily when you visit the track. The fact is if you are not a pro driver, that extra 100HP may not going to get you 5-6 seconds on a lap on most tracks. As a matter of fact you would be surprised how long it takes you to pass the other exact copy of your car on a straightaway after spending $2,500 or so on a performance tune. All of that goes away on track. Things change. On the street, however, it feels awesome! And that is good. But if you want to stay check engine light free on track, steer clear of performance upgrades for the software management unless they are very mild and they can be defeated if needed. Some drivers will never experience any trouble at all. It all depends on the driver, conditions, and how well the car is maintained. There are other items you can spend money on under the hood to make you car faster and more reliable on track. The main thing that is not under the hood and mentioned above (Suspension, Tires, Brakes) are what is going to make you go fast after learning how to drive your car in stock trim first. The other thing that comes into play which is overlooked most of the time is the wheel alignment and tire pressures. These are a crucial part of making any car handle and performance its best.
Why don’t we recommend ‘messing’ around with engine tuning on newer vehicles? The answer is simple. They are too complicated. Way too complicated. Surely don’t have someone that just purchased a Dyno tell you they will ‘tune’ your 2018 BMW for you and make it faster. No way. Leave it alone or put something that is street-able on the car that is def-eatable when on track at least from a brand name manufacturer. Aftermarket tuning companies don’t have billions of dollars to properly re-engineer what the manufacturer put in place and sell it for a cheap price. Instead, these items are put together for a street or light track use package for an affordable price. Do some research on these pro race team. They are running a lot less power than those cars even come with from the factory. Yes they are lighter, yes the class limits their power, yada, yada, yada but don’t think it isn’t done for a reliability reason either.
What products do we recommend? We deal with lots of vendors and try to hand pick the best ones. We don’t like anything above the Stage 2 level typically for the street. Even then you are pushing it. Don’t let someone promise you the world unless they sign a paper that says they will purchase you an engine when it pops. Not long ago a newer Audi RS5 was in the shop with no compression on one cylinder. Cause? The ‘tune’. Too much boost. Way too much. Enough to impress your friends with a few fast quarter mile times but you are then stuck holding the $15,000 bag or MORE when you engine goes. If you want to run the quarter mile 400 times, go buy a Mustang and stick some ‘Nitrous’ on it and you are set. It will probably blow too, but the expense is not nearly that of a Euro. You can give us a call and we can recommend a nice package for you that we would install. We can talk Suspension, Engine Tuning, Cold Air Intakes (Unless it is hot out), Brakes, Tires, anything you want. We offer free consultations with Carmine himself. The other thing you should know about any performance product is there is no warranty unless one is implied by these manufacturers. Also note that there is NO performance company that has a direct relationship with ANY manufacturer where you factory warranty stays in place. It does NOT work that way. The performance company will match the time period of your warranty but that does NOT mean your warranty is safe unless the manufacturer agrees it is.
Do the Genuine manufacturer parts make more sense than aftermarket? Sometimes. If you are looking for mediocre performance in most cases then they may make sense for you. I don’t think a track driver or even a hard street driver should be stuck with mediocre performance options. Note that most of those items sold directly from the manufacturer by BMW and Audi may void your warranty too. Just because the dealer tells you they won’t doesn’t mean it is true. Contact the manufacturer before you assume if this is important to you. Fortunately the Magnuson Moss Act protects most of us in this area. It basically says that a manufacturer cannot void your warranty for adding something to your car to upgrade it unless they can prove it destroyed something on your car. For example, A. You can take you car anywhere you want for service EVEN when it is under warranty. B. If you install an upgraded suspension and your engine blows, are they going to be able to prove somehow that they have a correlation? Maybe? More G Forces caused oil starvation? Uh Oh we just gave them a reason.
I want a track car so what should I purchase? One statement if I may – If you are in the position to purchase a BMW M4 GTS, do it and be done with it. Game over. That car is unreal and is underrated. A whole other discussion. A. Don’t build your own. Buy one already built and keep it up or change it to make it your own. Much, much, much less money and headaches unless you like headaches. B. If you are a BMW person and want reliability I would recommend the E90 with natural aspiration or if you want lots of power then the E90 Turbo car. I would not rule out the F30 328i, 330i cars with the 4 cylinder. Most of the issues have been sorted out and we all know what we need to get on track. Want to embarrass your buddy in his 6 cylinder? No better way to do it than either a V10 or a little 4 banger. Basically the F30 (2012-~2018) cars are fine on track, especially a drivers school. An upgraded intercooler, turbocharger, using the right oils in the engine and driveline, a sweet
Öhlins Road & Track suspension kit and a set of Carbotech brake pads and sticky tires and you have one fast ride that you can drive back and forth from the track. The 328i puts about 245HP or so to the wheels in stock trim. Anyone doing the math can quickly figure out that this is more than an E36 M3 and the cars weigh about the same. Does the steering feel that bad? Not for a drivers school. Are there other options to change steering? Yes but we don’t build race cars, our performance team just sets up track cars. The difference is not enough for even an Advanced level student to pickup on so don’t sweat it. C. If you are a Porsche person just pick something out of the Cayman or 911 bin. You will be fine. A 996 that has been gone through are good track cars. Cayman’s are great track cars. Again, Suspension, Tires, and Brakes. We like Öhlins or MCS suspensions, Carbotech or PFC brakes, and Michelin, Toyo, or Hoosier tires. That is our preference and that is what we would want you to purchase from us.