Today we’ll be looking at the best BMW tuning services out there. If you’re looking to push your BMW to the max and churn out more horsepower and torque than you ever thought possible, this article is for you.
Figure 1: A BMW 8-Series G14/G15, tuned by Hamann Motorsports. It’s the perfect fusion of optimal power and sleek design. Source: Hamann.
BMW owners are known to be pretty particular about their preferred tuning companies. Of course, different shops have very different approaches to the technical and aesthetic facets of BMW restoration and enhancement. Some have raised the process to a true art form.
Whether they work on complete car models, specialize in upgrade parts, or are masters of dyno tuning, each great tuning shop has something to offer your BMW.
Finding the best tuning company for your BMW is matter of taste, performance, and price. As you might guess, many of the best BMW tuning and restoration shops are in the company’s homeland of Germany. But not to worry, there is a vibrant and extremely talented community of tuners and restorers to choose from on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Top 3 Best BMW Tuners
We’ve assembled a list of some of the best BMW tuners available. No matter what your particular tastes or preferences are, these guys will provide you with a top-quality aftermarket BMW.
Hamann is a tuning shop that’s all about exclusive cars. Their BMWs appear on racetracks, streets, car parks, and just about everywhere else. Based in Laupheim, Germany, Hamann specializes in all the great European makes: Audi, Martin, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Porsche, and Lamborghini. Their BMW tuning services, however, are a cut above the rest.
Figure 2: Check out this dream machine, a BMW M6 Gran Coupé tuned specially by Hamann. Source: Hamann.
Founded in 1986 by Richard Hamann, a former racer himself with over 700 races under his belt, the company initially only tuned cars made in Germany, with a particular focus on BMW. They quickly became known for their low-profile spoilers, body kits, twelve-piston disc brakes, multi-part alloy wheels, open racing exhaust systems, and many other notable BMW upgrades.
The good people at Hamann work on complete car models. These guys are also absolute masters at engine redesign; they’ll start from a variety of crate engines ordered straight from the dealers and rebuild and retune them to fit any driver’s needs. Ever since they tuned their first car, a BMW M3, and pushed it up to a top speed of 170 MPH, Hamann has made its mark on the BMW tuning world.
Figure 3: A BMW M5 tuned by Hamann. Source: Hamann.
Take, for instance, this BMW M5. Hamann fitted this guy with three different flap-controlled rear mufflers while also adding a 4-pipe tailpipe in VA chrome. The exhaust system alone would be enough to make this car stand out. It sounds crisp, sporty, and muscular all at once.
However, Hamann obviously didn’t tune the exhaust and just call it a day. They also fitted this BMW with “the Vision”, a matt graphite wheel previously only found on Ferraris. On top of that, They lowered the chassis, by about 25 mm at the front and 10 mm in the rear, using specially designed lowering springs. If the BMW M5 wasn’t sporty enough for your liking, this lowered profile really adds a nice touch.
Dinan is a premier American BMW tuner that goes all the way back to 1979. They design, produce, and market a full array of high-tech and high-performance BMW parts and systems. In more recent years, Dinan has also branched out into other European makes, most notably Mercedes Benz.
They will performance-tune your BMW but avoid negatively impacting the new car warranty coverage. For extra driving performance, reliability, and fun without endangering your warranty, Dinan is the way to go.
Like many top-of-the-line tuners, they have a reliable, nationwide network of authorized dealers, along with a dark underbelly of unauthorized dealers. Authorized dealers are comprised of select BMW/MINI dealerships as well as independent European service and performance facilities.
Figure 4: A couple of Dinan-tuned BMWs, ready to take on the world. Source: Dinan.
BMWs are known for their reliability, drivability, and consistent capabilities both on and off the racetrack. People come to depend on their BMW in a way that many drivers do not.
For this reason, Dinan has since 1996 offered a comprehensive and industry-leading warranty program. This provides coverage equivalent to that of a new car warranty from BMW itself. The warranty covers up to 4 years or 50,00 miles.
Figure 5: We don’t know how, but Dinan figured out a way to improve upon perfection with their tuning of the BMW M3. Source: Drive.
As for upgrades, let’s take the example of the BMW M3 F80, produced from 2015–2018. Dinan offers plenty of additional power upgrades but will install them in a way that takes your whole engine into account. They call it an “OEM+” experience in which power is boosted without negatively impacting the other performance features of the vehicle in the slightest.
According to Ryan from Dinan Tuning, “with the M3 we are offering flash tunes, and essentially, we have three different levels of tuning: Dyno Plus (for cars still covered under warranty), Dyno Plus HP, or Stage 1.” For newer M3s with several years of warranty left on them, Ryan recommended the Dyno Plus. But if your BMW’s warranty is about to expire, “Stage 1 will get you the highest calibration at a low cost.”
This package’s full name is the Dinan Stage 1 Performance Engine Software upgrade. According to Ryan, “no additional hardware is required, the tuning works perfectly with a stock engine. Our Stage 1 software is our highest form of calibration and we have options for different octane levels.” For example, “for 91 octane the Stage 1 software will get your BMW M3 514 HP along with 521 lb-ft of torque. If you have access to ethanol, the software will get you 582 HP and 599 lb-ft of torque.” Now that, we have to say, is an impressive figure!
Dinan will allow for power gains of up to 122 HP and 145 lb-ft of torque, based on a number of options. They offer an axle back exhaust, also called an X-Pipe, which creates a deeper exhaust tone and more volume, all without unnecessary drone. Finally, they’ll install a heat exchanger that fights heat soak and extends your driving pleasure even when putting the car under load.
BimmerWorld is definitely one of the best-known BMW tuners stateside. While it didn’t quite top our list, it’s still an excellent BMW tuning shop with tons to offer.
BimmerWorld was founded in 1997 by James Clay. It started small as a supplier of used BMW parts. However, BimmerWorld quickly took off and now offers replacement parts, performance parts and race parts for all BMW fans out there.
(In case you’re wondering, BMWs are colloquially known as “bimmers,” a nickname that originated in the UK but has since spread across the world. But you knew that, right?)
Figure 6: A couple of BMWs in the BimmerWorld shop before hitting the track. Source: BimmerWorld.
Returning to our example of the BMW M3 F80, the experts at BimmerWorld had several notable suggestions for tuning options. “Our recommended option is the Epic Motorsports tune,” they told us. “It uses really similar tech in our IMSA cars and gets you pretty stout gains.”
When we asked what the main advantage of this tune was, they summed it up nicely: “500 WHP, which you get with the new engine intake and Epic Motorsports software, that’s really what makes it all possible.”
Somewhat ironically, one of BimmerWorld’s best-known offerings is its lineup of top-quality braking systems. They have also collaborated with Performance Friction and StopTech Brakes to produce new and innovative braking technology. These devices, by reducing the time needed to safely brake the vehicle, increase the potential acceleration and top speed.
BimmerWorld also offers an impressive variety of chips and software upgrades for tuning the ECU of your BMW. Their “performance chips” allow you to modify the power output of a 1987–1995 BMW, known as the “OBDI” in some circles.
Figure 8: A BimmerWorld performance chip, alongside a standalone ECU that the experts at BimmerWorld are more than capable of tuning to your needs. Source: BimmerWorld.
BimmerWorld has perfected the software that will allow these older vehicles to put out more power than you ever thought possible. They will remove top-speed limiters, boost the rev limit, and modify ignition timing and fuel curves to easily and safely add enough power without compromising performance in any way
Sources: BimmerWorld; interview conducted with customer service representatives from BimmerWorld (10/08/2020).