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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been on the hunt for performance modifications for my M5. This has lead me down two mostly mutually exclusive avenues. The first obvious choice is to throw a super charger kit of some flavor on the vehicle and go to town. The second choice is to start chasing down headers, cold air intakes and engine tunes and any other options that show up on the for sale section.

I'm not looking to make absolute peak power here, or to have the fastest car on the road. As others have said, this is the wrong car if I wanted to 'beat' everything!

So my question to everybody on the board is which of the two options (staying NA or going FI) stays most true to the E39 M5? Both options have their own appeal to me. I'm interested in arguments from both sides of the table. Feel free to tell me I'm being an idiot for even caring about this, my wife has already told me to shut up about it, it's just a car. :viking:
 
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It is just a car. It has no soul. You will not offend some Beast-god or really anyone if you supercharge it. It's a simple question of how much you want to spend.

Superchargers are expensive and the fact is, it can get a lot more expensive before it gets cheaper. I've supercharged a vehicle before and it can be trying at times. The M5 is probably more difficult due to the space limitations, inter-cooler or other timing-enhancing system requirements and engine (control) complexity but the gains are impressive to say the least. Fortunately, many have forged this path and you can lean and learn from them.

My advice is to get the cam/VANOS timing checked and adjusted if necessary, verify that parts like CPSs, MAFS, O2 sensors, spark plugs, etc. are within service intervals and THEN get a good tune. I think you may be happy with that and even if you aren't the above actions will only enhance the supercharger experience later down the road.
 

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Bear in mind too that the power delivery can be different between FI and NA engines. Wanting to take my car on the track every now and again has me thinking a beastly NA might be better suited than huge punch. In fairness, not my thinking though, but that is the route I might take.
 

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Both options have their own unique appeal. Power wise the FI is the best route and the biggest bang for your modding dollar. The down side to any FI system is the relatively huge increase in stresses. The stress increase with a NA engine will be lower, kind of like the power output.

A well sorted NA will probably net better real world drivability. Unlimited the e39 M5 is capable of nearly 200 MpH. A better flowing exhaust and higher capacity plenum, CAI, bigger TBs (similar to a Dinan S2) and a proper tune should get you close if not over 200 MpH, but the cost here will likely far exceed the cost of a FI system and tune.

As to the soul of the M5, you live too close to the 'Soul Reaper' for the soul of your M5 to be safe anyway. hiha

Personally I like the sound and character of an NA engine. But FI is silly fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is just a car. It has no soul. You will not offend some Beast-god or really anyone if you supercharge it. It's a simple question of how much you want to spend.

Superchargers are expensive and the fact is, it can get a lot more expensive before it gets cheaper. I've supercharged a vehicle before and it can be trying at times. The M5 is probably more difficult due to the space limitations, inter-cooler or other timing-enhancing system requirements and engine (control) complexity but the gains are impressive to say the least. Fortunately, many have forged this path and you can lean and learn from them.

My advice is to get the cam/VANOS timing checked and adjusted if necessary, verify that parts like CPSs, MAFS, O2 sensors, spark plugs, etc. are within service intervals and THEN get a good tune. I think you may be happy with that and even if you aren't the above actions will only enhance the supercharger experience later down the road.
Respectfully, it's not a simple function of how much I want to spend. As others have stated, power delivery between NA and FI is different. I guess my question is better stated as this: Given how a stock M5 drives, which retains that 'feeling', further NA work, or FI ? Cars do have souls, or we wouldn't be on an internet forum on a Sunday afternoon, talking about dumping $5k to $10k into a 12 year old car.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Bear in mind too that the power delivery can be different between FI and NA engines. Wanting to take my car on the track every now and again has me thinking a beastly NA might be better suited than huge punch. In fairness, not my thinking though, but that is the route I might take.
Thanks. I'm looking forward to seeing your build/rebuild thread take shape!
 
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I'm doing the FI route this time around, and I think if you've never gone that route, you have to do it at least once because it is, as AGM5 put it, silly fun. But the next M5 I do will be NA. Pretty straightforward to get S62s to put out 500 bhp and still preserve 100% of the look and feel of the car. So beast no. 2 will be thus.

--Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm doing the FI route this time around, and I think if you've never gone that route, you have to do it at least once because it is, as AGM5 put it, silly fun. But the next M5 I do will be NA. Pretty straightforward to get S62s to put out 500 bhp and still preserve 100% of the look and feel of the car. So beast no. 2 will be thus.

--Peter
Very interesting. I've made a few small purchases towards the eventual goal of an FI E39 M5. I just started to question this route. I wish the various sales/group buys were going on AFTER Timmayfest 2014, so I could get a feel for various modifications. Alas, the Evolve Medusa header group buy will be long over before that rolls around.
 

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Very interesting. I've made a few small purchases towards the eventual goal of an FI E39 M5. I just started to question this route. I wish the various sales/group buys were going on AFTER Timmayfest 2014, so I could get a feel for various modifications. Alas, the Evolve Medusa header group buy will be long over before that rolls around.
If you want the headers they will work with a SC but the benefit will be diminished verse a NA motor, buy them you can always re-install the OE headers and sell the Medusas. To me for a killer price maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you want the headers they will work with a SC but the benefit will be diminished verse a NA motor, buy them you can always re-install the OE headers and sell the Medusas. To me for a killer price maybe?

Are you sure? rao will probably have touched them at that point ... your car will be tainted!
 
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I think the route that is most to preserve the soul of the E39 M5 is going the NA route (CAI, headers, tune, exhaust and a suspension refresh). Remember this car was built for top speed executive Autobahn/highway cruising. It can handle curves too, hence the suspension refresh tidbit. But, like AGM5 said, this will cost a lot more compared to FI. Once you go FI, IMHO, you have simply created something else, crazy fun indeed, but it is just a whole other ballpark. A well-modded NA engine is like having a gatling gun you can strap to your hip (think of that scene in Predator where Ventura mows half the jungle down) whereas having a FI is like having mortars (you can create havoc, but there's a pause there).

Edit: Or the scene from Terminator:
 

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Are you sure? rao will probably have touched them at that point ... your car will be tainted!
Have you seen my winter wheels?
2013-01-02_18-49-45_698a.jpg

Guess from who these were purchased.
:)


It's too late for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think the route that is most to preserve the soul of the E39 M5 is going the NA route (CAI, headers, tune, exhaust and a suspension refresh). Remember this car was built for top speed executive Autobahn/highway cruising. It can handle curves too, hence the suspension refresh tidbit. But, like AGM5 said, this will cost a lot more compared to FI. Once you go FI, IMHO, you have simply created something else, crazy fun indeed, but it is just a whole other ballpark. A well-modded NA engine is like having a gatling gun you can strap to your hip (think of that scene in Predator where Ventura mows half the jungle down) whereas having a FI is like having mortars (you can create havoc, but there's a pause there).

Edit: Or the scene from Terminator:
Thanks for the input. I have Dinan suspension and exhaust on the car now, both were done in the last few thousand miles.

I like your NA/FI analogies. Some days I want one, other days I want the other. I guess I just need multiple cars...
 
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It really all depends on how much power you want.... you'd be extremely surprised at how good the driveability of a S/C M5 is. It's very smooth until you get into it. I drove an RK Stage 1 (Rays M5) quite a few times and you barely know it's supercharged until you hit the gas/hear the swoosh of the BOV. Then you definitely know :)
 

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I have done both. I don't think our FI setup changes the character of the car, but it does change the rate at which things happen!

I had CAI, and added bigger MAF housings and headers and retune. Headers really wake up the Beast. To me, that is how BMW should have done it. I did add TB's and VS, but not until AFTER I did the FI. I was reasonably happy at that point.

The Vortech setup builds boost primarily as a function of rpm. So as you build up rpms, the boost goes up too. But it is very linear. Not like a turbo, which usually gives a giant kick in the butt, then tapers off as get near redline. Since our power peak is near redline, max boost is also near redline. The first time I jammed my foot down with 6 psi, I broke out into a huge grin. I still get a chuckle when punching it, forgetting sometimes how much fun it is to have over 550 hp at your disposal. Oh, yeah, remember to keep the steering wheel straight unless you have very fast hands!:)

While you can get to 500 hp NA, you will break your wallet getting there. Best bang for the buck for adding power is a SC kit. If you are doing most of the install yourself, you are out the door for under $6k. Even with a great buy on headers and a Dinan sale on TB's and VS, you will be at $6k easily. And you will be adding 40-50 hp, not 150.

