Hey, I have a great idea, why not turbo the S65?
I know I'm not the only one who has been thinking this. Hell, I was thinking about this back in early '08 when I contacted Chris at HPF to do a turbo setup on my M3. He quickly talked me of it and I settled on an SC. Why? Why wouldn't HPF do it? Well, read this:
Now, you may be scratching your head wondering, why $400k? Well, I'll give you a hint, it isn't the hardware. HPF got a standalone from AEM for their setup which did not come cheap. To get the programming and everything necessary, it took a boatload of cash. Chris was essentially applying what it took for him to get the E46 done to the E9X. It really is all in the tuning.
Can't anyone tune the S65 with a turbo?
Well no, anyone can't. It takes a very special someone. Let's assume for the moment the hardware isn't a challenge. Who the hell is going to tune this thing? We have companies that still don't even have their superchargers on the market. Are all the tables in the DME figured out? No, they aren't, there still is a lot there and if the braintrust in Europe hasn't cracked this stuff yet it sure hasn't trickled down to the tuners in the USA. GIAC has yet to finish their SC tuning so could they do it? Active is in the same boat, could they do it? If companies are still figuring out their SC tuning what does that tell you about the complexities of the DME with an SC let alone with two turbos? HPF just flat out said it is too cost prohibitive.
Trying to tune this thing on the factory ECU would require someone spectacular. BMW does not make this easy on anyone and actually goes out of their way to make it difficult. Honestly, I always find it funny that BMW caters more to the people leasing their cars who are more likely to dump them for whatever sport sedan happens to be trendy next when the lease is up than to their hardcore clientèle that stick with them through thick and thin and want to modify the cars and keep them. You would think BMW would care more about the hardcore guys who love and keep their BMW's but in reality they care more about getting as many people into leases as they can who won't touch the cars let alone the ecu.
The BMW motorsport parts are definitely a step in the right direction but would it kill BMW to just point us all in the right direction? Void my stupid warranty, I don't care. Just give us a list of all the tables and lines all decoded . Just for once BMW, could you pretend your hardcore crowd that purchases aftermarket parts and sticks with you is relevant and exists? Some of us want more than steering wheels with LCD's you know. Sorry, I digress.
So why not just get a standalone if the factory ECU is so complicated?
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it cost HPF a ton of money to get a standalone and programming sophisticated enough to do the E46 M3's 25 million calculations a second. The S65 DME takes this to a whole new level. AEM doesn't have anything that can handle it as of today. What about Motec? Possibly, we have a person trying to get this to work right now as user George Smooth told us here: http://www.bimmerboost.com/showthrea...ighlight=motec
. Will he succeed? We will have to wait and see.
There is one standalone out there that is being used with the S65 and even the S85 right now. The Pectel SQ6M12 ECU has been used to run the BMW V10 engine as found in the E60 M5 and E63 M6 with great success, according to Pectel. Pectel also states the SQ6M ECU has been used with the S65 in the E92 M3. Personally, I haven't seen or heard of anyone in the USA running these standalones successfully with a turbo setup. Evosport is actually building a S85 twin turbo swap into an E92 as of right now and is going the Pectel Stand alone route. The car being built belongs to my friend Ramiz but clearly this is going to be a time consuming project. When the car is done with the standalone and twin turbos on the V10 we will have more answers but when will that be? No one expects a project of that caliber to be done in a short time frame.
So if Pectel has a capable ECU, why not just go that route?
Well, Pectel and their distributer Apex Speed Technology would have you believe it is as simple as programming your alarm clock:
If that is the case, why isn't everyone doing it? Forget the SC's, let's all get standalones and turbos. It honestly is not quite that simple. First of all, the Pectel ECU is going to run you $6-7k. Ouch.. but ok, let's assume that is not a road block. Well, you have a $7k piece of plastic sitting there if you don't have the programming for it. Who is going to write you all the maps and tables, codes, etc.? That is all custom my friends even if you have some base maps provided as a starting point. And custom tuning from scratch is not exactly easy or cheap. We are talking hundreds of hours. Considering what an average tuner bills these days, let's assume they give you some kind of discount and it runs $80 per hour. Well, thzg is at least another $8k alone for the tuning. That is just to get the turbos running correctly with the motor let alone making sure the i-drive isn't freaking out, traction control works, vanos is fine, the DCT understands it all, launch control still works, etc. etc. That doesn't even include the dyno time. See the problem?
Ditching the factory ECU is a problem in itself, especially for a street car where you want all your other electronic gadgets to work just like stock. This is why I believe tuning the factory ECU is the best way to go as you leave everything else in place and change what you need to change. I am not saying a standalone is a bad approach, it isn't, and HPF proves that, but the amount of time and money necessary to get everything to work the way it should work on an E9X with its more complicated electronics and transmission is going to bury anyone financially.
The best approach may be to use the factory ecu in combination with a stand alone or a piggyback of some sort. I just haven't seen anyone use a piggyback on the S65 and I don't know if we even have any good options in this area. Someone more experienced would have to chime in.
Wow, so it doesn't work like Gran Turismo? What about the hardware?
Oh, the software aspect didn't scare you off? Well, let's assume you found some kind of solution that does not involve you having the budget of an F1 team. The M3 is a V8. That means the turbo solution is most likely going to be twin. Why? Split manifold and limited space is why. Even with twins the space is a huge constraint. It is *REALLY* tight underneath there.
Well what about top mount?
Top mounted twins would be sweet, no doubt, but do you see a place to put em? A pic from our good friends at EAS may assist:
Because I don't. Maybe a top mount single where the airbox is could work but that would be a huge hurdle in of itself with all the piping, etc. They will have to go underneath and that will limit turbo sizing as well as require some very nice manifold design. The engineering will have to be top notch but mechanically underneath the car it can be done. It just is a huge challenge that I don't know who will tackle.
So will we see turbos on the S65?
Oh, you bet your ass we will. I do know it has already been attempted from a few parties. The question is when? Remember, we did not have these awesome HPF setups until the M3 was out of production. First, a tuning solution needs to be found. There is a lot more in the DME that needs to be cracked and the tuner will really need to know what they are doing and be dedicated to do it correctly. Especially if using the factory DME which I would say creates too many other headaches to completely abandon. So either someone will really have to completely figure out the DME or use a Piggy/Standalone in conjunction. It certainly is not impossible. The hardware is not impossible either, it just will take some great engineering and dedication here as well.
Turbos on the S65 will be a game changer. It just will take time, but you better believe people are going to be trying as it will be a monumental achievement with incredible payoff, if anyone is able to pull it off.