You love your 5 Series or E-Class for their comfort, space, presence, and practicality, but they feel just a bit too languid for your taste when pulling away from the traffic lights (well, unless you own the M or AMG versions of these otherwise stately machines, of course).
Thankfully, there are several ways for you to improve the performance and response of your German car. Of course, we’re looking for more efficient combustion. These performance upgrades go beyond getting more gas into your engine, but requires finding ways to get more gas AND air in there. Let’s find out how we can do this.
Supercharging: more power, less weight
A bigger, heavier engine may get you the power you want, but it’ll also add unnecessary weight. A supercharger will pressurize the air intake to a level exceeding atmospheric pressure, and this allows for the forced induction of air into the combustion chamber. If properly installed, you could see horsepower gains of up to 50%. In determining whether turbo- or supercharging is best, the latter is generally agreed to be more reliable, simpler, and produces boost at lower RPMs. Turbos are more complex, but also quieter and more efficient.
Improve efficiency with an aftermarket air filter
Unlike the paper-based air filters that often come as standard on your car, higher quality aftermarket air filters are made of cotton or similar materials to not only improve airflow and performance, but to prevent contaminants from entering and gradually affecting your car’s performance. Fabspeed’s BMC F1 Replacement Air Filter for the BMW 235i is a great example of the improvements you can see over a standard filter, with this particular one improving airflow by 40%.
Colder air means hotter performance
Cold air is denser than warm air, and it is this simple concept which has made cold air intake kits a popular and simple performance upgrade for many enthusiasts, since colder air means more oxygen, and more oxygen means you can achieve better combustion in your engine. By drawing more air into your engine, the benefits of a cold air intake kit include increased acceleration – adding about 5 to 20 horsepower – and better responsiveness. You’ll also be able to enjoy a sportier engine note, since stock air intakes tend to place ultimate refinement ahead of efficiency.
As you know, the modern car is more computer-controlled than it has ever been before. Especially in the case of the high-tech Germans, your car is constantly studying factors such as the road surface, the distance from the car in front, and the angle of your throttle to make hundreds of decisions. Thankfully, people build computers, and that means we have the ability to manipulate them. In the case of your car, a performance chip can alter the factory settings on your car and by doing so, improve performance. In some cases, you could see a trade-off, such as an increase in fuel consumption. It’s always best to consult your trained technician about what your needs are, and what you are willing to compromise on.
If you’re really serious about increasing your car’s performance, you can also look into reducing its weight, not just by removing parts that are superfluous, but replacing existing parts with lightweight components. By combining just a few of these performance-enhancing mods, you can end up with a car that looks much the same, but performs the way you want it to.