You can add the other items like I did before a SC, but most of it is not well spent, although I think headers really help the car breath. If I was starting from scratch and was working on a budget, I would add a SC and call it a day for power.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have done both. I don't think our FI setup changes the character of the car, but it does change the rate at which things happen!

I had CAI, and added bigger MAF housings and headers and retune. Headers really wake up the Beast. To me, that is how BMW should have done it. I did add TB's and VS, but not until AFTER I did the FI. I was reasonably happy at that point.

The Vortech setup builds boost primarily as a function of rpm. So as you build up rpms, the boost goes up too. But it is very linear. Not like a turbo, which usually gives a giant kick in the butt, then tapers off as get near redline. Since our power peak is near redline, max boost is also near redline. The first time I jammed my foot down with 6 psi, I broke out into a huge grin. I still get a chuckle when punching it, forgetting sometimes how much fun it is to have over 550 hp at your disposal. Oh, yeah, remember to keep the steering wheel straight unless you have very fast hands!:)

While you can get to 500 hp NA, you will break your wallet getting there. Best bang for the buck for adding power is a SC kit. If you are doing most of the install yourself, you are out the door for under $6k. Even with a great buy on headers and a Dinan sale on TB's and VS, you will be at $6k easily. And you will be adding 40-50 hp, not 150.

You can add the other items like I did before a SC, but most of it is not well spent, although I think headers really help the car breath. If I was starting from scratch and was working on a budget, I would add a SC and call it a day for power.

Regards,
Jerry
Jerry,

Thanks for the detailed response. You've written a compelling case for FI. I'm concerned about changing the character of the car, I've really come to enjoy how it delivers power in a near-stock NA form. It really does sound like a well-tuned SC setup will have identical power delivery characteristics. I'm less concerned with peak power and more interested in 'waking things up'. Pound-for-pound though, you can't beat the performance an SC system gives you.
 

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Respectfully, it's not a simple function of how much I want to spend. As others have stated, power delivery between NA and FI is different. I guess my question is better stated as this: Given how a stock M5 drives, which retains that 'feeling', further NA work, or FI ? Cars do have souls, or we wouldn't be on an internet forum on a Sunday afternoon, talking about dumping $5k to $10k into a 12 year old car.
I understand what you're saying but I'll not argue the presence or absence of a soul in the M5 or any other car, m-kay? You want more power or you wouldn't be asking a question like this. You also want to retain this alleged soul. The NA route is expensive and will net less power than a supercharger will. The supecharged route IS silly fun and will cost less for a larger power output. Fortunately, neither is ruinous to the "soul" of the M5.

So, power or cost. Which is more important to you? Respectfully, THAT is the the question.

I will end with this. A well-sorted NA M5 in the factory configuration can be silly fun, too, and even downright terrifying. That is my PERSONAL experience with my own M5s and I haven't got into the high-dollar NA go-fast parts. I will soon, however. Maybe I scare easily or maybe I'm too easily impressed. Maybe not.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
I understand what you're saying but I'll not argue the presence or absence of a soul in the M5 or any other car, m-kay? You want more power or you wouldn't be asking a question like this. You also want to retain this alleged soul. The NA route is expensive and will net less power than a supercharger will. The supecharged route IS silly fun and will cost less for a larger power output. Fortunately, neither is ruinous to the "soul" of the M5.

So, power or cost. Which is more important to you? Respectfully, THAT is the the question.

I will end with this. A well-sorted NA M5 in the factory configuration can be silly fun, too, and even downright terrifying. That is my PERSONAL experience with my own M5s and I haven't got into the high-dollar NA go-fast parts. I will soon, however. Maybe I scare easily or maybe I'm too easily impressed. Maybe not.
If the only deciding factor was literally "how many horsepower can I get for X dollars", your analysis would be correct. However, that's not what I'm asking. What route are you taking for your vehicle when it comes to adding power?
 

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If the only deciding factor was literally "how many horsepower can I get for X dollars", your analysis would be correct. However, that's not what I'm asking. What route are you taking for your vehicle when it comes to adding power?
I already have a tune and CAI. I am adding/modifying headers, cylinder heads, camshafts, high-flow cats, X-pipe, resonator delete and exhaust OR resonators and muffler delete. I am also looking at throttle-bodies and stacks.
 
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