This is a brief BMW E36 M3 engine guide for the USDM model
E36 M3 Engine Tuning Guide – Differences between E46 M3
The US version of the E36 M3 had considerably less power than the Euro E46 M3 but it is possible to get the power of the standard engine close to the power made by the Euro E46 M3 motor.
The US Spec E36 M3 came with the S52 engine which was rated at 240bhp at the flywheel, some way short of the 300+bhp of the Euro M3.
If you want to make your E36 M3 as fast as an E46 M3 this is what you need to do.
First of all the differences between the E46 M3 engine and the E36 engine.
The E46 motor is slightly larger by 95cc and the E36 M3 also has a lower compression ration 10.5:1 vs 11.5:1. The E36 also only has a single throttle body while the E46 M3 has individual throttle bodies.
E36 M3 Engine Tuning Guide – Engine Tuning
To address the issue of throttle bodies BimmerWorld supply an M50 inlet manifold conversion which adds around 20whp to the top end because it has larger diameter pipework.
BimmerWorld also carry an OBD2 can kit which gives an extra 18whp.
The engine modifications should take your S52 E36 M3 to around 260whp.
E36 M3 Engine Tuning Guide – Add Lightness
To increase the acceleration further add lightness
DTM Fibrewerkz make a carbon fibre hood/bonnet and carbon fibre boot/trunk lid which save around 20kg over the standard parts.
A performance exhaust can save massive weight as well over the standard system, UUC’s exhaust for example saves around 16kg of weight.
With these mods you should see 0-60mph times of around 4.9seconds which is a full second quicker than stock.
The engine mods should also see the 1/4mile in about 13.5seconds.