So, you want 600 whp… We think every N54 powered vehicle should have 600 whp. Why not? 600 at the wheels is a good number; not so high that reliability and drivability is an issue, not so low that you’re uncomfortably close to maxed stock turbo performance. There are always a variety of ways to achieve your goals, but we put together a quick list of things that will definitely get you to 600 whp and beyond. Each of the sections below has a few suggestions for products that we have direct and positive experience with. This doesn’t mean other parts or brands won’t work; it just means we know these parts will work. We’ll break this article up into 5 sections; Engine Externals, Fueling, Turbos, Tune, and “Other Stuff”.
Engine Externals: A great place to start in your quest for 600 whp is FBO or Full Bolt-On. This acronym can mean different things on different platforms but here we mean engine externals. We mean air filters, turbo inlets, turbos, (hot side) charge pipe, intercooler, (cold side) charge pipe, upgraded diverter or blow off valves, and a high flow turbo- back exhaust. There are many great options out there -but here is what we recommend:
Fueling: On the low-pressure side of things, you’ll need at least a standard Stage 2 type low pressure fuel pump. We recommend Stage 3 (dual Walbro 450’s) but especially on ethanol blends like E50, you could get by with a single Walbro 450 powered fuel pump. Once out of the fuel tank you have some choices. If you want to stick with Direct Injection for the benefits in efficiency and safety in ECU control, you can run our Single Barrel Shotgun system, which is good for about 550 whp on 100% E85 and will do over 600 whp on ethanol blends (E60 or less). If you need more capacity our Double Barrel Shotgun is good for 750+ whp, but is overkill if you’re looking for “just” 600 whp. Stepping away from Direct Injection, your other option is to go Port Injection, which is typically some sort of spacer placed between the intake manifold and the head, with provisions for 6 injectors (or one of many available intake manifolds with build in port injection):
Turbos: Now our favorite part; Turbos. We’ll present two choices from the VTT lab that will get you to 600 whp (and beyond). Let’s start with the least expensive; our Stage 2+ offering. This utilizes our very own custom compressor and is VTT’s highest output stock frame offering. Our other offering for those seeking 600 whp is the GC lites. These are the baby brothers to the GC’s (which we recently hit 800 whp with!). Nothing on the market will spool as well as the GC lites, the lag is vanishingly low, and with the high flowing fully cast manifolds, back pressure is going to be reduced significantly over a stock frame design. The 2+’s get it done on a budget with a proven durable design capable of making a lot of power; the GC lites are ridiculously responsive turbos that take drivability to a new level:
Tune: There are a variety of ways to tune a turbo vehicle, but we can give you some ballpark starting points for what it’s going to take to crack 600 whp. Approximately 26-27 psi as read by MHD, targeting 10-11° of timing advance when at wide open throttle will get you there assuming all else is proper and your engine is healthy.
Air Fuel ratios will be about 11.9 or so on ethanol or ethanol blends, and if you’re using race gas drop that a little to about the 11.5 range. Again, these are the sorts of things that tuners fight over; some guys like more fuel and boost and less timing, others go the other way -our advice? Don’t get caught up in the trivial details, let the tuners do the tuning just make sure your car does what you want it to do and logs stay clean especially on multiple passes. Our only comment is that we at VTT have made nearly 800 whp on a stock motor without touching the knock tables, and we’ve blown up engines making much less power than that when we did touch the knock tables. Bottom line is that we don’t recommend desensitizing knock sensors.
Other Stuff: If you have a manual transmission, you’re going to want to switch over to a single mass flywheel and upgrade your clutch; we’ve used Spec Stage 3+, and SpecTwin Disk with no issues. The MFactory offering looks good but we haven’t run one yet. If you are on a tight budget the 335is/550i clutch will hold 600 whp for a little while, but don’t expect it to like launches or last long at all. If you’re an auto, you’ll at least want the Alpina flash, if not one of the forthcoming auto transmission solutions such as the soon-to-be-released Nizpro offering. Never a bad idea to get some fresh transmission fluid in there regardless of transmission type.
We are big fans of the tried and true NGK 5992, which has been replaced by NGK 95770. On the shop car, we use 0.018” gap, but for ~600 whp 0.022” should be ok. Take your time gapping them! As far as MAP sensors, we prefer to use the N20 engine 3.5 bar sensor. You’ll need an adapter to splice it into the factory wiring, and BMS has this for a reasonable price. Regarding engine oil; increased power means increased heat, so we consider it very important not only to use a quality oil to start with, but also to change it often. We like Amsoil and Motul, and we change the oil every 3-4k. The PCV system on these cars can start to get tricky as power levels double the stock design, but for 600 whp a simple PCV valve upgrade and a catch-can are sufficient for most people to stay out of trouble.
Final Thoughts: We hope you all have enjoyed this quick primer on how to get 600 whp out of your N54 powered vehicle. Feel like you’re in over your head? Let us do the work for you. We have VTT power packages available where we provide everything you need to go from stock to 600 or even 700 whp -and don’t worry, anything on the packages can be tweaked to your liking or even taken off the list if you already have some hardware you like. Remember, the turbos and components should always be matched to the power, reliability, and response goals of the customer. From mild to wild, let us know how we can help you sort out a package that will deliver what you’re looking for. Thanks for reading!
GC Lites or Stage 2+ $2799 or $2199
VTT Silicone Inlets $150
VTT Aluminum Outlet $125
VTT DCI $79
N54Tuning Downpipes $350
ADE 650WHP FMIC $699
VTT Cold Side CP + RacePort BOV $349 PFS Single Shot LPFP $499
PFS PI or Shotgun HPFP $799
Delphi Coils – $240
Pre-gapped NGK 5992 plugs $75
MHD Android device – $75
Dcan cable $30
OTG Cables $10
N20 Map sensor, and Harness $179 PCV Valve $45